RC+ Statcast Stumper: Baserunning Maestros

If it’s Thursday, it must be RC+ Statcast Stumper Day! We take a ballpark tradition and give it a modern twist. Our weekly feature pays homage to the Reds Scoreboard Stumper with a question for fans that involves newer stats and metrics. Post your guesses in the comments (no peeking!). Correct answers will be revealed here later in the day.

Enjoy and thanks for playing!

The Statcast baserunning leaderboard is designed to quantify incremental baserunning value created or lost separately from stolen bases. According to Statcast, inputs including runner speed, outfielder throwing arm, runner position on the base paths, and outfielder distance from both ball and bases, an estimated success probability are created for each opportunity. With that information available for each play, the player’s actual success rate can be compared to the estimated rate and the cumulative metric can be created, accounting both for bases taken (prevented, for outfielders) and chances taken or not.

Q: Billy Hamilton owns the Reds best three seasons of taking extra bases, accumulating 16 extra runs on the basepaths between 2016 and 2018 (not including steals). Which two players/seasons round out the top five? (Since 2016 when this data started being tracked).

A: In 2023, TJ Friedl and Elly De La Cruz both added 4 runs by taking extra bases, contributing to the 11 total runs for the Reds as a team, which ranked 2nd in baseball. This helps confirm that the Reds have been doing well in all aspects of the run game, not just stealing at a high frequency.

Looking at the table below, it’s interesting to note how many more opportunities Hamilton had during his stretch than Elly had last season. Given Elly’s 49% rate of safely advancing per opportunity, it seems to reason he could eclipse Hamilton’s mark once the full Reds lineup returns and provides some strong offense behind Elly.

In 2024, the Reds currently lead the league in stolen bases with 54, a whopping 145% above league average. Similar to last year, that success is translating to taking extra bases on contact as they are tied for 2nd in baseball in extra runs. Here is a look at the top ten with some extra detail. It’s notable to see that even though the Reds have lost 2 runs on being thrown out, they are generally successfully at converting opportunities into safe advances, and are making those attempts more often than would be expected.

While coaching has to take some credit for this success and aggression that we are seeing, the Reds are tied with the Phillies for the fastest team sprint speed so far this year at 27.8 ft/sec. So there is quite a lot of talent and speed that is helping drive these strong performances. Adding TJ Friedl back into the mix should only help the Reds case to be the best baserunning team in the league.

Matt Habel

Matthew Habel was born and mostly raised in Cincinnati and was always a Reds fan growing up. Ironically, he did not become die-hard until moving to Pittsburgh after college and experiencing the 2013 Wild Card game behind enemy lines. While the "Cueto Game" is one of the worst sports moments of his life, he became enamored with the analytics side of the game after reading Big Data Baseball and watching the Pirates organization end their postseason drought. He started writing for Redleg Nation in 2017 and has enjoyed continuously learning more about the sport. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon where he loves exploring the great outdoors. Find him on Twitter @MattadorHeyBull

3 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso says:

    My guesses on the Stumper are Friedl in ‘23 and Jose Peraza in ‘17.

  2. Geoff Glaab says:

    Yasiel Puig in 2019 and EDLC in 2023

  3. Thomas Green says:

    Peraza and Steer
    Moustakas natrowly missed