- LOB, or left on base, is a statistic that refers to how many runners are stranded on the base paths at the end of an inning.
- For batters, LOB indicates the number of runners left on base after the hitter makes an out. For pitchers, LOB describes the number of runners left on base once the inning is over.
- Baseball teams care about LOB because it describes the number of baserunners that might have crossed home plate but never scored.
Left on base explained
LOB, or left on base, is a statistic that refers to how many runners are stranded on the base paths at the end of an inning.
For batters, LOB indicates the number of runners left on base after the hitter makes an out. For pitchers, LOB describes the number of runners left on base once the inning is over.
Also, when a batter hits into a fielder’s choice and causes a runner to be tagged or forced out to end the inning, that baserunner is regarded as left on base.
Examples of LOB in baseball
- The leadoff batter starts the game with a double in the opening frame. Things look promising for the visiting team with a runner in scoring position and no outs. However, their team fails to bring the runner in. The inning ends without the team scoring a run, and the box score indicates one LOB for the team.
- Another example is if a batter reaches base on a walk. The pitcher walks the next two hitters to load the bases with no outs. If none of those baserunners is putout and does not score before the inning ends, the team will be credited with three runners left on base.
- There is a runner on first base with two outs. The next hitter hits a triple to score the runner on first base. Then the following batter hits a home run before the next hitter strikes out to end the inning. The team that finished batting has no runners left on base.
- If two men are on base when a batter hits a fly ball out to the center fielder to end the top of the fifth inning, the visiting team would have a pair of runners left on base.
- Let’s assume the bases are loaded with one out, and the batter hits into a double play to end the inning. The team would have two runners left on base since the runner on third base who crossed home plate is not credited with a run scored.
What are runners left on base?
Runners Left on Base refers to the baserunners left on base when an inning ends. The LOB statistic is widely used to determine how many runners were left on base for the entire game. LOB does not include any runner(s) who recorded the final out of an inning.
How is left on base calculated
Left on Base Percentage (LOB%) is calculated by dividing how many runners a pitcher leaves stranded on the bases at the end of an inning by the total number of baserunners they allow. LOB%, also called Strand Rate, only counts runners when a pitcher completes an inning.
For example, a pitcher who allows four baserunners during his appearance and only gives up one run will have a 75% strand rate. A pitcher’s strand rate does not change if he is replaced by a reliever who allows an inherited baserunner to score.
Why do baseball teams care about LOB?
Baseball teams care about LOB because it describes the number of baserunners that might have crossed home plate but never scored. Scoring runs is essential in baseball, and LOB helps teams evaluate their success in scoring and preventing runs.
LOB is also a flexible statistic that can be used together with BABIP and other hitting metrics when assessing a pitcher’s performance.
Is there any connection between winning games and a low LOB?
The connection between winning games and a low LOB is not difficult to judge. Since eight of the top 10 teams with the lowest LOB with two weeks remaining in the 2022 season are non-playoff teams, the connection between winning games and a low LOB does not exist.
2022 MLB team left on base per game
- 5.96 – Oakland Athletics
- 6.12 – Pittsburgh Pirates
- 6.21 – Detroit Tigers
- 6.29 – Cincinnati Reds
- 6.32 – Atlanta Braves
- 6.34 – Texas Rangers
- 6.38 – Arizona Diamondbacks
- 6.40 – Los Angeles Angels
- 6.46 – Miami Marlins
- 6.59 – Philadelphia Phillies
Good teams with hitters that reach base often and score many runs will have high LOB rates. However, bad teams with hitters that come less often will have low LOB rates. Teams who get caught stealing and hit into too many putouts and double plays will also have low strand rates.
Since other baseball statistics play a role in the strand rates of teams, a low LOB does not guarantee a winning record. Thus, the connection between winning games and a low LOB is irrelevant.
How can LOB be a misleading metric?
LOB can be a misleading metric because a runner reaching base can be erased from the base paths in various scenarios.
A baserunner who is picked off or caught stealing or runners who are out on double plays and putouts, are not counted against LOB. A runner has to be left on the bases when the inning ends to be recorded as a LOB.
Who leads major league baseball in men left on base?
New York Mets teammates Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso lead Major League Baseball in men left on base with two weeks left in the 2022 regular season. The duo has stranded 273 runners apiece for the playoff-bound Mets.
LOB Statistics: An Incomplete Picture
While LOB is a vital baseball statistic that describes the number of runners left on base, it is lacking in certain areas. LOB does not provide the ratio of baserunners and how they are affected by putouts, caught stealing, and double plays.
LOB also does not refer to the number of runners in scoring position, which is a vital component of scoring runs. LOB is an excellent measurement to gauge a team’s inability to get clutch hits, but other statistics provide a more complete picture regarding run-scoring.
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