Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 7, 2007
BASEBALL: Speedy Delivery

Joe Posnanski uses a super-secret version of speed scores to rate the fastest players in baseball, and ranks Jose Reyes #1. (H/T Geoff Young). It's basically "baseball speed," not raw speed, and offensive speed, at that - the fact that Kenny Lofton makes the list and Carlos Beltran doesn't underlines the fact that Posnanski's formula doesn't include defensive statistics (Beltran's stopped stealing bases but he still runs very well and uses his speed highly effectively on the bases and in the field). It's a fun list, and I'd agree that speedy players make the game more fun, even if they aren't always as useful as they appear.

There is a contrarian, Moneyball-ish theory (theory, I say; I haven't looked empirically at the issue) that a guy like Reyes or Carl Crawford is that much more valuable precisely because they are rarer in today's game and thus - in particular - you are more likely to encounter teams that can't stop the running game in the postseason, whereas in, say, 1975 a team that couldn't stop the run at all was more likely to be an unsuccessful team. It's true in general that whenever a skill goes out of fashion, the people with that skill who remain become more useful.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:01 PM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Interesting thought, Crank. Afterall, the post-season tends to have lower-scoring, and therefore closer, games than the regular season. Which emphasizes the need for base-stealing; catchers/pitchers to prevent the same; bunting; bullpen depth, etc.

Basically, "Little Ball" factors. Which lends some credence to the moneyball-ish theory you refer to.

Posted by: Mike at March 7, 2007 7:37 PM
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