# Daily Notes: Best and Worst Base-Stealers, By One Measure

Best and Worst Base-Stealers, By One Measure
Introduction
With regard to the art and science of base-stealing — and assessing its best and worst practitioners — it’s fair to say that there are two main elements one must consider. First, a runner must steal bases efficiently per attempt. Some combination of empirical study and also Pete Palmer reveal that, depending on the run environment of the league or park or whatever, a runner must generally be successful on something like two-thirds or three-quarters of his stolen-base attempts just to break even in terms of runs gained or lost.

Moreover, to be regarded as a legitimate base-stealing threat, a runner must also attempt to steal rather frequently per stolen-base opportunity. It’s fair to say that, all things being equal, two runners who’ve finished the season 5-for-5 on stolen-base attempts have been equally valuable in terms of runs produced from stolen bases. However, if the former player did so in 100 opportunities while the latter did it in just 20, then surely the latter must be regarded as the more impressive base-stealer.

To account both for the efficiency and frequency of 2013’s base-stealers, the author has first calculated every major leaguer’s stolen-base runs using the current linear-weight values both for stolen bases and caught stealing, and then divided that figure by stolen-base opportunities (i.e. plate appearances during which a runner is on first or second with the next base open). Finally, the author has multiplied that result by 100, such that one is left with stolen-base runs per 100 stolen-base opportunities.

The results of those calculations are available below.

Leaderboard: Stolen-Base Runs per Hundred Opportunities
Below are the top-10 players this season by stolen-base runs per every 100 opportunities (minimum 25 stolen-base opportunities). SBO stands for stolen-base opportunities; SBA, stolen-base attempts; SBA%, SBA per SBO; SBR, stolen-base runs; and SBR/100, stolen-base runs per 100 stolen-base opportunities.

Rank Name Tm SBO SBA SBA% SB CS SBR SB% SBR/100
1 Rajai Davis TOR 61 23 37.7% 21 2 3.4 91.3% 5.6
2 Elliot Johnson KCR 40 11 27.5% 11 0 2.2 100.0% 5.5
3 Pedro Ciriaco SDP 26 6 23.1% 6 0 1.2 100.0% 4.6
4 DJ LeMahieu COL 50 12 24.0% 11 1 1.8 91.7% 3.6
5 Jacoby Ellsbury BOS 153 36 23.5% 33 3 5.4 91.7% 3.5
6 Leonys Martin TEX 90 19 21.1% 17 2 2.6 89.5% 2.9
7 Jean Segura MIL 127 27 21.3% 24 3 3.6 88.9% 2.9
8 Jose Reyes TOR 40 5 12.5% 5 0 1.0 100.0% 2.5
9 Nate McLouth BAL 131 28 21.4% 24 4 3.2 85.7% 2.5
10 Everth Cabrera SDP 142 38 26.8% 31 7 3.5 81.6% 2.4

Laggardboard: Stolen-Base Runs per Hundred Opportunities
Now here are the bottom-10 players this season by stolen-base runs per every 100 opportunities (again, minimum 25 stolen-base opportunities):

Rank Name Tm SBO SBA SBA% SB CS SBR SB% SBR/100
1 Mark Kotsay SDP 26 2 7.7% 0 2 -0.8 0.0% -3.0
2 Clete Thomas MIN 41 3 7.3% 0 3 -1.2 0.0% -2.9
3 Jimmy Paredes HOU 30 5 16.7% 2 3 -0.8 40.0% -2.6
4 Robbie Grossman HOU 50 6 12.0% 2 4 -1.2 33.3% -2.3
5 Yoenis Cespedes OAK 76 7 9.2% 2 5 -1.6 28.6% -2.0
6 David Murphy TEX 69 5 7.2% 1 4 -1.4 20.0% -2.0
7 Jurickson Profar TEX 44 2 4.5% 0 2 -0.8 0.0% -1.8
8 Adeiny Hechavarria MIA 65 9 13.8% 4 5 -1.2 44.4% -1.8
9 Ryan Roberts TBR 45 2 4.4% 0 2 -0.8 0.0% -1.7
10 J.B. Shuck LAA 68 6 8.8% 2 4 -1.2 33.3% -1.7

Three Notes
â€¢ Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra has recorded the lowest total of runs from stolen bases, at -2.3.

