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  1. Great analysis. Are you strictly talking about swiping 2nd base? How does the calculus change when going from 2nd to 3rd, or 3rd to home?

    Comment by Herbstr8t — January 17, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  2. Mets and Cubs: models of efficiency

    Comment by jwise224 — January 17, 2013 @ 11:16 am

  3. Excellent article. I think the next step would be to rank break-even rate by position in the batting order. Since your highest HR rates are typically going to occupy the 3-5 spots in the order, I would expect that the break even rate for guys in the 1-2 spots are lower, but they would start rising as you go from 4-8.

    I guess I’ve never really thought of it, but if you have a guy that has a high OBP, a high HR rate, and good SB speed (say, Ryan Braun)–instead of batting him 2nd or 3rd where you would traditionally place him, put him behind your slower boppers at #5 so that you can utilize his speed more in front of your singles/doubles guys at the bottom of the order. Would the RE advantages gained from extra bases outweigh the handful of extra plate appearances from the higher batting slot over the course of a season?

    Comment by Ian — January 17, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  4. I’m a bit confused about one point. What inherently makes what the Phillies and Twins did “too passive?” By this logic, it feels like you’re implying that it’s best when the actual success rate equals the break even rate. If a team such as the Padres stole more frequently as suggested, there’s the faulty assumption that they’d steal bases at the same rate. Drastically increasing SB attempts just because you have “banked” surplus value to work with doesn’t seem wise. However, with this in mind, there is the idea of using your advantage. If SB success is a strength, then what is the optimal SB success rate above break-even (i.e., the rate at which you’re maximizing your attempts and your success)?

    Maybe this is just my risk averse side speaking, but while I like parts of this article a lot, the implications about what to do with a break-even rate are confusing.

    Comment by Ziltoid — January 17, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  5. I have a similar question about how to reason with the break-even rate.

    Comment by LTG — January 17, 2013 @ 11:27 am

  6. What program did you use for your graphics here?

    Comment by vignette17 — January 17, 2013 @ 11:32 am

  7. This confused me a bit too. Maybe the thinking is that since their success rate was so high, they must have had the personell in place to steal bases successfully, and even if their success dropped a bit in the extra attempts, their break even point was so low that they would likely still accumulate value through their extra attempts.

    Comment by Matt — January 17, 2013 @ 11:37 am

  8. This! And really, base-out states ought to considered too. I’ve never seen a full table of seasonal RE24 (or WPA) by team on base-steals.

    Not to mention the inconsistent treatment of pickoffs, which ought to be part of these sorts of equations but end up being at the scorer’s discretion as to whether or not they are CS. And then there’s hit-and-runs, and missed squeezes, and so on.

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — January 17, 2013 @ 11:40 am

  9. If you’re saying drop Braun in the batting order because he can steal bases, I disagree completely, only because you don’t want to take plate appearances away from your best hitter. However, the idea that the break even threshold will be lower for players batting AFTER the big HR hitters in the lineup makes sense. This makes it seem like speed guys should be batting lower in the lineup, or at least that the lower spots in the lineup should be attempting more steals. This doesn’t mean you have to drop a speedster (e.g. Trout) just because he’s fast, just that a batter at the top of the order might need a higher success rate to break even than if he were batting, say, 6th or 7th.

    Comment by Matt — January 17, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  10. In the case of the Phillies, if they were stealing that succesfully, the point is that they should steal more. Then they’ve stolen tons more bases and presumably scored more runs by having more guys in scoring position, etc.

    In theory, once they’ve ramped up the steal attempts, at that point they re-assess their SB success rate. If theyre still stealing that successfully, or even more successfully, with more attempts, than they’re golden. Maintaining that 16% differential is incredible if they’re stealing as much as possible. However, if they start stealing more and the success rate declines, that’s OK as long as the rate doesn’t get below the break even point.

    That’s at least my understanding. Having a 16% differential isn’t inherently bad. But it means you should be stealing as much as possible because you’re so successful at it.

    Comment by Brian L — January 17, 2013 @ 11:46 am

  11. Third to last paragraph, last word, should be renaissance?

    Good article!

    Comment by ettin — January 17, 2013 @ 11:52 am

  12. “They left far more productivity rotting on the table than the Pirates threw into the festering waste bin that was their 2012 season.”

