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Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #1 by Tucker Blair » January 5th, 2012, 12:58 pm

Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?
The 2011 Baltimore Orioles were 5th in SB% at 76%. However, they only had 81 SB, which ranked 25th in the MLB. This shows that while the Orioles were very effective at stealing bases, they were often very conservative on the base paths. What possible reason could there be for such an effective but conservative approach on the base paths? It could very well be Showalters' style of managing, or it could be the fact that the Orioles might lack the necessary speed to even attempt more SB.

If you take a look at the Orioles top five SB leaders for the 2011 season, it might surprise you a little.

1) Robert Andino: 13/16 for an 81% SB%
2) Nick Markakis: 12/15 for an 80% SB%
3) Adam Jones: 12/16 for a 75% SB%
4) Matt Angle: 11/12 for a 92% SB%
5) Nolan Reimold: 7/9 for a 78% SB%

(All % were rounded up)

As you can see, the Orioles "Utility INF" was the leading SB threat for the Orioles in 2011. Personally, I do not think of Andino as a guy who is a SB threat, so it comes to a surprise that he led the team. But if you delve deeper into the subject, you see how little speed the Orioles truly have in their starting lineup. Markakis and Jones could certainly increase their SB attempts, but it may make them less effective. Angle will have a tough time cracking the Orioles roster, with the recent signings of OF Endy Chavez and Jai Miler (who is out of options).

Another option that you have to consider for the Orioles' strong conservatism on the bases is that they are often down in games early and a lot. With the disaster called the Orioles' rotation, it is tough to be in many scenarios where they can risk attempting a SB. The Orioles also had plenty of "turtles" on the base-paths. Vlad Guerruero, Matt Wieters, JJ Hardy, and Chris Davis were not exactly the most fleet of foot.

In reality, the Orioles will most likely continue their conservative and effective approach on the base-paths this season. If Brian Roberts returns to the club healthy he could have an impact on these statistics. Let's remember that he led the club in SB for the past couple years he was not hurt. Obviously SB are probably the least of the Orioles' worries right now, and it sure seems that Showalter has taken that approach as well. I expect them to have under 100 SB again in 2012.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #2 by ofahn » January 5th, 2012, 1:45 pm

First, thanks for doing the research. I was going to comment about this on your other post but I think this would be a better forum.

When I saw the numbers I thought of Earl Weaver's and Billy Beane's philosophy about not wasting outs on the base paths. Wasting an out is one less chance for a three run homer. Of course, you need three run homer hitters to make that work. In 1973, Earl didn't have them and he turned his runners loose on the bases led by Al Bumbry and Rich Coggins, resulting in a division title.

I was struck by the fact that Angle and Reimold were in the top five considering the amount of playing time they had. If Luke Scott, another "turtle", and Vlady had their playing time reduced to an amount justified by their performance you might have seen Angle and Reimold at the top of the list. I also wonder what part of caught stealing percentage was for being picked off of base? It wasn't as bad in 2011 as it was in 2010 but it was nothing to be proud of. Just imagine the SB efficiency numbers if even half of those would have been eliminated.

I agree with Billy Beane when he says you only steal a base IF you can be certain to be successful. Our numbers seem to indicate that is what we are doing. I learned in playing and coaching the game that it's not always the act of stealing a base that rattles the pitcher and fielders but the threat of doing so. If I had concerns that my pitcher was going to lose his focus by worrying about the runner on first, and I thought that the runner was faster than my catcher's response time to second, I would tell both of them to ignore the runner and just focus on the batter. HE was the guy that could hurt you. Quite often, when the runner stole second the battery settled down and were successful with the batter.

Guys like Maury Wills, Lou Brock, Tim Raines, and Ricky Hendersen were always more effective in the paranoia they created in the opposing pitcher and catcher than the runs created by the bases they stole. Brock, Raines, and Henderson probably hit half of their home runs because the pitchers were so concerned about walking them and then having to deal with them as base runners that they threw them fastballs down the middle of the plate. How many doubles do you think Brian Roberts has hit in his career for the same reason?

As long as the team can maintain an 80% or better success ratio I would like to see more running this year, and more playing time by Angle and Reimold could make that happen.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #3 by j.q. higgins » January 6th, 2012, 9:42 am

looking back at older bp annuals, buck showalter is apparently known for being a guy that tends to eschew steals and bunts.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #4 by Tucker Blair » January 6th, 2012, 10:53 am

ofahn wrote:First, thanks for doing the research. I was going to comment about this on your other post but I think this would be a better forum.


I was struck by the fact that Angle and Reimold were in the top five considering the amount of playing time they had. If Luke Scott, another "turtle", and Vlady had their playing time reduced to an amount justified by their performance you might have seen Angle and Reimold at the top of the list. I also wonder what part of caught stealing percentage was for being picked off of base? It wasn't as bad in 2011 as it was in 2010 but it was nothing to be proud of. Just imagine the SB efficiency numbers if even half of those would have been eliminated.

I agree, I think Vlad and Scott and the rest of the bunch certainly reduced the amount of attempts this year. Vlad "Singles Machine" Guerrero, was practically a road block! But I think the Orioles did a pretty good job with what they had to an extent.

j.q. higgins wrote:looking back at older bp annuals, buck showalter is apparently known for being a guy that tends to eschew steals and bunts.

And yea, I figured this but thanks for checking that out.
I have to admit, I couldn't remember how Buck managed before he got here. It's one of those things where you watch a guy manage or play before, but you don't really pick up on anything they do until they are actually under your own eyes and scrutiny haha.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #5 by j.q. higgins » January 6th, 2012, 5:55 pm

it WAS amazing that vlad seemingly attempted to take extra bases w/ impunity. i can recall several situations where he was trying to stretch long singles into doubles and was out to the point where the infielder was literally waiting on the bag for vlad to slide. ridiculous.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #6 by Matt P » January 7th, 2012, 3:35 pm

I would much rather have a high % with fewer attempts than a lower % with higher attempts.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #7 by Tucker Blair » January 7th, 2012, 3:45 pm

Matt P wrote:I would much rather have a high % with fewer attempts than a lower % with higher attempts.
I agree. I think the Orioles are in a solid position though to attempt a little bit more (while adding a little more risk ). If they can stay around 75% and steal 10-15 more bases it would be great
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #8 by Matt P » January 7th, 2012, 3:49 pm

Yeah, I think it will go up as well. Having Chavez on the team from Opening Day will help.
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #9 by Tucker Blair » January 7th, 2012, 3:53 pm

Matt P wrote:Yeah, I think it will go up as well. Having Chavez on the team from Opening Day will help.
yep and I am curious to see if andino attempts more.

Same with Reynolds and reimold.

Also keep an eye on jai . He is not a speed demon but he could steal 5+ or so if he got 200+ ab
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Re: Orioles Stealing: Conservative Yet Effective?

PostPost #10 by j.q. higgins » January 8th, 2012, 10:04 am

reimold's an interesting case. don't they say that on last year's roster he had the fastest time down to first in spring? don't know if that would have included angle. not having pie on the roster should also help team steal %.
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