As part of our season review series, we will be reviewing different areas of the Dodger team. At the end of the review I will give the area a letter grade. Today I will be reviewing the Dodger base-running.
The Dodger base running made a huge improvement in 2011, after the first year for Dodger base running guru, and first base coach Davey Lopes. This season however, the base running took a big hit from the year before. Last season the Dodgers stole 126 bases, while being caught only 40 times. This season the Dodgers stole 104 bases while being caught 44 times. That’s a significant drop-off in stolen bases, and stolen base attempts. What could explain the drop-off in steals? I’m not so sure, but Matt Kemp only swiping nine bases this year could partly explain the decline.
Let’s take a look at the Dodger’s stolen base percentage leaders for this season.Dee Gordon 32 for 42 76% Shane Victorino 15 for 17 88% Tony Gywnn Jr. 13 for 19 68% Matt Kemp 9 for 13 69% Hanley Ramirez 7 for 10 70% Bobby Abreu 6 for 8 75% Mark Ellis 5 for 5 100%
There you have it. Nobody else stole more than three or four bases for the Dodgers this year. The Dodgers had a 70% stolen base percentage. Last season their stolen base percentage was 77%. Looking at the numbers, the base-running was just overall down from last year. One stat to look at is OOB. This stands for outs on the bases. This represents all of the times a runner is thrown out on the bases. Now the question is does it include Tootlbans? And how many of those outs represent a Tootblan? I do know that it does include Tootblans, but of course we can’t differentiate between which outs were Tootblans or not. The Dodgers had 55 outs on the bases this season. Last season they actually had 65, but they attempted more steals in 2011.
Another number we can take into consideration is the XBT%. This is the number of extra bases the Dodgers took on each hit. This means the number of times a Dodger advanced more than one base on a single, or more than two bases on a double. This doesn’t take into account for the location and type of ball hit.
The Dodgers had a 39% XBT%, which was below the league average of 41%. In 2011 the Dodgers had a 43% XBT%, which was above the league average at that time. One of the most important things about proper base-running is going from first to third on a hit. For that we will use the first to third percentage. The Dodgers only did this 78 times in 2012. Last season they had 108. That’s a big difference.
The Dodgers run scoring percentage has remained unchanged over the last two seasons at 29%. The league average is 30%. The Dodgers only stole third base ten times this year. The team also committed a ton of Tootblans. The Tootblan is too subjective to be quantified with a stat these days. Someone needs to create a formula to count all of the Tootblans every year.
So what does all of this tell us? Well, besides the Tootblans, The Dodgers just didn’t run the bases very well in 2012. The Dodgers stole less bases than most other teams. The Dodgers attempted to steal less bases. The Dodgers didn’t take many extra bases, and the Dodgers didn’t go from first to third on hits.
This doesn’t prove that they would have scored more runs necessarily, but if they had run the bases better I think it’s likely that the Dodgers would have indeed scored more runs this season. The bottom line is, the Dodgers just didn’t run the bases very well this year. Going from station to station doesn’t help score you any runs. The good teams are the ones able to take extra bases, and go from first to third on hits. This is an area that needs improvement in 2013. Paging Davey Lopes. I repeat, paging Davey Lopes. Where are you Davey Lopes?