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John Dewan's Stat of the Week

 

The Best and Worst Baserunners in 2014

July 18, 2014

We are in the middle of a very exciting year of baserunning. Last season, Jacoby Ellsbury was the only player with at least 50 stolen bases for the season (he had 52). This season, Dee Gordon (43), Jose Altuve (41), and Billy Hamilton (38) are on pace to easily fly by his total.

Bill James created a comprehensive statistic to measure baserunning called Net Gain that includes both stolen bases and advancements on hits and outs. Gordon and Altuve are both in the top five of the Net Gain leaderboard, but another player sits in the top spot:

Best Baserunners in 2014
Player Net Gain
Ben Revere +35
Dee Gordon +31
Hunter Pence +28
Jose Altuve +28
Jayson Werth +27

Ben Revere is actually fourth in baseball with 26 steals this season. That total is significantly lower than the three players in front of him, but Revere stands out in other aspects of baserunning. Specifically, he has taken an extra base in 18 of his 31 opportunities, 13th-best among players with at least 30 opportunities. Meanwhile Revere has only been thrown out once in those situations on the basepaths, which is another key element that Net Gain measures. Gordon and Altuve have been thrown out on advancement opportunities four and three times, respectively.

Billy Hamilton falls short of the top five with +23 Net Gain, which is actually 11th in baseball. Last season, Hamilton seemed uncatchable with just 1 caught stealing against 13 stolen bases. This year, he has been caught 15 times against just 38 stolen bases. That 72 percent success rate is actually lower than the league rate of 73 percent.

Meanwhile, here are the worst baserunners in Net Gain so far this season:

Worst Baserunners in 2014
Player Net Gain
Victor Martinez -24
Brandon Phillips -22
Alex Avila -22
Billy Butler -20
Albert Pujols -20

Collectively, these five runners have a surprising seven stolen bases this season. Pujols leads the way with four of them. However, they also have been caught nine times. In addition, they have all struggled in advancement situations. In particular, Butler (6 percent) and Martinez (12 percent) have abysmal advancement rates.

Phillips is the most surprising name on the list, but his baserunning decline started in 2013. In 2012, Phillips had +20 Net Gain with 15 steals and just one baserunning out. Last season, he declined to +6 Net Gain, five steals, and six baserunning outs. Meanwhile, he already has six baserunning outs at the halfway point this season and only one steal to his credit.


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 TitlePublished Date
Edit The Best and Worst Baserunners in 2014 Jul 18 2014
Edit The White Sox Blow Another Lead Jul 10 2014
Edit Shifts Against Right-Handed Hitters Jun 26 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2014 Jun 10 2014
Edit The Most Improved Defensive Teams Jun 06 2014
Edit How Many More No-Hitters This Year? May 29 2014
Edit Rookie of the Year – Tanaka or Abreu? May 16 2014
Edit Can the National League Reverse a 10-Year Trend? May 09 2014
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? Apr 25 2014
Edit Shifts Still on the Rise Apr 18 2014
Edit Can the First 10 Games Predict Playoff Chances? Apr 11 2014
Edit Who Will Be The 2014 Statistical Leaders? Mar 31 2014
Edit Can Spring Training Statistics Predict Breakout Power Seasons? Mar 25 2014
Edit Who Will Be The Best Defenders In 2014? Mar 11 2014
Edit Sochi Olympics - Dominant Countries Feb 25 2014
Edit United States on Track for Most Olympic Medals Feb 17 2014
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Edit Super Bowl Predictor System Jan 30 2014
Edit Throwing Strikes Jan 20 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2013 Jan 10 2014
Edit Teams that Best Controlled the Running Game Dec 30 2013
Edit Opponent OPS and the Cy Young Award Dec 20 2013
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2013 Dec 09 2013
Edit Tim Lincecum Breaks Our Defensive Rankings Nov 19 2013
Edit Who Was the Real AL MVP? Nov 15 2013
Edit Making a Great Defensive Play Then Leading Off the Next Inning Nov 05 2013
Edit The 2013 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 28 2013
Edit Boston-St. Louis World Series Oct 21 2013
Edit Who are the Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II) Oct 07 2013
Edit Who are the Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I) Oct 04 2013
Edit Simmons Has Company Sep 23 2013
Edit Who are the Slowest Players in Baseball? Sep 12 2013
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Edit Easy and Tough Saves Aug 30 2013
Edit Best Single-Season Runs Saved Totals Aug 19 2013
Edit Opponent OPS Aug 15 2013
Edit Who's Shifting and Who's Not Jul 25 2013
Edit Who Should Be Starting the 2013 All-Star Game? Jul 16 2013
Edit Edwin Encarnacion and Shifts Jul 11 2013
Edit The Pirates and Hot Streaks Jun 26 2013
Edit Scoring Runners from Third Base with Less Than Two Outs Jun 24 2013
Edit Rookie Total Runs and DRS Leaders Jun 19 2013
Edit Who Has The Most Total Runs in 2013? May 29 2013
Edit Who Are the Top Baserunners in Baseball? May 23 2013
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? May 14 2013
Edit Timing Pitchers and Catchers To Prevent Stolen Bases Apr 24 2013
Edit Shifting Into High Gear Apr 18 2013
Edit Who Will Be The Best Defenders in 2013? Apr 02 2013
Edit Who Are This Year's Potential Breakout Players? Mar 27 2013
Edit Best Defensive Players of the Decade (Part IV) Mar 22 2013
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