In The Bill James Handbook 2010 we analyze a player’s baserunning ability.  For each player, we measure his ability to move first to third, second to home, and first to home in addition to the number of outs he records on the bases and how he fares in double plays.

While this year’s Handbook evaluates how each player performed in 2009, I thought it would be fun to take a look at baserunners over the past five years.  We took a look at each player’s baserunning gain (stolen bases are not included) in order to determine baseball’s best and worst baserunners for the past five seasons.

Best Baserunners, 2005-2009

Player

Baserunning Gain

Grady Sizemore

+104

Chase Utley

+96

Willy Taveras

+95

Ichiro Suzuki

+91

Randy Winn

+90

According to this study, Grady Sizemore is the best baserunner in baseball with a  +104, despite only a +4 in 106 games played this year.   Think of that +104 as 104 extra bases taken compared to an average runner. Chase Utley, the only infielder on this list, comes in second with +96 and had an excellent year this year with a +27.  Willy Taveras is slightly behind Utley, followed by Ichiro Suzuki and Randy Winn.

Worst Baserunners, 2005-2009

Player

Baserunning Gain

Bengie Molina

-106

Carlos Lee

-97

Brian McCann

-83

Yadier Molina

-82

Mike Lowell

-81

Ordinarily, when we do a Stat of the Week that involves catchers, the Molina brothers appear on some sort of  “best-of” leaderboard.  When it comes to baserunning, however, the two Molina brothers with starting jobs are two of the five worst baserunners in baseball over the past five years.  At -97, Carlos Lee is right behind Bengie Molina’s league worst net gain of -106.  Mike Lowell also makes the list of worst baserunners, and is the lone infielder in the bottom five.  In 2009, Lowell was an abysmal -27.  The worst baserunner in 2009, Juan Rivera at -35, just missed the five-year list with -80.

Interestingly, despite Rivera’s -35, the Angels were baseball’s best baserunning team with a +77 team score.  The top five teams in 2009 were:

Best Baserunning Teams, 2009

Team

Baserunning Gain

Los Angeles Angels

+77

Colorado Rockies

+70

Toronto Blue Jays

+62

Philadelphia Phillies

+46

Arizona Diamondbacks

+45

San Francisco Giants

+45

The Kansas City Royals were the worst at -97 as a team.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.”

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:
Share

Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail