Analysis: never make the first out at any base

by Fred Hofstetter on September 3, 2017

Making the first out puts baseball teams at a serious disadvantage. Players who do not make the first out are more valuable.

Rickey Henderson Making the First Out

Rickey Henderson was a tremendous baseball player – but notorious for making the first out. Photo Credit: Gary Stevens

New analysis reveals a troubling trend around Major League Baseball – general managers are repeatedly and knowingly acquiring players with extensive track records of making the first out – at any base.

Making the first out in baseball at any base puts offenses 33% closer to making three outs. Three outs ends the inning and hands the bats over to the other team – making the OTHER team 100% more likely to score runs. Players who make the first out at any base are the catalyst for every inning’s inevitable doom.


Making first outs at any base is particularly bad, mathematically.

Major League baseball teams in 2017 must understand the importance of avoiding first outs at all costs. Average run expectancy on a per-inning basis plummets after the first out:

Run Expectancy
Average # of runs scored Chance run will score in inning
0 out, no one on 0.481 0.268
1 out, no one on 0.254 0.155
% decrease 47% 42%

Making the first out at third base is cataclysmic. I crunched the numbers:

Run Expectancy – When First Out Made at Third Base
Average # of runs scored Chance run will score in inning
0 out, no one on 0.481 0.268
After out made at 3rd or any base 0.254 0.155
% decrease 47% 42%

Getting out is just a plain bad idea

It’s hard to believe for so long baseball has suffered from a complete lack of critical thinking and succumbed to brainless tradition. Why would you make an out at any base? The alternative is clearly superior – reaching base and NOT making an out. Without making an out, you put the other team in a very difficult position.

For too long we’ve idolized baseball “legends” who have glorified the out. Here’s a list of charlatans who’ve done the game a great disservice:

Overrated Player Outs Made
Pete Rose 10328
Hank Aaron 9136
Carl Yastrzemski 9126
Cal Ripken 8893
Eddie Murray 8569
Rickey Henderson 8510
Omar Vizquel 8433
Dave Winfield 8422
Robin Yount 8415
Brooks Robinson 8340
Craig Biggio 8272
Derek Jeter 8269
Luis Aparicio 8110
Willie Mays 8056
Paul Molitor 8040
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