Comment by Matt Lentzner — July 17, 2010 @ 2:02 pm
I’m not sure. I know the Reds radio guys have made a big deal about the Reds as a whole being among the best in the league at taking extra bases, especially earlier in the season. I’m not sure if that is a “team-wide philosophy” or if Bruce is skewing the numbers. In any case, it doesn’t explain why he’s not better about taking the extra base on outs.
What about park effects though? GABP is small. Perhaps the kinds of long fly balls that runners tend to advance on are home runs in their home park?
I would say it definitely is a team philosophy to take the extra base. I also think the difference between taking the extra base on hits vs. outs is probably still a sample size issue. A half-season’s worth of data is small enough for there to be weird stuff happening. Just thinking off the top of my head, there have been plenty of times guys have been on 2nd or 3rd needing to be sac’d over and the batter didn’t get it done, usually by hitting a pop fly to shallow.
usage Sense 2 (using the word to mean “incredible”) was revived in the 20th century after a couple of centuries of disuse. Although it is a sense with good literary precedent—among others Shakespeare used it—many people think it is a result of confusion with incredible, which is still the usual word in this sen
Sorry to be nit-picky, but there is a difference. And if you thought 10.2 percent was a lot, then 46.2 should blow you out of the water. Each of Bruce’s balls in play is nearly half again as likely to land for a hit this year compared to last year. Not bad.
Comment by notdissertating — July 17, 2010 @ 8:15 pm
Actually, I think he was right in the first place. It’s a semantic thing, but 10.2 percent more of the BALLS IN PLAY are turning into hits. If you wanted to, you could say that his BABIP increased by 46.2 percent.
It’s much easier to go from first to third when a ball is hit to right field, especially if it’s a bloop from a contact hitter. Granted, Drew Stubbs, who normally hits right behind Bruce, is by no means a contact hitter. However, behind Stubbs is either going to be Ryan Hanigan or Ramon Hernandez, who are both contact hitters that love to hit to the opposite field. In fact, the entire Reds team just happens to be really good at playing small ball and hitting the ball the other way when the opportunity calls for it. I think a lot more of the Reds’ success can be attributed to their smart base-running than most publications are willing to recognize. This article might just be the tip of the iceberg.
In my coaching experience(albeit not MLB caliber, of course), the runner on third is responsible for tagging up when he sees fit.
The idea is that it takes a fraction of a second for the coach to see the catch, say “Go!”, the player to hear that, and then react. As I’ve seen it done, the player simply judges his speed and the depth of the ball and tags as soon as he sees the ball hit the glove.
While I don’t know what the Reds do, obviously, I’m willing to bet the same.
If anything, this appears to just be an indication that Bruce isn’t very confident in his speed. Not to mention, there are a number of strong armed right and center fielders in his division
Small sample size and variance should almost certainly be part of the explanation, here. According the Baseball Reference Bruce has been on first when a single or double has been hit 20 times and on second when a single has been hit 13 times. So we’re talking about only 33 instances where the extra base is even going to come into play. He took that extra base 23 times which gets us that 70% number but how many of those times weren’t a measure of skill but were balls that any runner would have advanced on? I’m not saying that he’s not a skilled baserunner but with such a small sample size the normal variance that could be in play could easily account for the large percentage.
There are factors beyond a baserunner’s control that can affect his taking the extra base on a hit:
1. Where it’s hit- all things being equal there’s a better chance on going 1st to 3rd on a hit to right than to left. And on one in the gap than on one hit directly at.
2. How deep the outfielders are playing- the deeper they’re playing the longer the required throw is.
3. How hard the ball is hit- a harder hit ball or liner gets to the outfield faster than a groundball hit does.
4. The number of outs- you generally get a better jump with 2 outs.
5. The size of the park- Outfielders in general have to play deeper at Coors than at Wrigley for example; which reverts back to number 2.
6. The hitter’s ability to turn a long single into a double-if the hitter is good at that then that reduces the number of singles the runner is advancing on.
To add on to the Hernandez/Hanigan thing: Both those guys are slow. So is it possible that Bruce gets credit for advancing an “extra” base on the catchers’ “long singles,” when he wouldn’t get the same credit if, for example, Stubbs was doubling on the same ball?
This is the type of situation where guys like Keith Hernandez earned reputations as being good baserunners without being speedsters.
Others have made good points on aspects that could create the appearance if being a smart baserunner, when the actual situation is that the average runner would advance on those times.
2 things from a former player (a pitcher that would be used as late-game runner and right field defensive sub) …
(1) Runners at 3rd don’t wait for a “go” from the coach, nor do they wait to see the ball in the glove. They anticipate the timing of the catch. It works out because once the body gets ready to move, the actual catch is made.
(2) The easiest balls to advance first to third are soft liners over the 2B. They are easy to read and the runner on 1st has a great view. You sometimes have to hesitate on liners, but on ground balls to the right side, you’re running like mad trying to take away a force at 2B and this is where the 3rd base coach comes into play. Ground balls up the middle are even better. The runner gets a great jump, and he can see everything (ball and CF) right in front of him. The only time a runner might not advance is if the CF was shading toward RF and was charging hard with his momentum going toward 3B. Any time the OF’s mo is taking him “away from the play” , the runner will go.
One of the little things worth watching is how a RF will trot after a base hit in front of him, baiting the runner to try and advance. I’ve seen younger Vlad and JUpton do this. It works because you can either throw the guy out at 3rd or hit the cutoff man who can try and catch the trail runner rounding the bag with 1B trailing him.
Comment by CircleChange11 — July 18, 2010 @ 4:21 pm
I’m not really familiar with the stats, but if the added value is in scoring from second and the negative value is in not tagging from second to third, it might just be that he’s more aggressive on questionable fly balls/pop-ups to the outfield; e.g. not coming back to tag up on balls that may or may not be caught.
This would make sense to me since it would seem that the decision to tag from third is generally pretty straight forward.
To reference the early part of the article, does anyone else legitimately believe that Bruce is “on the right track towards projected stardom” based on this year’s numbers? A 0.334 wOBA does not get me THAT excited. Where is the 0.400 wOBA he put up as he tore through every level of the minors? With this being his 3rd year at the show, I really expected he would at least have made a more significant improvement (~15%+) in wOBA versus his ’08 season.