Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Worshiping at the altar of Brett Butler

What a strange headline, right? I am invoking Butler's name because he managed to get thrown out stealing a lot. He stole 558 bases (24th on the all time list) but got thrown out 257 times (third on the all-time list). In other words, he ran his teams out of a LOT of runs.

Now the SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman, who should know better, is letting new coach Roberto Kelly run off at the mouth about how much speed the Giants will have this year. The problem with stolen bases is that unless you are successful at least 75% of the time, you're better off not stealing at all because of the additional outs you're creating and scoring opportunities that you're diminishing. Schulman doesn't even point this out. He simply asserts that Kelly's minor league team last year stole 212 in 297 attempts; he doesn't then follow that up by examing the 71% success rate -- which means that the team was actually running itself out of more runs than if they hadn't tried stealing at all.

As I've said again and again, the lack of any kind of rigor about the reporting that's being done for Chronicle shows that it's being edited by people who don't give a damn about the readers. We're simply supposed to accept the assertion of "Hey, they're not hitting homeruns so they have to steal bases."

It's worth mentioning that Barry Bonds managed to steal 515 bases and only get thrown out 141 times for a respectable 79% success rate.

What about Roberto Kelly? He had a lousy 73% success rate, so he probably thinks that a 71% rate is acceptable. In other words, get ready for the 2008 Giants to get four singles in an inning and not score a run. And again, having your coaches execute this kind of stupid strategy is yet another reason why Brian "Brain" Sabean should be fired.


Blogger PEFACommish said...

Those Butler stats make me think of Cy Young and his 2 unbreakable records - most wins AND most losses.

Steal, don't steal. Doesn't matter. Maybe it's good if just to take our minds off how bad this offense is going to be.

12:01 PM  

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