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Thread: Stolen bases

  1. #1
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Stolen bases

    Not arguing the merit of the SB. The fact is, they are part of the game, and the importance of the SB seems to be on the rise with managers in the post PED era.

    On the Reds there seems to be three SB threats. Stubbs of course, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.

    Yep. Joey Votto.

    Votto it may surprise some, it sure did me, has a SB% right at 75% this year. Phillips is a HORRIBLE 57%. Like the Chewbacca defense, this does not make sense! Clearly BP is faster than Votto. But he doesn't know when NOT to run. This is another aspect of Votto's overall game that makes him so... valuable.

    BP wants to make things happen too much it seems. He doesn't have Taveras like speed, but he's pretty fast. So why the poor percentage this year? Past 2006 he's never been a great base stealer, about 72%, but this year is a huge dropoff. Man needs to talk to Larkin and Davis about the art of the stolen base.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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  3. #2
    I'm gettin paper Homer Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    I'm actually going to go a bit out on a limb here, but I have felt this way for a few years now.

    I don't think Brandon Phillips is fast. Like, not even a little bit fast. I think his acceleration is actually well below average. When was the last time you saw Brandon leg out an infield hit in the hole? He never steals bases easily, often gets thrown out on the bases because he thinks he's faster than he is (and other reasons), and it shows in his horrible SB%.

    Although I still think he is obviously a great defender, I don't think his range is THAT elite, as he just simply doesn't have much speed (at least from what I see on TV). I'm guessing people are more likely to disagree with that part of the statement than the first part, but I still contend that Phillips' speed is VASTLY overrated.

    That being said, I'm still a Phillips fan. He's just an awful baserunner.

  4. #3
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    BP has lost a step or two (or three) over the past 4 years. When he came to the REDS he was almost a lock to steal when he attempted.
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

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  5. #4
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    I think we need to differentiate between different types of speed here. Phillips may be fast over a certain distance, but he may not have (or may have lost) the burst he needs in order steal a base. I also think it is important to recognize that stealing bases is not all about pure speed. Sometimes timing a jump is just as important, and I think that's what Votto is doing right now that Phillips doesn't seem to be.

    I'd also like to point out that Jay Bruce has sneaky speed--although it hasn't shown up in many stolen bases this year.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

  6. #5
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Votto on top, Phillips on the bottom

    Code:
      	1st to 3rd    	2nd to Home  	1st to Home  	DP  	 	Bases  	BR  	BR  	SB  	Net
    Year  	Adv  	Opp  	Adv  	Opp  	Adv  	Opp  	Opp  	GIDP  	Taken  	Outs  	Gain  	Gain  	Gain
    2010  	13  	41  	18  	23  	6  	12  	136  	10  	18  	9  	-2  	+5  	+3
    2010  	11  	32  	17  	24  	7  	9  	94  	14  	27  	6  	+9  	-7  	+2

  7. #6
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Quote Originally Posted by Homer Bailey View Post
    I'm actually going to go a bit out on a limb here, but I have felt this way for a few years now.

    I don't think Brandon Phillips is fast. Like, not even a little bit fast. I think his acceleration is actually well below average. When was the last time you saw Brandon leg out an infield hit in the hole? He never steals bases easily, often gets thrown out on the bases because he thinks he's faster than he is (and other reasons), and it shows in his horrible SB%.

    Although I still think he is obviously a great defender, I don't think his range is THAT elite, as he just simply doesn't have much speed (at least from what I see on TV). I'm guessing people are more likely to disagree with that part of the statement than the first part, but I still contend that Phillips' speed is VASTLY overrated.

    That being said, I'm still a Phillips fan. He's just an awful baserunner.
    I'm starting to think this too.

    Like last night when he got thrown out at 2nd on a ball off the wall in the 1st. He didn't really dog it coming out of the batters box. He ran at a 90% top speed which really should have made it a double. But his 90% top speed just isn't that fast this year. Kinda like the way Sean Casey was. He sure ran hard with great effort, but running hard doesn't equal rnning fast.

    I think his hamstring has slowed him down all year. He just needs to recognize he isn't the baserunner he's been in previous years and adjust to it.

    Pay attention to the open sky

  8. #7
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Baserunning is a funny thing. Per BP, 381 players have had at least 100 base advancement opportunities this year. Of those, 28.5% produced at least 1 run, 34% were between 1 and -1 runs, while 37.5% cost their team at least 1 run.

    And when you break that down, stolen bases are only a faction of those runs. On net, they just don't add up to much. A grand total of 36 players have produced at least 1.0 run, net, from stolen bases and just 11 have produced 2.0 or more. The league leader in runs produced from stolen bases, Michael Borne, has produced 5.1 runs from them. He's produced 8.1 runs in other ways on the bases.

