In baseball, RISP stands for “runners in scoring position.” This stat tracks how many baserunners are in scoring position when on the base paths. Not all players on base are in scoring positions, so further understanding this statistic is essential.
So, when is a baseball player in a scoring position? How does the small ball strategy play a factor in RISP? What happens to baserunners who are left on the base after an inning? What is the average of leaving runners on base?
Here is the complete breakdown of what RISP is in baseball.
When is a Baseball Player in Scoring Position?
A baserunner is considered in scoring position when they’re on second or third base. Being on second or third base generally means you can score a run if a batter hits a single. Also, a baserunner on third can score on a balk or even a wild pitch.
If a player is on first base, they’d need a few scenarios in their favor to score. Some scenarios would be when the ball splits the outfielders, they (the runner) have good speed, and if they were already in motion via two outs or stealing second base on the throw.
How Does Small Ball Baseball Fit into RISP?
Some baseball teams employ “small ball” strategies, relying on singles to get players on base. Once a team can get a player on base, they can use several small ball strategies like bunting them to second or stealing the base to get into scoring position. Small-ball baseball strategies work best with teams who have good speed and bat control to bunt.
Most recently, the Kansas City Royals successfully implemented small ball tactics during their 2015 World Series run. Before that, the Florida Marlins won the 2003 World Series by using the small ball as their offensive strategy. Finally, the Anaheim Angels back in 2002 won the World Series with the small ball strategy.
What Happens if Baserunners Are Left in Scoring Position at the End of an Inning?
If an inning ends with runners still on second and third base, they’re often called “runners left in scoring position.” Runners left in scoring position are a negative statistic used to estimate how inefficient an offense was during the game. An example of stranding baserunners is if you strikeout to end the inning, fly out to the outfield, or ground out to a fielder.
How Many Runners are Left on the Basepaths on Average?
According to Team Rankings in 2019, the average number of runners left in scoring position for a baseball team came out to 3.38. In 2018 it was 3.39, and in 2017 it was 3.35.
Why Does MLB Calculate Runners in Scoring Position as a Stat?
Counting how many runners are in the scoring position during a baseball game can tell a story about the offense. For example, a team might get many hits but only score one or two runs during the game and lose. When looking back at the game, baseball managers can analyze the batting average with runners in scoring position to see if that was the reason they did not score enough runs to win the game.
A batting average with runners in scoring position is a common way to track and expand on RISP. The expansion on RISP takes a batter’s hits with runners in scoring position and divides it by their plate appearances with runners in scoring position. You can take this statistic further by taking the batting average with two outs and runners in the scoring position to measure how clutch a player or team is.
In Major League Baseball, “clutch situations” include when a runner is in scoring position, either on second or third base, and if the hitter can drive them into home plate. While RISP is still common, the MLB began using WPA, or Win Probability Added, to forecast scoring chances better. WPA attempts to quantify how much a player contributed to a win.
How is RISP Similar to Other Baseball Stats?
RISP is closely related to several other statistics in baseball. Some similar stats include RBI, slugging percentage, and, more loosely, OBP or on-base percentage. Baseball WAR is another good metric to measure a player’s effectiveness.
If a batter hits a single or extra-base hit, which allows a runner in scoring position to score a run, their hit will count as an RBI. The bases earned from that hit will also help elevate their slugging percentage. Of course, they’ll add to their on-base share as well.
Conclusion: What is RISP in Baseball?
In summary, RISP is an excellent metric to value how many baserunners were in scoring positions during a game. This stat can then expand to metrics like RBI, slugging percentage, and OPS.
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