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    • Stolen bases and batting average are underated
  • To:All
  • 2/18/13
  • captainmet
I propose that stolen bases increase run production by 3 modes. 1. Breaking a pitchers concentration. We see this phenomenon often in the late innings with a tie game or one run difference. The pitcher then lets the game get away by being wild or giving up hits. 2. The walk or base hit followed by an out moving the runner over followed by a sac fly or hit scoring the runner if he swiped a bag..
3. Forcing an errant throw or fielders being out of position. I believe by having a player with this talent is best served by having him at leadoff. You only lead off once a game but in this instance once is at least a gurantee. Leadoff hitters get the most at bats and so you increase the probability of one of the three modes happenning the rest of the time. If the three modes account for a 10% increase in probability of scoring(and I think it is probably higher than that) 600 plate appearances would increase your total runs by 60 runs.
With batting average it is a little more subjective. To me a high batting average is the sign of a smart hitter but one who is selectively aggressive. Hernandez , Piazza and Olerud maybe the best Met examples. I think on base percentage is great for leadoff guys and usually for these selectively aggressive hitters OBP is a natural result of their hitting style and selectivity anyway. Given the choice of who comes up in the bottom of the ninth the three guys mentioned would be who we want rather than the guy passively trying to walk. I think the approach high batting average players take trumps any other stat when deciding who you want stepping in with the game on the line. I'd take a lineup of 8 300 hitters over 8 guys with high OBP and some power anyday
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  • 2/18/13
  • govmule72
I don't know about batting average...but stolen bases are the most overblown stat ever.
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  • 2/18/13
  • _BigNick
" The pitcher then lets the game get away by being wild or giving up hits. "
Those are exceptions. Speed on the basepaths is what does this - the threat of the stolen base, not the stolen base itself.

" The walk or base hit followed by an out moving the runner over followed by a sac fly or hit scoring the runner if he swiped a bag.. "
What if the runner was caught stealing? Which brings about the stolen base argument, stealing and getting caught stealing is not a 1-1 difference, being caught stealing is worse. You need a good success rate for it to be actually beneficial. Now, some situations calls for the risk, but overall, need to be efficient for it to make sense to steal.

"3. Forcing an errant throw or fielders being out of position. "
Exception again. What about being caught stealing?

I believe what you're trying to argue is that a single is worth more than a walk, and you're right, but if I'm being offered a walk free of charge I'm going to take it in all but extreme circumstances because the alternative could possibly be an out.

". To me a high batting average is the sign of a smart hitter but one who is selectively aggressive. "
Well, there's statistics that are tracked that can help you with what you're looking for, swings inside and outside of the zone, etc.. But there's more than to it than being selectively aggressive - it deals with the type of hitter you are. Look at last year's Wright for example - what caused his BA to soar? A <shit ton of line drives.
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  • 2/18/13
  • BigTon
Where sabermetrics fails is in the human element of the game.The phsycological advantage of having a guy who can steal on base.Not to mention having two guys on base with speed.The threat of the double steal has caused more than it's fair share of balks,wild pitches and bad throws from catchers trying to keep them close.You could even go as far as adding the amount of throws over to first by a pitcher to his pitch count.Where is the stat for that?Why do i hear so many posters talk about needing to have a catcher who can throw?Because of the SB threat.It's so effective that just the threat of the steal,not even the actual steal itself,can lead to foul ups by the opposing team.Teams with catchers who have bad throwing arms and pitchers with a poor move to first get ran on all day.Teams position there infield differently to protect themselves from it.Sabermetrics gives one reason based on stats why the SB is overrated.I just gave you multiple reasons why it's not.

Edited 2/18/13   by  BigTon
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  • 2/18/13
  • RobfromLI

"Where sabermetrics fails is in the human element of the game."

Since the human element of the game can't be measured and can't be planned for I would say that sabermetrics does not fail in this regard. Since you can't possibly know what kind of emotional response a person is going to have you can't build upon it.

No one suggests that sabermetrics is a 100% lock. What sabermetrics does is put you in the best possible position to win, it increases your odds for success. There will always be variables that you can not measure or control.

The difference is that you don't build around variables, you accept them as things you can't control and build your foundation out of that which you can.

It's entirely possible that a bird might get hit by a fly ball during a game. It doesn't mean you avoid hiring fly ball hitters because a bird might get in the way of a homerun.

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  • 2/18/13
  • BigTon

Here add these stats to your sabermetrics.

FTB-Forced Throws To Base
WPSOB-Wild Pitch W/ Speed On Base
BSOB-Balks W/ Speed On Base
CESOB-Catcher Errors W/ Speed On Base

oh i forgot to add one more...

BHBFB-Birds Hit By Fly Balls ;)

"It doesn't mean you avoid hiring fly ball hitters because a bird might get in the way of a homerun."

Just like you don't avoid signing a SB threat because sabermetrics says it only produces.3 runs every 10 games.


Edited 2/18/13   by  BigTon
Edited 2/18/13   by  BigTon
Edited 2/18/13   by  BigTon
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  • 2/18/13
  • frkaz911

"Where sabermetrics fails is in the human element of the game.The phsycological advantage of having a guy who can steal on base.Not to mention having two guys on base with speed."

