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View Full Version : Stolen Bases Are Overrated



bshone
03-18-2009, 02:31 AM
Stolen Bases are overrated, right Cubs fans?

[See Brian Roberts stealing second base tonight for the USA.]

Brian Roberts is what we thought he was - a top tier 2nd baseman who will flourish no matter where he is. I'm glad he's an Oriole!

brandonwarne52
03-18-2009, 03:29 AM
What does one stolen base prove?

Dave Roberts stole that base for Boston in 2004 too.....so what?

EricU812
03-18-2009, 11:31 AM
I thought the exact same thing as far as B-Rob playing great for USA. However, lets not get too over zealous.

The stolen base also forces the pitcher to stay away from breaking pitches, allowing the hitter to have a higher percentage of seeing the expected pitch.

He's a great player and has really helped Team USA these past two games. Just think, next WBC we could have several Orioles on Team USA.

Super.
03-18-2009, 05:10 PM
he's only playing 2B because the MVP is hurt

bal_ravens
03-19-2009, 09:44 AM
^Yeah, he pretty much comes off the bench and steals a base. Sounds pretty good to me. I'm happy we still have the best 2b in the league.

brandonwarne52
03-19-2009, 09:48 AM
Which league is that?

Can't be the major leagues; that's Chase Utley.
Can't be the American League; that's Ian Kinsler or Dustin Pedroia.

Tragedy
03-19-2009, 12:51 PM
What does one stolen base prove?

Dave Roberts stole that base for Boston in 2004 too.....so what?
I mean..That was a big moment. If that doesn't happen, I don't think the Sox win that game..And are bounced from the Playoffs that night. But stolen bases aren't exactly a necessity in the game. Yes, they help the outcome every now and again. But when you're stealing 30 bases a year, it's not some huge lift to a teams offense. Marginal.

brandonwarne52
03-19-2009, 01:04 PM
Especially unless you're caught less than 20-25% of the time.

bshone
03-19-2009, 05:10 PM
I agree with almost everyone who has commented on my over zealous thread.

My point is not that stolen bases are the most important thing in baseball. There were several folks that argued that Roberts' stolen bases were overrated and that guys like Mark DeRosa were better than him. Aside from that, my point is that stolen bases certainly are not "overrated", which is what has been suggested with regards to Roberts.

Dustin Pedroia is really good and there are several second basemen out there that are superb. The average mlb fan (not anyone who would take the time to check out this website) is likely unaware of Brian Roberts, yet I believe he is one of the top 5 second basemen in the majors.

brandonwarne52
03-19-2009, 05:49 PM
I'd have to agree he's top 5.

EricU812
03-20-2009, 09:26 AM
Stolen bases are exactly where they should be.

People like Jose Reyes and Rickey Henderson make it exciting when they are on the bases and I have seen Ryan Freel (with Cinci) steal second, steal third, and then a ground ball scores the run.

However, even Earl Weaver hated it. Its just a different style and philosophy. I'm sure Dusty Baker and Mike Scoscia (spell check) have different views on it.

I believe the stolen base isn't over rated or under rated...its exactly where it should be.

07MVPPatBurrell
03-20-2009, 11:44 AM
they are overrated. i'm not a usual poster in the orioles forum, but i saw the topic on the main page. it's giving away an out 30-50% of the time in exchange for 1 extra base. it's almost as bad as a sacrifice bunt for a non-pitcher. rarely worth the risk.

x the game x
03-20-2009, 04:39 PM
how r they overrated?when rickey henderson got on base every1 was scared he would run that helps out the batter and also increases the chances of errors,also if u get on and steal second then a ground ball through the middle scores a run.a sb makes it that much easier for ur team to score

TChef02
03-23-2009, 03:19 PM
Which league is that?

Can't be the major leagues; that's Chase Utley.
Can't be the American League; that's Ian Kinsler or Dustin Pedroia.

He's pretty good but he can't hit the high, inside fastball haha

Driven
03-23-2009, 03:56 PM
Stolen bases are good... if you don't get caught.

But the problem is that basically everyone gets caught too often. Two years ago, Roberts had a great season for stealing bases. But that's just one. It doesn't happen too often.

bshone
03-23-2009, 04:46 PM
Over his eight year career, Brian Roberts has successfully stolen a base 226 times and has been caught stealing only 57 times. That's an approximate success rate of 80%. I think that means that stealing a base is not overrated at all. I'd rather have a guy try and steal a base and be successful four out of five times so that a single drives him home 4/5 of the time rather than a double, triple, or home run. In addition, it takes away from the double play ball.

