Sports Reference Blog

Explanation of our Pickoff Stats

Occasionally, we are asked why our statistics for pitcher pickoffs vary slightly from Retrosheet, which is a source for much of our data. It's always tricky to ascertain where, exactly, these differences come from. So here's a blog post detailing the matter.

  1. On Baseball Reference, we credit pickoffs to pitchers on plays where no out was made due to a fielding error. Retrosheet does not include these types of plays in their totals
  2. Retrosheet includes deduced games in their totals, while we do not. There are hundreds of deduced games in Retrosheet's data from 1973 and earlier
  3. Retrosheet seems to give assists to pitchers when no assist is explicitly stated. This leads to some cases of pitchers getting pickoffs in cases of hidden ball tricks (Frank Viola in 1986 and Charlie Leibrandt in 1988 being two examples).
  4. We are missing pickoffs where the pitcher records the putout (like John Halama in 2002).

We will address the cases like Halama where the pitcher makes the putout over Winter 2016-17, but the other instances will likely continue to be discrepancies between the sites.