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Clogging up the Basepaths


Fike85

"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage, clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

 

-Dusty Baker

 

Is there any truth to the belief that the OBP prowess of Adam Dunn, Frank Thomas, Pat Burrell, et al is cancelled out by lack of speed. Is there any evidence that high OBP/slow baserunners hurt, or at the very least do not help, their team by getting on base?

 

Personally I believe that getting on base is always an overwhelming positive, but might I be mistaken?

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Below average base advancement (what stat guys would call clogging the base paths) obviously hurts but it would never be able to completely negate the advantage of a great OBP. The Big Hurt is one of the worst base runners, in terms of base running, but he's still an asset to his offense, however.

 

This guy likes to study base running:

 

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I can't even begin to fathom what he means by that, or what kind of point he's trying to make. Isn't clogging the basepaths good? I can't imagine any situation where getting on base would be a bad thing.
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A runner on 1st should be holding up halfway to 2nd on a fly ball to the outfield so unless he prevents a triple, which he should score on anyway, I don't see how a runner could clog up the bases. Maybe a guy at 2nd when there is a really fast guy at 1st prevents an extra base. I guess I don't see it having much of an effect unless he gets thrown out taking an extra base, but that would also go under poor baserunning. I guess if you are poor at base running you could clog up bases, but to me that would have more to do with being a good base runner, which I personally think could be taught, than speed.

 

EDIT: Think of Carlos Lee as an example of a good base runner who had very little speed.

 

2nd EDIT: I thought of a better example. Miller gets a single. Weeks hits what would normally be a triple, but Miller is only fast enough to get to 3B. Miller on 3B, Weeks on 2B, with no outs. Or would you rather have, Miller pops out. Weeks hits a triple. Weeks on 3B, one out.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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One way I can see people making the "clogging the bases" argument would be if a slow-footed batter is batting behind a slow-footed OBP machine. For this scenario, think Gabe Gross batting infront of Johnny Estrada. The possibility Estrada will hit into a DP is much higher because Estrada himself is slow, and Gross isn't exactly the fastest guy around.

 

The other example given with Miller/Weeks is also one way people could argue clogging the bases is bad, but I think in general the more baserunners a team has the better probability they will eventually score runs, provided the other batters in the lineup are capable of driving them in.

"When a piano falls on Yadier Molina get back to me, four letter." - Me, upon reading a ESPN update referencing the 'injury-plagued Cardinals'
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For this scenario, think Gabe Gross batting infront of Johnny Estrada. The possibility Estrada will hit into a DP is much higher because Estrada himself is slow, and Gross isn't exactly the fastest guy around.

 

Even in this scenario, it really wouldn't matter if it was Gross or Gwynn running to second. In most normal DP scenarios, the player running to second wouldn't matter because they'll be thrown out anyway. I guess you could make the argument that if they get there faster they have a better chance of breaking up the DP at second base.

 

All I could think of when I saw Baker's comment was a team full of Juan Pierre's (shudder).

 

Personally I've seen enough solo homers this year to convince me that I wouldn't mind having Estrada or Miller on first at any point.

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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I think there's a difference between below average base advancement (a legitimate issue) and 'clogging up the base paths', which tends to come up as a somewhat silly sounding argument against the value of getting on base.

 

I can't imaging complaining about having two baserunners instead of one or three baserunners instead of two. But I can see below average advancement as an issue, even if there is only one baserunner.

 

I guess the source of the statement has to be considered, too. Indirectly, this seems to be Dusty's argument defending some of his lineups with low OBP players at the top of the order and fairly impressive OBPs in spots like #7.

That’s the only thing Chicago’s good for: to tell people where Wisconsin is.

[align=right]-- Sigmund Snopek[/align]

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I take it as base advancement issues (going for 1 -> 3 on a single, or scoring from 2 on a single are bigs ones). I also see it as meaning that a slow base runner will hinder the base runner's advancement behind him. I think that affect is pretty darn insignificant, though.
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I remember looking at some base running stuff I think at Baseball prospectus and in terms of calculating base running effects base advancement was generally more important than stolen bases. Of that the ability to go first to third was the most important. I don't recall any hard numbers, but they were large enough to be worth consideration for similar ball players about 5 runs I'd say. That said a base clogger is going to have a much smaller impact on other players because he's only going to be in position to interfere with the other base runner a fraction of the time they'd have chances to go first to third.
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I do understand that, but I'm just curious if there are players who through out their career were consistent about getting on base, but would always be batting in front of people who couldn't bat them in.
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I only wonder whether the same people who talk about clogging up the basepaths also talk about how home runs kill rallies.

