Friday, February 01, 2008

Who was the best Tigers base runner in 2007?

This is the fifth 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 previous posts, I looked at how often Tigers base runners took extra bases on hits, advanced on infield grounders, moved up on balls hit in the air to outfielders and advanced on plays where the ball was not hit. Now, I'm going to combine all the information and calculate a summary measure which should help determine the best base runners in 2007.

First, I'll explain the calculation for Total Bases Gained (BG Total) on all the different types of running plays using Brandon Inge as an example:
  • Inge took the extra base on a hit 15 times and was thrown out 1 time. The out carries a weight of 3 so his Bases Gained on hits (BG Hits) was 15-3 = 12.
  • He advanced on ground outs 14 times and was not thrown out so his Bases Gained on ground outs (BG Ground) was 14.
  • He advanced on air outs 6 times and was thrown out 1 times so his Bases Gained on air outs (BG Air) was 6-3=3.
  • He took bases on plays where the ball was not hit (SB, WP, PB, BK) 19 times and was thrown out 3 times. On these plays, the out carries a weight of 2.3 so his Based Gained on other events (BG Other) = 19 - 3 X 2.3 = 12.1.
  • This gave him a BG Total of 12+14+3+12.1 = 41.1.
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 Inge example and look at Bases Gained Above Average (BGAA Total):
  • Inge had 40 opportunities to take an extra base on a hit. The MLB success rate was 35.5% so an average runner would be expected to gain .36 X 40 = 14.4 bases. Therefore, he had 12 -14.2 = -2.2 Bases Gained Above (below in this case) Average on hits (BGAA Hits).
  • Inge had 24 opportunities to advance on ground outs. The MLB success rate was 38.2% so the expected bases gained was 9.1. Thus, he had 14-9.2=4.8 Bases Gained Above Average on ground outs (BGAA Ground).
  • Inge had 33 opportunities to advance on air outs. The MLB success rate was 20.2% so the expected bases gained was 6.6. Therefore, he had 3-6.7=-3.7 Bases Gained on air outs (BGAA Air). Of course, the negative number means that he was actually 3.7 bases below average.
  • Inge was on base 179 times not including home runs. The MLB rate of other bases gained per time on base was 3.8% so the expected bases gained would be 6.8. Thus, he had 12.1-6.8 = 5.3 Bases Gained Above average on other plays (BGAA Other) .
  • Finally, the BGAA Total for Guillen was -2.2 + 4.8 - 3.7 + 5.3 = 4.2. So, by this statistic, Inge was a slightly above average base runner in 2007.
The chart below shows that 4 other Tigers including newly acquired Edgar Renteria finished above average on this measure. The team's best base runner was Curtis Granderson with a BGAA of 20.5 (13th in the American League). Other team leaders included Gary Sheffield (8.2) and Inge (4.2). Renteria had a total BGAA of 13.8 with the Braves. The worst base runners on the Tigers were Craig Monroe (-12.7) and Carlos Guillen (-9.7). Miguel Cabrera had a total BGAA of -20.2 with the Marlins in 2007.

Pudge Rodriguez, last year's team BGAA leader, was 3.3 runs below average this year. On the other had, Granderson and Inge finished above average for the second straight year.

As a team, the Tigers finished 1.3 bases gained above league average. They actually finished well above average on hits (10.7) and balls not hit (16.2). However, they did not do well on ground outs (-17.6) or air outs (-8.0).

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 2007

Player

BG Hits

BGAA Hits

BG Ground

BGAA Ground

BG Air

BGAA Air

BG Other

BGAA Other

BG Total

BGAA Total

Granderson

26.0

-2.5

21.0

4.1

11.0

-0.3

28.1

19.2

86.1

20.5

Renteria

25.0

6.5

9.0

-1.0

8.0

2.3

14.4

6.0

56.4

13.8

Sheffield

26.0

6.1

0.0

-6.1

6.0

0.1

16.6

8.2

48.6

8.2

Inge

12.0

-2.2

14.0

4.8

3.0

-3.7

12.1

5.3

41.1

4.2

Ordonez

22.0

-1.9

13.0

-1.9

6.0

0.1

13.7

3.1

54.7

-0.6

Polanco

32.0

5.6

6.0

-3.6

2.0

-5.1

10.8

0.7

50.8

-2.3

Rodriguez

14.0

-1.0

10.0

1.2

5.0

0.3

2.4

-3.8

31.4

-3.3

Jones

4.0

-9.5

14.0

4.8

6.0

0.9

7.1

0.1

31.1

-3.7

Casey

10.0

-0.3

4.0

-3.3

5.0

0.7

4.1

-2.7

23.1

-5.6

Guillen

22.0

4.2

7.0

-4.9

8.0

1.9

-2.7

-10.9

34.3

-9.7

Monroe

15.0

2.5

1.0

-4.7

1.0

-0.0

-6.9

-10.5

10.1

-12.7

Cabrera

15.0

-3.5

4.0

-4.8

-4.0

-8.3

5.7

-3.6

20.7

-20.2

Team Totals

213.0

10.7

92.0

-17.6

53.0

-8.0

99.7

16.2

457.7

1.3

MLB Averages

175.5

0.0

114.7

0.0

56.5

-0.0

81.2

0.0

427.9

0.0

6 comments:

  1. Awesome series. I wish more team blogs did these sorts of studies. Or even took publicly available numbers and discussed them on a team-level.

    Any chance of converting everything to runs? That way you can combine hitting with fielding with baserunning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have the data to do it but it would take a while. Dan Fox has converted everything to runs and will publish it in the Baseball Prospectus Annual. I'm hoping he does it for all the players so we can just use his numbers. If not, I'll try to re-write my programs so I get runs instead of just bases for the Tigers.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting... From watching the games, I would have suspected Guillen to be much higher.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is it that hard, Lee? For each base-out state, we know the expected number of runs. You can compare before and after for each of the baserunning situations and then compare to average. Of course, it's beyond my programming abilities ; )

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree it's not hard conceptually. It's just a little tedious to program. I tend to do everything in SAS and SAS is not the best language for working with retrosheet data. If I get around to doing it though, I'll let you know.

    ReplyDelete

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

Ticket America

Purchase Tigers tickets at Comerica Park. Ticketamerica.com has access to Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers seats and STL Cardinals. Find and buy all MLB seats including Red Sox and NY Yankees here.

GoTickets

Get Tigers tickets for Comerica Park and watch them play the Seattle Mariners and other MLB teams. We also have baseball tickets, MLB All Star and World Series tickets.

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Other Stuff




Total Pageviews