    We look at a guy who's stolen say 32/40 (80%) and say he's a had a really good year. But when you net that out, those outs hurt a lot more than we think they do at the time. I think this is what trips us up. Say a guy has a game where he steals two bags, scores from first on a double and gets picked off. That day on the bases was more or less a wash. Outs on the bases hurt. One of the few things more valuable than an out (a plate appearance) is a base-runner. To go from having a base-runner to having an out just kills an offense.

    For this Reds team, I think this table is informative. Again, this is baseball prospectus's methodology, so take it for what it is. But my big takeaway is this:

    As a team, the Reds have cost themselves 6 runs trying to steal bases. In total, their base-running exploits have cost them 2 runs. It's a fun story to talk about how this team wins because it does the little things like taking the extra base. And I know that this team does attempt to take the extra base often. I like the mentality from a psychological perspective. But in reality, over the course of the season, it just doesn't matter all that much.

    Code:
    Players		SBOPP	EQSBR	EQBRR
    Drew Stubbs	36	 1.8	 3.8
    Brandon Phillip 26	-1.8	 3.6
    Chris Dickerson	 3	 0.5	 1.5
    Miguel Cairo	 4	 0.7	 0.8
    Micah Owings	 0	 0.0	 0.2
    Jim Edmonds	 0	 0.0	 0.2
    Jonny Gomes	 6	-0.5	 0.0
    Juan Francisco	 0	 0.0	 0.0
    Aaron Harang	 0	 0.0	 0.0
    Mike Lincoln	 0	 0.0	 0.0
    Travis Wood	 0	 0.0	 0.0
    Matt Maloney	 0	 0.0	 0.0
    Willie Bloomqui	 0	 0.0	 0.0
    Mike Leake	 0	 0.0	-0.1
    Bronson Arroyo	 0 	 0.0	-0.1
    Homer Bailey	 0	 0.0	-0.1
    Edinson Volquez	 0	 0.0	-0.1
    Sam LeCure	 0	 0.0	-0.1
    Drew Sutton	 0	 0.0	-0.1
    Corky Miller	 0	 0.0	-0.2
    Yonder Alonso	 0	 0.0	-0.3
    Chris Heisey	 2	-1.5	-0.4
    Chris Valaika	 0	 0.0	-0.4
    Joey Votto	23	-1.2	-0.5
    Orlando Cabrera	16	-0.8	-0.6
    Johnny Cueto	 0	 0.0	-0.6
    Ramon Hernandez	 0	 0.0	-1.2
    Laynce Nix	 2	-0.7	-1.2
    Paul Janish	 4	-1.5	-1.2
    Scott Rolen	 3	-0.3	-1.5
    Ryan Hanigan	 0	 0.0	-1.7
    Jay Bruce	10	-0.9	-1.8
    	       135	-6.1	-2.1
    And lastly, if I can go on a tangent for a minute, we should be careful when we latch on to narratives without verifying them at all. I'm sure Scott Rolen is a very smart base-runner, but unless somebody points out the failures in BPs methodology, it doesn't look like he's had a great year on the bases. Meanwhile, while Phillips has had his share of flubs on the base-paths, it seems he's more than made up for it elsewhere. Confirmation bias is a powerful beast. Once we have an idea in our heads about a guy, particularly one which we think is deep-seated, like character, we view everything the player does through that prism. It's impossible to get outside of that completely, but that's why I find the sabermetric approach so interesting, it's objective. Its methodologies are public and can be tested and improved. Its biases are apparent and open for discussion. And its inputs are clear. I don't know if this stat from BP is the best one out there. But I have more faith in it as a measure of past performance (not ability) than I do of my own recollections or those of announcers looking for a narrative.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-23-2010 at 11:09 AM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Stolen bases

    I haven't examined BP's methodology, but it doesn't seem to be like a good method. Considering we are one of the most aggressive teams on the bases, and possibly the most aggressive not including steals, and are leading the league in runs, something doesn't add up. It's not like we have a powerhouse lineup up and down, just a solid 1-8, with a stud in Votto.

    I am guessing the method of placing negative value on baserunnings outs doesn't consider where the out happened, and when it happened. Getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double with 2 outs is not nearly as bad as trying to stretch a double into a triple with 0 outs and getting thrown out.
    "Today was the byproduct of us thinking we can come back from anything." - Joey Votto after blowing a 10-1 lead and holding on for the 12-11 win on 8/25/2010.

  10. #9
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    wow RMR, exactly what i wasn't hoping for, a discussion on the value of the SB.

    I just noticed that for some reason, THIS year, BP's SB% is way down. I'm guessing it is injury related, but I can't imagine Votto beating him in a footrace today. That leaves us with when not to run.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  11. #10
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Quote Originally Posted by Griffey012 View Post
    I haven't examined BP's methodology, but it doesn't seem to be like a good method. Considering we are one of the most aggressive teams on the bases, and possibly the most aggressive not including steals, and are leading the league in runs, something doesn't add up. It's not like we have a powerhouse lineup up and down, just a solid 1-8, with a stud in Votto.

