Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Who was the Best Tigers Base Runner in 2006?

Over the past several days, I have presented charts showing how many times the Tigers did the following on the bases in 2006:
Now, I'm going to combine all the information described in the previous posts on base running and calculate a summary measure which should help determine the best base runners in 2006.

First, I'll explain the calculation for Total Bases Gained (BG Total) on all the different types of running plays using Carlos Guillen as an example:
  • Guillen took the extra base on a hit 26 times and was thrown out 1 time. The out carries a weight of 3 so his Bases Gained on hits (BG Hits) was 26-3 = 23.
  • He advanced on ground outs 9 times and was not thrown out so his Bases Gained on ground outs (BG Ground) was 9.
  • He advanced on air outs 12 times and was thrown out 2 times so his Bases Gained on air outs (BG Air) was 12-6=6.
  • He took bases on plays where the ball was not hit (SB, WP, PB, BK) 32 times and was thrown out 12 times. On these plays, the out carries a weight of 2.3 so his Based Gained on other events (BG Other) = 32 - 12 X 2.3 = 4.4.
  • This gave him a BG Total of 23+9+6+4.4 = 42.4.
We could stop there and use bases gained as our measure of base running performance. However, we can do better than that. The problem with bases gained is that, like runs and RBI for hitters, it does not consider opportunities. So, I'll extend the Guillen example and look at Bases Gained Above Average (BGAA Total):
  • Guillen had 49 opportunities to take an extra base on a hit. The MLB success rate was 36.5% so an average runner would be expected to gain .365 X 49 = 17.9 bases. Therefore, he had 23 -17.9 = 5.1 Bases Gained Above Average on hits (BGAA Hits).
  • Guillen had 17 opportunities to advance on ground outs. The MLB success rate was 37.9% so the expected bases gained was 6.4. Thus, he had 9-6.4=2.6 Bases Gained Above Average on ground outs (BGAA Ground).
  • Guillen had 38 opportunities to advance on air outs. The MLB success rate was 21.0% so the expected bases gained was 8. Therefore, he had 6-8=-2 Bases Gained on air outs (BGAA Air). Of course, the negative number means that he was actually 2 bases below average.
  • Guillen was on base 247 times not including home runs. The MLB rate of other bases gained per time on base was 3.36% so the expected bases gained would be 8.3. Thus, Guillen had 4.4-8.3 = -3.9 Bases Gained Above average on other plays (BGAA Other) .
  • Finally, the BGAA Total for Guillen was 5.1 + 2.6 - 2 - 3.9 = 1.7. So, by this statistic, Guillen was a slightly above average base runner in 2006.
The chart below shows that 4 other Tigers finished above average on this measure. The team's best base runner was Ivan Rodriguez with a BGAA of 11.0. He was followed by Curtis Granderson (9.8), Omar Infante (9.2) and Brandon Inge (5.0). None of these players finished among the top 30 base runners in the Major Leagues. The worst base runners on the Tigers were Magglio Ordonez (-17.2), Marcus Thames (-11.9) and Craig Monroe (-7.3).

As a team, the Tigers finished -15.5 bases gained below league average. They actually finished well above average on hits (19.8) and ground outs (11.2). However, they did not do well on air outs (-13.3) or on plays where the ball was not hit (-33.3).

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: Total Bases Gained Above Average for Tigers in 2006

Player

BG Hits

BGAA Hits

BG Ground

BGAA Ground

BG Air

BGAA Air

BG Other

BGAA Other

BG Total

BGAA Total

Rodriguez

27.0

9.8

3.0

-3.8

9.0

3.7

7.8

1.3

46.8

11.0

Granderson

27.0

4.0

24.0

3.9

10.0

0.3

8.9

1.6

69.9

9.8

Infante

10.0

3.1

12.0

5.9

2.0

-0.3

3.4

0.5

27.4

9.2

Inge

18.0

3.0

23.0

9.4

5.0

-0.3

-0.8

-7.1

45.2

5.0

Guillen

23.0

5.1

9.0

2.6

6.0

-2.0

4.4

-3.9

42.4

1.7

Polanco

13.0

-6.0

13.0

2.0

7.0

1.3

2.1

-3.7

35.1

-6.4

Shelton

12.0

1.4

3.0

-2.7

0.0

-3.4

2.4

-2.0

17.4

-6.7

Monroe

16.0

-0.1

5.0

-1.1

5.0

0.4

-0.9

-6.5

25.1

-7.3

Thames

7.0

-4.0

4.0

-2.4

0.0

-2.1

0.4

-3.4

11.4

-11.9

Ordonez

19.0

1.4

9.0

-3.1

-6.0

-11.9

3.8

-3.6

25.8

-17.2

Team Totals

191.0

19.8

120.0

11.2

45.0

-13.3

31.0

-33.3

387.0

-15.5

MLB Averages

196.7

0.0

127.1

0.0

63.7

0.0

79.1

0.0

466.6

0.0

2 comments:

  1. Now the question is does the fact that a 35 year old catcher is the best baserunner speak more to Pudge's freakish ability or the Tigers complete lack of team speed.

    Probably some of both I'd say.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I'd say it's probably a combination of both. What I haven't checked yet is the consistency from year to year. I've just looked at 2006 data so far.

    ReplyDelete

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