    I have trouble understanding how this follows from the statistical analysis. And neither of your responses justifies it. Maybe a little productivity was left on the table because we can safely assume that had they attempted more steals at least some of them would have been successful. But we can’t be sure how to project their success rates as they take more risks. And to turn the rates into productivity we need to know how runs correlate to number of attempts. In other words, we need an optimization formula before we can infer that the teams “left far more productivity rotting on the table than the Pirates threw into the festering waste bin.”

    Comment by LTG — January 17, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  13. That’s what I ultimately think, but this work does not include how to know if they’re getting the extra value because of those attempts, or when a team should stop doing that extra stealing.

    Comment by Ziltoid — January 17, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

  14. Steal a bag for Lennay!

    Comment by Manti Te'o — January 17, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

  15. @LTG- Exactly!

    Comment by Ziltoid — January 17, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  16. This is exactly the idea here. I did not have enough time or space to fully flesh out this idea, but since even the most prolific base-stealing teams are running on only 10% of chances, there is reason to believe, teams with relatively effective running — like the Phillies — should be running even more.

    That’s not to say a 0% net is the goal. The goal is perfect base running, obviously. But we have seen an uptick in base running effectiveness. Now it’s time to see an uptick in base running quantities.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — January 17, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  17. Google Drive. Would you believe it?

    I was hoping to make them interactive, but that effort proved rich with problems. Hopefully Google will sort out some of their more complex embeddable problems.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — January 17, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

  18. I’m not sure if it’s British spelling or what, but that’s what my spellchecker suggested.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/renascence

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — January 17, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

  19. Quoth LTG:

    In other words, we need an optimization formula before we can infer that the teams “left far more productivity rotting on the table than the Pirates threw into the festering waste bin.”

    That is precisely the next step, in my opinion. Granted, I am looking at the SB/CS balance with a wide lens, and getting more granular (examining 2B and 3B steals; looking at running going, foul ball frequencies, etc.) will have its benefits, but first priority, I think, is to find the more literal, less hyperbolic “productivity rotting on the table.”

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — January 17, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

  20. With regards to the Twins and their rates…..are these figures regressed? As in….should one have expected those rates to stay the same if the Twins had attempted 1.5x as many thefts? 2.0x?

    Comment by Brandon Warne — January 17, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

  21. What this article is missing, is some estimate of how many runs were are talking about, by being more aggressive. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1125906/index.htm

    Comment by payroll — January 17, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

  22. You pretty much answered your own question… the optimal success rate is the whole point of the article. He’s not arguing that the PHI or MIN should maintain their SB rate no matter how many attempts. That is the whole point. The could steal more and more until their rate of success decreased to their optimal breakeven rate. By having such a high rate of success, it suggests they are being too selective in their attempts, and not stealing enough.

    No one is saying it is good to get CS more, but that even as their success rate declines with more attempts, they are still getting a net value from those additional bases.

    Comment by Steve — January 17, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  23. Well the author is wrong about this. If you studied economics, you would know that they’re only leaving production on the table if the marginal value of an additional steal is positive.

    An analogy would be you would want to find the profit maximizing rate, not the rate when your company breaks even.

    If the actual success rate is only slightly higher than the break even success rate, you’re probably stealing too much.

    Comment by Bisu — January 17, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  24. Very interesting analysis.

    However, giving major league managers a bit of credit, you’d have to think that – perhaps – the increased aggressiveness would come at a poor success rate. If the Royals’ high success rate came from aggressive but judicious baserunning then adding another 10 SB might take 20 extra attempts. The numbers are arbitrary but the point remains – I don’t think there’s added value in making more attempts just because you’ve got ‘outs to burn.’

    That being said, it is interesting to note the correlation between HR rates and the value of a SB.

    Comment by Yonni — January 17, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

  25. This is a fabulous and fascinating article. Even though I don’t understand the math, this is cool stuff and you have to wonder if MLB teams are doing analysis at this level.

    Comment by Subversive — January 17, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

  26. Thanks for your responses, but they skirt around the point. It seems to me you just should not have written that sentence about the Phillies and Twins productivity because it isn’t justified by anything in the article, yet appears to be justified by the break-even rate because you draw an analogy with the Pirates. The sentence is just confusing and should be stricken, even if, when the final analysis is complete, you are correct.

