What Is LOB In Baseball? (All You Need To Know)

Baseball can be exciting and frustrating simultaneously. There are few things more frustrating in baseball than to have two or three runners on base, only to have the at-bat hitter fail to make a hit or make an out, leaving those batters stranded.

LOB in baseball stands for Left On Base and is a measurement that describes the number of batters left on the bases at the end of an inning where the team doesn’t record another hit. The LOB metric is often applied to the total number of batters left on the bases in the game.

Like most other states, LOB in baseball is common and is included in the team and individual stats when assessing a team’s performance. Let’s break down this stat, understand how and where it is applied, and see which teams have the best and worst LOB in baseball.

How Does The LOB In Baseball Work

LOB is often applied in analyzing a losing game, where the runners Left On Base (LOB) are a lament to the team’s overall offensive performance. The more LOBs you have in a game, the greater the likelihood of losing the game.

This is because runners stranded at the end of an inning, especially if they were on second or third base, lose the opportunity to advance and score. Batters coming onto the plate are always under pressure to score hits and advance base runners, especially if they are the last batter.

LOBs refer to runners that were not tagged or forced out but remained on base and cannot advance due to the innings coming to an end by either the batter getting out or having a runner tagged when stealing a base.

Regardless of how the out is achieved, any runners left on base at the end of the inning contribute to the LOB stats. As a simple example, the bases are loaded, but the at-bat player strikes out – so all three runners are LOB.

Another factor is the double and triple plays’ effect on LOB. If the bases are loaded, and the innings end on a double play, then two LOB and not three would be counted toward the game LOB stats.

How Many Runners Get Left On Base In An MLB Game

Aside from the no-hitters and the perfect games, in every MLB game in history, there has been at least one runner left on base; while LOB will vary from inning to innings, over the nine innings, the number of LOB will even out.

In an MLB game, teams average 6-7 runners LOB, with the league average at around 6,75 LOB runners per game. As with all averages, some teams have higher and lower LOB stats, and some can leave as many as ten or more LOB runners during a game.

What Teams Have The Highest And Lowest LOB In 2022

In 2022, the LOB stats varied from just under 6 to just over 7,2, so let’s compare the top three lowest LOB teams and the bottom three.

At the top, Oakland averages just 5.98 LOB, with their last three games averaging a phenomenal 4.67! Pittsburgh is second with an average of 6.12 and 5.67 over their previous three games. In third place is Cincinnatti, with 6.25 and the lowest LOB average of any team over their last three games at 4.0!

If you take a LOB of 4.0, that means Cinncinnati only left FOUR runners on base over their last three games, so that’s great scoring and consistent hitting from their offensive unit!

On the bottom end of the LOB scale, in last place, you have San Diego with 7.28, but a 5.33 LOB for their previous three games, which is under Oakland’s total LOB, but an 8.00 in their last game killed the average.

In second last place is the LA Dodgers with 7.12 and a 6.00 average for their final three – but they had an 11 on the previous, which pulled the LOB way down.

In third place are the NY Mets, with a 7.07 overall LOB. For their last three games, they averaged 9.00 per game, and their last game was 13.00, which was the highest LOB of any team’s previous game to date.

The Mets fans would not have been pleased with that!

What is interesting to consider is the difference in LOB average between the top and bottom placed teams which is just 1.3, so having one less LOB on average is the difference between first and last over 30 baseball teams. In pro baseball, the margins are small!

What Are Some Of The LOB Records In MLB

In a game between the Yankees and the Red Sox played in 1956, a record 20 runners were LOB during the nine innings. The Yankees lost that one 13-7.

The most number of combined LOB runners in a game is 45, which has happened twice in MLB history. In 1974 in a game between the Cardinals and the Mets, the Cardinals had 25 and the Mets 20. This feat was repeated in 1991 when the Texas Rangers had 20, and the Kansas City Royals had 25.

In 1973, the Atlanta Braves lost a 20-inning game to the Phillies 5-4 and had 27 LOB runners in that game. The LOB season record was set back in 1941 by St Louis, who ended with 1334 averaging 8.5 per game.

The lowest LOB recorded was in 2016, when the San Diego Padres achieved a 965 LOB in a 68-94 season averaging 5.96 per game.


The LOB stat can be a little misleading as they are not an indicator of loss. Stats show that the top ten teams with the most LOB runners in 2019 averaged 825 runs, while the bottom ten only averaged 716. This is because teams that get more runners on base tend to leave more runners on base and score more.

With pitching, the teams that allow the fewest runners will prevent scoring, so when considering LOB stats, you need to be aware of both sides of this coin as it indicates the proficiency of both offense and defense.


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