Sullivan: How Jarrod Dyson stole the biggest base of his life

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on October 1, 2014:

It’s too bad that the playoffs have to continue uninterrupted, because I’d be content to think about and write about Tuesday night’s wild-card game for the next month and a half. While it wasn’t actually a demonstration of smallball vs. Moneyball, the Royals resembled a team from the ’80s, or more accurately, the Royals resembled themselves, beating the A’s with exactly their own brand of offense. The Royals this past season were the best base-stealing team in the league, and while it’s easy to downplay baserunning as a significant overall factor in determining wins and losses, the small picture doesn’t always work like the big picture, and Tuesday night, stolen bases were very much a huge reason behind the Royals’ stunning advance.

That was a key we all thought to watch for. Aggressiveness was part of the Royals’ game plan, as they tied a playoff record with seven steals. There’s blame going the way of Derek Norris, who replaced an injured Geovany Soto, and to be sure, Norris could’ve had a better game. But something we’ve really come to understand in the past few years is that steals are more off of pitchers than catchers, and this wasn’t so much the Royals taking advantage of Norris as it was the Royals taking advantage of the batteries. The Royals read and the Royals ran, and there was no bigger stolen base than Jarrod Dyson‘s arrival at third in the bottom of the ninth.

Let’s quickly go through these things one by one. Seven steals, excluding whatever it was Billy Butler was trying to do.

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Originally published: October 1, 2014. Last Updated: October 1, 2014.