Monday, February 27, 2012

Did I Invent A New Baseball Stat?

Now for something slightly different.

I'm taking a little time to write a post that has nothing to do with Arky Vaughan or the Pittsburgh Pirates. This one is about fantasy baseball. I'm doing research for my upcoming draft, and one of my goals is to reduce risk in players. My league docks points for strikeouts, hitting into double plays and being caught stealing.

The base stealing issue is what brings me to this little effort. Simply looking up a list of the league leaders in caught stealing in 2011 was not enough for me. There were indications of a stolen base percentage stat out there, but my searches of baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com and other sites didn't give me the results I was looking for. So, I created my own stat.

The formula is simple, and probably a little crude as it doesn't factor in things like catcher indifference. It does show how efficient the most aggressive base stealers are. I read somewhere online that anyone stealing bases at a lower than 75% success rate would be better off not trying at all. I'm not certain where to draw the line, but this effort was useful in showing which players are doing too much harm while putting up high stolen base totals. It also shows some added value for elite players that fantasy owners may not be aware of. I limited my pool of players to those with a minimum of 30 stolen base attempts in 2011.

2011 Stolen Base Success Rate (Stolen Bases/Caught Stealing) - Minimum 30 Attempts

Ian Kinsler - 88.2% (30/4)
Eric Young - 87.0% (27/4)
Ichiro Suzuki - 85.1% (40/7)
Jose Reyes - 84.7% (39/7)
Ryan Braun - 84.6% (33/6)
Coco Crisp - 84.4% (49/9)
Jason Bourgeois - 83.7% (31/6)
Erick Aybar - 83.3% (30/6)
Cameron Maybin - 83.3% (40/8)
Angel Pagan - 82.0% (32/7)
Michael Bourn - 81.3% (61/14)
Drew Stubbs - 80.0% (40/10)
Brett Gardner - 79.0% (49/13)
Ben Revere - 79.0% (34/9)
Jimmy Rollins - 78.9% (30/8)
Emilio Bonifacio - 78.4% (40/11)
Matt Kemp - 78.4% (40/11)
Dee Gordon - 77.4% (24/7)
Dustin Pedroia - 76.4% (26/8)
Elvis Andrus - 75.5% (37/12)
Rajai Davis - 75.5% (34/11)
B.J. Upton - 75.0% (36/12)
Alcides Escobar - 74.2% (26/9)
Jacoby Ellsbury - 72.2% (39/15)
Ian Desmond - 71.4% (25/10)
Curtis Granderson - 71.4% (25/10)
Starlin Castro - 70.9% (22/9)
Peter Bourjos - 70.9% (22/9)
Chris Young - 70.9% (22/9)
Justin Upton - 70.0% (21/9)
Jason Bartlett - 69.6% (23/10)
Andrew McCutchen - 69.6% (23/10)
Jeff Francoeur - 68.7% (22/10)
Willie Bloomquist - 66.6% (20/10)
Melky Cabrera - 66.6% (20/10)
Hanley Ramirez - 66.6% (20/10)
Jemile Weeks - 66.6% (22/11)
Juan Pierre - 61.3% (27/17)

Pretty interesting to see players like Kinsler and Braun at the top of this list. Fantasy owners don't need many extra reasons to draft them, but knowing how efficient they are on the base paths doesn't hurt.

I'd love to hear your feedback on this. How much value is there in these numbers? Are there other factors to bring into the equation? Let me know. Thanks for reading.