Further to Grant’s earlier post regarding why the Giants’ offence is terrible at producing runs, yet not terrible at producing decent OPS+ numbers, I thought I’d do a little bit of digging myself. His statement that the Giants are slow is certainly true, but they are also poor baserunners.
(Note all my data is a day old, as I did it yesterday. As yesterday’s game never happened, that’s fine by me. The other two Dodger’s game are included, even though they never happened either.)
(1) Stolen bases
The Giants are second last in steal percentage at 64%, better only than the Royals. Although 18 CS is league average, they are getting less than no benefit from it as that’s below the break-even level. Attempted steals by people not named Andres Torres result in an out 50% of the time. There are failed hit and runs in there, but then that’s true for every team and they seem to manage to occasionally not get out.
This also includes plays where the runner at third was out of a squeeze play at home, because the batter forgot to bunt. I’m don’t have exact stats, but I guess we lead the big leagues on that one.
(2) Thrown out at home (excluding force plays)
These are of course the most expensive of needless outs. 11 times this season this has happened, leading the NL and only behind Seattle overall (13). In terms of run expectation lost, that’s about 10 runs right there.
(3) Grounded into double plays
It’s already been pointed out that we have about 20 more than the league average, trailing only MIL, so let’s not go into that.
(4) Doubled up off a caught ball (fly/line/popup)
(5) Thrown out at other bases (excluding force plays and steals)
Finally, a category where the Giants don’t suck. Not that they are great – 14th in the majors – but hey, it’s something.
I’ve summarised the data in a table below. The Giants are second in the majors in baserunning outs; by the time you read this, they could well be first.
(apologies is the formatting is woeful, I don't actually have a clue what I'm doing)
|Out At H||Out At 3B||Out At 2B||GIDP||FDP||CS H||CS 3B||CS 2B||Total Outs|
However, we have to view that in context. There’s a general correlation I would say between scoring runs and not getting out unnecessarily, but it’s not exact.
First of all, it’s obvious that a team that gets a lot of men on base stands a higher chance of making baserunning outs, and it would be somewhat excusable for the Giants to have a huge number of baserunning outs if they had a corresponding high number of baserunners. I expect it will surprise nobody here to find out that the Giants are in fact only 22nd in this category. So not only are they achieving a high number of these outs, they are managing to do it without too many baserunners. Indeed, if we look at the percentage of baserunners who get out (rather than scoring or being left on base), the Giants remain second worst in the majors (behind the White Sox this time).
Secondly, it’s also OK to make a lot of baserunning outs if you are making up for it with extra advances (and therefore runs). This is harder to tie down into a statistic – I may try to do so in the future – so we’ll have to use what we have, plus our own eyes. If we look at the stolen base stats, we see that the Giants have a league average number of CS, but a very low SB – the Mets have the same number of CS, yet almost three times the number of successes. Using my own eyes, I see a similar thing with other outs: it’s not that we are scoring a lot of runs on tight plays at home, with the inevitable side effect of getting out a lot – we’re just getting out. With a league average OPS and excellent pitching, we shouldn’t be taking stupid risks on the bases – we just aren’t good enough at it.
Thirdly, not all outs are equally costly - outs at home are more costly than outs at first. Again, the Giants are weighted more towards expensive outs than other teams. So although the Giants only make a few more non-GIDP baserunning outs than average (about 6 more), the cost of these errors is still very high.
Finally, all of these stats are before the Posey Era. None of them count anymore.