Ichiro's Baserunning
Added 9-10 runs per year on the bases?

John Dewan, in the public area at BJOL, writes

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The Bill James Handbook 2013, which will release on November 1, will include a new section on career baserunning. A baserunning gain is the total of all types of extra baserunning advances minus the penalty for baserunning outs against expectations, including both stolen bases and all other baserunning situations. Among active players with a minimum of 1,000 games played, Ichiro Suzuki leads the way with +371 Net Gain, which is the cumulative total of all gains minus penalties in his career. As a frame of reference, think of it this way: a baserunner gets one "gain point" for each extra base taken, and loses about three "gain points" for each out on the basepaths. With a +371, Suzuki has a lot of extra bases taken despite the occasional out on the bases.

When the Yankees traded for Suzuki, his defensive upgrade over the Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones platoon received the majority of the headlines. However, the Yankees also upgraded on the basepaths. Neither Ibanez nor Jones has a positive career total, and neither has the speed they once had. Suzuki has done little to help his new club offensively, but he can still contribute off the bench as a pinch runner.

Here is the top-five in career baserunning:

Best Career Baserunners
Player Net Gain
Ichiro Suzuki +371
Carl Crawford +347
Jimmy Rollins +335
Juan Pierre +323
Carlos Beltran +309

 

Unsurprisingly, Suzuki, Carl Crawford, and Juan Pierre are second, third, and first in career stolen bases among active players, and Jimmy Rollins is not far behind in sixth.

On the other end of the spectrum, Paul Konerko and Juan Rivera managed to beat out a trio of catchers for the worst career baserunners:

Worst Career Baserunners
Player Net Gain
Paul Konerko -181
Juan Rivera -175
Ramon Hernandez -159
A.J. Pierzynski -155
Yadier Molina -151

 

It has been three years since Rivera had his last solid season, and the Dodgers have spent their way out of needing to give him playing time. Meanwhile, Konerko continues to hit well enough into his late 30s to make up for his poor fielding and baserunning.

Note: Totals are career totals for active players since we began collecting this data in 2002.

...................................

Bases taken while running are usually worth, depending on the situation, +0.25 to maybe +0.30 runs.  Baserunner kills, such as John Jaso has come to specialize in offensively, are usually worth -0.70 to -0.80 runs, depending.  Here is a run expectancy chart and here's one that isolates the gain and loss for you in each situation.

I used to think that SB's were worth 0.30 runs and CS's worth -0.60, based on Pete Palmer's first chart about a thousand years ago.  But come to look at the RE matrix a little closer and you can see why it's better to weight a "baserunner kill" as worth three stolen bases.  For example, leading off the inning with a walk you're at +0.94 expected runs; swipe second, and you're at 1.17 runs, a gain of 0.23 runs.  But get killed at 2B and the run expectancy is down to 0.29 -- you've lost 0.65 runs.  That's an x3 multiplier, not an x2.

So in retrospect, Ichiro's odd conservatism on the bases turns out to be several yards ahead of the curve.  (However, his tendency to let an out go by, before stealing the base, did not help the Mariners.)

................................

Counting not only SB's and CS's, but also 1st-to-3rd bases, James' and Dewan measure Ichiro as being THE most deadly baserunner of his decade.  And by a long ways.  Carlos Beltran is in the top 5 in the entire game - and Ichiro is 20% ahead of him.  Imagine a player whose AVG was 20% higher than the #5 AVG in the league for a decade - say, .375 vs .313.

At +371 bases in ten years (2002-2011), those 37 net bases are fully one every fourth game - about 9.5 runs per season.  The Fangraphs system credits Ichiro with a piddling 2.1 runs per season for his legs.

What happens if you posit +9.5 yearly runs on the bases instead of +2.1 runs for Ichiro?  His WAR for the decade goes from 53 to 60, moving him ahead of Barry Bonds into #3 in baseball.  While Ichiro was at 60, only fifteen players were over 40 for the decade.  Mike Piazza, Vlad Guerrero and Todd Helton have fewer than 60 WAR for their careers.  Half of Hall of Famers do.

We watched a clinic out there.

................................

