Has anyone ever done a study to see if the contact play is really worth it? It seems to me just through anecdotal observation, that the runner from third very rarely gets into the rundown. Most of the time he just makes an easy out and now his team is left with runners on 1st and 3rd, or even 1st and 2nd. It seems a waste to me, especially if the runner on third is not fast.
If my father knew how to use a computer, I'd swear your comment was coming from him! He absolutely hates that play. Your point is valid. I have not seen such a study. If I do, I'll do a post on it. If you find one, please pass it along. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!
In softball with much shorter bases this play would work.
I think there are several situations where the contact play works. Balls hit to the throwing arm side of the pitcher are rarely fielded by the pitcher,so chances are better. Also, speed of the runner makes a big difference. Weak Strength hitters hit slow rolling ground balls that give runners time to score. It is a way to increase RBI's with weak hitters at the plate.