It’s been about a year since Grey gave me my first SAGNOF assignment . Maybe I’ve matured like a good wine and this year will be better than the last. Or maybe I’ve become boxed wine… descending into SAGNOF madness, shouting SAGNOF! at innocent passersby’s from my front porch, and recommending you pick up anybody that plays center field or shortstop with more than two steals in the minors. Since I started writing these there have been some ups…like the time “green light special” Rajai Davis stole seven bases in one week against Boston and Detroit. There have also been some downs… like the time I wrote an entire blurb about Atlanta’s Elliot Johnson thinking he still played for the Royals *shudder*. It’s a new year and a new SAGNOF you. This year Rudy has given us a great new tool we can all use for help in the SAGNOF department. Also, feel free to peruse some of the other offseason SAGNOF posts, like the outfielders preview, infielders preview and the 2013 year in review. Just don’t get your fingerprints on Rajai’s “King of SAGNOF” sceptre while you’re in there. He is extremely touchy about that and he will come at you.
I’m really excited to have a new tool here at Razzball for stolen bases. It’s called SB Rates vs. SP and you can find it under the “Tools” dropdown along with other killer tools like Platoony Tunes and Hitter-Tron. The new SB Rate tool will be especially handy over the course of the season as data is collected on starting pitchers in regards to their stolen base against totals and caught stealing rates. Now, instead of just relying on my weekly posts and red lights/green lights, you can actually look up any pitcher at any time to see how many steals they have allowed and how that compares to his peers. I’ll still be recommending players to pick up or “stream” for steals each week, but this tool gives us that much more of a detailed edge in the stolen base game. A big thank you to Rudy, who of course, developed this tool for the site. I’m not just saying this because I write here, but Razzball has some of the best fantasy tools on the interwebs.
In addition to the daily SB rate tool here at Razzball, I’m going to share with you a spreadsheet with some 2013 stolen base data that is broken down by team and includes starting rotations as well as catchers. Keep in mind that this is basically a 2014 depth chart, but with 2013 stolen base data. I won’t be updating in-season since we have the much cleaner Razzball tool to work with, but I think it is worth looking at as a starting point prior to the 2014 season. I’ve tried to keep the depth charts as updated as possible during the offseason. Starters are listed with their IP/SB rates and catchers by their CS%. Basically, the lower the IP/SB number, the more steals that pitcher gave up.
Team SB Attempts and Success Rates
It’s no secret that steals were down in 2013 compared to the two years prior. The total for MLB in 2013 was 2,693 compared to 3,229 the year before. The average number of stolen base attempts per team went down as well from 146 in 2012 to 124 in 2013. Last, but not least, the average team’s success rate dropped a tick from 73% to 72%. Here are the top and bottom third teams in MLB according to stolen base success rate. It’s general data that may come in handy when looking at players to acquire.
|2013 Team SB Attempts and Success Rates|
|New York (A)||146||79%||Detroit||55||64%|
|New York (N)||149||77%||Cincinnati||102||66%|
Note: You could look at this a couple different ways. On one hand Houston attempted a lot of steals, which is what you want, but they also got caught a lot, which is what you don’t want. Personally, I still like the teams like Houston that are aggressive. Sometimes it’s a matter of teaching, experience, or maturity to improve that success rate.
Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss?
One of the big factors in stolen base success is the philosophy of the team and more specifically the team’s manager. So while Detroit has been last or near last in stolen bases over the last few years, new manager Brad Ausmus has made it known through interviews and statements to the media that he is going to be more aggressive on the basepaths. Pair that with a new coach, Omar Vizquel, who knows a thing or two about basestealing and there may be changes brewing. (Thanks to our native Detroit commenters for pointing these out to me.) It’s worth noting that if you own a guy like Austin Jackson, or you are wondering how they’ll use Rajai Davis, the King of SAGNOF. The proof, as always, will be in the pudding, and I’d want to see some 2014 data before jumping to any conclusions. An example of this, from last year, would be John Farrell, whose approach took Boston from below league average in stolen base attempts and success rate to above league average in the span of one year.