Ichiro had several multi-hit games this week for the Yankees and his NYY line is up to .291/.318/.411 in 47 games, closing in on 1/3 of a season for them.  He is swinging at drastically fewer pitches outside the zone than he was in Seattle, is contacting many fewer of them, and is hitting the ball much harder.  My guess is that he'll stay around .300/.325/.400 for several years now, if he plays for an elite team.

.300/.325/.400 is fine for a leadoff hitter.  However you slice up the UZR, an old Ichiro is still +10 runs defensively over the Nelson Cruzes and Nick Swishers of the RF world.  If he's still getting 5-10 runs on the bases, and is about league average OPS'ively, he's a leadoff hitter who is helping a good team win.  If a GM pencils in that 5-10 runs on the bases, then along with the 10 runs with the glove, Ichiro may project to be the only 40-ish player in the game who could slog along at 3 WAR per season.

................................

It was not realized, for a long time, what the problems were with UZR.  If Fangraphs' baserunning numbers have issues also, then it could be that Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley and Trayvon Robinson are being short-sold for their running production.

Saunders is at 2.2 WAR this year; Seager's at 3.3.  It's possible that Saunders is already a 3-WAR player, Seager a 4-WAR player. 

Comments

1

No, Seager and Saunders probably are already a 4-WAR player and a 3-WAR player, even without baserunning upgrades. WAR uses three-year park effects, which means that they're undercompensating for whatever is happening at Safeco this year. This means that the entire Mariners offense is undervalued by offensive WAR, especially the guys (Seager, Saunders and Montero) getting hit hardest by Safeco.

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Chat: 8/30/15 9:20am
Interests: International Baseball (214407)
Experience, by MtGrizzly

Mather has mentioned that he wants someone with GM experience. That's all fine and good, but for me I'd prefer if they had experience in a winning organization. Someone who came up through the ranks, or spent significant time in a winning culture. Not someone who worked for the Rockies...Show more.

Experience, by MtGrizzly

Mather has mentioned that he wants someone with GM experience. That's all fine and good, but for me I'd prefer if they had experience in a winning organization. Someone who came up through the ranks, or spent significant time in a winning culture. Not someone who worked for the Rockies / Padres / Diamondbacks for years. How would they know what it takes to win?

...Show less
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-09-02 11:44

@StoneLarry: When you send a guy down AFTER rosters expand, I'd say it doesn't bode well for his future in the organization.

2015-09-02 11:25

@RyanDivish: Hearing that the Mariners have optioned Jesus Montero back to Class AAA Tacoma for the last five games of Rainiers' season. The Mariners face a fair amount of right-handers till then.

2015-09-02 10:07

RH swing looks like it has a slow launch to me. batspeed OK, but not full of life or anything...this swing would make Choi a .260 hitter with a decent eye and no power from the right side. Maybe.

2015-09-02 08:52

YouTube video from a game where they talk about it and show two RH at bats. Silly M's - the guy wants to switch hit when he signs and they say no. He gets to AAA and THEN the org gives its blessing. I wish I was surprised by that.

Not the most dynamic RH swing I've seen but we've seen worse RH swings from guys in Mariner uniform this year. It's just bizarre. Given how rabid M's fans are about the minors, I'm surprised this hasn't received more commentary.

https://m.youtube.co...

2015-09-02 08:38

I read something from Curto on Choi and IIRC, it was Choi's idea. He wanted to try it in ST and they gave him their blessing...then came the suspension. It's curious that he's doing it...successfully thus far. I mean, small sample size, but he's been a terror since he came back switch hitting. 957 OPS with more pop (500 SLG).

2015-09-02 07:44

If the Mariners were the ones that told Choi to switch hit, it confirms their stupidity. If Choi decided to do that on his own, the Mariners need to order him to knock it off.

2015-09-02 05:40

Choi doesn't have significant splits against same handed pitching, so he doesn't need to switch hit. Either it's a practical joke , or someone hates me.

2015-09-01 20:15

With you on Kivlehan

2015-09-01 17:54

How odd is it that Choi came back from his suspension and all of a sudden, he's a switch hitter? I mean, I don't think I've ever heard of someone that started switch hitting at 24, let alone at the AAA level.

2015-09-01 17:35

I'd like to see Choi get called up. Boy could we have used an Olerud-lite bat this year. Get Kivlehan up here too... he seems to need some time to learn/adapt to a new level (though he learns fast). Might as well have him start the process this year.

