# Thread: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

1. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by Raisor
But that's not the question.

Is the .347 OBP being on second better than the .405 being on first?
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.

2. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by Raisor
But that's not the question.

Is the .347 OBP being on second better than the .405 being on first?
Since runs are the name of the game, figure out what each extra base he got worked out to in extra runs and then subtract the runs cost by getting caught stealing.

In the end, all that work has been done and the point where it hurt is around a SB rate of 70% (it varies, but 70 is around the norm). He is above that, so his stolen bases are a benefit to overal runs which is the name of the game. I don't care if he steals 10 bases or 100. As long as he is doing it above a 70% rate, he is adding runs.

3. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Here is one of the fangraphs articles I was talking about earlier saying the break even point is 66%.

The break-even rate on steals has fallen from 68 percent to 66 percent, down from 70 percent at the height of the steroids era in 2000.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...ters-more-now/

It always varies and depends on the calculation and the timespan used. You also have to take into account outs in the inning and base being stolen if you want to really break it down. Yet 70% is a good rule of thumb. So as long as Hamilton is above that break even point, stealing bases is a benefit. No real need to do some complex analysis on his OBP and slugging. It has been done for you.

edit: So, to simply answer your question, you can actually up his OBP when comparing it to other hitters as long as he is stealing bases above a 70% clip. It needs to be broken down into runs and that has all been done elsewhere. If you want to convert it back to OBP to compare him to a person that doesn't steal bases and only compare OBP, figure out what his steals are worth and what getting on base is worth in terms of runs. It's all out there. I don't feel like going through it all.

4. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Yes, 3rd post in a row. Here is a rough estimate you can do. Take wOBA runs created and then add wSB runs created for the players you are trying to compare. That is probably the simplest way to compare since wOBA puts more emphasis on OBP while still taking into account slugging, and of course wSB is the run benefit to a player's stolen bases. Hamilton last year had a combined wOBA and wSB runs created of 113.4 in the minors. In comparison, Choo was 102.5. Choo had 86 more at bats. That would tell us that Hamilton (if he could keep his minor league stats, and I know, unlikely but I am just using it for comparison) would be the better lead off man even though his times caught stealing would lower his effective OBP below Choo's OBP.

5. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

My connection is poor, so doing any additional research will need to wait on my end.

Runs created has a stolen base component.

Would seem to be a good way to compare different players

6. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by Raisor
My connection is poor, so doing any additional research will need to wait on my end.

Runs created has a stolen base component.

Would seem to be a good way to compare different players
Fangraphs pulled out the stolen base component from wOBA and created wSB (therefore wOBA based runs created like wRC, wRC+, and wRAA don't include stolen bases anymore). My calculation above is actually incorrect though. wSB is the number of runs above the average player. So it would need to be combined with wRAA. In that case, Hamiton would be 35.7 and Choo would be 24.6.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...nning-changes/

7. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by texasdave
If Hamilton steals second while Phillips is up and, subsequently, Phillips makes an out while failing to advance him; does Slidin' Billy race back to first so that they can't pitch around Votto?
Nope, it's been illegal since 1920, it was only done prior to 1908 by 4 different players, all to entice a throw from the catcher to get a guy in from 3rd. Only Harry Davis in 1902 was able to get that throw. The other catchers just shook their heads.

8. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

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.

9. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by Cant Touch This
I think you have to include doubles...Hamilton will likely score from first base on most doubles. However, I still disagree with the argument of the leadoff hitter not stealing bases in front of Votto.
...
I guess I took the statement to the extreme and interpreted it as "anyone is in scoring position with Votto at the plate". I think Billy could score from first on some (or most) doubles, so the point is taken .

If you don't run Billy when he has a high chance to succeed, you are wasting his talent and costing yourself runs. Someone posted an article months ago that said the pitcher had to deliver the ball to homeplate in 1.1 seconds for the catcher to have a chance at catching Billy.. that's just nuts.

I guess another way to think of it.. Suppose Frasier hits a ball to the OF. He has an easy single, but has an 80-85% chance of stretching it into a double. I think most of us would want Frasier to take the chance.. it's the same thing with Billy stealing.

10. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by mth123
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.
A man on 1st and 2nd with the Reds worst hitter (which is won't be) is better than man on 1st with Votto up. The numbers are so far apart (anywhere from 60% to 85% increase in run expectancy depending on the number of outs) you would have to be Barry Bonds at his height hitting with Mario Mendoza batting cleanup. It would just be plain stupid for an opposing team to walk Votto in order to get to another player with 2 on unless it's late in the game and tied or a 1 run game where it's the run on second base that has increased importance.

As far as not walking Votto and letting him hit, the chance of scoring from second will increase as much if not more than from first.

I think you guys way over value Votto vs. other hitters. Yes, he is better. Yet when you are dealing with run expectancy increases of 60-85%, the hitter would have to be Superman with Mister Magoo batting behind him for it to make sense not to want 1st and 2nd vs. just 1st base.

11. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

I will just do a quick case study with lifetime stats of Votto vs. Ludwick, and doubles/triples/home runs for Votto with man on 1st vs. singles, doubles, triples, and home runs for Luwick and 2 men on.

Man on first and Votto up
Votto has a double or triple 7.8% of the time (so 1 run assuming Hamilton scores every time).
Votto hits a HR 3.6% of the time (so 2 runs).

