Sunday, June 03, 2012

Quintin Berry Already Among AL Base Running Leaders

Yesterday, I looked at team base running showing that the Tigers rank 28th in baseball according to the Baseball Prospectus base running data.  Today, I'll look at the one new Tiger who is trying to do something about it.  Speedy outfielder Quintin Berry is making his presence felt atop the the Tigers line-up hitting .362 with a .423 on-base percentage since replacing the injured Austin Jackson in center field. 

Berry is taking advantage of his high on-base rate with his base running stealing six bases without being caught stealing and scoring 11 runs in 11 games.  He was picked off in yesterday's game but even that was a questionable call by the umpire.  The Baseball Prospectus base running data show that Berry is doing more with his base running than stealing bases.  As seen in the earlier post, these data include the following:
  • GAR (Equivalent Ground Advancement Runs) - Contribution of advancement on ground outs.
  • SBR (Equivalent Stolen Base Runs) - contribution of stolen bases including runs subtracted for caught stealings and pickoffs.
  • AAR (Equivalent Air Advancement Runs) - Contribution of base runners advancing on fly outs
  • HAR (Equivalent Hit Advancement Runs) - contribution of runners taking the extra base on a hit: first to third on a single, second to home on a single, first to home on a double.
  • OAR (Equivalent Other Advancement Runs) - contribution of other base running advancements - passed balls, wild pitches and balks (evidence shows that those events are not entirely randomly and are influenced by base runners to an extent).
  • BRR (Equivalent Base Running Runs)- the sum of the five above statistics above or total base running contribution.
Note that players are penalized for making outs and also for not advancing when the average base runner would have been expected to do so.

The numbers for Berry are shown below:

GAR = +1.01 runs above average advancing on ground outs
SBR = +0.93 on base stealing
AAR = +0.08 on fly ball outs
HAR = +0.47 taking the extra base on hits
OAR =0.00 on other events
BRR = 2.49 total base running runs above average

These numbers tell us us that Jackson has been particularly good at advancing on ground ball outs and taking the extra base on hits as well as base stealing.  The 2.49 BRR tells us that Berry has added an estimated 2 to 3 runs to the Tigers offense compared to the average player with the same opportunities.  That may not sound like a lot, but it's actually a pretty impressive total for an 11-game stint.  In fact, Table 1 below shows that Berry is already fourth in the American League in BRR entering Sunday's game versus the Yankees.


Table 1: American League Base Running Runs Leaders

Player
BRR
De Aza, Chi
3.2
KIpnis, Cle
3.2
Andrus, Tex
2.5
Berry, Det
2.5
Aviles, Bos
2.4
Joyce, TB
2.3
Lawrie, Tor
2.2
Suzuki, Sea
2.1
Brantley, Cle
2.0
Ackley, Sea
2.0
Lillibridge, Chi
2.0



Table 2 shows what other Tigers have done on the bases according to BRR.  Other good base runners include Jackson (1.7 BRR) and Andy Dirks (1.5).  The Tigers worst base runners so far have been Prince Fielder (-3.2) and Miguel Cabrera (-2.3).


Table 2: Base Running Runs for Detroit Tigers

Player
BRR
Berry
2.5
Jackson
1.7
Dirks
1.5
Boesch
0.7
Kelly
0.5
Laird
0.2
Santiago
0.1
Worth
-0.6
Peralta
-1.2
Avila
-1.3
Young
-1.5
Cabrera
-2.3
Fielder
-3.2


Regardless of the small sample size, it seems clear that Berry's base running prowess is legitimate.  The question is whether he can continue to get on base.  If he keeps up anything even close to his current pace, he will surely remain in the starting line-up after Jackson returns from the disabled list.  That would be a nice boost to a team that has a lot of trouble running the bases.

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