Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

How are GO/FO ratios calculated?


In reviewing the Potomac Nationals 4/25 game, I was going to make a comment about how Paul Demny was really keeping the ball down after glancing at his ground ball/fly out ratio (listed in the box score as 12/4).

However, after reading the game recap, I cannot figure out how they arrived at this 12/4 ratio.  Follow along with the recap and see if you agree or disagree with what I see (we’re analyzing the Myrtle Beach innings against our starter Demny):

Inning 1: A line out to center, and two grounders.  1 Flyball outs(FO), 2 groundball outs (GO)

Inning 2: Walk, Grounder, flyball to right, walk, and another grounder.  1 FO, 2 GOs.

Inning 3: ground-out, fly out, single and ground out.  1 FO, 2GOs

Inning 4: Ground out, strikeout, double (in the air) to left field, then fly out to right.  1 FO, 1 GO.

Inning 5: RBE, then ground-out, then a flyball-inducing double play.  1 GO, 1 FO

Inning 6: HBP, then a CS, walk, single, fly out to left then a ground out to short.  1GO, 1FO

Inning 7: Grounder to short, grounder to short, single, single then strike out.  2 GO.

Count them up:  I get 11 ground outs, 6 fly ball outs for 17 of his 21 outs.  The other 4 outs: 2 strike outs, a CS and a double-play.  Of the 5 hits he gave up, at least two of them were “fly ball” hits.   The other three (plus the reached-by-error) were grounders, giving Demny 15 balls on the ground, 8 balls in the air for those “in-play” balls during his tenure.  Still a pretty good ratio, but not 12/4 as reported in the box.

What am I missing?

Written by Todd Boss

April 26th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

2 Responses to 'How are GO/FO ratios calculated?'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'How are GO/FO ratios calculated?'.

  1. Your post appeared when I googled how to count GO/FO because I’ve recently been doing some in-depth scoring and have encountered the same problem. However, after scoring the 20-6 Texas win over the Twins (July 25), having gone through it play-by-play, I think I have figured out how your game came up with a 12/4 ratio.

    The answer lies in the RBE (5th inning). Apparently, an RBE is scored as a GO. My thinking is that if a grounder is LIKELY to produce an out if the defensive players involved make their plays without error, then it will be scored as a GO regardless of what the eventual outcome of the play is (i.e., whether the players succeed in getting the out, or someone makes an error and the player is safe).

    Here are 3 games where I have found this to be true:

    July 27, 2011: LAA-CLE
    David Huff gets a ratio of 5/7 even though according to the intuitive way of counting, you would only get 3/7. But if you count the RBEs by Mike Trout and Maicer Izturis in the 3rd inning, the ratio officially recorded makes sense.

    July 25, 2011: TEX-MIN
    Nick Blackburn’s ratio is 6/2 instead of 5/2 because of Chris Davis’s RBE in the 3rd. Scott Feldman got 2/0 instead of 1/0 because of Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s RBE in the 7th.

    July 17, 2011: MIL-COL
    Aaron Cook gets 9/2 instead of 7/2 because of Ian Stewart’s error on both of Shaun Marcum’s grounders in the 3rd and 4th. John Axford gets 2/0 instead of 1/0 because of the RBE by Jonathan Herrera (the first batter he faces in the 9th).

    Obviously I may be wrong because I have yet to find a website or source that defines GO/FO with exhaustive examples and I am only inferring based on these few examples I have recently seen. But the pattern is quite robust as you can see, and I’m sure if you went through other games yourself, this method of counting GO/FO would continue to hold.


    28 Jul 11 at 12:55 am

  2. The RBE would explain the 12th ground out in my game and makes sense, but I still counted 6 fly-ball outs in that game (one in each of the first 6 innings) Perhaps they analyze the “strength” of the fly ball out and if its a liner they don’t qualify it as a “flyball?” Is there difference between GO/FO and GO/AO ratios?

    Nonetheless, its curious that with all our advanced scoring and uzr calculations calculating as a side effect the location of each batted ball, that these ratios aren’t better defined. Good luck with your research.

    Todd Boss

    28 Jul 11 at 11:51 am

Leave a Reply