Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Base Running 2007: Stolen bases,etc

This is the fourth part of my series on base running in 2007. The table of contents for the entire series is listed below.

Taking the extra base
The ground game
On the fly
Stolen bases, etc.
Who was the best Tigers base runner?
Best base runners in baseball

In my previous posts, I presented charts showing how many times the Tigers took extra bases on hits, advanced on infield grounders, and moved up on balls caught by outfielders in 2007. Today, I'll look at how many times bases were taken on plays where the ball was not hit anywhere.

The most obvious case of a base taken on a ball not hit is a stolen base, a stat which has been tracked for a long time. Runners can also move up on wild pitches(WP), passed balls (PB) and balks (BK). It is questionable whether base runners should get credit for moving up on these events but I believe that they are caused, in part, by base runners distracting pitchers and catchers and that good base runners will cause more of them.

Runners can also make outs on pitches that are not hit anywhere. They can be caught stealing, picked off or thrown out attempting to move up on a wild pitch or passed ball. The latter two events are not common. In the previous post, I gave a weight of 3 to outs made trying to advance on hits, ground outs or air outs. Being caught stealing or picked off is a usually a little less damaging because it most often happens when a runner is attempting to get into scoring position as opposed to already being in scoring position.

Most analysts believe that The break even point for stolen base success rate is somewhere between 63% and 70%. Using the 70% figure, that means you need to get 7 stolen bases for every 3 times caught stealing in order to make a positive contribution to your team's offense. Thus, I will penalize a runner 2.3 bases for each out. For example, Curtis Granderson took 35 bases (BT=35) in 2007 (26 on stolen bases, 7 on wild pitches, 1 on a passed ball, and 1 on a balk). He was thrown out 3 times so his net bases gained (BG) was 35 - 2.3 x 3 = 28.

I also wanted to take number of opportunities into account. As a proxy for true opportunities, I used times on base (TOB) not including home runs. The statistic in the final column - BGA (or Bases Gained Average) is BG/TOB. Granderson had a .120 BGA which means he gained a base 12.0% of the time he was on base.

The table below shows that the Tigers took 194 bases compared to MLB average of 180. In 2006, they took only 146 bases. That 33% improvement can be attributed to more times on bases and probably more aggressive base running.

They were also thrown out less often (41 in 2007 versus vs. 50 in 2006). The resulting BG (100) was more than three times higher than in 2006 (31). It was also quite a bit higher than the 2007 MLB average (81). Their BGA (4,5%) was also higher than the MLB average (3.8%).

The Tigers individual BGA leaders were Curtis Granderson (.120), Gary Sheffield (.075), and Brandon Inge (.068). The BGA trailers were Craig Monroe (-.073), Carlos Guillen (-.012) and Pudge Rodriguez (.015).

Next time, I will construct an algorithm which combines all base advancement into one base running 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: Bases Gained on plays where balls were not hit

Player

TOB

SB

WP

PB

BK

BT

Outs

BG

BGA

Granderson

235

26

7

1

1

35

3

28

0.120

Sheffield

222

22

9

1

3

35

8

17

0.075

Inge

179

9

7

2

1

19

3

12

0.068

Renteria

221

11

7

1

0

19

2

14

0.065

Ordonez

280

4

9

2

1

16

1

14

0.049

Polanco

266

7

10

1

2

20

4

11

0.041

Jones

183

6

5

3

0

14

3

7

0.039

Cabrera

245

2

6

0

0

8

1

6

0.023

Casey

179

3

7

1

0

11

3

4

0.023

Rodriguez

164

2

5

0

0

7

2

2

0.015

Guillen

216

14

2

2

0

18

9

-3

-0.012

Monroe

95

0

0

0

0

0

3

-7

-0.073

Team Totals

2195

105

68

13

8

194

41

100

0.045

MLB Averages

2134

98

62

15

6

180

43

81

0.038

1 comment:

  1. It nice to see that Grandy excels at this too.

    ReplyDelete

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