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    • The Stolen Base is grossly overrated
  • To:All
  • 2/16/13
  • docguden16

While I'll agree that the stolen base is exciting and at times it does lead to runs... it's not a commodity worth paying top dollar for (or even marginal dollars). As far as sabermetrics is concerned... the stolen base ranks far down the list of stats which actually creates runs.

Take Bourn: His value revolves around his speed and what it provides (most notably on the base paths). But $12M/per?

Bourn has a high of 61 SB (achieved twice) and a 5 year average equaling 51 SB. Which is good right?

I'd disagree. Broken down, that's ONE stolen base every 3.17 games.

* Advanced metrics equate a steal to equaling .3 runs

* So for Michael Bourn, his stolen bases equal approximately 1 run every 10 games. (.3 x 3.17 = .95)

Is that worth $60M???

I would say absolutely and definitively not.

Job well done Sandy.

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  • 2/16/13
  • docguden16

And taking it a step further:

The Mets received roughly equal production from their CF position last year as Bourn provided.

Comparison:

Bourn vs. Nieuwenhuis/Torres
AB - 624 / 656
R - 96 / 87
H - 171 / 157
2b - 26 / 29
3b - 10 / 8
HR - 9 / 10
RBI - 57 / 63
BB - 70 / 77
SO - 155 / 188

Again... very similar.

So again I would argue Sandy absolutely made the correct call.


Edited 2/16/13   by  docguden16
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Message 548389.3 was deleted
  • To:All
  • 2/16/13
  • docguden16

Or compare what the SB provides at the Short Stop position:

Reyes vs. Tejada/Cedeno
AB - 642 / 630
R - 86 / 71
H - 184 / 177
2b - 37 / 37
3b - 12 / 1
HR - 11 / 5
RBI - 57 / 47
BB - 63 / 44
SO - 56 / 108

Reyes scored 15 more runs than the Mets SS. All that speed Reyes possesses, all the SB, and he generated 15 more runs. Or rather, 1 run every 10.8 games.

And this isn't a knock on Reyes. It's a knock on how useless the SB is in creating runs.

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  • 2/16/13
  • hammr1952
give me smart baserunners... around 15/20 steals is plenty.
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  • 2/16/13
  • 6zzzzzz
Something about stolen bases that's frequently lost in the equation is that a base stealing threat forces the pitcher to throw more fastballs which can result in more homeruns.
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  • 2/16/13
  • Remember86

Whether Bourn was an answer to our offensive woes or not is open to debate. However to dismiss the stolen base and having a speedy lead off hitter is just poor baseball sense. The most prosperous lineups are built from the ground up. They have a strong midsection and then you take it from there. The "ground" in ground up is your leadoff hitter. If you have a guy who's a stolen base threat, then having him on base will distract the pitcher when throwing to the guys that come after him in the line up, and will also net the number two and three guys more fastballs. More fastballs, probably more hits. More hits means more runs. That's why those Cardinals teams from the mid 80s were so difficult to beat. When Willie McGee got on base, watch out. And they didn't even have two many big power guys. Or how about the mid 80s Met team? It didn't get much better than Dykstra/Wilson and Backman/Teufel at the top setting the table for the big guns.

However, if your team isn't speedy, then it should hopefully be a power rich line up. Are the Mets? No. Are the Mets a speed filled line up? No. Those are two reasons, aside from the too many mediocre offensive bats in the lineup, the Met offense sputtered in comparison to 2011. The Mets had one of the better offenses in the NL in 2011. They were also near the top in stolen bases thanks to Reyes and Pagan. Take those two guys away, watch Duda struggle for the whole season and Davis struggle for the first half, and what do you have? An offense in the bottom half of the NL which promises to be about the same in 2013.

You can congratulate Alderson all you want for not signing Bourn. I wouldn't have wanted to give up the first round draft pick for him anyhow. But we needed SOMEONE else to lead off. And we need starting outfield quality type players to bit by bit replace the fourth outfielder types we have now.


Edited 2/16/13   by  Remember86
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  • 2/16/13
  • Oldfan

<<"Job well done Sandy"

How so!

Reports are that the Mets would go 4/48, but no 5th yr option.

The Indians didn't guarantee 60 mil, they guranteed 48 mil. If Bourn gets 550 ABs in yr 4, he gets the 5th yr for 12 mil. For Bourn to get 550 ABs, he has to be playing well and likely batting leadoff. Bourn can bat 1, 2 and 8th. If he hits .240 in yr 4, the Indians likely remove him from the leadoff spot and possibly the starting lineup. IMO, no way the gets 550 ABs in yr 4 if he's not playing well.