2015-09-01 17:21

Zych has a gun... but I fear it is pretty close to straight arrow.

2015-09-01 16:42

I like Zych, actually...great AAA numbers based on an interesting pitch mix...possible sleeper?

2015-09-01 13:46

Thanks Griz. I highly approve of Romero and O'Malley getting shots. I love the versatility of O'Malley: Plays everywhere and brings a vL bat that is .330-.387-.450 this year and .340-.398-.489 last year. He can play on my team any day. A Bloomquist (versatility) with a decent bat.

2015-09-01 12:55

I still get excited for Elias starts.. am I alone? Really love his repetoire of pitches. When he is on he is on. Hopefully a better game in store from that last one. Think it was good for him overall coming back from Tacoma getting his feet wet. Hope he has a good game/ and can contribute in future

Reply - mickiholley - 9/1/15 1:19pm
Elias is fun to watch...when he is on his game. I think he will be steady.
2015-09-01 12:29

@shannondrayer: First wave of callups are here. Romero, O'Malley, Jose Ramirez and Tony Zych all in #Houston.

2015-09-01 10:46

Blash and yesterday's huge opposite field dinger: http://www.milb.com/...

Kivlehan is quick and simple to the ball: http://www.milb.com/...

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:39pm
Love that opposite field power
2015-09-01 10:35

That's where I am, Matt. He is significantly improved this year in terms of BA. He's hit a heck of a lot of homers in not very many AB's. He K's like Gorman Thomas in the majors, but Thomas only K'ed on 20% of his AAA AB's....not 33%! Thomas was .225-.324-.448 over his MLB years. OPS+ of 114. He hit .241 at AA but .291 in AAA (#Sacramento). Hit below .200 his 1st two significant years in the bigs. Then Thomas figured it out a bit. He was 27 before he was very successful. And that was after another full year stint in the PCL (after two years in the bigs). Blash doesn't have that kind of MiLB pedigree....but this year indicates some sort of plateau leap. Well, maybe. He's a bit of a long shot, But if he can hit .240 he's will be a finie player. Thomas has 4 seasons above .240 (.246, .244, .259, .245) in those seasons his OPS+ was 142, 138, 146 & 137. Thomas didn't really walk more in the minors that Blash has. At .240 Blash is a player, regardless of the K's. But .240 will be tough for him to hit, based on his large AAA K rate which is still above 30% even in this "plateau" year. He may not make contact often enough. Kingman was a productive player when he was north of .235, even early in his career. He was above .260 4 times and in those seasons he was a tremendous hitter. But he Ked in only about 25% of his AAA AB's. The TTO guy can be productive. Trumbo never has walked enough to be a true TTO (55 pts in AA/AAA & 50 pts in MLB) but he is a "similar" guy. When he's in the .240 range he's decently productive. However he only K'ed in about 24% of his AAA AB's. Blash is over the line, K-wise, but way over the line, in a good way, BB-wise. As such, he's a guy that will get a chance.

2015-09-01 09:05

K rate dooms almost everyone when north of 25% in the minors. I said ALMOST everyone. Decent walk rate says something a bit different...he merits a real look.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:56pm
K rates food teams more than given credit for
2015-09-01 07:05

That's PA's....not (A's

2015-09-01 07:02

BTW (again): Down on the farm, Zunino is 7-12 in 3 games w/3 HR's. He likes AAA pitching! Blash has hit 32 HR's in 403 AA/AAA AB's this year. He's also walked 61 times (100 pts worth!!). But he's struck out 122 times in those 403 AB's. 22 of those HR's have come in his 194 AAA AB's. Wow!! He's a TTO guy. In 225 AAA (A's this year, he's HR-BB-K'ed 112 times....50%) He'll get a #Seattle look-see this year. The whiff rate will be scary (33% over his AAA career = what in the bigs?) but he can certainly ride the ball. Were he a .240-.320 guy with 30+ HR's he would be quite interesting. But, oh my, the K's!

