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View Full Version : Speed Kills (Blood on the Basepaths)



Ltlabner
08-20-2008, 08:49 PM
With all the talk of the resurgance of speed I wanted to take a look at base running and how it can affect overall offensive value of a player. Intuitivley we know that getting caught stealing doesn't really help anything, but just how bad does it hurt?

EqA is a measurement of total offensive value per out. It's adjusted for league, park and pitching and includes the value of a players base running. It's set up to look like batting average. So low to mid .200's is a stinky player, mid .200's to .280ish is an ok player while .280 and up is big time production.

I like EqA because of the inclusion of base running and because it's adjusted so you can compare apples to apples across leagues, teams or time. Frankly, I've replaced batting average with EqA because it's that much more descriptive.

(Note: The differences between BA and EqA are not soley due to baserunning, but for this exercise we can pretend that it is)

Here's a comparison of two obvious targets. Sample size issues aside, you can see that tradional batting average "shows" Freel to have bested Phillips. But the inclusion of the base running aspect shows that Phillips is still producing at the same level as his BA would indicate, while Freel goes from stellar to cellar.


YEAR NAME AGE PA AVG EqA
2008 Ryan Freel 32 143 .298 .247
2008 Brandon Phillips 27 526 .269 .269

Here's the same year's data with the inclusion of stolen bases, stolen base %, how many times caught steeling and picked off.


YEAR NAME AGE PA AVG EqA OBP SB SB% CS PICKOFF
2008 Ryan Freel 32 143 .298 .247 .340 6 60.0% 4 2
2008 Brandon Phillips 27 526 .269 .269 .316 22 75.9% 7 4

Removing Freel from the basepaths 6 times really hurts his overall offensive output (EqA). Intuitivley we know that, but this is a good illustration of just how much it hurts the team.

Speaking of hurting your totall offensive output, check out these numbers...


YEAR NAME AGE PA AVG EqA OBP SB SB% CS PICKOFF
2008 Ryan Theriot 28 522 .316 .268 .396 18 58.1% 13 2

Theriot, a good hitter, completley decimates his offensive output by getting nailed 13 times (plus two more pick offs) on the basepaths.

Getting back to the Reds. Here's the numbers on the most prolific base runners.


YEAR NAME AGE PA AVG EqA OBP SB SB% CS PICKOFF
2008 Ryan Freel 32 143 .298 .247 .340 6 60.0% 4 2
2008 Brandon Phillips 27 526 .269 .269 .316 22 75.9% 7 4
2008 Jerry Hairston 32 231 .338 .301 .388 15 83.3% 3 1
2008 Corey Patterson 28 274 .195 .201 .229 12 66.7% 6 2

So BPhill and Hariston are the two guys who are not gutting their offensive game with horrable base running. BPhill is breaking even (and as he ages stands to begin hurting his team) and Harriston's a injury plagued utility guy.

Freel fits the same discription as Hariston, however he's such a bozo on the basepaths he turns his medicore offensive production into miserable production. Corey Patterson is just plain horrendus no matter how you slice it.

Ltlabner
08-20-2008, 09:04 PM
So what does this mean for the Reds moving forward?

Right now there are 12 guys with 20 or more stolen bases (there's a couple more who will have 20 by the end of the year) in the NL. I'm thinking if you *really* want speed on the base paths you ought to target the high volume theifs.


Willy Taveras
Jose Reyes
Juan Pierre
Michael Bourn
Jimmy Rollins
Matt Kemp
Shane Victorino
Brandon Phillips
Randy Winn
Corey Hart
Fred Lewis

Even pretending we could acquire any of those guys, and we had a place to play them, of the 12 guys only about 6 interest me (Reyes, Rollins, Rameriz, Kemp, Winn and *possibly* Victorino). I checked the AL and it's about the same over there.

So the Reds want to target speedy players...ok, sounds good on paper. Then here are some questions that The Jock has to answer:

Where are these players going to come from?
What trade bait do we have to acquire them?
Are the guys on that list even available?
Do their contracts make sense?

I don't see a lot of positive answers to those questions out there.

So unless (1) there's a sudden raft of speedy players called up from AAA [Dickerson should help] (2) Walt targets several second-tier guys instead of a top-tier one (3) the team drinks a lot of Red Bull, the addition of significant speed to the team is going to be a challenge.