An abbreviation for left on base in baseball and softball is LOB. At the end of an inning, the number of baserunners left on base is the number of runners left on base. In most MLB games, the TV announcer will say something like “no runs, two hits, two runners left on base at the end of the third inning, etc.” That means that two runners failed to score.
Why do baseball and softball teams care about LOB? LOB vs. RLISP: what’s the difference? In an average baseball game, how many runners are left on the bases? Is LOB a good baseball statistic to use, or does it have flaws?
You’ll find everything you need to know about LOB in baseball/softball here!
Table of Contents
What are Examples of LOB in Baseball/Softball?
Imagine that the leadoff batter leads off the first inning with a triple. There are runners in scoring position with no outs, but their team cannot bring them in. A team ends the inning without scoring a run, so the box score shows the number of runs scored by one team.
Getting on base via a walk is another example. In addition, two more hitters get on base via base on balls, so the bases are now loaded. It ends with three runners on base if none of those runners score at the end of the inning.
Let’s say there is a runner on second with two outs. A home run is hit by the next hitter, so the runner on second scores. After the following batter gets out, there are no runners left on base at the end of the inning.
Why Do Baseball/Softball Teams Care about LOB?
Baseball and softball games are won by scoring runs. Moving baserunners up the basepaths with timely hitting and walking is another way to score runs. A sacrifice fly or a ground can move a baserunner to home plate, which is a productive out since it removes a runner on the basepaths.
Does OBP Play a Role in LOB?
An on-base percentage (OBP) measures how often a hitter gets on base through a hit, a walk, or a hit by pitch. In Minor League Baseball or Major League Baseball, getting on base increases your OBP going into LOB. The more you get on base through walks, hits by pitches, or walks, the higher your OBP will be.
The more runners on the bases, the more pressure the defense and pitcher are under. You can score runs by putting pressure on the defense, causing them to make an error or simply making a fielder’s choice.
What is the Difference Between LOB and RLSP?
A runner left in scoring position is called a runner left on base, while a runner left on base is called a runner left on base. Using these two baseball statistics, we can gain a better understanding of what is happening during a match and why a team with a high LOB did not score enough runs.
As an example, let’s say the Chicago White Sox are playing the Toronto Blue Jays. According to the baseball scoreboard, both teams left seven runners on base, but one team had more runners in scoring position than the other. While the Chicago White Sox had one runner left in scoring position during the game, the Blue Jays had five runners left in scoring position.
During this scenario, at least five different Blue Jays runners were on second or third base at some point during an inning. The team had a chance to drive in these runners with a base hit, but couldn’t add a clutch hit when they needed it most. Although both teams had seven runners left on base, the Blue Jays had the most trouble getting hits when it mattered most.
What is the Average LOB During a Game?
On average, Major League Baseball teams left 6.7 runners on base during each game in 2021, according to Baseball-Reference. The 2020 season had an average LOB of 6.6, and the 2019 season had 6.7.
Is there any Connection Between Winning Games and a Low LOB?
According to Baseball-Reference’s data in 2021, the top 10 teams with the most LOB had good and bad records. However, the data shows a split between good and bad teams, which requires explanation.
- Washington Nationals: 1,185 and 62 wins in their division
- The Dodgers finished second in their division with 1,169 wins with 106 wins
- The Houston Astros won 1,159 games and were first in their division with 95 wins
- The Arizona Diamondbacks finished last in their division with 52 wins with 1,152
- The San Francisco Giants won 107 games and were first in their division with 1,138
- With 61 wins, the Pittsburgh Pirates were last in their division with 1,128
- White Sox: 1,125 wins and were first in their division with 93 wins
- With 79 wins, the San Diego Padres finished third in their division.
- With 82 wins, the Philadelphia Phillies were second in their division with 1,115.
- With 95 wins, Milwaukee Brewers led their division with 1,113 victories
Unlike double plays, putouts, and caught stealing chances, LOB data only counts the number of players left on base. LOB will be lowered by these other baseball statistics, so determining good and bad teams based on LOB will be difficult.
How Can LOB Be a Misleading Metric During a Baseball/Softball Game?
It is possible for a team to get a runner on base, but they can leave the bases before the end of the inning as well. To tell the story of what happened during a baseball game, you also have to consider these other statistics and scenarios.
- A baserunner who attempts to steal a base and is out does not count against the LOB. Despite getting the final out, they were not left on base since they got out on the basepaths.
- Putouts occur when a fielder catches a baserunner trying to take an extra base. The next hitter hits a single when a runner is on first base. Initially, the runner on first base tried to get to third base on the hit, but the outfielders threw them out. If the inning ends, that runner no longer counts as a LOB.
- When a double play occurs with a runner on first, no more runners are left on base. It is not uncommon for a baseball/softball team to have a runner on first with one out, but then ground into a double play. Runners on base are no longer available when that happens.
Conclusion: What Does LOB Mean in Baseball?
LOB refers to runners left on base in baseball and softball. First, second, and third bases are all possible places for runners to be left on base. Runners who don’t score to end an inning count against the LOB. During the 2021 season, teams left fewer than seven runners on base per game on average.
It is important to take some things into consideration when using LOB as a baseball statistic. A caught stealing moment, a putout, or a double play are not counted as runners out in LOB. To tell an accurate story, teams and fans should also look at the ratio between runners left on base, double plays, putouts, and caught stealing. Furthermore, RLSP explains the number of runners in scoring position, so that is more important than whether a runner is left at first or second.