2015-09-01 06:46

Endy Chavez's career vL OPS is .638. He hasn't been a MLB starter in decades, it seems. If you had a ++ bat at SS, like Tulo or classic Jeter (especially if they were a RHB), you could run Miller out there vL. But without some Miller improvement in that category it is unlikely that you use him without a platoon partner. We were using him with a partner at SS, remember. BTW: Marte is 1-17 over the last 4 games. Has anybody noticed if he is being pitched to differently? Has the league adjusted? No BB's in 3 of those games.

2015-09-01 06:25

More depth for LA to make a push. Rugg can play anywhere in outfield. I know Puig has been battling hammy issues.

2015-09-01 05:22

Mariners sell off Ruggiano for cash...

2015-08-31 20:08

agreed...no reason to change managers at this point...we're not contending...why have an interim situation now? Only reason would be if you were going to hire your long-term replacement...no one good is presently available for that job. Might as well just play out the string.

2015-08-31 20:05

I agree with Grizz, Lloyd will be around till the end of the season...Jewett would be no help at all.

2015-08-31 19:47

Grizz...SS hits considerably worse than CF historically.

2015-08-31 17:41

I'm curious why that split would be acceptable at SS but not CF. They are both defense-first positions.

2015-08-31 17:20

In 311 MLB vL PA's, Miller is a .216-.261-.293 with 2 HR's. He better be a GG-type CF glove if he's getting all the vL CF starts. You can support that type of split at SS (because he hits RHP) but it is much harder to do it in CF. He'll likely get some platoon-ish help out there. Could be Taylor with Marte moving to CF, could be Kivlehan. I'm not betting on Landry or us using Jones much. Miller's throwing error the other night may have impacted #Kingston, who I would bet had a conversation with Lloyd.

2015-08-31 16:22

Definately no upside at this point..this is true perhaps..just surprised it didn't happen already I guess. When you got a team picked by some to go all the way, and you are 10 under most all the year, its hard to stick around. Un-inspiring #Baseball, errors o plenty, keeping around a clearly ineffective Rodney, and getting 0 at the plate. Surely not all his fault, but some things are starting to unravel up top. Wonder how involved he has been in all these moves recently.

2015-08-31 15:33

Lloyd is going to last until the end of the year. What is the alternative at this point in the season? Jewett? No upgrade there.

2015-08-31 15:26

Things really really heating up since the Rodney move.. I am beginning to think Lloyd is not getting to the end of the year.

2015-08-31 15:20

#Jackson to the Cubs for PTBNL, their last #International slot, and $211k

2015-08-31 15:16

That will be interesting. Maybe he has an #Austin #Jackson trade worked out.

2015-08-31 15:16

@GregJohnsMLB: #Austin #Jackson traded to Cubs for player to be named and possible #International slot.

2015-08-31 15:14

#Kingston isn't wasting time putting his stamp on things. @RyanDivish: #Kingston said that Miller will play CF for much of the rest of the season. Believes it's his best fit for the organization

2015-08-31 13:25

of the guys with GM experience who are currently unemployed, I like Cherington the best given what he was able to do in building up the Red Sox' farm system. But...even that is still not the best option

Reply - mojician - 8/31/15 1:39pm
What do you think about fried chicken gate and other Red Sox scandals during the Cherington regime? If they fired Z for "lack of leadership" whatever that means. Cherington might have the same rep.
Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 3:23pm
I think they are more interested in who is going to make current roster work out plus additions. Farm certainly needs help, but window for Felix cano etc is shutting.
2015-08-31 13:23

Yeah, there is a glimmer of hope for a Girsch, a Forst, a Coppolella or a McLeod...but only a glimmer. I'm not sure that those organizations will grant permission to interview before the end of the season and Mather seems to want the hire to be made ASAP. We can hope.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 3:24pm
Yes, I think Mather said he wanted whomever in office by oct
2015-08-31 13:01

Really enjoying the increase of seahawks coverage

Reply - crackerjack - 8/31/15 1:15pm
I love jemanji's style of commentary.
Reply - mickiholley - 9/2/15 10:36am
@crackerjack - I was thinking the same thing!! Commentary is great!
2015-08-31 12:34

Heck, I'd take an intern from the Cards over Ken Williams... Kidding. Mostly.