â€¢ Figures from Baseball Reference have been very helpful in the composition of this post.

â€¢ A complete spreadsheet of every major-leaguer is available here, provided the author has uploaded the file correctly.

Todayâ€™s MLB.TV Free Game
Miami at Atlanta | 19:10 ET
Henderson Alvarez (N/A) faces Julio Teheran (95.1 IP, 96 xFIP-, 1.4 WAR). The former is making his first major-league start of the season after missing three months with a shoulder injury. There’s little information about his velocity, etc., over four rehab starts. Alvarez has averaged ca. 93 mph on his fastball as a major leaguer.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.7.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away Â  SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP Â  Home Time
Donovan Hand* MIL 5 4 5 2 5 WAS Taylor Jordan* 11:05
Ian Kennedy AZ 3 2 4 5 5 NYN Dillon Gee 13:10
Matt Cain SF 6 6 6 3 6 CIN Mike Leake 13:10
Cole Hamels PHI 8 1 7 7 8 PIT Gerrit Cole 13:35
Eric Stults SD 4 7 6 7 7 BOS Allen Webster* 13:35
Zach Britton BAL 0 9 3 1 4 CHA Jose Quintana 14:10
Ubaldo Jimenez CLE 5 8 6 6 6 KC James Shields 14:10
David Phelps NYA 4 4 7 2 12 MIN Kyle Gibson* 14:10
Chris Archer TB 4 10 5 2 6 HOU Jordan Lyles 14:10
Travis Wood CHN 4 5 5 6 6 OAK Dan Straily 16:05
Justin Verlander DET 8 7 6 7 4 TOR Esmil Rogers 19:07
Hen. Alvarez* MIA 8 1 7 8 8 ATL Julio Teheran 19:10
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 8 5 7 3 7 TEX Martin Perez* 20:05
Chris Capuano LAN 4 1 5 9 5 COL Jhoulys Chacin 20:10
A. Wainwright STL 9 4 7 6 7 LAA Joe Blanton 21:05

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 1 month ago

Goodness; I thought Mark Kotsay had retired years ago. I guess the joke’s on me the Padres.

Thanks for this work, Carse. The results do seem intuitively and especially useful.

Guest
Replacement player or below
3 years 1 month ago

How does he have a job? He must be a GREAT cheerleader in the clubhouse.

Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 1 month ago

This, or he well may have very soft lips.

Member
Member
3 years 1 month ago

Guest
Resolution
3 years 1 month ago

How do we know you don’t just have a rare case of dissociative identity disorder where each separate identity assumes the same identity?

Guest
Jaack
3 years 1 month ago

I thought he had retired years ago when I saw him on the ’07 A’s. Dude probably has a ton of secret biogenesis documents that he leaks to Bud Selig slowly as long as he has a job.

Guest
easyrichboy
3 years 1 month ago

Google for pics of his wife playing ball. MORE than enough reason to keep ol’ Mark on a team!

Guest
3 years 1 month ago

My gosh becuase I know, who I am! Maybe it’s you who is hijacking my identy. Get a life son.

Member
Member
3 years 1 month ago

I believe I have previously disclosed in these pages that I work as a writer and editor. Bringing this up ‘becuase’ it is part of my ‘identy’.

Are you the same punter who posted as ‘everdiso’?

Guest
3 years 1 month ago

This is getting really weird now. Are you stalking me??

I work in the Dallas area, as I have mentioned before here on these sites. So THIS IS MY ‘IDENTITY’!

Guest
3 years 1 month ago

Cue gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn.

Guest
I Agree Guy
3 years 1 month ago

This site can only support one “Well”-Beered Englishman, anything more than that is unacceptable.

Fisticuffs are in order.

Member
Aaron (UK)
3 years 1 month ago

When are we going to stop using linear weights for base-stealing? How is a steal of home with two outs possibly worth the same as a steal of 3rd with 0 outs?

The lesser basestealers are presumably, on average, only going where the equation is more in their favour: man on first, 2 out being the most obvious and common case. Why should they be held to the same 70% standard as guys who steal in any situation?

