Pittsburgh Pirates just made a couple of egregious ones. Frank Cervelli doubled. John Jaso doubled, and Frank Cervelli stopped at third, instead of scoring.

With one out, on the following play, Jordy Mercer flied out Cervelli came home. But John Jaso was "picked off" running to third, preventing the run from scoring.

Yet I didn't see these miscues scored as error. All the errors I see are defensive errors? Why is that, is that because offensive errors are so rare?

2 Answers 2


In baseball, only defensive errors are recorded. I think, in part, this is due to the nature of such errors. If the shortstop lets a ground ball go under his glove, for example, that is clear mistake for which he is at fault.

While plenty of offensive players make boneheaded baserunning mistakes, they are decidedly less common than fielding errors. Furthermore, oftentimes these mistakes are really the result of great plays by the fielders (such as the situation you describe above).

To get a runner who is tagging on a fly ball, the throw has to be in time, perfectly on line, and the tag must be applied before the runner arrives. In that situation, it is less a matter of the runner making a negative play than the fielders making positive ones.

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    One of the things the advanced fielding stats brigade have shown is that defensive errors are not clear: a shortstop with great range gets really close to a ball in the hole, but it goes under his glove: scored as an error. A shortshop with awful range (Derek Jeter, cough, cough) gets nowhere near the ball: scored as a hit. For fly balls, we know where the ball is caught and how long it takes to take to home plate, so getting quantitative stats on that should be just as possible.
    – Philip Kendall
    May 7, 2017 at 18:37

These are not recorded mainly because it is hard to define what a base running error would involve. In your given situation, It could be argued that Cervelli "played it safe" by not trying to run home.

One stat you may be interested in however is TOOTBLAN, which stands for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop. They account for boneheaded "offensive errors" you are referring to. It is not an official stat, but http://tootblan.tumblr.com/ does an outstanding job recording them.

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    And "playing it safe" is equally an error of it stops a run being scored.
    – Philip Kendall
    May 25, 2017 at 6:25
  • @PhilipKendall would think any proposed offensive error would generally have to involve a player getting out, as otherwise he's still active and it was just a judgement call, which I don't believe are usually scored as errors. That'd be the equivalent of a fielder/pitcher/catcher/etc not trying to throw a runner out at third when they quite well could have; not an error as far as I know. If the runner stumbles and falls, clearly preventing him from scoring, that's one thing that could be an error, but a bad choice usually isn't an error as far as I know. May 28, 2017 at 9:09
  • From a statistical point of view, no - it's an error of it reduces the team's chance of winning, whether that involves the player getting out or not. From a "trying to explain it to the average punter" point of view, something simpler may be needed though!
    – Philip Kendall
    May 28, 2017 at 10:07
  • @Jeopardy Tempest. In both cases, one run should have scored, even though neither did. In the first case, Cervelli doubled, meaning that he should have gotten home on the Jaso double. In the second case, the runner on second should have stayed at second to protect the runner going home, because it's much easier to "nail" someone at third than at the plate. In both cases, "someone," (maybe the third base coach) made an error.
    – Tom Au
    May 28, 2017 at 16:41
  • But lapses in judgement aren't errors on the defense why should they be on the offense. Defense goes to the wrong base, causing them to miss an out (or allow run a to score), it isn't scored as an error. May 28, 2017 at 18:25

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