Sunday, February 04, 2007

Base Running: Subtracting the Outs

In my previous posts, I presented charts showing how many times the Tigers took extra bases on hits ,advanced on infield grounders and advanced on outfield air outs in 2006. As Giantsrainman noted in his comment , how many times a runner was thrown out should also be considered. I was going to save that for my final base running algorithm but since it has been pointed out, I'll throw the outs in there now.

Outs on the bases actually carry more weight than advancements on the bases because not only do they use up one of three three allotted outs in an inning but they also usually involve a runner being removed from scoring position. These kinds of outs are generally even worse than being caught stealing because when a player is caught stealing he is typically out attempting to get into scoring position rather than already there.

Bill James estimates that a player needs to advance 3 times for every out attempting to advance in order to make a positive contribution to his offense. Dan Fox varies the weight according to the specific situation but he agrees that 3 is a reasonable approximation if you aren't doing that. So, I'll use a weight of 3 for outs in re-calculating the percentages. For example, Brandon Inge had 41 opportunities to take an extra base on a hit and was successful 24 times. However, he was out 2 times so his success rate is: (24-6)/41= 44%.

Outs trying to advance are less common that some people may think. As a team, the Tigers were thrown out 9 times trying to take extra bases on hits, 4 times trying to advance on ground outs and 10 times trying advance on air outs. The air out figure was rather high compared to the league average of 6. The new Tigers base running success rates are 41% on hits, 42% on ground outs and 16% on air outs.

Individually, the new leaders are:
  • Hits: Rodriguez 57%, Infante 53%, Guillen 47%
  • GB: Infante 75%, Inge 64%, Guillen 53%
  • Air: Rodriguez 36%, Polanco 26%, Monroe 23%
The Tiger most often thrown out trying to advance was Magglio Ordonez who was nailed 6 times. He was especially bad on air outs getting thrown out 4 times while advancing only 6 times. This means that his success rate at advancing on air outs was below zero. The team would have been better off if he had not tried to advance at all.

In the next post, I'll look at stolen bases and other events not yet covered. Finally, I'll combine all the base running plays into one 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 hits, grounders and fly balls minus outs

Player

Hit Opp

Adv

Outs

%

GB Opp

Adv

Outs

%

Air Opp

Adv

Outs

%

Granderson

63

27

0

43%

53

24

0

45%

46

10

0

22%

Guillen

49

26

1

47%

17

9

0

53%

38

12

2

16%

Infante

19

10

0

53%

16

12

0

75%

11

2

0

18%

Inge

41

24

2

44%

36

23

0

64%

25

8

1

20%

Monroe

44

22

2

36%

16

5

0

31%

22

8

1

23%

Ordonez

48

22

1

40%

32

12

1

28%

28

6

4

- 21%

Polanco

52

19

2

25%

29

13

0

45%

27

7

0

26%

Rodriguez

47

27

0

57%

18

6

1

17%

25

9

0

36%

Shelton

29

12

0

41%

15

6

1

20%

16

3

1

0%

Thames

30

7

0

23%

17

4

0

24%

10

0

0

0%

Team Totals

468

218

9

41%

287

132

4

42%

276

75

10

16%

MLB Averages

538

226

10

37%

335

146

6

38%

301

81

6

21%

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