Oakland Athletics

Rajai Davis' Stolen Bases Prediction: Looking Back

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 07:  Rajai Davis #11 of the Oakland Athletics safely steals third base during their game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 7, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIAugust 11, 2010

Back in March of this year, Oakland A’s speedster Rajai Davis made a pretty bold prediction. He believed he could steal 75 to 80 bases in 2010.

That was a pretty bold prediction considering only seven players (Jose Reyes, Kenny Lofton, Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson, Marquis Grissom, Vince Coleman, and Ron LeFlore) have accomplished that feat in the last 30 years.

Now that we are about two-thirds through the season, I wanted to see how Davis was doing in his prediction.

Going into last night’s action, Davis had swiped 34 bases, which puts him third in the American League.

At his current pace, Davis would finish the season with 52 stolen bases. It’s good, but nowhere near matching the prediction Davis made in March.

I thought Davis would steal between 50 and 60 bases and here was my reason why back in March.

"Last year, Davis hit .305 with a .360 OBP. That OBP allowed him to steal 41 bases. History shows Davis won’t have that average or OBP again.

From 2006-2008, Davis averaged a .256 average with a .314 OBP. Those numbers won’t be good enough to steal 80 bases. It’s just not going to happen.

Let’s say Davis falls somewhere between his 2006-2008 seasons and his 2009 season. That would be a .275 average and a .330 OBP. Even with 500-600 AB’s, those numbers wouldn’t be good enough to steal 75-80 bases.

Jacoby Ellsbury led the American League in stolen bases in 2009 with 70 and he hit .301 and had an OBP of .355. Davis would have to pretty much repeat his 2009 season in order to steal more bases than Ellsbury.”

Just as I thought, Davis isn’t getting on base nearly enough times to steal 75 to 80 bases. He came into last night’s game with a .319 OBP. It’s very, very hard to steal 75-plus bases getting on base only 31 percent of the time.

As a matter of fact, if you take the OBP of the seven players I mentioned above in the seasons that they stole 75-plus bases, their average OBP comes out to .352.

Only Grissom (.317) was able to swipe 75-plus bases with an OBP below .320 in the years he accomplished the feat.

So next year, instead of predicting he will steal 80 bases, Davis should predict he will get on base 35 percent of the time.

It will be a lot easier for him to steal those bases if he accomplishes that feat.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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