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Win Probability and the Rockies’ TOOTBLANs

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How much do TOOTBLANs hurt a team? Does the risk of aggressive baserunning outweigh reward? Or vice versa?

Rockies fans are having that conversation in light of the team’s hot start coupled with a league-leading 15 16 TOOTBLANs through the month of April.

Note: the Rockies actually have at least 16. I missed one on April 23, but I’m not going back to do the math on that one.

They asked us to take a look at the Rockies’ Win Probability Added (or in this case Subtracted) for each of the team’s on-base non-force outs this year (excluding caught stealing).

We ran each game situation before and after the Rockies’ TOOTBLAN through the Hardball Times’ Win Probability Inquirer to show the team’s win probability before and after the out. The chart below includes the results, along with the game situation (inning, outs, base runners), score and the final result of the game.

For example, before EYJr’s pickoff in the third on the 28th, the Rockies had a 52.1 percent chance of winning. After? 47.7 percent.

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Interestingly, the back-to-back outs by Cuddyer and Rosario in the eighth inning of the April 27 game were particularly damaging. Before they started, the Rockies had a win probability of 66.7 percent, which dropped to 39.3 percent after Rosario was doubled off.

This, of course, only looks at TOOTBLANs in a vacuum, for one team in one month - and no inferences should be drawn without looking at the bigger picture for the team’s baserunning approach.

A note on methodology: The win probability for pre- and post-TOOTBLAN took into account what the situation would have been had the out not occurred and then compared it with the actual result of the play, making informed suppositions about where the runners would have ended up. This is our first spin through Win Probability, so any advice and/or ideas is appreciated.

AP Photo.

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