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Getting Geeky With the Baserunning Stuff

Was just over at Prospectus and turns out, that in two separate surveys of baserunning--one from Bill James--Willy Taveras was rated one of the top eight baserunners in baseball for 2006.

In his new Handbook 2007, James rates all players who reached base 50 or more times last year on how well they did in six categories:

  • Runners going from first to third on a single
  • Scoring from second on a single
  • Scoring from first on a double
  • Bases Taken (including advancing on wild pitches, passed balls,
         balk, sacrifice flies, and defensive indifference)
  • Baserunning Outs
  • Runs Scored as a Percentage of Times on Base

and Willy finished tied for eighth, with Carlos Beltran and Hanley Ramirez.

Prospectus writer Dan Fox has some quibbles with the Jamesian method, adds stolen bases, and throws in a bunch of complicated variables to take an even more accurate picture--and Willy came in seventh.

2006 Total Baserunning
Dan Fox
Name Total
Chone Figgins 9.19
Hanley Ramirez 8.89
Orlando Cabrera 7.69
Jimmy Rollins 7.57
Chris Duffy 6.10
Ichiro Suzuki 6.07
Willy Taveras 5.92
Chase Utley 5.72
Jose Reyes 5.39
Dave Roberts 5.21

Like his doubles and triples and his walks (but unlike his strikeouts), Taveras' stolen base percentage was up in 2006. But noticing that is the easy part. As with the BIPchart pitching tendencies I was looking at last week, more and more of the previously unquantifiable hidden game is being revealed.

And what do you know? Like with his grade A defense, like the way Taveras piled up assists, like the way he otherwise prevented the opposing runner from advancing, Taveras is now also shown as being one of the best at grabbing his team an extra base when the opponent ain't looking.

You know, if they'd come up to me and asked me if I'd have done the Hirsh for Jennings deal straight up, I'd have probably said yes. A number 2 - 3 now for a number one - two later.

Alright, OK.

Not to sound like a broken record, but we gave away so much more than just our number one pitching prospect; everyday I'm reminded of what else.

If I don't miss Willy Taveras on a hundred separate occasions during the upcoming season, I'll be surprised.