 

Holding both of these views at the same time might cause a rip in the fabric of time.

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I can't imaging complaining about having two baserunners instead of one or three baserunners instead of two. But I can see below average advancement as an issue, even if there is only one baserunner.

Yeah, its fine to complain about speed/baserunning abilities, but I can't think of any situation where having a runner on base is worse than no runner on base, even if that runner is slower than Bob Hamelin and Joe Vitiello combined.

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I take it as base advancement issues (going for 1 -> 3 on a single, or scoring from 2 on a single are bigs ones). I also see it as meaning that a slow base runner will hinder the base runner's advancement behind him. I think that affect is pretty darn insignificant, though.
I think it would be less significant than making an out. As for scoring from second on a single, it would be better than making an out.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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(disclaimer) While walks are almost always beneficial...I guess my view here depends on the situation.

 

Try this: Down one run, late in the game, man on 3rd, 1 out, big bulky snail-speed slugger (a Jeff Francoeur type) at bat. Yes, I would prefer a sac fly to a walk. Make it a weak hitter up next, and my sentiment's even stronger. Just tie the game, right? Who's with me? .........*crickets*

"So if this fruit's a Brewer's fan, his ass gotta be from Wisconsin...(or Chicago)."
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The value of all batting events are dependent on the number of outs, number of base runners, inning, score, etc... A grand slam when your team is up by 8 in the 9th has almost no value. A walk in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th with a runner at 3rd and 1 out has negative value.

 

When estimating the value of a player and his tool set, we generally look at the average value of his skills, though, since baseball doesn't really allow you to pick and choose the best player for each situation that comes up.

 

That sure would make it pretty interesting if you could. Each time through the lineup, everyone has to bat once but the order can be decided on the fly. Hart and Hardy make outs to start off the game? Might as well bat the pitcher and save Braun for for when a runner might be on next inning. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

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Try this: Down one run, late in the game, man on 3rd, 1 out, big bulky snail-speed slugger (a Jeff Francoeur type) at bat. Yes, I would prefer a sac fly to a walk. Make it a weak hitter up next, and my sentiment's even stronger. Just tie the game, right? Who's with me? .

 

If the only choices are walk or sac fly, I'd take the sac fly.

 

The problem is those aren't the only two choices, and the most likely choice is often determined by the pitcher more so than the hitter.

 

If a pitcher is pitching around the hitter it is more likely the most realistic choices are walk or non-scoring out, with a sac fly and hit being the least likely.

 

- walk

- ground out to pitcher

- ground out to third

- ground out to first

- pop up on the infield

- shallow fly ball to outfield

- strike out

- sac fly

- base hit

 

Now, I don't want someone going up to the plate looking to walk. I do want them to, if possible, drive in that runner, because that run needs to score to have a realistic shot at winning the game.

 

But I want them to be smart enough to take what's offered to them, even it it's a walk. I don't want them to "expand the zone" and "just make contact" in an attempt to drive in a run and then ground out to the pitcher.

 

No matter how weak the next hitter, I'd rather have a runner on first and third with one out than a runner on third with two outs. I like the odds of that runner scoring from third a lot better with one out than two, double-play risk and all.

Chris

-----

"I guess underrated pitchers with bad goatees are the new market inefficiency." -- SRB

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This is stupid.

 

Scenario 1

Johnny Estrada-like runner on first.

Juan Pierre runner hits a double that would be a triple without Johnny on base.

Result: Johnny on third, Juan on 2nd, 0 out.

 

Scenario 2:

Estrada runner gets out instead.

Pierre type hits triple, and isn't blocked at third.

Result: Juan on 3rd, 1 out.

 

How the second scenario can ever be superior to the first is absolutely beyond anything a graduate of high school or beyond can comprehend. Maybe if it's a tie game in the 9th and your next hitter hits a fly that Juan can tag and score on while Johnny can't is the only way it isn't just beyond stupid to think that.

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