    Otherwise, it’s a very interesting article and I look forward to the follow-ups.

    Comment by LTG — January 17, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  27. Well that is what I’m contemplating. Conventional wisdom is that you don’t sacrifice the additional plate appearances. But all late game plate appearances (the ones you would be adding) aren’t necessarily high leverage. The idea of moving him down to take better advantage of his speed is to make better use of every time he reaches first base. Including the fringe benefits, like the lesser hitters in the 6/7 spots getting more fastballs.

    Two spots is a ways to move down though. That’s giving up roughly 30-40 PA’s per season.

    Comment by Ian — January 17, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  28. Exactly….

    The other problem is that stolen base capability is not uniformly dispersed among a team. If 2 or 3 good basestealers are nearly maxed out on attempts (from an “efficiency” perspective), it hardly makes sense for slower runners to run more just so the overall success rate drops to equal things out. You may pick up a few extra stolen bases but at that point it may have negative marginal value.

    In short not all stolen base opportunities are created equal, yet they are being treated as one large predictable aggregate.

    Comment by Hank — January 17, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  29. So it’s like a suplly demand curve?

    Comment by JeffT — January 17, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

  30. You beat me to it. Yeah, it seems likely to me that increased aggression would come at the cost of lower success rates, due to [probably] more attempts during more unfavorable opportunities to steal.

    By how much? Who knows. Seems that figuring that out would take something like timing pitchers to home when there are runners on and estimating the likelihood of the particular runners stealing the bases, based on their past times as well as the catchers’. THAT would actually tell you how good the opportunities were, and how likely each was to have been a wasted one (of course, you’d also want to take lineup effects and outs into consideration, in determining the break-even).

    I love the analysis, though, Bradley.

    Comment by Steve Staude. — January 17, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  31. What would be the most “profitable” (optimal) stolen base phiolosophy then?

    Comment by JeffT — January 17, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

  32. What software did you use for the analysis? I like the output scheme.

    Comment by Aaron — January 17, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

  33. If a team is stealing bases at their break even rate, they are getting exactly 0 value from stealing bases. If a team attempts 0 stolen bases, they have are getting 0 value. But somewhere in between, attempting with enough restraint to maintain a good SB%, they will add positive value. So the question is, where is the optimal point between never attempting to steal and attempting so often that your success rate reaches your break even rate?

    Comment by Bip — January 17, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

  34. Is regressing the right strategy? It should be done, yes, but to me there is a far more glaring factor when discussing whether teams should steal more.

    Presumably, teams are far more likely to steal when given a good opportunity to succeed. This means they probably are doing a lot of their running on favorable counts, against pitchers who are slow to the plate, against catchers with bad arms, etc. Undoubtedly if they are to steal more, that would involve running in less favorable situations. This would undoubtedly lower success rate even if a team’s true talent success rate at their number of attempts is exactly what you see above.

    Also, the more a team runs, the more the other team prepares for the run. Players who rarely run sometimes catch opposing teams with their pants down this way. See Jeff’s humorous article about pitcher steals.

    Comment by Bip — January 17, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  35. Here’s a little guide for how to look at the ideal attempt rate.

    Say a team’s break even rate is 65%. Their success rate is 75%, or 150 steals and 50 CS. This team might be advised to steal more. Let’s say next year they attempt 20% more, so 40 more total attempts. Let’s say their success rate goes down to 70%, or 168 steals and 72 CS. Since they’re still stealing at a better rate than their break even rate, they’re still adding positive value. What is not clear on its face is whether they were better off with fewer attempts at a better rate. Obviously stealing more is good if you maintain a better-than-break-even rate. The question is what is the trade-off in value between more attempts and less success?

    We do have an easy way to measure this though. With 200 attempts at 75% success, they’ve added a certain value, X. Those hypothetical 40 attempts that don’t happen add 0 value so their total value is X. Let’s say they try 40 more times. Those 40 SB attempts are independent from the original 200 let’s say, which may be effectively true. Attempting a steal doesn’t affect the value gained or not gained from the other 200 attempts. So we can keep that number X and simply add the value of the additional 40. Of those 40 steals 18 were successful and 22 were not. That’s a 45% success rate. Those attempts, also being independent, can be assigned a value Y, which is clearly negative. So the total value of the 240 attempts is X + Y, which is less than X. They were better off not trying those extra times.

