This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
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"A baseball team has about 4000 balls in play against them every year. The number varies widely around that figure, but it’s a good round number for our purposes. The A’s turned 2.5% more of those balls into outs in 2018. That’s 100 outs instead of hits, mostly singles, but enough doubles and triples to leave a mark. That’s how you allow 150 fewer runs year over year with just a small change in strikeout and walk rates."