We have often heard baseball enthusiasts or commentators say a team has a poor LOB and wondered, what is LOB in baseball? Why is it important? Who is favored if a player has a high or low LOB percentage?
LOB, or left-on base, is the number of players at the bases by the end of an inning or when a new hitter is placed at the plate. This means that by the end of one or half innings, the players at each base other than the plate have not been able to hit or score a run. In other words, they are ‘stranded’ at their respective bases.
LOB is a measure of how good or bad the pitcher is, as it’s the pitcher’s job to keep the runners stranded at their bases as he sweeps off hitters one after another from the plate, striking out the offense lineup.
Read on to learn more about LOB and how it affects the baseball game.
Why Is LOB an Important Statistic in Baseball?
As mentioned above, LOB gauges the ability of a pitcher to keep the opposing team’s runners stranded. Alternatively, it also shows if a team has extraordinary batters or not. However, it is worth noting that LOB is not a reliable statistic when it comes to predicting the winning of a team.
A good team can have high-scoring hitters who stay on the plate long enough for the team to end up with more runners staying at bases and, thus, a higher LOB. On the other hand, a team could have a low LOB because the hitters don’t hold plate appearances with flying home runs. Instead, they depend more on running scores.
Regardless, LOB is important to understand if a team is capable of good teamwork while maintaining high scoring. An interesting fact about LOB and runners is that at the end of the inning, if the runner is between bases, caught stealing runs, or even just makes a plate appearance from third base and the inning ends, none of these are considered LOB, which may also be misleading as a low LOB while the players weren’t really scoring.
A coach has to make sure he trains his players to survive the plate appearance, but not at the cost of a star hitter being stranded at a base. After all, scoring runs is indeed the most important part of baseball.
Examples to Help You Understand LOB in Baseball
Basically, when runners walk the bases without a run being scored, at the end of the inning, whatever runners are standing at the bases are credited as LOB. There can be several examples of this happening in a variety of ways.
- At the beginning of the leadoff, the hitter runs double, and a runner is prepared in scoring position; however, the team is unable to bring him on plate by the end of that inning, so the run is not considered. In this case, the players are ticked off as LOB on the scoreboard.
- The pitcher is on a remarkable spree and strikes out hitter after hitter. The runners on first and second bases are stranded till the end of the inning.
- The previous team has two players left not at the plate, and the new team comes in. The two from the previous team are also considered LOBs.
Conclusion of What is LOB in Baseball?
So, to summarize, LOB or left on base is a statistical term in baseball to understand runners or players left or stranded at base by the end of one inning. It helps with gameplan strategies and finding weaknesses or strengths within the team, but remember, it is not connected to chances of winning or scoring high and is often found misleading and contradictory.
A pitcher can be responsible for a team having a low or high LOB, and it just depends on how good they are at strategizing through the inning to slump the play long enough without letting hitters score or letting the slugger even come to the plate for that matter. We hope this article helped our readers grasp the basics of what LOB is and its importance in baseball.
LOB is just one of many statistics used to evaluate a team’s offensive performance. While it provides insight into a team’s ability to convert baserunners into runs, it should be considered alongside other statistics, such as batting average, on-base percentage, and runs scored.
Yes, individual players can have LOB statistics. For example, a batter’s LOB statistic would track the number of runners they leave on base when they come to the plate.
To reduce LOB, a team can focus on improving its situational hitting, which involves getting timely hits with runners in scoring position. This can be achieved through better pitch selection, improved two-out hitting, and effective base running.
Yes, there are related statistics such as “Runners in Scoring Position Left on Base” (RISP LOB), which specifically tracks the number of runners left on base in scoring position (usually second or third base). RISP LOB provides a more detailed view of a team’s ability to drive in runners in scoring positions.