    So the point here is that an attempt rate is optimal when additional attempts will come at the break even rate. This is based on the assumption that the derivative of success rate with respect to SB attempts is uniformly negative, something I think is safe to assume, once you have a significant number of attempts.

    Comment by Bip — January 17, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

  36. To this point, the table should reflect the success rate at which you stop attempting steals AT THE MARGIN. If Rollins is standing at first and he has >68% chance of success, he should steal; if not, he should stay put.

    A team that is operating perfectly in terms of decision-making will undoubtedly see its success rate exceed the figures in this table. The Mets, for example, were definitely too aggressive, since they wound up with 0 value from SBs.

    Comment by Jason — January 17, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

  37. Bang! Bisu and Hank have nailed it. The important thing to know is the marginal value of each additional steal attempt, which will vary depending on the base stealer, pitcher, catcher, which base is being stolen, and the chance that someone behind him in the lineup will homer.

    These are all known variables in most cases, so I think a formula could be worked out that takes all that into account and projects the marginal value for each steal attempt, which would tell you whether it makes sense to run or not. That would be a pretty cool tool.

    Comment by JaysRock — January 17, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

  38. It seems to be that the optimal number of steal attempts is where you attempt to steal any time doing so has positive marginal value — i.e., when the chance of stealing a base is greater than the break-even CS% for the particular situation. That approach would maximize the profitability of stealing, since you would only steal when doing so is profitable.

    If you do this stealing analysis by taking a team average approach, the result is you get a suggestion that a team should steal more or less, but it does not tell you the who and when. The real answer is likely that they should steal more in certain situations, and less in others.

    Comment by JaysRock — January 17, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

  39. I got into baseball in the early 80′s. I grew up learning the game while guys like Henderson, Raines, & Coleman were running the deals. I LOVE SMALL BALL and STOLEN BASES! Dude! If we’re heading into an era where that’s more available than the 90′s slugfest (which I never really liked), than I am all for it. Gimme a modern pair of young 100-base stealers! Yes! Maybe I’m being too hopeful…. but we’re waaayyy overdue for someone to reach the 80 steal mark. I think the last time was in ’88. I’m still having withdrawals from the pre-Bash brothers baseball.

    Comment by Devon — January 17, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  40. Bradley, I liked the concept of the different breakeven points by teams. I am sure that this could even can be applied by hitter. But my question is, How does the number of Outs change the Breakeven rate? I am sure it has too. While the Giants, as a team, need only a 64.53% BE point, I am certaing that has to vary based on who is at the plate, and the number of outs? Has this research been done? For example, whats the BE success rate when there is a runner on 1st and the choices are, Barry Zito is batting with 0 out, vs Buster posey batting with 2 out. Also the run differential could be a factor as well. I noticed a previous reply where you mentioned looking at this problem through a wide lens and feel you did a great job of it, is there any anlysis being done to look at in a more specific setting?

    Comment by Nick Doyle — January 17, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

  41. All of it was done on Google Drive’s spreedsheet interface. Real basic stuff.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — January 17, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  42. I think the ‘runs left on the table’ argument is a little overstated. Echoing earlier comments, it occurs to me that the breakeven rate will be highest for the first few batters in the order, since the batters while they’re on base will be most likely to hit a home run. However, most teams place their speedsters in the 1 and 2 spots in the batting order, at least to a significant extent. That means that the runners who take the most chances on the base paths are the very runners who need a higher breakeven point to gain value, and therefore the team’s stealing success rate, aggregated, should rightly sit higher than the lineup’s overall breakeven point calculated above.

    This isn’t to say that there isn’t value to be gained by stealing more. But it’s a reason that the numbers probably aren’t as high as the table suggests. There’s also the angle of re-ordering the lineup to account for stolen base runs, but that requires other considerations as well. Game theory plays into it as well, as increasing the running game will result in tighter control of the running game, and previously high-percentage steal attempts will become less successful.

    Comment by Newcomer — January 17, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

  43. Great read for sure; thank you, Bradley. I enjoyed learning how the value of a SB is quite team dependent.

    I’d love to see some breakdown of how often each team stole 2nd and stole 3rd, and with how many outs, and how that further impacts each team’s NET % based on the new run expectancy. Seems to me some of the numbers may change based on this data, no?