Reply - crackerjack - 8/31/15 1:15pm
Who said that? haha
Reply - mickiholley - 9/2/15 10:35am
that is funny!! who is anon??
2015-08-31 10:48

agreed...if I thought we'd have a shot at him...I'd be all for it...he would be able to tell the Mariners what they're doing wrong in player development

2015-08-31 10:45

I'll say this for the Cards (and anybody significant in that system), they are likely the best run sports franchise in America. I know notheng in particular about Girsch, but I'm not opposed to some of that Cardinal stuff rubbing off here.

Reply - jemanji - 8/31/15 3:10pm
As you say that, now we know why other NFL teams help themselves to the Seahawks' staff with both hands :- )
2015-08-31 09:46

Hm...perhaps not quite as cut and dried as the requotes I've seen...gives me a glimmer of hope...but just a glimmer...I'm 99% sure it's going to be someone like Ben Cherrington, Ken Williams, DiPoto...

alas.

2015-08-31 09:22

Mather's exact quote:

“I would lean toward an experienced general manager or an assistant general manager that’s had a heavy hand in the operation,” he said. “I don’t want to hire someone that’s going to learn on the job for the next two or three years. That is a candidate that I’m not interested.”

2015-08-31 09:22

Wow, never heard of Girsch before. I'm sold! One thing I'd like to see the Mariners talk about - they are located in the best tech market outside of Silicon Valley. It'd be great to hire someone who could pitch the city's software engineers on creating a world class statical analysis department.

2015-08-31 09:09

Zero chance for Girsch...they point-blank said they want a guy with GM experience.

2015-08-31 08:57

This is why I am hoping for Girsch. http://www.fangraphs...

2015-08-31 08:45

Wanting a GM in place before the end of the regular season certainly takes some guys off the table. The hot assistant GM's will need club permission to interview in-season. If the only guys Mather can get are those currently unemployed, I'm not enthused.

2015-08-31 07:11

Yeah can't imagine McCleod leaves Chi-town before the Cubs make the playoffs...

2015-08-31 05:07

I'd love to get McLeod...the question, though, is whether he's available immediately. The Mariners have said they want to hire someone before the post-season.

2015-08-31 03:37

There's a lot of confusing things about the layout and general design of this site.

2015-08-30 19:57

Why does the snippet above say "Experience, by GLS"? I didn't write that.

2015-08-30 19:04

From what I've read, Jason McLeod seems like the best choice. But what do I know?

2015-08-30 17:22

Doesn't DiPoto have a reputation for being good at identifying and developing pitchers but poor at identifying and developing hitters?

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 4:27pm
That's why we got The Edgar for.. :)
2015-08-30 16:41

I'm in favor of Jerry DiPoto as the new GM. He switches his teams up until it works. He does not let rookies flounder for months while they figure it out. Also, he has been micromanaged worse than they do in #Seattle.

2015-08-30 15:15

Hamstring, Moe.

2015-08-30 15:14

23 games lost on the opposition's last at bat. Craziness.

2015-08-30 13:46

What is the Marte injury report?

2015-08-30 11:13

@shannondrayer: #Montgomery down, Guaipe up. #Montgomery close to innings limit and M's need another RHR today. Wilhelmsen & Kensing most likely not available

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 4:26pm
Starting to give the edge to pitching in the overall worst luck this season. Hitting has been awful, but between injuries and awful pen..
2015-08-30 10:46

I'm a little confused. Why would we start a conversation, pushing the previous conversation off the main page, if we had nothing ot substance to post other than saying we're starting a (new) conversation?

This is not really aimed at you, okdan. I've noticed the admins do this as well. I'm just curious about the perceived purpose in doing it.

Reply - anonymous - 8/30/15 12:06pm
Hey DaddyO - I'm not sure what happened here. I thought I was just posting a couple of regular shouts. The normal interface was gone, and I just typed into the box that popped up... I was hoping the weirdness that I saw was just for me, but it appears that's not the case! Didn't mean to push everything out. No idea what happened...
Reply - DaddyO - 8/30/15 5:43pm
Ah, got it. Thanks for the explanation. Like I said, my comments were directed not so much to you as to the phenomenon. At least now we know it happens sometimes when the poster does not intend it.
Reply - mickiholley - 9/1/15 2:45pm
the interface seems to be a little touchy lately...don't know if it is just my computer or what but I keep getting script errors and then screen full of code and I have to back out of the wall and then come back in.
2015-08-30 09:20

Starting a conversation...

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