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How to score automatic putouts?


Unfortunately this article doesn’t cover this case!  Boxscore just shows a routine putout to Mr. Knoblauch!

There are many instances in which a player is called out, and no fielder actually made an out.  (For example, when a batter is called out on appeal for batting out of order.)

I will list all the possible situations and how to score them below.  There are many different scenarios, and most of them occur so rarely that it is difficult for a scorekeeper to know them all and be able to score them correctly in real time.  But, once you understand the rationale behind them it becomes easy. These three key points are all you need to remember in most cases:

  1. Credit the catcher with a putout for any outs recorded on what I will call “technicalities”. e.g., batting out of order, illegally batted ball, being touched by own batted ball.
  2. Credit the fielder closest to the runner for any outs that are called on the runner where neither him nor a base are tagged. e.g., running out of the base line, interfering with a fielder, passing another runner
  3. Credit the fielder closest to the ball for any automatic outs that are due to something that happened with the ball. e.g., uncaught infield fly, runner touched by a batted ball

Here is a list of all the possible scenarios – from Rules 10.09 (b) and (c) and 10.10 (a):

Putout to catcher in these situations:

  • batter called out for illegally batted ball
  • batter out for bunting an uncaught foul with 2 strikes
  • batter out for being touched by his own batted ball
  • batter out for interfering with catcher
  • batter out for failing to bat in proper order
  • batter out for refusing to go to 1st base after an automatic award (e.g., walk)
  • runner out for refusing to go from 3rd base to home (e.g., on a bases loaded walk)

Putout to fielder closest to runner:

  • runner called out for running out of baseline to avoid a tag
  • runner called out for passing another runner
  • runner called out for interfering with a fielder not in act of throwing a ball

Putout to fielder closest to ball:

  • infield fly ball not caught (actually putout to who you think should have caught the ball)
  • runner called out due to being touched by batted ball

Other scenarios:

  • runner is called out for running the bases in reverse order – credit  putout to fielder covering the base the runner left in starting his reverse run
  • batter called out due to interference by another baserunner – putout to first baseman, assist to fielder interfered
  • runner called out for interfering with a fielder throwing the ball – assist to fielder, putout to whomever the throw was intended for



TWO games end with runner hit by batted ball! How do you score that???

On Saturday there were a couple of rare instances of a runner being hit by a batted ball. More coincidentally, they both happened with two outs in the 9th inning, ending the game, as the batting teams were mounting comebacks. What are the odds of that? I don’t know, this isn’t a stats blog (maybe I’ll create one someday?), but runners hit by batted balls is infrequent enough, happening twice in one day is exponentally rarer, and having it possibly cost your team a game in the 9th….

Anyhow here are the detais of the first occurrence. The Giants were leading the Angels 5-2 heading into the 9th. Anaheim LA  rallied to make it 5-3 and had runners on 1st and 2nd when David Freese singled to make it 5-4 with runners on the corners.  Since Freese was the potential winning run, he was pinchran for by rookie utility infielder Taylor Featherston as Matt Joyce came to the plate. And then this happened:

Wow! What a way to kill a rally. The pinch runner gets hit with the batted ball. By rule he is out, and the batter is awarded first base, and no other runners can advance unless forced. So how do we score that? Well, it’s a hit for Matt Joyce, but who gets the putout?

According to rule 10.09 (c) (2) “The official scorer shall credit automatic putouts….when a runner is called out for being touched by a fair ball …credit the putout to the fielder nearest the ball.”

So in this case, the official scorer credited second baseman Joe Panik with the putout.

Meanwhile the other LA team was the beneficiary of a simiar play.  They had come back in the 7th and 8th innings to take a 6-4 lead over the Diamondbacks. In the 9th Arizona had a runner on first which brought the tying run to the plate. And it was David Peralta who could easily tie the game with a swing of the bat. Tension was mouning at Chavez Ravine. Peralta hit the ball solidly up the middle and…

This one wasn’t quite as obvious as the Angels runner, but the ball does deflect slightly off of Jordan Pacheco and you can see 2nd base umpire Jeff Kellogg clearly point to the runner and indicate he is out for interference, ending the game.  And as in the Giants game, the second baseman (Howie Kendrick) also got credit for the putout.

That’s two putouts for second basemen who didn’t touch the ball to save a game for their teams, on the same day!

Did you know? Catcher’s Interference. I DIDN’T!!!

Me! (not really - I'm way better looking)

Me! (not really – I’m way better looking)

I wrote a short post on catcher’s interference (CI) some time ago, to educate people that reaching on CI does not impact your on base percentage (OBP).

Unfortuantely, it has come to my attention (through an outstanding Sabermetrics course that I’m taking online) that in that post, my explanation of how to score it was… WRONG!  (sorry!)  No way to sugarcoat it, I’ve always been doing it incorreclty. I use my own spreadsheet system that takes the scoring from a game and compiles all individual and team stats and I goofed on this one. *

It is true that Catcher’s Interference does not impact your on base percentage.  However, it DOES count as a plate appearance (PA). I always assumed that the formula for OBP was times on base (H+BB+HBP)  ÷ plate appearances.  So, if reaching on CI did not help nor hurt your OBP, then I assumed it did not count as a plate appearance.  Alas, it does.  The CORRECT formula for OBP is actually: (H+BB+HBP) ÷ (AB+BB+HBP+SF).  If a batter reaches on CI, it is counted as a PA, but the result of that appearance does not appear in any formula.

By the way, I still believe that intuitively it should be counted as a stat the same as a walk or hit by pitch. The counter argument is that you don’t know what would have happened without the CI. He may have been out anyways, so you don’t want to credit the batter for something he didn’t “earn”.  But I think this counter argument can be used for HBP as well. Batters aren’t (usually) trying to earn getting on base by being beaned, but I digress.

* Note: Today there are several scoring apps available, so individuals don’t really need to know the rules that well, just mark it as a CI and the app will take care of calculating all the stats for you. Some of the best ones includes iScore as well as several others.

Broadcasters don’t know scoring rules either

(Scott Cunningham, Getty Images)

My friend, fellow Canadian baseball blogger and umpire, Reg, has previously lamented that broadcasters don’t know the rules and would be well advised to keep their mouths shut at times.  Well, I guess the same applies to scoring rules.  In today’s NLCS wildcard game there was a squeeze bunt that was nullified when the throw from the pitcher Kyle Lohse to 1st base glanced off of  Andrelton Simmons’ helmet.  The umpires called him out for offensive interference, called it a dead ball and sent the runners back.  I was driving home and listening to the Cardinals radio broadcast on KMOX when I heard their broadcasters completely botch the scoring of the play.  (The Rulebook Guru would be happy to know that they explained the ruling perfectly).  They said it was scored a 2-3 putout, and that couldn’t be right because it was the pitcher who threw the ball, not the catcher.  Well, the other partner (I don’ know which was which) speculated that maybe since it was an automatic out the catcher gets credit for that.

No, he doesn’t.  It was properly scored a 1-3.  You give the assist to the guy who would have had the assist, and the putout to the guy who would have had it.  Here’s the excerpt from the scoring rule 10.09

(c) The official scorer shall credit automatic putouts as follows:

(6)When a runner is called out for having interfered with a fielder… the official scorer shall credit the putout to the fielder for whom the throw was intended and shall credit an assist to the fielder whose throw was interfered with;

It’s almost intuitive.

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