The Mets have no CFer and no leadoff hitter and likely won't for years. I think SA made a good faith effort, but I'm not willing to pat him on the back for not acquiring a guy who would be the Mets best OFer.

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  • 2/16/13
  • danthemetfan
Actually, his stats would refute that. Doc here is not accounting how they score, just that they scored. For a SB to lead to a HR, said runner needs to be on base, and then would count for the extra run. If Reyes equals 15 more runs a year, and not all of them came from HR, then the batters afterwards did not actually benefit as much.
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  • 2/16/13
  • TheGMan47
Stolen bases only work if you have a high enough stolen base percentage. People too often overlook the number of times caught stealing.
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  • 2/16/13
  • JoseJose
Ok, so we have most of the bases covered - threads about how great platooning scrubs are, how stolen bases are overrated, Hrs are overrated (an older thread), and how the pen is always a crapshoot so need to get a real closer. Someone please start one about how leadoff hitters and RBIs are also overrated, and we can just elect Sandy President already.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 2/17/13
  • MetsMan
Plus you have to have the right people batting behind the person who is a base stealer.
Another thing the OP fails to understand, is that a great base stealer doesn't have to actually steal bases to be effective... By them being on first the batters are sure to see more fast balls, often the pitchers try to rush their delivery (this often throws off their mechanics), off mechanics often lead to them falling behind in the count, and this is where the fast ball becomes even more predictable... Plus base stealers are fast runners so they make it to first to third more often on a base hit..
Now slow non athletic runners cause the opposite effect, pitchers are more relaxed, less predictable and often it takes three base hits to drive a slow runner in...
But of course folks who don't know how to read stats right would miss all of that, and the game flies above their heads..
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  • To:All
  • 2/17/13
  • MetsMan
Also base stealers force a lot of wild pitches and errors on the catcher where the base runner can move from first to third or even score on the play as well as stay out of double plays...
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  • 2/17/13
  • Remember86

So in other words, Bourn is twice as good as either player since it took two of them to equal his stats?

Sometimes it's necessary to take your head out of the stat book and look at what's actually happening on the field. The Mets were 74 and 88 last year with the illustrious tandem of Torres and Nieuwenhuis. They're a team with an outfield littered with incomplete and fourth outfielders. I had my questions about acquiring Bourn too, but they needed to do a better job of adding talent within the parameters of the long range plan for the team than they did. It's not like we have a Lenny and Darryl in the system ready to sprout in a year and so just sitting tight by acquiring a few more incomplete and fourth outfielder types for another season was the best policy. The team is sorely lacking in speed AND power. In the NL, only Pittsburgh stole fewer bases than we did. Only five other teams had smaller HR totals in the NL. CAN you win without being among teams leading in stolen bases? Yes. CAN you win without being on the leader board for team homers? Yes.

Five NL playoff teams:

World Champ Giants: BA (third), HR (last), SB (4th).
Cincinatti Reds: BA (9th), HR (3rd), SB (14th).
Atlanta Braves: BA (11th), HR (9th), SB (9th).
Washington Nationals: BA (4th), HR (2nd), SB (7th)
St. Louis Cardinals: BA (2nd), HR (7th), SB (13th).

With the exception of Atlanta, who outpitched everyone, especially in the second half (incredible second half sub 3.00 ERA), each playoff team was in the top seven in either the power or stolen base stat AND they were in the top six in the NL in pitching. The Mets were 11th in pitching (by ERA).

To his credit, Alderson has been working on the pitching angle and added another potentially good arm to the future rotation in Syndegaard. But the monothematic, second rate offense needs addressing. The outfield needs addressing.


Edited 2/17/13   by  Remember86
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  • 2/17/13
  • anthony888

In Reye's defense, the guy didn't start playing until July. His transition to the Marlins was very slow, and he still beat our SS's in just about every category.

Regardless of opinions, having a menace on the bases is a game changer.

Think of how many "manufactured runs" Reyes was responsible for, in his years here.

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  • 2/17/13
  • docguden16

Bourn twice as good because it took two players to equal his numbers?

The comparison equaled the same number of AB's (see platoon). In this case, the argument could be made that because Bourn (salary = $6.84M) had the same stats as Nieuwenhuis/Torres (combined salary = $3.15M), the Mets received the same production at less than half of the cost. Or in other words... they received twice the value from their platoon. For this reason I would argue your statement is severely flawed.

