A Look at MLB Team Baserunning

From SABR member Christina Kahrl at ESPN.com on August 25:

One of the guilty pleasures of listening to Chicago White Sox broadcasts when Hawk Harrelson and Tom Paciorek were in the booth during the 1990s was their discussion of “team speed.” They sometimes even nonsensically talked about individual players who possessed good team speed. I’m not quite sure how one guy could have good team speed, but you trust that Hawk and Wimpy would mull the possibilities. It was one of those things a team wanted. In the absence of hard data, speed could get reduced to a question of who was successfully stealing bases frequently.

But there’s more to it than that. Happily it’s also the sort of thing that Baseball-Reference.com and other outlets capture and report. So this year, we can see that no team is helping their offense more with effective basestealing than the San Diego Padres. This is not just because they lead the majors in attempts (185) or steals (150), but because they’re also stealing bases at an MLB-best 81 percent clip.

However, that isn’t the only thing that Bud Black’s team is doing well on the basepaths. The Padres also lead the majors in equivalent baserunning runs (EqBRR) with 17.8. This is Baseball Prospectus’ aggregate stat of runs accrued by stealing, advancing on fly balls, grounders, extra bases taken on hits — or basically any other opportunity a player might have for getting extra bases at the risk of additional outs. EqBRR was developed by Dan Fox before he became the Pirates’ director of baseball systems development, and it’s a nice aggregate stat. But there’s also plenty to find rooting around in B-Ref’s raw baserunning info.

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/15380/looking-at-team-baserunning

Originally published: August 25, 2011. Last Updated: August 25, 2011.