The Marlins and Baserunning


I know we’ve seen our share of bad baserunning before by our Marlins. That Jeremy Hermida gaff still sticks out in my head. But Maniac reader Jay really wanted to know the stats behind it.

I love the blog and the stats. I scream too often at the number of Marlins runners thrown out at the plate. Any chance you could find info for all MLB teams on the number of runners thrown out at home. Maybe that number compared to actual runners? Also, look at stats for attempting to batters thrown out trying to stretch hits into doubles or triples? I’d love to see some analysis but have no luck researching these types of stats on the internet.

I know the feeling sometimes. As I responded to him via email, my usual solution is to check out Baseball-Reference.com, the premier source for this type of situational analysis. Thus, let’s take a look at the numbers, via this page on B-R.

Outs on Base (outs recorded on baserunning, such as outs on attempts to advance, double plays off of line drives):
Marlins: 48
NL Average: 42
Net Bases: -6

Extra Base Taken% (this is stretching singles to doubles and doubles to triples, but it does not take into account location of batted ball)
Marlins: 37%
NL average: 39%
Net Bases: -7

Percentage of times runners went to third or scored from first on a single (not sure whether this includes errors):
Marlins: 23.5%
NL Average: 26.4%
Net Bases: -8

Percentage of times runners on first score on a double:
Marlins:
48.1%
NL Average: 44.4%
Net Bases: +1

Percentage of times runners on second score on a single:
Marlins
:56.9%
NL Average:58.0%
Net Bases: -2

Without looking at any context, the Marlins have taken 22 less bases than the league average given their chances. You could assign some linear weights to these base advancements and show a baserunning runs term based on this.

Essentially I’d say this is neutral. The sample sizes for the Fish were very small (on the order of the low hundreds for most situations), so there’s a lot of sampling issues in the analysis. The team is probably somewhat below average, but it would not be worth a win or so below, so I would not worry all in all. If I find values for linear weights for base advances, I might put together a rough run total for everyone to see.

Tags: Miami Marlins

  • Fishcrazy

    Actually, more than being thrown out at home, it seems a Marlin is always being thrown out trying to take an extra base while someone else is crossing the plate. It happened to Paulino several weeks ago, and it happened 2 or 3 times more recently, as well. I commented about it on Fishstripes one game, but darned if I remember which game it was.

    I don’t know what causes it, but it’s like they think that just because a guy is about to score, the other team’s completely lost track of whomever else is still on the bases. Or maybe they’re so excited about scoring a run they get giddy on the basepaths.

    From the stats in your article, I’m surprised that our baserunning miscues aren’t statistically significant. But do they measure the situations I’ve mentioned?

  • michaeljong

    Fishcrazy,

    While the particular game states you mentioned would involve more play-by-play research than I’d care to take on at the moment (I’d say it’d be a lot of searching for perhaps six to ten such events on the season), the stats I quote do mention attempts at taking extra bases. Looking at the B-R page, these are the only relevant pieces of information that I think show up. That being said, those are frustrating events that would definitely change the run expectancy of an inning.

    As far as the statistical significance, I don’t have a leg to stand on when I say it’s not significant, as I didn’t do the work. I’ll update a value based on Tango’s custom linear weights for a 5 RPG environment.