Man on first and second with Ludwick up
Ludwick hits a single 15.7% of the time (Hamilton scores)
Ludwick hits a double or triple 6.6% of the time (so Hamilton scores and say Votto scores half the time, or 1.5 runs)
Ludwick hits a HR 4.9% of the time (3 runs)

It's not even close. Just the simple fact Ludwick's chance of hitting a single doubles the runs vs. Votto's double says enough. Yet add in the fact Luwdick only hits a double or triple 1.2% less and actually has a higher chance of a home run, there is no doubt first and second with Ludwick up is way superior than 1st with Votto up. It's so massive a difference no one in their right mind would walk Votto unless the man on second is the tying or winning run late in the game.

Yes, there are the times Votto hits a single or walks, and then Ludwick gets a hit. Yet is a percentage of a percentage and doesn't make up for the difference.

Votto is not superman. He makes outs more than 50% of the time there is a man on first. I would take a Hamilton steal, a Votto walk, and Ludwick up any day of the week vs. Hamilton sitting on first with Votto up. If Hamilton can steal bases 75% of the time, the Reds run chances go up.

12. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

I guess I took the statement to the extreme and interpreted it as "anyone is in scoring position with Votto at the plate"
That's the way it was said and that's the way I took it as well. I've heard that mentioned before as I noted and I don't buy it.

Now granted Votto is probably gonna knock the guy on first in as often as anyone else in the league does, but I'd still rather take my chances with a guy like Ludwick (average hitter) and a runner on 2nd, if we are just looking at that one batter to get the run home.

13. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by scott91575
I will just do a quick case study with lifetime stats of Votto vs. Ludwick, and doubles/triples/home runs for Votto with man on 1st vs. singles, doubles, triples, and home runs for Luwick and 2 men on.

Man on first and Votto up
Votto has a double or triple 7.8% of the time (so 1 run assuming Hamilton scores every time).
Votto hits a HR 3.6% of the time (so 2 runs).

Man on first and second with Ludwick up
Ludwick hits a single 15.7% of the time (Hamilton scores)
Ludwick hits a double or triple 6.6% of the time (so Hamilton scores and say Votto scores half the time, or 1.5 runs)
Ludwick hits a HR 4.9% of the time (3 runs)

It's not even close. Just the simple fact Ludwick's chance of hitting a single doubles the runs vs. Votto's double says enough. Yet add in the fact Luwdick only hits a double or triple 1.2% less and actually has a higher chance of a home run, there is no doubt first and second with Ludwick up is way superior than 1st with Votto up. It's so massive a difference no one in their right mind would walk Votto unless the man on second is the tying or winning run late in the game.

Yes, there are the times Votto hits a single or walks, and then Ludwick gets a hit. Yet is a percentage of a percentage and doesn't make up for the difference.

Votto is not superman. He makes outs more than 50% of the time there is a man on first. I would take a Hamilton steal, a Votto walk, and Ludwick up any day of the week vs. Hamilton sitting on first with Votto up. If Hamilton can steal bases 75% of the time, the Reds run chances go up.
A couple of points

Your 75% success rate is pretty high. Higher than I've seen quoted a lot of the time. Its a lot more realistic (but still a little low when Votto and Ludwick are coming up IMO). One thing these equations omit is the times picked-off. When a runner is picked-off going back to the base he occupies, it's not counted as an SB attempt or as a CS. Those outs are just as much a lost opportunity and are directly a result of the running game. You add those outs to the mix and the success rate over 75% is pretty difficult to maintain. Lower in the order, those steals help get the runner around the bases, where he otherwise wouldn't have, much more often than in front of the better hitters (because they will get him around without the steal a lot more often than weaker hitters would). From that perspective, the steal has more value and the out doesn't represent as big a lost opportunity lower in the order. The break-even rate would be lower and more doable. I get the percentages you are throwing out there, but if you do the math (all the math, including runs lost when Hamilton is out), the success rate (pick-offs included) in front of Votto and Ludwick needs to be about 80% to result in extra runs. I haven't done the same analysis in front of Cozart and Hanigan, but I'm guessing the success rate needed to result in extra runs would drop into the 60s. If I have time, I'll give it a try.

All that said, if Hamilton has the same OBPs as a big leaguer as he's shown in the minors, he should lead-off and not hit lower in the order. For me the OBP and not the steals are the reason to hit him in front of Votto and Ludwick.

14. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

I don't know if this fits - i might have posted this before but i cn't remember i'm too old - bill james had a stat to see how much a stolen base was worth relative to slugging percentage: stolen bases - 2 (caught stealing) x.66 = total bases.

In Billy's case 155 Sb's - 2 (37 caught stealing) x .66 = 54 total bases

You add that to his 215 total bases and you come up with 269 total bases divided by 512 and you get .512 as a slugging percentage.

I like the stat cause it's quick and dirty and it factors in the effects of getting caught and not moving up runners (the .66 value).

The other side of the stolen base argument is Theo Bowe- he added little value to his overall stats with the use of the SB (relative to effecting his SLG percentage) 58 - 2(28) x .66 = slightly more than 1 base.

I also believe there is more value than maybe the stats show - station to station baseball is boring and i have often wondered if that played out in the error column of the opposing team. If you know you're playing against a team that never pushes things - i would think that might come across in the amount of errors that occur.

15. ## Re: "Billy Hamilton and other really fast guys"

Originally Posted by kaldaniels
That's the way it was said and that's the way I took it as well. I've heard that mentioned before as I noted and I don't buy it.

Now granted Votto is probably gonna knock the guy on first in as often as anyone else in the league does, but I'd still rather take my chances with a guy like Ludwick (average hitter) and a runner on 2nd, if we are just looking at that one batter to get the run home.
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.

On another note, if anything, stolen bases are undervalued now.
I don't want to repeat what I said in other posts, but the whole formula used to get the required success rate (run expectancy) is flawed math. Now maybe someone else has come up with a better formula, but the run expectancy one is the only one I have seen in detail.

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