Towards Quantifying Baseball Aesthetically--the FLUB Measure

Baseball is a joy to watch for many, but fans will differ in what they like and dislike about the game. For some, dominant pitching rules, while others prefer seeing plenty of runs on the scoreboard. More than a few are most rewarded witnessing outstanding defensive plays, why others only get to their feet during the mascot races and the sixth-inning song.

Some things that I personally dislike about the modern game are difficult to measure, such as the length of time a batter takes to get into the batter's box. I feel that other things are frustrating to watch and some simple counting statistics may be found for many of the non-aesthetic adventures of a baseball game. I modestly and half-in-jest introduce a personal anti-aesthetic statistic for baseball, named the FLUB. The FLUB stands for Frustration Level of Under-performance and Blunders. A low FLUB score will indicate beauty, so one will search for baseball aesthetics through a process of elimination of the "bad and the ugly."

I count the following as non-aesthetic. All indicate some under-performance or blunder. All will be counted for FLUB.

1. Grounding into a double play.

2. Caught stealing

3. Caught stealing third or home. (A caught stealing of third or home is counted in both #2 and #3, so it counts double the average failure.)

4. Picked-off a base not otherwise charged to caught stealing. (A pick-off caught stealing is only counted once).

5. Any out on the bases (OOB).

6. An out on the bases at third or home. (I will count this for both #5 and #6, so it counts double the average failure).

7. Failure in attempting a sacrifice bunt.

8. Failure to advance a runner from second base with nobody out.

9. Failure to score a runner from third with less than two outs TIMES TWO. (Charged double, I personally dislike this with a passion).

10. Swinging at any 3-0 pitch. (I hate this).

11. Striking out looking. (I really hate this).

I was tempted in include all pop flies to the infield. This might be included in FLUB II.

A FLUB score is the number of "bad and ugly" occurrences divided by plate appearances divided by the American League average. A FLUB score of 100 is average. This year in the American League so far, we have had 1876 "bad and uglies" in 11475 plate appearances, or .1635. The Kansas City Royals this season has 121 "under-performances and blunders" in 703 plate appearances for .1721. The .1721 divided by the .1635 AL average gives the Royals a team FLUB score of 105. The Royals are not exactly on offense aesthetically average looking this year, but they are at least better than some. Kansas City has the best (lowest) FLUB score this year in the AL Central, at least. The AL team FLUB scores for 2014 so far look like this, with the highest scores indicating plenty of "bad and ugly."

126 Minnesota Twins. (Most stranded runners at third with less than two outs, second most in watching strike three go by).

113 Chicago White Sox.

112 Texas Rangers.

109 Cleveland Indians.

105 Detroit Tigers.

105 Kansas City Royals. (Percentage points prettier than Detroit, but we are tied for the league lead in swinging 3-0 and team score would be 101 if we cut that out. By the way, we have zero base hits doing so this year.)

104 Boston Red Sox.

103 Oakland Athletics.

102 Houston Astros.

97 Tampa Bay Rays.

89 New York Yankees.

88 Toronto Blue Jays.

86 Los Angeles Angels.

83 Seattle Mariners.

81 Baltimore Orioles. (About the only mistakes they are making frequently are sacrifice bunt failures).

One can figure FLUB for the nine Kansas City regulars. The scores are:

51 Mike Moustakas. He looks pretty, but infield flies don't count until FLUB II.

83 Omar Infante.

102 Alex Gordon.

102 Nori Aoki. (actually, exactly tied with Gordon).

106 Alcides Escobar.

111 Lorenzo Cain.

116 Billy Butler.

116 Salvador Perez. (actually, exactly tied with Butler).

191 Eric Hosmer. Not aesthetically pleasing, so far. (The score breakdown: In 80 plate appearances, 5 GDP, 1 CS, 1 swinging 3-0, 2 strikeouts looking, 4 OOB, 2 OOB at home plate, and 5 X 2 = 10 failure to score runner from third with less than two outs. 25 "bad and ugly" divided by 80 = .3125. Then, .3125 divided by AL average .1635= 191 FLUB).

I doubt if Frustration Level of Under-performance and Blunders (FLUB) will reach the masses through Royals Review. I do think that one can have fun with numbers, anyway. In some small measure, fun is pleasant. Things pleasant are part of aesthetics.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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