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bucksfan2
05-05-2009, 09:46 AM
I have been thinking about the current Reds team and if you can put a number on speed. There are all different kind of measures but is there really a good measure on what speed or even good base running can add to a team. That brings me to two questions as to whether there is a "number" you can put on them.

Total bases. Im not talking about total bases per hit, I know there is already a measure out there for that. Is there a measure of total bases achieved. If you get on base by a single, steal second, move to third on a groundout, and score on a sac fly that would count as 4. Every base you acquirer would count as 1. I don't know if it would show anything or make a difference but I got to thinking about this while at a Reds game. Votto was up at the plate with the bases juiced. Taveras was on first, I can't remember if there were 1 or 2 outs. But anyway Votto lines a ball over the first baseman's head and down the line. There was little doubt in my mind when I saw Taveras take off that he was going to score a run. It was a run that few people in the majors would score on. Is there a stat that measures anything like this?

Reached on Error. Last night Dickerson hit a grounder to SS and reached on an error because Ramirez threw a ball in the dirt that Cantu couldn't pick. What I saw was that Dickerson made the play a bang bang play because of his speed. If the throw was perfect Dickerson may have been out by a half a step. Is there any correlation between speed and reaching on an error? Does having a fast runner at the plate make the defense hurry, throw off the wrong foot, not get enough on the throw? I just don't know if there is a difference between a speedy runner or a flat footed runner and reaching base via error.

PuffyPig
05-05-2009, 09:52 AM
Is there any correlation between speed and reaching on an error? Does having a fast runner at the plate make the defense hurry, throw off the wrong foot, not get enough on the throw?

Yes.

Johnny Footstool
05-05-2009, 10:38 AM
Yes.

Not really, according to the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/sports/baseball/11score.html

When members of the Society for American Baseball Research dived into the matter, they found relative anvils like Bob Horner and Mickey Stanley among the career leaders. So contrary to conventional opinion, reaching base via errors is a function of far more than pure speed or its celebrated cousin, hustle.

Rather than merely counting the times a batter reached via errors — which would favor players with the longest careers — the society's Tom Ruane determined the rate at which players reached on miscues per out on balls in play (the percentage of times the defense muffed a chance it should have handled). He then compared that rate to the league average for each season.

In the full seasons for which data was available, 1960 through 2005, fast runners led the pack: Derek Jeter was first (71 percent higher than expected) and Otis Nixon second (69 percent). But how were Stanley, Horner and Joe Girardi — who had no wheels to speak of — in the top 10 with them?

Further research revealed an explanation: Other skills besides running fast play a large role in reaching on errors. Those who are good at it typically put the ball in play frequently by not walking or striking out. They are usually ground-ball hitters from the right side who put the ball more often in the hands of third basemen and shortstops, who make more infield errors because of their longer throws.

And to a lesser extent, players who bat with many men on base, when errors increase, reap the benefits.

jojo
05-05-2009, 11:00 AM
The effect of footspeed might be measured by throwing infield hits, BABIP, and GB% etc into a stew and letting it simmer a while...

There are metrics that attempt to measure base running as well.

nate
05-05-2009, 11:01 AM
It would seem very difficult for a stat like this to separate individual performance from team performance.

bucksfan2
05-05-2009, 11:17 AM
It would seem very difficult for a stat like this to separate individual performance from team performance.

True, but going first to third is both a team and individual event. You need the hit, but you also need the speed and base running ability in order to go first to third, score from first on a double. Wily Taveras gets on base via bunt hit, steals second, goes to third on a grounder to the 2b, and scores on a sac fly to the CF. There is also taking second base on a single when a throw goes through to home. Sure there is a large part that is team dependent but players, or even teams, who constantly put pressure on the defense make things happen.

westofyou
05-05-2009, 11:20 AM
True, but going first to third is both a team and individual event. You need the hit, but you also need the speed and base running ability in order to go first to third, score from first on a double. Wily Taveras gets on base via bunt hit, steals second, goes to third on a grounder to the 2b, and scores on a sac fly to the CF. There is also taking second base on a single when a throw goes through to home. Sure there is a large part that is team dependent but players, or even teams, who constantly put pressure on the defense make things happen.

Bill James Online tracks the bases acquired (it's in the BJ Handbook at the end of the year)and how, the data is there, parsing it currently focuses on going base to base on a certain type of "hit" not an "event" but I'm certain the "event" data is there for the taking as well.

jojo
05-05-2009, 01:12 PM
Bill James online published baserunning analysis in season. (BJO is \$3/month; I've been a subscriber since it started and generally find it fun).

Dan Fox has a baserunning metric at baseball prospectus as well.

TheNext44
05-05-2009, 04:25 PM
Not really, according to the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/sports/baseball/11score.html

Great find. Great article. Lots of good stuff.

However, that article doesn't say that there isn't a correlation between speed and errors, just that there are other factors that count just as much. I would imagine that hitters that put the ball in play and hit the ball hard also would get on via the error more often than the average hitter. But the article did say that the top "error" reachers were guys with speed.

Johnny Footstool
05-05-2009, 05:35 PM
Great find. Great article. Lots of good stuff.

However, that article doesn't say that there isn't a correlation between speed and errors, just that there are other factors that count just as much. I would imagine that hitters that put the ball in play and hit the ball hard also would get on via the error more often than the average hitter. But the article did say that the top "error" reachers were guys with speed.

You're right. The correlation exists, just in combination with other factors. So while "all fast guys tend to reach base on errors more often" isn't exactly true, "a combination of speed, hitting tendencies, and situational factors can result in a greater chance of reaching base on an error" would be accurate.