Providing Quality Fantasy Sports Information 

 

View Your Purchased Products or Find a Your League   

 

 
        

The True Value of a Steal
by Ray Flowers (Guest Writer)
April 30, 2004

We all know about steals and the value that they posses for a fantasy season. If you don’t got em’, your basically “punting,” or giving up, one of the 5 major categories in fantasy baseball on offense (AVG, HR, RBI, RUNS, SB). If you do got em’, well, then you are sitting pretty like the George Steinbrenner when it comes time to sign that free agent that’s price is ridiculously high. But are steals calculated correctly? By this we mean is the steal, a pretty straightforward stat, really that straightforward? Let’s see if we can muddy the waters a bit for you. 

Here is a list of the top 15 SB leaders from 2003:

Pierre 65, Crawford 55, Sanchez 52, Podsednik 43, Beltran 41, Roberts 40, Soriano 35, Renteria 34, Suzuki 34, Lofton 30, Damon 30, Eric Young 28, Baldelli 27, Furcal 25, Cabrera 24. Pretty standard stuff, but have you thought of looking at steals alongside caught stealing (CS)? How does this list strike you?

  SB CS Total

Pierre

65

20

45

Crawford

55

10

45

Sanchez

52

24

28

Podsednik

43

10

33

Beltran

41

4

37

Roberts

40

14

26

Soriano

35

8

27

Renteria

34

7

27

Ichiro

34

8

26

Lofton

30

9

21

Damon

30

6

24

E. Young

28

12

16

Baldelli

27

10

17

Furcal

25

2

23

Cabrera

24

2

22

 
The leaderboard looks a little bit different in that context doesn’t it? What if we revised our top 15, based not on total steals but on the aggregate total? If we did it would look like this:
 

Pierre

45

Crawford

45

Beltran

37

Podsednik

33

Sanchez

28

Soraino

27

Renteria

27

Roberts

26

Ichiro

26

Damon

24

Furcal

23

Cabrera

22

Lofton

21

Baldelli

17

Young

16

 

Pierre and Crawford maintain their top two positions on the list, while Sanchez falls from the 3rd spot to 5th. When you take a look at Sanchez’s poor success rate of 68% (52 of 76) and realize that on the other end of the spectrum you have Beltran and his 90% (37 of 41), we hope that you can see our point. Yes, Beltran had 11 less steals than Sanchez (41 to 52), but he was thrown out 20 times less (4 to 24)! In other words, if compare Sanchez to Beltran, you give Sanchez a +11 for the steals and a -20 for his CS, and so you end up with Sanchez being a –9 in comparison to Beltran. Should that really be rewarded? 

Another way to look at this is to say that Sanchez made 9 more outs than Beltran did with his CS, so why don’t we just subtract 9 hits, or walks, from Sanchez’s OBP? That would lower his OBP to .299 from his actual .319 OBP from last year. Think about that…in essence we’re saying that each CS is worth roughly 1.5-2 points off of ones OBP (depending on total plate appearances). If we turn to Beltran we get the following numbers: 41 SB, 4 CS, with a .389 OBP, which if we subtract the 4 CS from the times he reached base, we get a .382 OBP. This further emphasizes the importance of being successful on ones stolen base attempts. 

Speaking of that success rate, haven’t you heard that a 75-80% success rate is the ideal for basestealers. How did our top guys from last year do in this respect? 

Pierre

69%

Crawford

82%

Beltran

90%

Podsednik

77%

Sanchez

68%

Soraino

77%

Renteria

79%

Roberts

65%

Ichiro

76%

Damon

80%

Furcal

92%

Cabrera

92%

Lofton

70%

Baldelli

63%

Young

57%

Based on the “success rate” of 75% and up, only Furcal, Cabrera, Beltran, Crawford, Damon, Renteria, Podsednik, Soriano and Ichrio would be considered to have had a successful season (leaving out Lofton, Pierre, Sanchez, Roberts, Baldelli and Young). How accurate is this 75-80% figure we often hear? Here are the percentages for the top 10 basestealers of all-time. 

  SB CS Total PCT

Henderson

1406

335

1071

76%

Brock

938

307

631

67%

Hamilton

912

*

   

Cobb

892

166

726

81%

Raines

808

146

662

82%

Coleman

752

177

575

76%

Collins

744

162

582

71%

Carey

738

**

   

Latham

735

***

   

H.Wagner

732

****

   

* Billy Hamilton’s career lasted from 1888-1901, prior to the recording of the CS.
** Max Carey’s career was from 1910-1929, with CS only recorded in 8 of those years (though in 1922 he was credited as going 51 for 53).
*** Arlie Nathan’s career was 1880, 1883-1899, 1909. That’s right, he had one steal when he was 49!
**** Honus Wagner career was from 1897-1917, with CS only being recorded once.
 

It appears that 75-80% is right about where the top guys on the list sit, so we comfortable in stating that benchmark as a good one for basestealers to aspire to. 

One last table…how did our guys do if we list the top 15 players from 2003 based upon this aggregate total only, meaning that you get a +1 for a steal and a –1 for a CS? We end up seeing a couple of new names by this reckoning (in bold). 

Pierre

45

Crawford

45

Beltran

37

Sanchez

28

Soriano

27

Renteria

27

Roberts

26

Ichiro

26

Damon

24

Furcal

23

Cabrera

22

Lofton

21

A.Boone

20

Winn

18

B.Roberts

17

 

In closing we would propose that a CS is just as important as an SB, and in fact someone who willy-nilly gets caught running the bases’ with reckless abandon should be punished and not rewarded for their transgressions. A prefect example of this is Luis Castillo, who in 2003 had 21 SB but was caught 19 times, meaning that in our system he would have only had a +2 in the SB category or less than Jeff Kent’s aggregate total of 4 (6 SB, 2 CS)! SB’s are a valuable an important stat but lets be fair about how we assign value to them and realize that the discerning thief is much more valuable in real baseball, so shouldn’t we mirror that in the fantasy world?

 


Questions? Have a Fantasy Question you need some help with?   Can't figure out who to hold over?  
Got stuck being the commissioner this year and don't have a clue what you need to do to get your league going?
We are here to help.   Submit your Questions

Home Advertising Links Contact Us


All rights reserved 1999-2008
Web Designed and Maintained by Patrick Luft.
 
 

  
Fantasy Baseball - Fantasy Football - Fantasy Basketball - Fantasy Hockey