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On The Mariners' Aggressive Baserunning

Here's your link to Dave's post. I don't want to steal his thunder, so go read over there. Bottom line: while you may have noticed that the Mariners have been running around like crazy people, and that running around like crazy people can be fun, they've run themselves into too many outs, and the mistakes need to stop.

Baseball Prospectus puts the M's at -1.1 runs on the bases so far, although I don't know if they include everything. Just for fun, the following is a list of all our outs on the basepaths so far this season, along with the corresponding average run expectancy impact:

  • 4/5: Milton Bradley caught stealing second with one out, Casey Kotchman at third, and Griffey at the plate. -0.57 runs
  • 4/5: Ichiro caught stealing third with none out, Chone Figgins at first, and Kotchman at the plate. -1.07 runs
  • 4/6: Ichiro picked off with none out and Figgins at the plate. -0.62 runs
  • 4/8: Figgins thrown out trying to advance to second with two outs and Bradley due up. -0.23 runs
  • 4/9: Ichiro caught stealing second with one out and Kotchman at the plate. -0.41 runs
  • 4/10: Franklin Gutierrez thrown out at home on a Jose Lopez single with one out and Bradley due up. -0.59 runs
  • 4/11: Figgins caught stealing second with one out and Kotchman at the plate. -0.41 runs
  • 4/11: Kotchman thrown out at home on a Gutierrez single with two out and Griffey due up. -0.48 runs
  • 4/13: Figgins thrown out at third with one out and Gutierrez at the plate. -0.55 runs
  • 4/14: Lopez thrown out at third on a fielder's choice with none out and Bradley running. -0.14 runs
  • 4/14: Bradley thrown out at home with two out, Eric Byrnes on second, Adam Moore on first, and Jack Wilson due up. -0.75 runs
  • 4/17: Wilson caught stealing second with two out and Ichiro at the plate. -0.23 runs
  • 4/17: Kotchman thrown out stretching a double with none out and Moore due up. -0.85 runs
  • 4/18: Figgins caught stealing second with two out and Lopez at the plate. -0.23 runs
  • 4/18: Byrnes thrown out at home with one out, Kotchman on first, and Moore due up (Kotchman's fault). -0.70 runs
  • 4/18: Ichiro doubled up at first with none out and Gutierrez due up. -0.41 runs

That's not the best way to look at this, because it ignores the good things the M's have done on the bases, and the run expectancy impact ignores the greater context of the out. However, we're talking 16 baserunning outs in 13 games played, with a total RE impact of -8.24 runs. Do you think baserunning successes have gained us +8.24 runs? I don't.

Aggressive baserunning is not a problem on its own, and you can't expect any team to be perfect. Even the best teams will get nailed from time to time. But aggressive baserunning teams have to be smart baserunning teams if they want to do more than just make games weird, and through the first two weeks of the season, the M's haven't been very smart. Somebody please remind Casey Kotchman that he's one slow son of a bitch.