Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 6, 2007
BASEBALL: Plodsednik

Since late July 2005, only four major league players have been caught stealing more than 17 times. This in and of itself is testimony to the startling conservatism of major league baserunners these days - the stolen base really is a dying art - but of those four, three have produced prime time steals numbers to offset the cost of running - Jose Reyes (93 SB, 26 CS, 78.1% success rate), Juan Pierre (86 SB, 29 CS, 74.8% success rate), and Chone Figgins (82 SB, 27 CS, 75.2% success rate). The game's other elite base thief, Carl Crawford, has gone 71-13 (84.5%) in that stretch.

That leaves us the fourth player: Scott Podsednik. Podsednik has been caught 35 times to only 50 steals, a 58.8% success rate, including twice in three attempts this season. For any other player, you'd say he should just stop running at that point - but running is nearly Podsednik's whole value, with a .268/.354/.333 batting/slugging/OBP line over that time period while playing left field. If he doesn't shape up on the bases very soon, it may be high time for the White Sox to just stop playing him.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:52 PM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Wow. I knew he was poor, but not that bad. He's nearly useless at this point.

How's his fielding?

Posted by: Mike at April 6, 2007 1:36 PM

I wonder if it shows conservatism, or a deeper understanding of how much value is removed when you are out. So we see Reyes with high steal numbers; Beltran with lower numbers but a very high percentage, and few others stealing a lot.

Remember when Aparcio was considered great because he stole some bases, but couldn't steal first? Hendersonthinks Beltran should steal more, but he is using a Ricky standard--he's an all time great, so that is always an unfair comparison.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at April 6, 2007 2:14 PM

Daryl, you should know by now that "conservatism" is not a synonym for imprudence in my book ;)

I do think the decline of the stolen base is driven by sound strategic analysis. It's still sad to see, though.

Posted by: The Crank at April 6, 2007 2:40 PM

I agree completely. With the questionable decision to insert Darin Erstad into CF, the Sox can ill afford to have another poorly producing outfielder in such a good division. Even if his base stealing does return...is he worth it?

Posted by: Brant Stewart at April 6, 2007 3:17 PM

I do think the decline of the stolen base is driven by sound strategic analysis. It's still sad to see, though.

I agree. The Bill James Revolution makes for sound baseball, but it's not necessarily an entertaining product.

Sit-on-you-ass baseball as Whitey called it (and James quoted him positively in that regard) has been the one-and-only offshoot of the Sabermetric boom.

I'll take it over leadoff men with .287 OBPs, but dudes trying to steal 125 times a season (or 172 in Rickey's case) was fun.

Posted by: Mike at April 6, 2007 6:56 PM

Beltran would increase his offensive value by stealing more, even if he got caught a bit more. I just don't know if it would be worth the extra risk of leg injuries from a guy who has 40-HR power.

Posted by: Jerry at April 6, 2007 9:42 PM

Do you think that maybe their's a macho thing here at work.

Home Run hitters drive Caddies etc....

In this era of celebrity worship, perhaps more players believe that, I don't "have to steal" to be of value.

Posted by: billy g at April 7, 2007 9:41 AM

I mentioned Ricky complaining, but how many leadoff guys have his career OBA of .401? His closest rival is probably Tim Raines, who would be Cooperstown bound if he hadn't taken coke, and he was at .385. If your OBA is under .350, which both Aparicio and Wills had (and Dodger Stadium didn't affect his all that much), and you create more outs on top of that, it's a bad play, You get on 40%, and then you steal well, like Henderson, then you will indeed create zillions of runs and get a plaque.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at April 8, 2007 12:26 PM
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