John Dewan, the defensive evaluation whiz, posts a “Stat of the Week.” Last week, he looked at bunting. Of course, the Reds’ Norris Hopper figures prominently in the section on bunting for a hit:
When bunting for a hit, the leaders are (listed in order of most bunt hits):
Willy Taveras Rockies 37 for 52 .712 Norris Hopper Reds 18 for 26 .692 Juan Pierre Dodgers 17 for 46 .370 Luis Castillo Twins-Mets 13 for 21 .619 Corey Patterson Orioles 12 for 24 .500 Gerald Laird Rangers 10 for 20 .500 Jose Reyes Mets 10 for 25 .400
The best bunters hit well over .500 when bunting (the 29 players with 5 or more bunt hits in 2007 batted a collective .545 when bunting).
Hopper is good at bunting. The sad(?) thing is – bunting accounted for 34 points of his .329 AVG, and 31 points of his .388 SLG. I don’t know how valuable a bunt single is — I would guess it’s a tiny bit more valuable than a walk (Pros: The risk of error and excitement bonus; Cons: No pitch count damage or “lost command” frustration). No matter how he got there, though, Norris Hopper had a nice .371 OBP, which is just fine for a $300k leadoff hitter. (New leadoff man Corey Patterson’s 10 bunt hit (in 20 attempts) made up 10 points of his .269 AVG.