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SB% - Why is it so high now?

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  • SB% - Why is it so high now?

    I was dabbing thru BBRef, and came across SB% under the leaderboards. I found it amazing that 26 of the top 50 not only played during the past two decades, but are active. Add in the retired players, and it's near 40 players of the 50. Granted, very early stats don't give CS% numbers so there's no way to address that, but it does go back more than half a century with statistical information.

    Now, unless you're somebody like Herschel Walker being pulled with a parachute, the adage that you can't teach speed seems fairly consistent. How is it then that, in this age of big fly balls, baserunners are advancing at a better clip than ever over the past 60 or so years? Are they picking their spots better? Do pitchers take more time to the plate? Do catchers not practice the throw to 2nd as much? Is it all of them? Is it none of them? Like I said, i just stumbled upon it and found it interesting to see so many bolded players (active) at the top of the list.

    EDIT: Mods, if this doesn't belong in this forum, please feel free to move.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
    I was dabbing thru BBRef, and came across SB% under the leaderboards. I found it amazing that 26 of the top 50 not only played during the past two decades, but are active. Add in the retired players, and it's near 40 players of the 50. Granted, very early stats don't give CS% numbers so there's no way to address that, but it does go back more than half a century with statistical information.

    Now, unless you're somebody like Herschel Walker being pulled with a parachute, the adage that you can't teach speed seems fairly consistent. How is it then that, in this age of big fly balls, baserunners are advancing at a better clip than ever over the past 60 or so years? Are they picking their spots better? Do pitchers take more time to the plate? Do catchers not practice the throw to 2nd as much? Is it all of them? Is it none of them? Like I said, i just stumbled upon it and found it interesting to see so many bolded players (active) at the top of the list.

    EDIT: Mods, if this doesn't belong in this forum, please feel free to move.
    How do total stolen bases compare?

    Off the top of my head, I'd say that teams are more aware of the negative value of caught stealings so are running less while focusing on efficiency.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by filihok View Post
      How do total stolen bases compare?

      Off the top of my head, I'd say that teams are more aware of the negative value of caught stealings so are running less while focusing on efficiency.
      That's very possible for forward "thinking teams" - i use that term for a lack of knowing what to actually call them - but even a team like the Phillies, whose manager plays "go for the 3-run bomb" thinking has players strewed among the top 50 and he's not one to work that stuff in much during practices.
      "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
        That's very possible for forward "thinking teams" - i use that term for a lack of knowing what to actually call them - but even a team like the Phillies, whose manager plays "go for the 3-run bomb" thinking has players strewed among the top 50 and he's not one to work that stuff in much during practices.
        Are league total CS% down or just for top players?

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        • #5
          Hmmm I'm actually not sure and don't know how to even find it

          Like I said, this just happened to hit me while I was bored and I don't know if there's really an answer to it.
          "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
            Hmmm I'm actually not sure and don't know how to even find it

            http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...ers=0&sort=1,d

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            • #7
              Good stuff, thanks for that. Interesting that the difference between SBs in 1968 (when balls weren't flying out of the yard) to 1976 was a 200% increase. I wonder if this might have been helped by the astroturf introduced to so many parks in the early 70s.

              But dang, over 3K SBs a year now. That's a ton. And I still have no clue
              "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
                Good stuff, thanks for that. Interesting that the difference between SBs in 1968 (when balls weren't flying out of the yard) to 1976 was a 200% increase. I wonder if this might have been helped by the astroturf introduced to so many parks in the early 70s.

                But dang, over 3K SBs a year now. That's a ton. And I still have no clue
                Keep in mind expansion, and the number of teams in the league, and total number of games

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                • #9
                  These are Averages of SB Attempts per Team each Season since 1953.
                  All seasons have been approx. estimated to 162 games.
                  SB Attempts.gif

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                  • #10
                    how are the total steal numbers? maybe only the best stealers now steal in good situations?

                    nowadays stealers have much better reads at pitchers due to scouting. they know the pop times of the batteries and also when to expect offspeed pitches. this helps in stealing. however to prove that we need to know if stealers are indeed more selective.

                    I also have heard that a lot of the CS in the deadball era are results of failed hit and runs.
                    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dominik View Post
                      I also have heard that a lot of the CS in the deadball era are results of failed hit and runs.
                      I that were true for the deadball era, catchers would have been expected to have been participants in an extraordinary number of double plays. Some catchers did have highr DP numbers; but they were a pretty select handful.

                      Early on, Gabby Street and Johhny Kling were very busy behind the plate, always ready to throw to any base for attempred pickoffs. As the deadball era advanced, Ray Schalk, Bill Killefer, Bill Bergen, and Steve O'Neill also had a far share od DP activity. However, in small ball, base-to-base strategies, the DP might well have pit the catcher in the middle: 5-2-3; 1-2-3; 4-2-3; 3-2-4 probably being the biggest patterns.

                      Fact is, for catchers, baserunner management and a strong, accurate arm were primary gold standard elements for the position. Traditionally, the old habit of batting orders with the catcher batting 8th as a rule rather than an exception, underscored the importance of came calling. runner management, and taking charge of keeping all defenders alert ... all deferred to the catcher.

                      In long ball, both pitchers and catchers seem to have other priorities. Managers not dedicated to sabermetric odds may see the lost skills as opportunities for heads-up runners with base stealing timing. I can see the "specialists" never getting caught in any attempt. [They would also know enough to recognize "throw backs" like Yadier Molina ... and just not make the effort].

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                        These are Averages of SB Attempts per Team each Season since 1953.
                        All seasons have been approx. estimated to 162 games.
                        Definitely not a surprise to see SB attempts' rise and fall run parallel to the construction and elimination of Astroturf.
                        "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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                        • #13
                          Let's not forget that active players known for their base stealing may not have hit their decline phase yet.

                          That's part of it. But much smaller than teams wanting their catchers to hit more now than ever before. I don't think Joe Ferguson loses his job to Steve Yeager if that played out today.
                          Your Second Base Coach
                          Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

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                          • #14
                            Interesting FanGraphs article on stolen bases

                            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...ng-calculus-2/

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by filihok View Post
                              How do total stolen bases compare?

                              Off the top of my head, I'd say that teams are more aware of the negative value of caught stealings so are running less while focusing on efficiency.
                              There's also a lot less hit and run nowadays, which helps keep the SB% up. When the batter misses the pitch on a hit and run the SB% is much lower because the runner is not trying to get a big jump like he is when he is stealing. There was a ton more hit and run plays long ago, especially in the early days of the 20th century. Check the early years were they have CS totals and you'll see much lower league SB percentages.

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