Let’s use RE24. WPA would be interesting too, though potentially very volatile.

Guest
thistakesgumption
3 years 1 month ago

it’s still linear weights, you’re just asking to weight different situation differently.

Guest
Peter Jensen
3 years 1 month ago

Using RE tables would require parsing a players play logs for each SB and CS which is a lot more work than just applying linear weights to his total SBs and CSs. And Fangraphs RE24 values are both inconsistent because they park adjust them and outdated because they appear to be using Tango’s RE values from his 1999 to 2002 table from THE BOOK. You are certainly correct that the run values should be adjusted for context instead of a one size fits all linear weight. And an updated non park adjusted RE24 (or more correctly Run Value Added) value would be the best.

But Carson doesn’t have any excuse (except laziness) to be using Palmer’s 30 year old linear weight values of .2 runs for a SB and and -.4 runs for caught stealing instead of more recent values of .18 runs and -.45 runs.

Guest
AC_Butcha_AC
3 years 1 month ago

Very handsome author, why wouldn’t you use SBR/100SBO? By doing that you would combine efficiency and frequency in one simple metric. I guess it wouldnt change al lot, though.

Guest
AC_Butcha_AC
3 years 1 month ago

crunching the numbers it seems like you did exactly that, although defining SBR/100 as “…,stolen-base runs per 100 stolen-base attemtps.”

probably just a typo on your part

Member
Bluebird in Boulder
3 years 1 month ago

The author should note that the readers preferred way, and hence best way, to take in the Miami @ Atlanta contest is likely, but not definitely, the Baltimore radio team.

Member
Bluebird in Boulder
3 years 1 month ago

That is to say NOT the Baltimore radio team.

Guest
Triple R
3 years 1 month ago

Why does Baltimore raio have a game between Miami and Atlanta?

Guest
Josh M
3 years 1 month ago

because Joe Angel

Guest
MikeS
3 years 1 month ago

Maybe add WPA or leverage index into your list of “best” base stealers? It reeks of clutchiness, but stealing second when down a run in the ninth is a bigger deal than stealing second in the fifth inning of a four run game.

Guest
Rahi
3 years 1 month ago

If Rajai Davis had the same amount of SBA opportunities that Mike Trout did, and ran and had the same SBA% that he( Rajai) runs at, he would have 66 stolen bases.

Guest
channelclemente
3 years 1 month ago

A bit of a tangent, but a relative one, I think. There is a paper in Nature that deals with data visualization and incorporating uncertainty into that visualization. It seems to me baseball statistical analysis, which is bandied around like cave drawings, could benefit from the comments.

Guest
Shlum
3 years 1 month ago

I love how this is a totally non-judgmental space where men can call each other handsome and not fear forms of unwanted social reprisal.

You are all so handsome.

Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 1 month ago

I’ll kill you all! Especially you, Well-Beered Englishman!! BWAA-HA-HAAAAAAAA!!!

Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 1 month ago

How’s everybody doing?

Member
ndavis910
3 years 1 month ago

Not entirely sure why you posted this here, but I’m glad you did. Definitely a worthwhile read for anyone employing statistical analysis.

Member
ndavis910
3 years 1 month ago

meant as a reply to channelclemente, sorry.

Member
scott.m.horowitz@gmail.com
3 years 1 month ago

Is there a place where the entire leaderboard for sb is posted? I’m wondering the same thing about batted ball distances?

Guest
Dylan
3 years 1 month ago

Stupid question: What does wSB measure, if not this?

Guest
Dylan
3 years 1 month ago

Nevermind, I realized it was stupid wSB doesn’t consider rate

Guest
chief00
3 years 1 month ago

What I see at the top of the list–Rajai’s success rate–is what makes him one of the best 4th OF/pinch runners I’ve ever seen.

The funny thing is that his glove work has improved and he doesn’t flail away indiscriminately at the plate as often as he did. I don’t think it makes him a uality LF, necessarily but he’s more valuable than the regular LF, Melky Cabrera, who’s been a dud so far.

Member
3 years 1 month ago

I would love to see where Jarrod Dyson ranks. He is quickly approaching the minimum threshold and has been superb to date.