Purgatory Online

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Angels have been experiencing uncanny success so far in stealing bases, one of the cornerstones of their offensive philosophy. It's generally believed that a team needs about a 2:1 ratio of stolen bases to times caught stealing to break even; the Angels currently have a phenomenal 6:1 ratio, having successfully stolen 24 times while being caught just four times.

Even more amazing are the numbers on the Angels "regulars," those five individuals with attempted steals who have been in just about every lineup so far (Garret Anderson has no steal attempts). Between them, they've stolen 16 times, and been caught just once. As a thought experiment, I've recalculated their offensive stats as if their stolen bases had been an extra base for the purpose of SLG, while the caught stealing was considered an out made at the plate (reducing BA, OBP, and SLG accordingly):

Erstad
Old: .264/.316/.429 (.745 OPS)
+1 SB, -0 CS
New: .264/.316/.440 (.756 OPS)

Guerrero
Old: .361/.398/.639 (1.037 OPS)
+ 3 SB, -0 CS
New: .361/.398/.675 (1.075 OPS)

Figgins
Old: .284/.318/.457 (.775 OPS)
+7 SB, -1 CS
New: .272/.307/.531 (.838 OPS)

Cabrera
Old: .260/.329/.429 (.758 OPS)
+1 SB, -0 CS
New: .260/.329/.442 (.771 OPS)

Finley
Old: .173/.259/.373 (.632 OPS)
+4 SB, -0 CS
New: .173/.259/.427 (.686 OPS)

Of course, a single plus a stolen base isn't exactly the same as a double - it doesn't move runners along as far, so it's actually worth a little less. But by the same token, a single minus a caught stealing moves runners further than a large majority of outs made at the plate. No matter how you slice it, so far the running game has been a clear positive for the Angels overall, and a significant weapon in particular for the regulars.

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