Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 2/7/13
Predicting the ability to steal bases is not something you think you need to do. You did not say to yourself over breakfast, “I wonder if Michael Bourn can steal bases?” You already knew he could. And maybe that’s what made breakfast so delicious. But if we want to push the frontier of base running, if we want to see the end of the home run era become the beginning of the efficient base running era, we have to do this thing we thought we did not need to do. We have to be able to predict stolen bases. We recently broached the idea of maximizing base-stealing efficiency. We learned: Base running league-wide has become more efficient and more valuable, but the volume of steal attempts has not grown like we would expect. Judging by the league-wide frequency of home-run rates, teams can now afford a stolen-base success rate around 66%, but have instead opted to steal at comparatively conservative 74% success rate. In fact, if we look at the matter historically, we see that teams since 1951
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