Take Roberts' stats over the last three full seasons (arguably his prime years as a ball player) and he has 126 stolen bases and he's been caught only 24 times. That means that 84% of the time he steals, he gets to 2nd base safely. How can one try to argue that the stolen base is overrated? How is everyone so sure that if players with similar speed to Roberts worked as hard as he did at getting a good jump and whatever else goes into a steal that the stolen base would not be overrated?

Again, if you still think stolen bases are "overrated", then tell me why Brian Roberts (when healthy) is ranked in the top four 2nd basemen in the majors in "Runs Created" (which many consider to be a statistic that represents the true value of a player)? It's certainly not his batting average or his on base percentage that jumps out (both are only slightly above average) - it's his stolen bases that separate him from other 2nd basemen (and other players for that matter). Consider his statistics over the past five years:

Year - Runs Created (RC) - Rank Among 2B - Overall Rank
2008 - 111 RC - 3rd (Utley, Pedroia) - 26th
2007 - 112 RC - 2nd (Utley) - 23rd
2006* - 83 RC - 8th (Several) - 95th
2005 - 113 RC - 1st - 19th
2004 - 90 RC - 4th (Loretta, Kent, Bellhorn) - 62nd

*note that he was recovering from his late 2005 injury in early 2006

dastar1949
03-24-2009, 09:20 PM
just want to drop this on you...IT's Speed! that counts .. as a former player i know when speed is on any base it changes the Game...pitchers hurry their delivery ,less breaking balls the infield opens up ..pitch outs etc...i know you can say if they get thrown out its really bad...Bull..more advantage is gained by speed then by the threat of a possible home run hitter...Remember its hard to hit a round ball with a round bat..A Walk can be a double then a triple..then Run scored on a fly out...so please dont rely on just a bunch of Stats to teach you the Game...A speed guy can produce SB's take extra bases..stretch the playing field un nerve a pitcher and or manager, if he gets thrown out? SO what if King Long Ball strikes out twice a game? Do we say Chicks dont like the LONG BALL anymore?

brandonwarne52
03-24-2009, 09:21 PM
So many cliches in such a little spot....

bshone
03-24-2009, 11:09 PM
just want to drop this on you...IT's Speed! that counts .. as a former player i know when speed is on any base it changes the Game...pitchers hurry their delivery ,less breaking balls the infield opens up ..pitch outs etc...i know you can say if they get thrown out its really bad...Bull..more advantage is gained by speed then by the threat of a possible home run hitter...Remember its hard to hit a round ball with a round bat..A Walk can be a double then a triple..then Run scored on a fly out...so please dont rely on just a bunch of Stats to teach you the Game...A speed guy can produce SB's take extra bases..stretch the playing field un nerve a pitcher and or manager, if he gets thrown out? SO what if King Long Ball strikes out twice a game? Do we say Chicks dont like the LONG BALL anymore?

Clearly there is a large, positive correlation between speed and stolen bases. So maybe you're right that I should rephrase my thread to "Speed is overrated", but the points are similar - I just chose a specific way in which speed is part of the game. By the way, the point of this thread was to use one player, Brian Roberts, to illustrate that stolen bases (and thus, speed) are not overrated. The name of the thread, which suggests that I think they are indeed overrated, was a sarcastic title that I chose to attract traffic.

Driven
03-25-2009, 11:47 AM
So many cliches in such a little spot....
It's hard to take anymore.

Driven
03-25-2009, 11:51 AM
Clearly there is a large, positive correlation between speed and stolen bases. So maybe you're right that I should rephrase my thread to "Speed is overrated", but the points are similar - I just chose a specific way in which speed is part of the game. By the way, the point of this thread was to use one player, Brian Roberts, to illustrate that stolen bases (and thus, speed) are not overrated. The name of the thread, which suggests that I think they are indeed overrated, was a sarcastic title that I chose to attract traffic.
So Brian Roberts alone proves that stolen bases are not overrated?

If that's the case, then the 2008 Baltimore Orioles as a whole prove that stolen bases ARE overrated.

bshone
03-25-2009, 01:38 PM
So Brian Roberts alone proves that stolen bases are not overrated?

