Finally, in this case, there is no positive persistence (in fact, there is significant negative persistence) for pitchers in preventing steals of home. There is, however, significant persistence for catchers. Because of this, Component 1.3 decisions are allocated 100% to catchers.
3. Level of Credit for Not Attempting Stolen Bases
Player Decisions are awarded not only for stolen bases and caught stealing, but also for a lack of stolen bases and caught stealings when given the opportunity. For most of the seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records, the failure to attempt a stolen base was actually a net positive for a base runner. That is, the expected gain in win percentage to an offensive team from a stolen base times the number of actual stolen bases (defensive indifferences and balks) was less than the expected loss in win percentage to an offensive team from being caught stealing times the number of actual caught stealings (including pickoffs). This has not been true every season, and, in fact, this tendency has reversed itself for seasons since 2007.
Regardless of whether a net positive or net negative, it is worth noting that very few Player Wins are actually earned by failing to attempt a stolen base. With a runner on first base and second base open, the failure to steal second base cost an average of 0.000292 losses per plate appearance in 2009, for example. Avoiding being caught stealing (or picked off), on the other hand, earned an average of 0.000266 wins per plate appearance.
An interesting contrast can be made between the most prolific basestealer in the Major Leagues from 2000 – 2006, Juan Pierre
, who stole 325 bases and was caught stealing 116 times, and perhaps the least prolific basestealer during this time period, Tony Clark
, who reached base approximately 580 times over this time period (excluding home runs) and was credited with no stolen bases and a single caught stealing over this time period.
Juan Pierre, from 2000 – 2006, earned a total of
6.43 stolen base wins, the most stolen base wins earned by any baserunner over this time period. He also led all players in stolen base losses, however, with
6.29, for a Component 1 winning percentage of
0.14 net wins.
Tony Clark, on the other hand, because he never ran, amassed a mere
0.24 stolen base wins, but, because he was only caught stealing once, he also amassed only
0.15 stolen base losses, for a Component 1 winning percentage of
0.09 net wins.
In other words, Juan Pierre’s 441 stolen base attempts generated
0.05 more net wins for his teams than Tony Clark’s one (unsuccessful) stolen base attempt did over these seven years.*
*To be fair, Juan Pierre has earned a total of
1.80 net Component 1 wins over his entire career.
4. Baserunners versus Pitchers versus Catchers
Overall, Component 1 Player Decisions account for
2.3% of total Player Decisions. The relative importance of basestealing as a component of total player value is quite different, however, for baserunners, pitchers, and catchers.
Because of the perfect symmetry between offensive and defensive Player Game Points, basestealing accounted for a total of
2.3% of total offensive Player Decisions. The importance of basestealing varied considerably, however, across players. Returning to the above examples, Juan Pierre
7.1% of his total Player decisions in Component 1 over the course of his career, while Tony Clark’s
basestealing only accounted for
0.6% of his total Player decisions.
The highest percentage of total offensive Games within Component 1 for a single season for a player that played regularly*
for the 1990 Montreal Expos
who had 50 stolen bases and 13 caught stealing in 119 games (263 plate appearances and 26 pinch-running appearances), for a Component 1 Won-Lost record of
1.34 - 1.14. Basestealing accounted for a total of 20.1% of
Nixon’s total offensive Player Decisions and
15.6% of his total Player decisions that year.
*min. 100 games played, 10 player decisions
In contrast, basestealing is a more minor aspect of overall pitching, with Component 1 Player Decisions accounting for only
1.6% of total pitching Player Decisions (not including fielding, batting, and baserunning decisions earned by pitchers). For catchers, on the other hand, Component 1 Player Decisions are a huge percentage of overall catcher fielding, accounting for
66.8% of total fielding value for catchers.
Component 1 leaders can be found here
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