Agreed in full. Fast runners on the base paths get into a pitcher's head big time. They're not only at an increased risk of balking, but it forces them to pay less attention to the batter, and as a result they're more likely to make a mistake that a good hitter will take advantage of.

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  • 2/18/13
  • RobfromLI

"Just like you don't avoid signing a SB threat because sabermetrics says it only produces.3 runs every 10 games."

I have nothing against bringing in a SB threat provided his ability to steal a base is a compliment to a far more useful skill. I'm not bringing a guy in just because he can steal bases. If he can swipe a bag from time to time that's sprinkles on the sundae but without contact and OBP/SLG all I'd have is a cup of sprinkles.

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  • 2/18/13
  • RobfromLI

"Fast runners on the base paths get into a pitcher's head big time."

You know what else gets into a pitchers head?

Hitting the c$%p out of his pitching and launching a ball off or over the wall.

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  • 2/18/13
  • BigTon
Whats wrong with sprinkles?I've eaten them plenty a times by themselves and they taste great.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 2/18/13
  • frkaz911

"You know what else gets into a pitchers head? Hitting the c$%p out of his pitching and launching a ball off or over the wall."

True, but doesn't a pitcher's mistake make that much easier to do? He's so worried about the runner that he throws a batting practice fastball. Otherwise, he has them reaching for outside sliders.

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  • 2/18/13
  • BigTon
Exactly!
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  • 2/18/13
  • jgrangers2
The stolen base is useful, but very low on the totem pole of offensive stats. And batting average isn't nearly as important as OBP, SLG or OPS. I believe that OPS is the stat with the highest correlation to run production. Ultimately, that's why I'll take a team of Adam Dunn's over a team of Ichiro, defense notwithstanding.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 2/19/13
  • RobfromLI

It's so situational though ...

I'm not saying having good baserunning isn't important, of course it is. What I'm saying is that you don't build around the stolen base. It's a nice little compliment to a good offense.

I always hated the idea of throwing the #2 hitter away on letting the lead off hitter steal second. It was such a waste of what could have been a big inning.

We don't have the bullpen to play for close games, we need to let the guys swing the bat and win by putting runs across the plate. The last thing we need is to play for a single run.

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  • 2/19/13
  • bbyjean616
Mitch Williams STILL blames the Joe Carter home run on walking Ricky Henderson
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  • 2/19/13
  • Bowser

"I have nothing against bringing in a SB threat provided his ability to steal a base is a compliment to a far more useful skill. I'm not bringing a guy in just because he can steal bases. If he can swipe a bag from time to time that's sprinkles on the sundae but without contact and OBP/SLG all I'd have is a cup of sprinkles."

Awesome post, couldn't agree more.

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  • 2/19/13
  • Bowser

"Mitch Williams STILL blames the Joe Carter home run on walking Ricky Henderson"

With excuses like that, maybe that's why so very few people even know who Mitch Williams is.

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  • To:All
  • 2/19/13
  • BigTon
Who exactly overrated the stolen base anyways?

Edited 2/19/13   by  BigTon
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  • 2/19/13
  • mysticpiazza

It's ridiculous to make a blanketed statement like that without quantifying SB success rate % with RISP opportunities and the teams' ability to score runs as a result, not to mention taking the player into account and his ability to get on base. If a guy (like Beltran) is 20 for 20 in SB attempts, for example, but the team is only capable of driving him in 15% of the time, then you might have a point, with only 3 runs scored in total for the season. Likewise, If another player's only 15 for 20 in SB attempts but scores 70% of the time, that's potentially 10 more runs added to final scores that could ultimately impact standings. Reye's 2005 season is a good example of a guy who managed to help manufacture runs (99 scored) thanks to his ability to steal bases 80% of the time. (60 for 75). The 99 runs scored should have been higher, given his league leading 733 PAs, but his OBP was only .300. The fact that he managed to score 99 runs had everything to do with his ability to get in scoring position with the limited chances he had, given his poor OBP. (Once he improved his plate discipline/OBP, the runs scored averaged over 110 for the next 3 seasons a sa result of improved OBP, continued SB ability and getting into scoring position, and the team's ability to drive him in). So it ALL comes down to picking your opportunities and scoring runs in any way possible, and several teams have made the playoffs over the years playing small ball and capitalizing on those opportunities.

It would be curious to see what the typical % of SBs resulting in runs scored amounts to for the top base stealers. I suspect those teams that manage to bring them home and score runs would clearly argue the benefit of the stolen base.

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  • 2/19/13
  • Bowser

Most of Jose Reyes' runs that year came from the fact that he hit for 48 XBH, I mean he had 17, SEVENTEEN triples. You take away his ability to hit those extra base hits and his SB don't mean much towards those 99 runs. I mean they helped of course, but those 24 doubles, 17 triples, 7 HRs, and a total of 190 hits helped much more. I mean David Wright had 27 HRs and 42 2B that year and also scored 99 runs, and he didn't have 60 SBs.

Even Cliff Floyd who had only 12 SBs scored 85 runs. So again, give me a speedster who can steal AND hit, not some speedster who can only steal.


Edited 2/19/13   by  Bowser
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