Yes, Brian Roberts alone proves that stolen bases are underrated. Here's why: his batting average, on base percentage, and other stats are close to the mlb average. However, he ranks in the top four among 2B in runs created. The statistic within the runs created equation that separates him from his peers is the stolen base. I'm surprised that more players don't work on stolen bases to improve their overall game. Sure, it's risky - but it's also risky to swing for the fences every time you're at the plate (you might strike out). What's better - a 25 HR guy with 150 strike outs or a 10 HR guy who steals 40 bases? I'm sure you can come up with a scenario where either one is better. The point is - B.Rob isn't a 25 HR guy, so he has found a way to be among the top 2B in the game relying heavily on stolen bases.


If that's the case, then the 2008 Baltimore Orioles as a whole prove that stolen bases ARE overrated.

How do the 2008 Baltimore Orioles prove that SB are overrated? If anything, I think they prove that stolen bases are underrated. In 2008, Brian Roberts had 40 SB's and the rest of the Orioles had 41, totalling 81 team SB's which ranked 17th out of 30 in the majors (below the median team).

However, the teams that made the playoffs ranked relatively high in Stolen Bases:

Philadelphia Phillies - 4th
Tampa Bay Rays - 1st
Boston Red Sox - 7th
Los Angeles Dodgers - 6th
Chicago White Sox - 25th
Milwaukee Brewers - 10th
Los Angeles Angels - 5th
Chicago Cubs - 15th

(Baltimore Orioles - 17th)

So only two teams that made the playoffs ranked outside of the top ten in stolen bases in 2008. That doesn't support your point that the Baltimore Orioles prove that stolen bases are overrated. The correlation between making the playoffs and team stolen bases is positive and significant (which to me suggests that stolen bases are underrated).

bshone
03-25-2009, 02:24 PM
More evidence that the stolen base is not underrated...

This website gives you the probability of winning a baseball game given the situation in the game (inning, outs, runners on, etc.):
http://winexp.walkoffbalk.com/expectancy/search

Consider the situation the USA was in during the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night last week when Brian Roberts stole that base against Puerto Rico:

Situation 1 - (BEFORE Roberts Stole the Base)
Bottom of the 9th
One out
Runners on 1st and 3rd
Down by two runs
Probability of winning = 0.167 (or 16.7% chance)

Situation 2 - (AFTER Roberts Stole the Base)
Bottom of the 9th
One out
Runners on 2nd and 3rd
Down by two runs
Probability of winning = 0.305 (or 30.5% chance)

Therefore, after Brian Roberts stole the base in the WBC, the USA nearly doubled the likelihood that they would win that game (from 16.7% chance of winning to 30.5% chance of winning). Is that overrated?!

Now, to be fair - given Roberts' 84% success rate at stealing bases over the past three seasons for the Orioles, there was indeed a 16% chance that the team would put themselves in a situation where the following scenario would occur:

Situation Failure - (Roberts is thrown out)
Bottom of the 9th
Two outs
Runner on 3rd
Down by two runs
Probability of winning = 0.063 (or 6.3% chance)

So there's a 16% chance that Roberts will get caught stealing, resulting in a 6.3% chance that the team wins the game. OR there's an 84% chance that Roberts will successfully steal the base, resulting in a 30.5% chance that the team wins the game. Should Coach Davy Johnson have sent him? OF COURSE HE SHOULD HAVE!


Stolen bases aren't overrated just because players aren't good at it. If players with speed worked more on developing a technique to steal bases at a better clip, they could put their team in a good position to win more ball games.

bigity b
03-25-2009, 03:23 PM
@ stolen base haters - did any of y'all watch the asian teams win. How did they do it? oh yeah - small ball - which relies on aggressive baserunning, including stolen bases! Look, the Yanks can sign all the sluggers in the world, but if no one gets on base, it doesnt matter. How have the A's done it all these years?

dodgerdave
03-25-2009, 03:28 PM
they are overrated. i'm not a usual poster in the orioles forum, but i saw the topic on the main page. it's giving away an out 30-50% of the time in exchange for 1 extra base. it's almost as bad as a sacrifice bunt for a non-pitcher. rarely worth the risk.

Yes, they are overrated, but then again you have teams like the 1985 and 1987 Cardinals who succeeded with an entire lineup full of speedsters.

O's Boy15
03-29-2009, 06:12 PM
You can tell by my name im an O's fan, but stolen bases are a potent part of a good offense and enable you to generate offense and are not overrated at all. Speed thrills in Baseball, if you ask me Brian Roberts is as valuble as anyone we have on offense. Plus Baseball would suck without Stolen Bases, think about it!