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Thread: Article: Twins 8, Brewers 6 and Stealing Bases

  1. #1
    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Article: Twins 8, Brewers 6 and Stealing Bases


  2. #2
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    I didn't mind it at all. Hicks has good speed. I would rather have runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out than leave the door open for a double play to end the inning. I agree with and understand the numbers you're sharing. Getting thrown out in conjunction with the batter getting out is essentially replacing the double play ground ball. But, I do like 2 runners in scoring position, so I would never complain about a good base runner trying to steal there... especially when you already have a lead.

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    John,

    Are the success percentages tied to the run scoring environment? Should they be? Are the percentages you presented tied to the current run scoring environment? We certainly are in a lower run scoring environment now than a handful of years ago.

    I would think that the steal becomes less risky as the chance of driving in the run becomes lower. If true, then the success percentages not only change by era but also game to game, pitcher to pitcher, batter to batter and park to park.

    If Florimon, Carroll and Dozier are the next batters due up it seems like a less risky proposition than if it were Mauer, Willingham and Morneau.

  4. #4
    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    I think what needs to be done is have this analysis taken farther, taking into account game situation, perhaps using WPA as was discussed in an earlier article.

    If I remember correctly, the Brewers had just put 3 runs on the board, cut the lead to 6-3, and made it an interesting game. In that case, perhaps the risk/reward equation shifts, making it more acceptable to run than when the game is not close.

    Just a thought.

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    Looked like Hicks had a bad jump as the throw was off-line and he was still caught rather easily.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
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    There are so many other factors to consider: the pitcher's ability to hold runners--PD (time to home plate), who's catching, the count... These are not factored into the run expectancy matrix. Like you said, we are second-guessing this because Hicks got caught. I like pushing the defense, making the Brewers and future opponents account for an aggressive running game. That's a strategic advantage too, that doesn't show up in a computer matrix.

  7. #7
    Very cool set of numbers.

    In this case I'm not sure they are relevant however. Don't know whether he was sent or went but it appeared to me to be a case of stealing a base simply as part of transitioning to the majors. Hicks has been on base so little he really hasn't had a chance to get "use to" or get any exposure to stealing bases in the majors. With that lead I would have been shocked he wasn't sent/went in practically any situation.

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    If you want to split hairs, all of those break even values should be weighted for a team's home run hitting proficiency, where obviously the Twins are lacking. Which makes the steal a more viable option for them in all situations.

    By the same logic, to get even more precise, the break even calculation should be weighted against the home run hitting proficiency of the batter at the plate - Florimon in this case. Obviously that lowers Hicks' break even point even further.

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    John is right. It is bad strategy,

  10. #10
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Hicks is fast, no question, but he didn't look exceptionally quick in the first three or four strides. Maybe it was more the late jump.

    At any rate, I'm ok with him getting more chances to run, even if some of those chances exceed what's best for the optimal run-scoring strategy. If it costs them runs, tough hop. It's the cost of conducting on-the-job training at the major league level.

  11. #11
    We can account for the situation (bottom 6th, one out, up four) and calculate the breakeven rate by comparing win expectancies (The Win Probability Inquirer):
    WE before steal: 97.12%
    WE if successful steal: 97.38%
    WE if caught stealing: 95.86%
    Implied breakeven rate: 83%

    This shows two things:
    1. You should believe that Hicks has an 83% chance of stealing 2nd in this situation before sending him.
    2. Even in the unfavorable outcome (caught stealing), you still have a 95% chance of winning.

  12. #12
    Nice write-up. There are so many amazing statistics out there that undoubtedly would help a team win more games over the course of a season if the manager put them to use. I can't help but wonder if Gardy even cares about stuff like this. I hope so, but I doubt it.

