Ultimate Base Running (UBR)

I’m pleased to announce that FanGraphs is now carrying a comprehensive base running stat: Mitchel Lichtman’s Ultimate Base Running (UBR).

UBR is now being included in WAR for years where UBR is available (2002-2011).

Though 95% of all players will have their WAR changed less than .4 wins in any particular season and less than 1.3 wins over their careers, we feel that the inclusion of UBR in WAR will help properly credit/debit players who truly excel or are particularly awful on the base paths.

UBR is available under “Bsr” or “Base Running” in the player pages and leaderboards.

Here’s an excerpt from the UBR primer that we’ll be posting later today:

Base running linear weights or base running runs, or Ultimate Base Running (UBR), is similar to the outfield arm portion of UZR. Whatever credit (positive or negative) is given to an outfielder based on a runner hold, advance, or kill on a batted ball is also given in reverse to the runner (or runners). There are some plays that a runner is given credit (again plus or minus) for that do not involve an outfielder, such as being safe or out going from first to second on a ground ball to the infield, or advancing, remaining, or being thrown out going from second to third on a ground ball to SS or 3B.

Runs are awarded to base runners in the same way they are rewarded to outfielders on “arm” plays. The average run value in terms of the base/out state is subtracted from the actual run value (also in terms of the resultant base/out state) on a particular play where a base runner is involved. The result of the subtraction is the run value awarded to the base runner on that play.

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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

42 Responses to “Ultimate Base Running (UBR)”

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  1. Russ says:

    How much of UBR is included in WAR? Is it 0.1, or some other multiple?

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    • It would be additive, wouldn’t it. You add hitting WAR plus defensive WAR and now base-running WAR to get WAR. WAR is cumulative.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      And how was replacement modified?

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Why would replacement get modified?

        WAR = batting runs above average (based on park adjusted wOBA) + baserunning runs above average (based on UBR) + defensive runs above average (based on UZR) + positional adjustment + replacement level adjustment (20 runs per 600 PA’s).

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  2. Dave Gershman says:

    So it’s a better version of EQBRR by being less weighted?

    Also, this is awesome

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    • Detroit Michael says:

      I’d also be interested in knowing how it resembles or differs from EqBRR (or whatever the Baseball Prospectus parallel statistic is called).

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  3. BaseWinner says:

    Very excited about this stat and the presentation. Thanks!

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  4. Ryan says:

    Me Gusta

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  5. hansman1982 says:

    FINALLY – we have a stat to track the TOOTBLAN’s and a way to prove Theriot’s ineffectiveness on the basepaths for us last year.

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  6. chuckb says:


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  7. chuckb says:

    I’m curious about how this stat will compare with BP’s EQBRR. How small is a “small sample size” with this stat. I guess it will all be covered in the primer later today.

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  8. Eric says:

    Can’t. Wait.

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  9. Obsessivegiantscompulsive says:

    I would be interested in hearing how different this is from Bill James work.

    Another great metric from Fangraphs, the hits just keep on coming!!! Thank you!!!

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  10. Metsox says:

    Can’t wait to see how the Royals rate out this year…

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  11. Yes. This is awesome. Can’t wait to hear all of its details.

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  12. chuckb says:

    Wow! I just found something else that James Loney and Miguel Tejada are really bad at — base running!

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  13. chuckb says:

    How can Aaron Rowand have the second most Bsr in the NL? He’s never on base!

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  14. Young Gung says:

    Thanks for the update. David, any chance of xBabip coming in the near future?

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  15. Judy says:

    Jacoby Ellsbury 2009, 70 SB, 12 CS, EQBRR: 8.2, BSR: -1.5.

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  16. Yirmiyahu says:

    Just to clarify: UBR does not include SB/CS at all? Those are instead included in batting/wOBA ?

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  17. ddriver80 says:

    So, just another thing Bautista is top 15 in this year huh?

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  18. So glad this is coming in. Been waiting for a stat like fWAR to include baserunning.

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  19. m123 says:

    pedroia tripping over himself last night -10

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  20. NateH says:

    I remember an article a while back on how we say stats. UBR is definitely Über in my books.

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  21. Wraithpk says:

    Is this park adjusted at all? It seems to me that players who play most of their games in more spacious parks will be able to take extra bases more often.

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    • AC_Butcha_AC says:

      I think this a serious concern. I looked up the Team-Leaderboards since `02 and as I expected the Red Sox ranked dead last in Bsr.

      So a park-adjustement seems intuitive to me.

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  22. Ted Williams Head says:

    Wow, UBR is about half of Chone Figgins’ 2010 WAR.

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  23. SFSUGatorAlum says:

    I wonder how this will affect Ruben Rivera’s overall WAR.

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  24. Ted says:

    Very cool. Is it possible to turn this into a rate state, like UZR/150?

    UBR/150 opportunities, or something?

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  25. Dave,

    How does UBR differ from (EQBRR-EQSBR)? Or is it identical?

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  26. MGL says:

    Some of the questions answered on the other UBT thread…

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