In THIS POST I took a look at how teams across the American League fared at taking the extra base when given the opportunity. The Rays fared pretty well, so I wanted to see how they’ve done at the individual level across their existence. I don’t proclaim this to be predictive and the sample sizes are pretty small. There’s a lot of luck involved since each event is usually going to be very close (very rarely do you seen a guy thrown out by a couple of steps), but as the sample gets larger you see guys that show they are better than average (or worse than average) over time. Think of this as like UZR where you want to look at more than one year before coming to some broad conclusion. This is a fairly large chart, so I’m going to hide it after the jump…
Note that this is only the players that had contributed to each of the categories so many were left off, but the samples were generally obscenely small. Also, you will recall from the initial article that we compared the bases “gained” to the league average in that situation. The “gained” component in the instances above was compared to the league average over all players over the entirety of the study (including those that were thrown out for not meeting all the situations). You can find all the components for every AL player by year (the years tabs) in this WORKBOOK (download and open to play around with it). You’ll also find all players that met the criteria on the “All Data” tab and all the Rays regardless of whether they met the criteria on the “Summary” tab. The “All Table” tab is a pivot table that you can plug and play with if you have knowledge of these things. Even if you don’t you may want to move some stuff around and check it out as it’s a pretty awesome tool. For those that don’t want to open the book, here are the top-10 and bottom-10 seasons from 1998 – 2010 (Click to Enlarge):
I find it amazing that Randy Velarde went 1st to 3rd on a single 17 times more than the average player in that scenario, while only getting thrown out once while scoring from 1st on a double 4 more times than average (without getting thrown out) and scored from 2nd on a single 3 times (while getting hosed once) for a total of 22 bases taken. Interesting from a Rays-fan perspective that Jason Bartlett’s last season in Minnesota when he was labeled a pirahna came in 5th place. Perhaps this is one area that the Rays saw him being a huge contributor. Some of these guys are fast, but not all of them, which shows that being smart is the sixth tool that never gets mentioned.
On the bottom we see mostly big, slow guys that are generally going to move station-to-station. Generally, it’s not that they get thrown out being overly-aggressive (they do, but it’s not a huge hit), but that they almost never move up compared to the average player. They are always content to stop at the easier base which probably does give a little bit of credence to the term “base-clogger.” Since most of these guys are high walk/high power guys it probably makes a lot of sense to not give into them and just give them a free pass since they’re not likely to take advantage of your defense.
Please let me know if there are any questions (read the first article first as I cover most of the minutiae there) @SandyKazmir or in the comments below. I have led you to the watering hole here, it’s up to you to take a sip. It’s a really impressive collection of data and if you have knowledge of pivot tables you can glean a ton of information about your favorite players or teams here.