    I am guessing the method of placing negative value on baserunnings outs doesn't consider where the out happened, and when it happened. Getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double with 2 outs is not nearly as bad as trying to stretch a double into a triple with 0 outs and getting thrown out.
    The issue I have with the BP method is it takes each individual SB or extra base attempt in a vacuum. It also assumes that regardless of the outcome of the event, the defensive team will play and position themselves the same way. You can't tell me that getting to 3rd base (via SB, 1st to 3rd, or tag up) that the defense, and even pitcher for that matter, will pitch/position the same way as if the runner was held at 2nd. The value of getting to 3b, especially with less that 2 outs, is very high.

    I am a big proponent of aggressive base running. When you are aggressive you put extra stress on the defensive team. There are going to be times when you run into outs, but I think the overall value is much higher.

    As for Scott Rolen there are times in which he has been gunned out trying to work for an extra base. When you hear opposing players, managers, and scouts rave about Scott Rolen's base running I am more inclined to put more faith in them than a BP method that seems flawed to me.

  12. #11
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Another huge flaw to the BP method is that BP is almost the best base runner on our team...when anyone who watches games realizes BP is an absolute awful base runner.

    I would actually be inclined to believe it a little more if those numbers were reversed...with Stubbs and Phillips being the worst because they both seem to make the most boneheaded base runnings plays of anyone on the team.
    "Today was the byproduct of us thinking we can come back from anything." - Joey Votto after blowing a 10-1 lead and holding on for the 12-11 win on 8/25/2010.

  13. #12
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Last edited by Roy Tucker; 09-23-2010 at 01:35 PM.

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  14. #13
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Quote Originally Posted by Griffey012 View Post
    Another huge flaw to the BP method is that BP is almost the best base runner on our team...when anyone who watches games realizes BP is an absolute awful base runner.

    I would actually be inclined to believe it a little more if those numbers were reversed...with Stubbs and Phillips being the worst because they both seem to make the most boneheaded base runnings plays of anyone on the team.
    Part of the reason they make the most boneheaded plays is because they make the most plays, period. But our brains are wired to remember those plays which elicit a strong emotional reaction, so we tend to remember the negative plays disproportionately -- as a counting stat which simply accrues negatives rather than as a rate stat in which the negatives and positives balance each other out. Also, and this is what i was getting at above, we are more likely to remember things that confirm our pre-existing beliefs. So if we think BP is a bad base-runner, you will sub-consciously be on the lookout for things that reinforce that belief.

    Don't get me wrong, I was surprised as anybody that Phillips rated well. But he was by far the best on the team at taking an extra base on hits and fly ball outs. These likely don't stand out that much since they aren't terribly exciting.

    But I would caution you against dismissing a stat simply because it suggests a conclusion which differs from the one you currently hold. Whether or not you "believe" a stat should be based on its underlying logic and methodology, not on whether it's conclusion feels right. The great thing about stats is that, if they are flawed, we can point to the thing we have a problem with. Our own internal math is completely opaque and subject to biases that even the best of us have trouble accounting for.

    That's not to say that perception is wrong or that stats are always right -- in this case or any. Often our eyes help us to identify something the stat misses or handles poorly. But the idea of the earth going around the sun felt plainly and obviously wrong to most people too.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-23-2010 at 02:08 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Stolen bases

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I like the mentality from a psychological perspective. But in reality, over the course of the season, it just doesn't matter all that much.
    The math is clear but baseball's a fluid game. With fewer homeruns, the ratios have to be changed.

  16. #15
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Stolen bases

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    The math is clear but baseball's a fluid game. With fewer homeruns, the ratios have to be changed.
    Fair point. BP uses the run value changes of the base/out states. As you say, in a lower home run environment, fewer runners are likely to score from 1B. Park effects matter here too. A stolen base is a more valuable in PETCO than Coors.

    Here is BP's explanation:
    Measures the number of runs contributed by a player's advancement on the bases, above what would be expected based on the number and quality of the baserunning opportunities with which the player is presented, park-adjusted and based on a multi-year run expectancy table. EqBRR is calculated as the sum of various baserunning components: Equivalent Ground Advancement Runs (EqGAR), Equivalent Stolen Base Runs (EqSBR), Equivalent Air Advancement Runs (EqAAR), Equivalent Hit Advancement Runs (EqHAR) and Equivalent Other Advancement Runs (EqOAR).
    I'm not sure what years are covered in the expectancy table they're using, but I'm pretty sure that more recent one which reflects the current run environment would not have a massive effect on the figures here. Some effect, but not one that would fundamentally alter the general order of performance.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.


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