Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Scoring Without Homers

Scoring Without Homers

By Mike Silva ~ January 28th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, Statistical Analysis.

A while back I had Dayn Perry of Foxsports on my WGBB show. We were, at the time, talking about his newly released book Winners: How Good Teams Become Great Ones.” Dayn grew up a Cardinals fan, and we talked about how winning in the modern game becomes very difficult with a team that lacks power. No longer could you put together a roster like the eighties St. Louis Cardinals and score enough to win a championship.

I still think any team with postseason aspirations has to put together a solid middle of the order with power, but a John Dewan “stat of the week” got me to thinking about this a little more:

The Angels in 2009 advanced from first to third on a single 128 times — twenty more than any other major league team. The only three major league players who have gone from first to third on a single more than 50% of the time in their careers (50 or more opportunities) are Torii Hunter, Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar — all Angels in 2009.

Angels 2009- Advancing 1st to 3rd
Advances Opportunities Pct    
128 367 35%    

Anaheim was second in the league in runs to the Yankees, but below the league average in homers hitting 173. I am not saying the Angels recreated “Whitey Ball”, but as we saw during here locally during the ALCS, this was a team built on speed, defense, and solid base running. When the fundamentals failed Mike Scioscia and company they were unable to play with the Yankees.

Could their ability to go first to third play a huge part in their offensive success? It appears it may. Obviously, there are deeper studies that can, and probably have, been done to verify my assumption.

I am not a big believer in the new base running stats that some are citing. How exactly do you measure base running? Anyway, there is no doubt that not just fast, but effective, base runners can make a huge difference. I would also suspect establishing a solid lead, hustling out of the box, and having a competent third base coach (looking at you Razor Shines), all plays a part in the equation. The problem is all of it is hard to measure, but the fact that Anaheim scored a ton of runs without the most potent lineup top to bottom might give you a great clue.

In an era where everyone is talking about pitching, defense, and runs saved, perhaps base running should be put right up there. Whitey ball might never return, but aspects of it could very well be embraced again.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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1 Response to Scoring Without Homers

  1. Ceetar

    Something jerry should learn, because the Mets were more aggressive and stole more bases (Even the fringe guys like..El Duque!) before he stepped up to ‘manage’ the team.

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