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This is a quick post tonight, but it's still something worth mentioning . . .

Over at the excellent Beyond the Box Score site (network synergy!), there's an interesting look at leadoff hitters using regression analysis. I wish I knew how to do that stuff, but at least I know how to copy-paste-and-quote that stuff, right? Like this:

A [caught stealing] by the leadoff man is extremely damaging. Its negative value is about 14 times the positive value of a [stolen base] (normally this ratio is about 1.5 to 1). So it is a bad idea to have your leadoff man get caught stealing while the SB is not that big of a help.

"Bad idea" doesn't seem to describe it---or even begin to, for that matter. Battlefield Earth seems more like it.

Assuming that 14 times figure is trustworthy---or anything close---the Nats might do well to pause a moment before they endorse a fleet-footed swifty like Brandon Watson for anything approaching regular leadoff duty until they, you know, make sure the guy is adept at stealing bases. And, with Watson in particular, that assurance strikes me as somewhat uneven:

YR SB CS
99  4   2
00 26  9
01 ---
02 22 13
03 18 17
04 22 10
05 38 20
---------
  120 69

Needless to say, "proficient" would not be the first word that comes to mind; for that matter, "efficient" wouldn't be the second.

Of course, one also shouldn't lose sight of the fact that last season's leadoff guy, Brad Wilkerson, lacked both proficiency and efficiency in spades while on the basepaths---though I suppose all the botched hit-and-runs mitigated Wilkerson's own responsibility somewhat.

At any rate, the lesson seems to be that running wild is fine, as long as you don't get caught. Sort of like speeding, really.

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New blog joins the flock!

Welcome Church of Baseball within our midst. Sister Daedalus, a diarist here, has her own place. Intrepid reporter that I am, I (eventually) found it. Check out CoB for a sermon on the spring's blessing of rejuvenation.

Two words: base and ball.

Update [2006-2-7 21:47:41 by Basil]: Whoops. Thanks for pointing out the Wilkerson link, Harper. Corrected link