Originally Posted by Superdude
I assume that's what all the "break-even" rates for stolen bases are essentially telling us. Whatever the hit to OBP may be, if you're stealing successfully 70+% of the time (or whatever the going rate is these days), that's a positive thing.
Those break-even rates are deceiving. They are caluclated by using the entire league. I'd imagine that a Caught stealing hurts more (is a bigger wasted opportunity) when Joey Votto is coming up than it does when a league average hitter is coming up. On the same token, the steal is probably worth less when the uber-bat gets walked with 1B open and it's left to a mere mortal to get the run home. Add that Hamilton's speed is going to score from first on any extra base hit and the value of him running with the high slugging guys coming up is also reduced.
I'm on board with the idea that a steal is more helpful with the bottom of the order coming up. In front of the big boys, I think the steal gets wasted a lot when the run would score anyway which makes the risk of being thrown out unnecessary. Lower in the order, that steal is going to result in runs that wouldn't have happened without it a lot more often. In terms of real runs, break-even would be a lot lower with Cozart and Hanigan coming up than it would be in front of Votto IMO.