It’s a Friday morning (well, afternoon now), and normally I probably wouldn’t bother digging around in whatever newfangled stat FanGraphs has decided to roll out, but it’s also October, and there’s not a whole lot going on, and the new stat in question relates entirely one of the Jays biggest, most noticeable issues during the 2012 season: stolen bases.
In an announcement this morning, FanGraphs revealed that they have split baserunning contributions out from wOBA, wRAA, wRC, and wRC+, giving us a fancy new number to digest– wSB– that tells us “how many runs above or below average a player is at stealing bases.”
Some folks are bristling at the loss of the “super-awesome all-in-one offensive measurement of yumminess,” which I can totally understand– and can’t help but wonder if FanGraphs, who are pretty responsive to these kinds of things, might ultimately bringing something like that back, if enough noise is made about it. As you’d expect, there’s some great discussion going on in the comments over there. But let’s leave that to them, and check out how the various Jays stack up… which is, with a couple exceptions, pretty much exactly how you’d expect.
Brett Lawrie, naturally, is at the bottom of the list for the Jays, and among the worst in the league (in the bottom 25 of 143 qualified hitters) with a -1.2 wSB, thanks to his eight caught stealings to 13 stolen bases. Colby Rasmus was the next worst, at -1.0, again, unsurprisingly.
What may come as a surprise, given the numerous, entirely in-bounds questions about the club’s running mistakes all season, is that the Jays actually ranked tenth overall as a team, despite having only five hitters with positive contributions who made over 100 plate appearances. As you’d expect, this was due to largely to Rajai Davis, whose 3.5 mark was good for eighth in baseball among 171 hitters with more than 450 plate appearances (and just for consistency, it should be noted that Brett Lawrie “improves” to 28th worst by this scale).
Anthony Gose (1.6), Edwin Encarnacion (0.6) and Moises Sierra (0.1) were also in the black. As well as Kelly Johnson, with a perhaps-surprising 1.2 wSB, thanks to his fourteen steals and two caughts.
What does it all mean? I dunno… that there isn’t a whole lot else out there to write about and that drawing attention to Brett Lawrie’s fourth-worst-in-baseball success rate among those with ten or more steals is never going to get old?
Because, y’know, I’m totally a dick like that.
And also still kinda appalled and dumbfounded at John Farrell’s giving the “green light” to a 21-year-old.
Aaaaand as entirely susceptible to narrative bullshit as the next guy sometimes, it seems, because playing around with this stuff actually got me looking at some rather interesting other numbers– specifically, Lawrie’s splits. Omar Vizquel might want to sit down for this one, because I think it absolutely needs to be pointed out that, contra the narrative, precisely zero of those caught stealings for Lawrie took place in the 51 games he played in July onward.
Granted, Lawrie was hurting during the second half of the season, and he wasn’t getting on base as much (he had a .304 OBP following the All-Star break, a 30 point drop from the first half), and he only stole two bases during that span, but still… doesn’t that maybe kind of speak to– oh, I don’t know– some mistakes getting corrected? Call me crazy.