Wednesday, December 6, 2017

From the Handbook: Holding Runners

This is actually from a section entitled "Pitcher hitting, fielding and holding runners, and hitters pitching." And since we all already know Chris Gimenez pitched in six games last season, we'll narrow it down to something else a bit off beat -- holding runners.

Kyle Gibson pitched 158 innings for the Twins in 2017. Six runners attempted to steal off him; only one was successful.

There there's Jose Berrios -- 145 innings, nine attempts, six steals. Ervin Santana: 211 innings, 13 attempts. 11 successes.

To be sure, there isn't as much basestealing today as there was when I was young and artificial turf was in vogue. Managers wisely are less interested in one base in an era when there are twice as many homers hit and higher strikeout rates make "manufactured runs" less likely. And more precise data on "pop times" -- the time between the pitch hitting the catcher's glove and the catcher's throw to second hitting the infielder's glove -- and base runner speed gives managers a better handle on the real chance of a specific runner stealing a base successfully.

The result is that while basestealing attempts are down, success rates are up.

Unless you're running on Gibson. In which case, not only are attempts rather infrequent, success is even more rare.

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