MLB Debate: Is Stealing Bases Worth the Risk?

Landis MarksSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2008

As a child my first baseball heros were Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, and Maury Wills. I was absolutely in love with the dream of hitting homers, making great stops defensively but above all else the glory of sliding in the dirt and then ceremonious dusting off of the uniform after the ump had called time to allow myself to nonchalantly bask in the waves of cheers from an adoring crowd and well Koufax was Koufax for chrissakes!

Fast forward to an aging man who has come under the dark force of the cult like SABR organization.

Now I am not so sure that the stolen base is all that.

The thing is, there is a disconnect between what has been studied and what I have seen. For example, we read about the limited utility of the stolen base and its effect on run scoring. However, to take that as absolute gospel is to say in effect that Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines would have been superior players (or at the very least, no less valuable) had they consistently stayed on first base whenever they got on. LINK

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