    Comment by Matt — January 17, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

  44. Good analysis but I just can’t get the image of “more teams … sliding across home plate as singles, doubles, and the odd triple” out of my head. What would that even look like?

    Comment by Aaron Murray — January 17, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

  45. I looked a little more at the Phillies stats since they are who I root for. I’d be more concerned if they were say last in SBs, they were 11th. So it’s not as if they were trying less than other teams. They had 4 principal base stealers: Juan Pierre, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley. Only Jimmy Rollins was a starter for the whole year. Shane was traded at the deadline, Chase was injured for the first half, and Pierre didn’t start every game. Shane was 7th[w/ LAD too], Pierre 10th, Rollins 18th, so lets say they were mostly maxed out. Hardly anyone else stole any bases[Pete Orr has a relatively high steal attempt per time on base rate, but he wasn't on base much as he didn't play much]. So a couple of theories:

    a) Rookie types either aren’t given the green light, or are afraid to make a mistake. It seems like players like Freddy Galvis, Dominic Brown should have tried to steal at some point, and yet they didn’t. Hell, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee both have an attempted steal.

    b) Alternatively, players that weren’t around when Davey Lopes was in charge of the running game are less apt to steal.

    c) Players at the bottom of order are afraid to steal. On the one hand it would seem this is when there is the most upside to stealing. On the other hand, especially a rookie type might not be allowed to steal with 2 outs and the pitcher batting for instance.

    Looking forward to 2013, 2 of their base stealers are gone, but one has been replaced with Revere who should have a green light and steal and decent amount. A full season of Chase Utley healthy might get them another 10 steals or so. But Michael Young and Ryan Howard are never going to steal a base, and I’m mildly surprised that Ruiz had 4[some of those must have been the pitcher not paying attention]. Ruff isn’t going to have any steals either if he earns significant playing time. So really that leaves them with Brown/Mayberry attempting some steals if they don’t want a large drop in their stolen base numbers[though just Revere/Rollins/Utley will get them 80-90 in all likelihood].

    Comment by Travis — January 17, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

  46. Ian, please stop contemplating. Braun’s stolen bases should have no impact on moving him lower in the order. No impact at all.

    Comment by vivalajeter — January 17, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  47. If the Mets wound up with 0 value from SBs, doesn’t that mean they were essentially the right amount of agressiveness? If they had negative value, they were too aggressive. If they had positive value, they should’ve run more often. With 0 value, it’s neither good nor bad.

    Comment by vivalajeter — January 17, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  48. Doesn’t this assume homogeneity of HR rates within each teams lineup? If a batter gets on first before the 7-8-9 batters come up, the HR expectations have to be much lower than before the 3-4-5 batters…

    Comment by TBH — January 17, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

  49. It assumes a lot of things. It’s the first in step in what can potentially be a very deep and complex analysis.

    Comment by Bip — January 18, 2013 @ 1:26 am

  50. In my opinion the Phillies are probably right where you want to be. My early impression that it is better to have a great success rate in fewer attempts. Read my post above. I show that stealing at a rate 10% above your break even point is much better than attempting 20% more at 5% above. The Brewers stole 42 more bags, but I’m inclined to think the Phillies still got more overall values from their attempts.

    Comment by Bip — January 18, 2013 @ 1:30 am

  51. You make a good point in your first paragraph. I’m sort of assuming that teams do what you’re saying to some extent when I hypothesize that success rate will decline with number of attempts, and a large reason is that teams generally steal when they feel they have a good chance of being successful, and stealing more means stealing in situations where they have a smaller chance.

    But depending on how precisely we can measure the chance of success, that would be the way to go. We wouldn’t even be able to measure the value of such a strategy the way I’m doing it though, because I’m assuming a constant break-even percentage. What we could do is average the break-even percentage for each state where a steal is attempted. It’s irrelevant to include data from PA’s where no steal is attempted, since non-attempts are value-neutral by designation. So what we’d have is a lower break even percentage, and since success rate is also maximized, we’d also have a higher success rate.

    Comment by Bip — January 18, 2013 @ 1:39 am

  52. Great analysis. You could see the game changing in this direction so it’s no surprise that the value of good base stealers is on the rise. I always thought the good base stealer was improperly undervalued even during the steroid era. The statistics that devalued steals during the steroid era looked like they really focused on the + value of a steal vs. the – value of the caught stealing. I don’t think those statistics captured the + value of just having a feared base stealer standing on first(not sure where the “fear” line is drawn).

