Wednesday, December 06, 2006

SDMB History / Team Stolen Bases

While waiting for the start of the season, here's a quick SDMB History post with some random facts about stolen bases in SDMB history, limited to the 2003-08 seasons as always. I'll also apologize in advance for the lack of information on caught stealing or success rate. The game doesn't track that data by team and it would be very, very difficult to reconstruct the data from player records due to players shifting teams midseason because of trades and the like.

1. There have been 7,205 stolen bases over the six seasons, in 6,156 games. That's 0.58 steals per team per game.

2. There's no real difference between the steal rate of the two leagues, as the Adams League has 3,613 steals and the Zotti League 3,592.

3. Franchise totals:

1,193 SAS (1.05 per game)
828 DEN (1.02)
778 DAN (0.68)
768 COV (0.95)
647 RIV (0.57)
642 SB (0.56)
513 HOU (0.45)
450 WAL (0.39)
382 SEA (0.33)
356 BRK (0.31)
341 HIK (0.42)
307 NY (0.38)

4. The correlation between stolen bases and winning is essentially zero (actually -0.019). The correlation with scoring runs is also basically zero at 0.020.

5. Saskatoon apparently keeps wanting to set the bar higher every year. In 2005, Saskatoon set the record with 183 steals. In 2006, they became the first team to break the 200 steal barrier, swiping 209. In 2007, they broke their own record again, with 250. In 2008, they bettered the mark yet again, with 262 thefts. I guess we know what team goal number one is in the frozen tundra this season.

6. Denver apparently is committed to ending Saskatoon's rule. They've grabbed 209 and 208 bases in the last two years and this offseason added Chet Edwards, who's got 62 and 52 the last two years.

7. On the other hand, you have the truly remarkable 2008 Hickory team. They set what may be an unbreakable mark last year with five stolen bases. Five. All season. In fact, they were so committed to not running that they traded away someone who had one of their five steals. In so doing, Hickory wiped the previous record of 18 by the 2005 New York squad out of the record books. (Note: I repeatedly checked the 2008 Hickory stolen base total because it seemed so impossible. It seems to be true.) (Additional note: Hickory had 95 steals in 2007, so I don't know what the heck was going on there.)

What's odd is that many of Hickory's top stealers from 2007 were still with them in 2008 -- it's not like they were traded, injured, etc.

Chavez went from 30 steals to 2.
Moya went from 14 to 0.
Villines went from 19 to 0.

Without looking at the team's strategy settings (which I won't), I'd guess that the owner turned them off totally and that the five steals weren't true steals but were failed pickoff attempts.

You got it, Zev. I told those bastards to cut it out, because it wasn't working.
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To expand on that in a more meaningful manner: the two previous years, I had stolen a decent-to-good amount of bases, but couldn't get on base or hit for squat, and as a result I scored very few runs. In real baseball, I have long suspected that a stolen base attempt is usually either entirely irrelevant or downright counterproductive, with the exception of a few very talented base stealers, some of which I didn't have. So I figured, if I'm not going to have a great offense anyway, let's test that theory out and see what happens if I literally NEVER run myself out of an inning. Thus last year's experiment.

Spoiler alert:

I did score more runs, but I also got on base a lot more, whereas my power production was down. I'm calling it inconclusive, leaning towards successful.

This year I think I'll keep my team setting down but allow a few players a little more freedom and see what that does for me. What's this game for if not to try things out, am I right?
I actually think that reining in the running game is smart. If I don't think a player is going to be successful at least 70% of the time, I set the settings to almost completely prevent them from running. If you look at my team's batting stats in the almanac for last year, you'll see that only two players had a success rate less than 70%, and one was was 1 for 2 and the other 0 for 1. As a team, counting the steals by Paulino Zamorano who I traded midseason to Danville, I was 70 for 90, or 78%.
I would like to point out that in the first two weeks of this year Buck Kruse has finally overtaken Fay for the career lead in stolen bases. They are about the same age, with a got bit of career left, so will be a good contest for a long time. Kruse is also on a pace for 124 stolen bases, which I doubt will hold up.

As far a strategy, yeah, stealing bases is my main offensive stratgey, and I try to build my team for it. I just don't have the talent in the bottom half of my order to get big innings, Or the pop to get them home from first(except Shunk).So I do whatever I can to try to score 1 run when the top half hits.
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