A’s, Giants on the bases: good and bad

Posted By on January 10, 2009 2:00 pm

Just perusing the stat tools at Baseball Prospectus and stumbled upon this little nugget. They’ve got a thing there that tracks a team’s baserunning efficiency. It’s the old Equivalent Baserunning Runs (EqBRR). I don’t have the space in this blog to explain how it’s derived, and I have almost unlimited space, so that gives you an idea. Anyway, the point is it measures how many extra runs a team scored by taking extra bases here and there throughout the season.

Reason this piqued my interest is that last spring there was a lot of talk in the Giants and A’s camps about how they were going to stress good baserunning.

So how’d they do?

The A’s ended up fourth-best in the majors, accounting for 11.2 more runs than they’d have scored with average baserunning. They ranked 24th in 2007, when they were -11.5, so that’s a pretty good net gain.

The Giants, however, were dead last in 2008. They scored 26.8 runs fewer than they would have with average baserunning. In 2007, they ranked 16th, coming up just a fraction of a run shy of average. Oddly enough, the Giants got worse despite actually having some players who could run in 2008. It wasn’t as if they were moving like glaciers. (Well, there’s one guy.)

In any case, when spring training begins this year, I’m guessing Roberto Kelly, the Giants first-base coach and baserunning guru, is going to have his work cut out for him.

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