Friday, February 02, 2007

Base Running: On the Fly

In my previous posts, I presented charts showing how many times the Tigers took extra bases on hits and advanced on infield grounders in 2006. Today, I'll continue with this theme by looking at how many times runners advanced on balls hit in the air to outfielders. There are three situations which present opportunities to move up on pop ups, fly balls or line drives to outfielders other than hits or errors:
  1. runner on first base only with less than 2 outs.
  2. runner on second base (but not third) with less than 2 outs.
  3. runner on third base (other bases my be occupied) with less than 2 outs.
If the lead runner advances to the next base in any of these scenarios then he gets credit for taking an extra base. As with hits and grounders, the probability of advancement depends on where the ball is hit. In the case of balls hit in the air, batted ball type and ball park are also factors. Dan Fox at Baseball Prospectus explains this in detail. For now, I'm just going to count the number of times they moved up. I believe the best base runners will advance successfully most often throughout the course of the season.

Looking at the bottom row of the table below, we can see that the Tigers (as well as other Major League teams) almost never moved up from 1st to 2nd on balls hit in the air. The Tigers had 82 opportunities to go from 2nd to 3rd and made the advancement 46% of the time (compared to a league average of 29%). They had 57 opportunuties to go from 3rd to home and were successful 61% of the time (compared to a league average of 78%). So, for whatever reason, they were more successful relative to the league norm at advancing to 3rd than to home on balls caught by outfielders. Overall, they had 276 opportunities to advance on outfield outs and they made the advancement 27% of the time. This success rate was the same as league average.

Individually, the most successful Tigers in advancing on balls caught by outfielders were: Craig Monroe (36%), Ivan Rodriguez (36%), Brandon Inge (32%), and Carlos Guillen (32%). The trailers, in limted opportunities, were Marcus Thames (again) at 0% and Omar Infante at 18%.

In a future post, I'll look at stolen bases and other events not yet covered. Then, I'll combine all the base running information into one base running performance measure

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by
Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at "www.retrosheet.org".

Table: Advancing on outfield flies - Tigers versus the average team

Player

Opp 1

Adv

%

Opp 2

Adv

%

Opp 3

Adv

%

Opp

Adv

%

Monroe

8

0

0%

9

4

44%

5

4

80%

22

8

36%

Rodriguez

13

1

8%

8

5

63%

4

3

75%

25

9

36%

Inge

10

0

0%

9

5

56%

6

3

50%

25

8

32%

Guillen

19

0

0%

13

6

46%

6

6

100%

38

12

32%

Polanco

16

0

0%

5

2

40%

6

5

83%

27

7

26%

Granderson

22

0

0%

18

8

44%

6

2

33%

46

10

22%

Ordonez

17

1

6%

4

2

50%

7

3

43%

28

6

21%

Shelton

8

0

0%

2

0

0%

6

3

50%

16

3

19%

Infante

6

0

0%

1

0

0%

4

2

50%

11

2

18%

Thames

7

0

0%

3

0

0%

0

0

0%

10

0

0%

Team Totals

137

2

1%

82

38

46%

57

35

61%

276

75

27%

MLB Averages

141

2

1%

96

28

29%

65

51

78%

301

81

27%

2 comments:

  1. giantsrainmanFebruary 03, 2007

    Quick question, why are you not also tracking extra outs made in these baserunning endevors to gain a extra base? Should not the correct measurement actually be a combination of percentage attempted and percentage successful? If a baserunner has 20 opportunites to try and score from second on a single and he trys every time and is thrown out 5 times isn't he really a worse baserunner then one who only trys 10 times and is never thrown out?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, you are right. That's a good observation. In fact, making an out on the bases carries more weight than taking an extra base. Bill James estimates that an out on the bases is worth 3 advances on the bases. So, if someone makes 20 advances in 50 attempts but is thrown out on 1 of those attempts, the formula would be 20 - 3 = 17 out of 50.

    I'm going to take the outs into consideration when I combine all the base running stuff into summary stats some time next week.

    ReplyDelete

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