This is a guest post from Petro, a Rockies fan and friend of TOOTBLAN Tracker, taking a look at the Rockies’ early season outs on the basepaths:
During the offseason in Colorado, new manager Walt Weiss, along with other members of the Rockies front office proposed a new slogan: Altitude with Attitude.
The idea behind this slogan was that the Rockies would unleash a relentless offensive attack on their opponents benefitting from both the environment of Coors Field and an aggressive baserunning style. Entering the first weekend in May, this aggressive style led the Rockies to lead the league in TOOTBLANs with 16.
A significant factor in these 16 TOOTBLANs was Eric Young, Jr., who leads the league with five of those 16 TOOTBLANs. For Rockies fans, this drew considerable attention as well. Young had been nototrious for his baserunning mistakes until last season, during which he seemed to cure himself of the TOOTBLAN disease.
All of these baserunning mishaps led some Rockies fans to question the new aggressive approach of the club. How much are we costing ourselves from running into outs on the bases? Is Eric Young, Jr. really as bad as we think? Has our approach truly been different from last year? Should we even been complaining about this when we have such a good record so far?
Reviewing the available statistics for baserunning, there was nothing that really assessed baserunning futility in the nature of the TOOTBLAN. Fangraphs and Baseball Reference contain several different forms of counting stats. Fangraphs calculates UBR, which assigns a run value to baserunning events.
Unfortunately, this statistic is difficult to decode into good comparison values of mistakes made. It also does not include steals and caught stealing. Similarly, Baseball Prospectus has the terrific BRR statistic, but this also calculates and assigns values to set situations rather than assessing purely risky behavior and futility—otherwise known as attitude and Eric Young, Jr.
To make the point of how Eric Young, Jr. like Eric Young, Jr. was being this season, I decided to throw together a statistic that shows the rate at which a player makes an out per baserunning appearances—Baserunning Out Rate (BROR). I took Eric Young’s Baserunning Outs (BROs) and divided them by his Baserunning Apperances (BRAs).
Baserunning Outs was calculated by adding (Pickoffs - Pickoffs Caught Stealing) + Caught Stealings + Outs on Basepaths.
Baserunning Appearances was calculated by adding (Hits - Home Runs) + Walks + Hit By Pitch + Reached on Error.
This gave me the formula of ([PO - PCS] + CS + OOB) / ([H - HR] + BB + HbP + RoE) = BROR. A measure of true Eric Youngness.
How often has Eric Young, he of five TOOTBLANs, made an out after getting on base so far this season?
([3-3] + 4 + 2) / ([23 - 0] + 4 + 0 + 2) = 20.7 percent.
Even the vaunted Ryan Theriot 2008 campaign could not compare with its mere 7.8 percent.
While one might chalk this up to mere small sample size, Eric Young, Jr.’s career BROR is nearly double that of Theriot’s single-season crapfest.
Have a look at some of your favorite players’ baserunning futility through BROR. A further installment of looks at baserunning futility will cover some of the strengths and weaknesses of this statistic, as well as its all time champions.
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