Baserunning Gains
Dr. D is having a little trouble with his 8th-grade algebra



Whoops.  Kiddies here who stumble across the original Die Hard won't get the reference... actually check that.  Cindy and I did a HELOC recently and the bank said we could bring in our printed ta'ax returns or ... fax them?  ... ?!   Like what, drive to Venezuela and get somebody to hook us up with the gear?

Brock Huard has a post up at MyNorthwest urging the M's to copy the Cubs' model.  Never mind the flavor of the day shtick; last year it was three great relievers and this year it's invisible runs going first-to-third when the pitching is awesome.  At least Brock swooned over Kris Bryant and then defined "athletic" for us.  He means specifically the 1950's Go-Go Sox.  (Yet another opaque reference.)

Simultaneously, John Dewan has an article up on Kris Bryant, who he has down for +29 runs just going 1B-to-3B.  (!!)  Well, you know.  Taking extra bases on outfield throws, long singles, long doubles.  29 runs?!  over an average (read amazing) Major League baserunner?  What's that, fifty or more bases?


Copy the Cubs' model ... well, it's true they got some invisible bases with their legs and it's true that same habit saved them when it mattered most.  Fangraphs has the Cubbies down for +16 runs as a team and it's very cool that such a stacked roster won* through microskills.

Point is, the M's were -13 runs on the bases, and 1.5 wins mattered this year.  Problem with oversimplifying is obvious, the problem being Dae-Ho's miracle gamewinning shots at Safeco Field...

There was only one decent Mariner for baserunning, that being King Leonydas with +5 runs.  (Heredia and Gamel each pitched in +1 run in 5-10% of the at-bats.)  The worst three M's were Lee at -5 runs ... Nelson Cruz at -3 runs with his legs, and Lind/Smith with -2 runs each.

Interestingly, the AL West brought up the entire rear of the pack.  The Angels were horrible (-17 runs) despite Mike Trout leading the majors with +42 runs and the A's were absolute last in baseball at -22 runs.  The Astros were also bad.  The Rangers were decent.


I'm still a little bit lost as to what it means to "get athletic" in baseball.  Team triples correlate almost zero with winning, more weakly than any other offensive category.  Let me read that sentence again!

Also here is Dipoto talking about trying to get Dae-Ho Lee back.  Least athletic person in baseball?  You be da judge.  Also also, if you buy Dexter Fowler to play a corner instead of trading for Marcell Ozuna, well, the speed is already baked into the WAR.

I'm not saying the idea of "getting athletic" is stupid; I'm saying after 20+ years of blogging baseball, I still don't have the foggiest notion what it means.  Mass quantities of defensive replacements at the same moment you go to your bullpen in the 7th?  That's what the M's meant last year.  :: shrug ::  Same again next year would be fine by me.



The term "athletic" is basically used to mean speed and jump reach in almost every sport.  Sigh, I suppose Larry Bird and David Ortiz are poor athletes, then. 

Tom Brady, too.

Really we should be talking about the M's need for better COF defense and improved baserunning.  That's what all the mumbo-jumbo is about.  

By the way, improve the 1st and the 2nd generally comes along.  

Good thing we've got Smith coming back!  :)


You guys remember Kawasaki's (might have been Nishioka, but whatever) SF running from 3B that got erased in the first WBC against Team USA?
MLB umps don't even understand how to call it, so you can obviously tell that almost no one does baserunning well in MLB.
In any case, Japanese teams have totally unathletic players, but they can cap losses with technique (Aoki has particularly bad technique, but he's always been a golden boy type, not a technique player like Ichiro/Kawasaki/Matsui).

But the Cubs indeed were smart on the basepaths.
In the 10th inning, they had a runner who went cautious with a big popup, tagged up and took 2B instead of praying the ball would fall.

For the M's, Seager trying to take 2nd on an obviously long single might be the crux of the problem.
Because you can also argue that aggressive baserunning is important and the M's have been hung up on this for the better part of the decade...

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.