  13. #13
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepFriedTwinkie View Post
    We can account for the situation (bottom 6th, one out, up four) and calculate the breakeven rate by comparing win expectancies (The Win Probability Inquirer):
    WE before steal: 97.12%
    WE if successful steal: 97.38%
    WE if caught stealing: 95.86%
    Implied breakeven rate: 83%

    This shows two things:
    1. You should believe that Hicks has an 83% chance of stealing 2nd in this situation before sending him.
    2. Even in the unfavorable outcome (caught stealing), you still have a 95% chance of winning.
    I like looking at it this way.. I wonder if how that 83% changes when the Twins are down by 1 run or 2 runs, or if the game is tied?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    I like looking at it this way.. I wonder if how that 83% changes when the Twins are down by 1 run or 2 runs, or if the game is tied?
    I've actually already done the calculations where there is just a runner on 1st for a few late-game scenarios. Could easily update it to look at the 1st and 3rd scenario, though.

    stolen_base.GIF

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepFriedTwinkie View Post
    We can account for the situation (bottom 6th, one out, up four) and calculate the breakeven rate by comparing win expectancies (The Win Probability Inquirer):
    WE before steal: 97.12%
    WE if successful steal: 97.38%
    WE if caught stealing: 95.86%
    Implied breakeven rate: 83%

    This shows two things:
    1. You should believe that Hicks has an 83% chance of stealing 2nd in this situation before sending him.
    2. Even in the unfavorable outcome (caught stealing), you still have a 95% chance of winning.
    How did you set the run scoring environment given the next three hitters were Florimon, Carroll and Dozier?

    I would think it must be different than if Mauer was batting followed by Willingham and Morneau. Looking the their runs created per game, it probably is at least a 3 run difference between the two trios. I am not sure how the run scoring environment correlates to runs created.

    Wouldn't using a lower run scoring environment also decrease the break even point?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
    How did you set the run scoring environment given the next three hitters were Florimon, Carroll and Dozier?

    I would think it must be different than if Mauer was batting followed by Willingham and Morneau. Looking the their runs created per game, it probably is at least a 3 run difference between the two trios. I am not sure how the run scoring environment correlates to runs created.

    Wouldn't using a lower run scoring environment also decrease the break even point?
    I used a 4.0 run scoring environment (3.0 to 6.5 scale). Here are the rates in the most extreme run scoring environments:

    3.0 => 83% breakeven
    6.5 => 79% breakeven

    That's backwards of what I would have thought originally, but now that I think about it the run scoring env applies to both teams. A higher RSE makes it more likely that the Brewers can rally from four down. I can see where that makes it slightly more tempting to go after insurance runs.

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    So you can't really set the run scoring environment for the context of which hitter is at the plate since it also reduces the Brewers overall run scoring environment.

    With Florimon batting and his high ground ball tendency I think the break even point changes. He is much less likely to hit a sacrifice fly and more likely to hit the ball on the ground keeping the runner at third or hitting into a double play.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
    With Florimon batting and his high ground ball tendency I think the break even point changes. He is much less likely to hit a sacrifice fly and more likely to hit the ball on the ground keeping the runner at third or hitting into a double play.
    I would agree with that. I also wonder about the likelihood of a bad throw to second trying to get hicks, which allows doumit to score from 3rd.

  19. #19
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    Hicks did not "go on his own". It might have been a R&H with the batter missing the sign. I think that pitcher employs a slide-step. But to me, up 3 with the opponents having questionable pitching--the steal is foolish. Play patiently and wait for BBIP, the inning was built and now it's time to see if there will be a hit parade to bury the Brewers with an avalache of runs.

  20. #20
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
    So you can't really set the run scoring environment for the context of which hitter is at the plate since it also reduces the Brewers overall run scoring environment.
    Not when you are looking at it from the perspective of Win Expectancy, no.

    From the perspective of expected run value you can at least narrow the calculus down to being lineup-specific. The formula for that is simply:

    Break Even Rate = 0.590 + 3.33 x (HR/PA)

    But, that too doesn't distinguish between a late and close scenario or a situation like last night with 1st and 3rd, 1 out, up 2 in the bottom of 6, or any other base/out/inning situation you can think of. Also, the constant and coefficient here are derived from the entirety of 1950-2012 (and yet manages to hold a r-squared of .685).

    So that's why I think for us who like to play armchair manager, you have to combine the two approaches somehow, possibly by weighting the WE values against the HR propensities of hitters, since the breakeven SB-HR relationship is so strong and HR rates can vary so wildly hitter to hitter.
    Last edited by Willihammer; 05-31-2013 at 07:05 PM.

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