Cameron: Where have all the stolen bases gone?

From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs on April 23, 2013:

Back in November, Jack Moore wrote about the return of the stolen base as a valuable offensive weapon. As offensive levels have decreased in MLB over the last few years, the value of taking an additional base has gone up, and the cost associated with giving up an out has gone down, so we’ve seen teams running more often now than they did back when runs were plentiful.

It’s a perfectly logical construct. As hitting is more frequent, running becomes less necessary. When hitting suffers, teams try to find runs other ways to score, and one of the primary ways a team can create additional runs is through efficient base stealing. Base stealing is essentially a substitute good for power, and so SB rates follow a fairly predictable pattern of rising and falling depending on the offensive environment.

Except, that predictable pattern has gone off the rails so far in 2013.

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Originally published: April 23, 2013. Last Updated: April 23, 2013.