Daily Notes: Ft. A Graph Regarding Baserunning vs. Defense

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. A Graph Regarding Baserunning vs. Defense
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

A Graph Regarding Baserunning vs. Defense
Last (Monday) night, while inspecting the team leaderboards available at the present site, the author noted to his own self how the Seattle Mariners, while having produced a not entirely woeful batting line this season, had also recorded very much one of the league’s worst cumulative position-player WARs.

A great weakness for the Mariners? Their league-worst team UZR figure, for one thing. And a second thing? Their run production from baserunning, in which category they’re presently second-to-last among all teams this year.

It’s not surprising that a team which has elected to give copious outfield starts both to Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse would have demonstrated some weakness so far as defensive run-prevention is concerned. It’s also not surprising that a team which frequently deployed a lineup featuring Ibanez and Morse and Kendrys Morales would’ve exhibited a marked difficulty in producing runs on the bases.

Foot speed and agility and some sort of baseball-specific instinct are required, one could speculate reasonably, both of the fielder and the baserunner. One could continue speculating reasonably, it would seem, that there might exist some express relationship between the runs produced/prevented in either category.

In fact, as reasonable as this speculation might be, the truth appears to suggest mostly otherwise. Below is a graph depicting the relationship between baserunning runs and fielding runs* on the team-level over the past five years.

BsR and Fielding Runs

Not a particularly strong relationship, it would seem. And while a similar comparison on the player-level reveals a slightly stronger relationship (r-squared of ca. 8%), neither instance produces a very significant result.

Thus one concludes: it would appear that whatever qualities appear relevant both to baserunning and fielding (speed, agility, etc), they are dwarfed by a combination of (a) other, separate skills unmentioned here and/or (b) noise from what is (maybe, although not probably) a small sample.

*With WAR’s positional adjustment included, as well — which makes little difference on the team level, but more on the individual level.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Pittsburgh at Texas | 20:05 ET
Francisco Liriano (136.0 IP, 82 xFIP-, 3.0 WAR) faces Martin Perez (95.0 IP, 100 xFIP-, 1.4 WAR). Among all of today’s games, this is most relevant in terms of its influence on the postseason. Pittsburgh currently possesses odds of 24.3% and 75.2%, respectively, of winning the division and qualifying for a wild-card berth; Texas, 27.6% and 63.0%, respectively.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Texas Radio.

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.

Note that these NERD scores are calculated using the methodology introduced recently and designed to account for the influence of playoff odds on the watchability of games. ***Unlike in recent iterations of this table, the author has adjusted the day’s NERD Game Scores such that, combined, they average 5.0.*** This allows said table to resemble more closely the Game Scores that have appeared here over the preceding four months.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Jeremy Guthrie KC 2 0 7 8 3 CLE Zach McAllister 19:05
Ivan Nova NYA 7 1 5 3 3 BAL Miguel Gonzalez 19:05
Andrew Cashner SD 7 0 2 0 1 PHI Tyler Cloyd 19:05
Jerome Williams LAA 4 0 2 0 5 TOR Mark Buehrle 19:07
Julio Teheran ATL 7 0 3 0 4 MIA Tom Koehler 19:10
Clay Buchholz BOS 7 0 10 9 8 TB David Price 19:10
Edwin Jackson CHN 4 0 5 2 8 CIN Tony Cingrani 19:10
Jo. Zimmermann WAS 9 0 4 0 5 NYN Dillon Gee 19:10
Francisco Liriano PIT 9 5 10 5 7 TEX Martin Perez 20:05
Rick Porcello DET 7 1 4 0 6 CHA Erik Johnson* 20:10
Jarrod Parker OAK 4 5 5 0 0 MIN Liam Hendriks 20:10
Wily Peralta MIL 6 0 9 7 9 STL Shelby Miller 20:15
Trevor Cahill AZ 5 0 2 0 3 LAN Edinson Volquez 22:10
Jordan Lyles HOU 4 0 2 0 2 SEA Joe Saunders 22:10
Jorge de la Rosa COL 3 0 1 0 1 SF Ryan Vogelsong 22:15

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

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

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Well-Beered Englishman
Well-Beered Englishman

I feel privileged and spiritually contented to have witnessed last night’s Darvish v. Cole showdown, and even more so, very pleasantly surprised to have been present for the Pirates’ first “win #82” in 21 years. An historical night!

My friend and I were lucky enough to be seated in a row where everyone else were Pirates fans, and their joy at the end of the game was truly heartwarming. I left saying “Congratulations! Congratulations!” and vowing to cheer the Pirates on in this year’s playoffs.

That said, I missed the perspective television brings to great pitches such as those Darvish and Cole were bringing. I noticed left-handed batsmen flinching backwards on called-strike fastballs from Gerrit Cole and was especially curious about that.


I feel envious, for sure. Having this kind of a pitching matchup and playing a potential WS opponent made for a trifecta.

Hope you Tivo’ed or DVR’ed the game to get the television perspective.