    When certain base stealers get on 1b in a close game we have always seen the following 2 or 3 things consistently happen:

    1.) One of the middle infielders pinches in toward 2nd base which is a different spot than they would normally play that batter.
    2.) The pitcher often changes the mix and location of pitches normally thrown to the next batter to better hold the stealer at 1b and/or to give the catcher a better chance to throw him out.
    3.) Some pitchers actually go to seldom used mechanics for getting the ball to the plate (the slide step or a quickened pace).

    So to me in close games a feared base stealer has always changed the way the opposing team and pitcher want to do things. I’m not sure how you capture this effect or even if you have to. I think it goes without saying if you can cause a defense or pitcher to change what they would prefer to do, you have gained an advantage.

    Comment by GoodasGoldy — January 18, 2013 @ 3:11 am

  53. I think if you had a power/speed/low OBP guy it would make sense. But a high OBP is going to be more important in front of the other sluggers than the speed behind them.

    I guess the guy they should be batting fifth is Carlos Gomez.

    Comment by Tim — January 18, 2013 @ 4:11 am

  54. We aren’t trying for indifference here, but runs. Teams should be maximizing (actual success rate – breakeven rate)*total attempts. Hitting the breakeven point is quite bad. Not Pirates-bad, but still not good.

    Comment by Tim — January 18, 2013 @ 4:15 am

  55. Click my name for a Google spreadsheet with net value and a plot of efficiency vs. value. The outlier on the right is the Phillies.

    Net value is in units of SB, so one thing that’s clear is how little this means. I don’t have the precise lwts numbers and Bradley’s link is not helpful, so I’ll just leave it there, but the Pirates lost somewhere in the neighborhood of two runs and the Padres gained somewhere in the neighborhood of four.

    Comment by Tim — January 18, 2013 @ 4:53 am

  56. Excellent. Thank you. If you don’t mind, I will probably use this as a model for my followup analysis.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — January 18, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  57. well… we ARE talking about the Mets – I wouldn’t rule out their desire for indifference. (but your point is absolutely correct – on a discrete basis, it might be okay to say that we are solving for indifference on a play-by-play basis, but certainly those decisions should result in a cumulative positive result)

    Comment by Steven — January 18, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  58. I think it is fair to say that the Phillies should have stolen more – they are sub-league average in attempt rates, well-above league average in success rates and have a large surplus in success above the b/e rate. I agree with the consensus that work needs to be done on an optimization algorithm, but the Phils are just too much of an outlier….

    Comment by Steven — January 18, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  59. No problem.

    Comment by Tim — January 18, 2013 @ 10:21 am

  60. Steven,

    1) Check out Travis’s post below for reasons why it is not fair to say the Phillies should have attempted more SBs.

    2) You still miss the point. The evidence in the article doesn’t support the conclusion about the Phillies. Even if the conclusion is true, it shouldn’t be there because the article misrepresents the inferential relations between the evidence and the conclusion.

    Comment by LTG — January 18, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  61. The break even point is the point at which Stolen Bases stop producing positive run value. So if your break even point is 65% and you steal at an 80% success rate then you’re producing positive value. If you attempted another 100 SB and were successful 66% of the time then you were still producing positive run value. You’d have produced more run value than if you had stoppe at your previous 80% success rate. As long as your success rate is above the break even point you are producing positive run value. If you stop with your success rate far above your break even poin then you are producing less total value than if you had stolen more bases at a success rate marginally above the break even point.

    Comment by ZB — January 18, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

  62. Wonderfully insightful and rigorous article, a good read.

    Comment by Luke — February 7, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

  63. However, moderate/below average on base guys with speed but no power (Juan Pierre back in the day, Michael Bourn…and eventually Billy Hamilton) *should* hit 6th/7th to minimize the risk taken on when he does run.

    Bham running in front of Votto/Bruce? Makes me cringe. Bham running in front of Mesoraco/Cozart? Go for it, bro.

    Comment by Carl Allen — May 11, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

  64. Very interesting stuff. Where did you get the break-even rates for all the seasons from 1950-2012 to plot those points?

    Comment by Lucas Quary — October 14, 2014 @ 10:03 am

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