Archive for the ‘stolen bases’ Category

Running wild?

June 30, 2009

I had big hopes for today (something about Mo Rivera and closers, most likely), but work has dashed them. I don’t even really have time to be writing this.

But here’s your ten-cent thought for the day: in 2008, the average MLB team stole 93 bases. In 2009, the Rays have already stolen 121 (just 31 shy of their 2008 MLB-leading total), and the average team is on pace to steal 105. That’s about an 11% increase, and they’re doing it more successfully (75% in 2009, 73% in 2008).

So it’s definitely a difference, but not a huge, game-changing sort of difference just yet. Last year’s MLB individual leader in steals (Willy Taveras) had 36 through June 29; this year, Carl Crawford has 40. Three stole 50 and four more 40 last year; this year, we’re on pace to see five steal fifty, but only two or three more look like good bets to get to 40. And so on.

So it’s true what they say, speed is coming back into the game and all that. But it’s coming back in slowly, if you will. At a snail’s pace.

It’s not the kind of difference you really observe from a single day at the ballpark. I just feel like I’ve heard it talked about to a degree that goes well beyond what an 11% difference justifies.