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Stolen Base Opportunities

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Following the Manny Acta piece from yesterday, I immediately thought of Ron Shandlers' Baseball Forecaster because it provides team statistics for stolen bases. I use it as a proxy to judge which managers like to run.

I took a look at SBO (Stolen Base Opportunity) to get an idea which teams run the most and the least. What was disappointing was seeing all the SBO group around 9% with a few teams attempting stolen bases at more than a 10% clip.

I then looked at Shandler's Speed Index (SX) which normalizes each teams speed score relative to the league to see if that helped any more. It didn't as teams with excellent SX didn't have high SBO i.e. Detroit Tigers' 127 with a 8% SBO. I checked the SX formula and noted triples and runs scored went into it. That doesn't help with SB in quite the way I hoped.

So I decided to standardize the SBO scores myself using the formula Shandler provides - (SB+CS)/(1B+BB). I used the Stats 101 z-score, and it provides exactly what I wanted to see.

The top five teams were head and shoulders above the rest. More importantly, four of the five return the same managers. Just the Dodgers changed. Even then Joe Torre ranked 10th as the Yankees manager last season.

Remember these are historical numbers and do not necessarily represent future numbers. One example is the Houston Astros who hired a manager late last season, Cecil Cooper, who avows to run more. To that end, the Astros also acquired Michael Bourn. The Astros stole 65 bases in 2007. I expect Bourn to get 40-50 himself. Nevermind, Kaz Matsui who swiped 32.

RK TEAM SB CS Z-Score
1 NY Mets 200 46 2.97
2 LA Angels 139 55 1.5
3 Baltimore 144 42 1.49
4 Tampa Bay 131 48 1.36
5 LA Dodgers 137 50 1.32
6 San Francisco 119 33 0.68
7 Philadelphia 138 19 0.51
8 Florida 105 34 0.47
9 Arizona 109 24 0.47
10 NY Yankees 123 40 0.38
11 Milwaukee 96 32 0.33
12 Minnesota 112 30 0.29
13 Chicago Sox 78 45 0.08
14 Detroit 103 30 0.04
15 Kansas City 78 44 0.02
16 Cincinnati 97 31 -0.02
17 Chicago Cubs 86 33 -0.27
18 Texas 88 25 -0.31
19 Colorado 100 31 -0.33
20 Cleveland 72 41 -0.59
21 Seattle 81 30 -0.6
22 Boston 96 24 -0.62
23 Pittsburgh 68 30 -0.7
24 Houston 65 33 -0.87
25 Washington 69 23 -0.98
26 Atlanta 64 30 -1.07
27 St. Louis 56 33 -1.24
28 Toronto 57 22 -1.29
29 San Diego 55 24 -1.3
30 Oakland 52 20 -1.73