All this talk about 'distraction of pitcher' and 'stolen base threat' are terms used to champion a speedy player. And as I admitted early in my post, SB are exciting and fans love them. If those SB led to a substantially higher run total then my post would be moot. But this is hardly the case.

The entire basis behind the 'distracted pitcher/stolen base threat' argument:
Player #1 (SB threat) gets on base the distraction he causes via a steal or by a threat of a steal should enable player #2-9 to (a) see more fastballs (b) have a distracted pitcher whose control may be off... leading player #2-9 to bring player #1 around to score at a higher rate.

BUT... through the 162 game season Bourn totaled only 9 more runs than two players who had SUB-PAR seasons. Had one of these two players had an average season their numbers would've bettered Bourn in runs.

And I would disagree that the only other option to offset the lack of speed is with 'power'. A third and better option would be solid pitching (which the Mets have).

Since advanced metrics dictate a stolen base equals .3 runs, and Bourn has averaged 51 SB per season for the past 5 years, then Michael Bourn's stolen bases generate approximately 15.42 runs per season.

To counter that, rather than using 'power' as the only other off-setting category, would be to have a pitching staff that allows 16 fewer runs over a 162 game season, or in other words 1 less run every 91 innings pitched (based on 1458 IP).

****

As far as 'needing someone else to lead off', I think this is an over-hyped statement trumpeted this off-season. Bourn had the advantage in OBP vs. the Mets platoon by a margin of .348 to .323. However, he only held a very slim lead in Runs scored vs. number of times on base:
* Bourn: 624 AB / .348 OBP / 96 R = On base 217 times / Scored a run 44% of the time on base
* Nieuwenhuis/Torres: 656 AB / .323 OBP / 87 R = On base 212 times / Scored a run 41% of the time on base

What does this tell me?

That the fan craze over signing a "significant upgrade" for a leadoff spot is misplaced. The Mets received virtually IDENTICAL production from the CF position as they would've received from the MOST HYPED lead-off hitter on the 2013 free agent market.


Edited 2/17/13   by  docguden16
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  • 2/17/13
  • docguden16

Just a small defense for us who "don't know how to read stats":

I mentioned this in my response to REMEMBER86, and I'll state in again for you.

The entire basis behind the 'distracted pitcher/stolen base threat' argument:
Player #1 (SB threat) gets on base the distraction he causes via a steal or by a threat of a steal should enable player #2-9 to (a) see more fastballs (b) have a distracted pitcher whose control may be off... leading player #2-9 to bring player #1 around to score at a higher rate.

But with all the speed and flair Michael Bourn possesses... he scored 44% of the time he was on base. In contrast, the Mets had very little stolen base threat but the CF platoon of Nieuwenhuis/Torres scored 41% of the time they were on base. Throughout the entire 2012 campaign, Michael Bourn scored only 9 more runs (96 vs. 87) than two players with low base stealing numbers.

So with all the "distraction" caused, and with all the "fastballs delivered to subsequent batters"... why did the #1 lead-off hitter on the free agent market score at virtually an identical clip?

The reason: Stolen bases and the supposed 'havoc' they create are overrated by fans.

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  • 2/17/13
  • nutz4pugs

It isn't just about the stolen base but speed in general, imo. Look at the Cardinals. Between 1982 and 1987 they went to 3 WS and won a championship.

Their big guns were George Hendrick and Jack Clark, respectively. Not exactly household names when talking about HR hitters. They won with speed, defense and pitching. But speed *was* their primary offensive tool.

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  • 2/17/13
  • docguden16

Looking back over the past 20 seasons, the eventual World Series champion averaged 14th in steals, with only half of those eventual champions being in the top 10.

I agree that power is needed. My post was not about power needed, it was about stolen bases being overrated. Power and thunder in the line-up is essential and it's also much more relevant in terms of runs scored. But again that wasn't the topic.

In my previous response I highlighted pitching as a third option. I know you also alluded to pitching and I did not intend to omit your understanding of the need for a strong pitching staff. We agree on that. I was simply using the 'pitching option' to depict the low relevance of a stolen base.

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  • 2/17/13
  • docguden16

While I agree the Cards had a good run in the early 80's (and are still one of the best organizations in baseball today) based on speed, I think we'll both agree the game has changed significantly in the past 30 years.

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