Tag:Aaron Rowand
Posted on: May 24, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 12:29 pm

The best and worst baserunners in the game


By Evan Brunell

On Tuesday, Fangraphs unveiled a new statistic titled Ultimate Base Running. The calculation of UBR is similar to how the efficiency of outfield arms are calculated for use in Ultimate Zone Rating, one of the best freely available metrics to measure defense. Here's Fangraphs on how its calculated:
Whatever credit (positive or negative) is given to an outfielder based on a runner hold, advance, or kill on a batted ball is also given in reverse to the runner (or runners). There are some plays that a runner is given credit (again plus or minus) for that do not involve an outfielder, such as being safe or out going from first to second on a ground ball to the infield, or advancing, remaining, or being thrown out going from second to third on a ground ball to SS or 3B.

Runs are awarded to base runners in the same way they are rewarded to outfielders on “arm” plays. The average run value in terms of the base/out state is subtracted from the actual run value (also in terms of the resultant base/out state) on a particular play where a base runner is involved. The result of the subtraction is the run value awarded to the base runner on that play.

Enough with the mechanics of the statistic. Let's take a look at the season leaders are in UBR. Keep in mind two things: First, UBR is a cumulative statistic. That is, the more you play, the more your UBR will change, so those who haven't played much this season will rank low on the leaderboard in part due to lack of playing time. Next, it's too early to judge the effectiveness of UBR. The defensive statistic of UBR tends to need three full seasons of data to get anything usable for defensive judgement. It's not yet clear if UBR can be relied on immediately or if more time is needed. Still, this data is a leap forward in player evaluation, as baserunning skills (not to be confused with speed or stealing) were one of the few remaining hurdles to clear to get an overall look at a player's effectiveness.

Here are the top 10 baserunners in 2011 according to UBR, plus their career marks in parentheses. Data only goes back to 2002, so an asterisk will denote one season of missed data. For example, Ichiro Suzuki receives one asterisk as he played in 2001. Keep in mind that while this list can help strip out strong baserunners from those who bumble their way around the bases, it's still a list influenced by speed. Going second to third on a fly ball is easier when you run like Usain Bolt.
  1. Nate McLouth (pictured), Braves: 2.8 (12.5)
  2. Alex Rios, White Sox: 2.8 (14.5)
  3. Melky Cabrera, Royals: 2.7 (-0.2) -- So not only as Melky Cabrera completely turned his career around by becoming a better defender and rediscovering his stroke, he's positing a positive UBR for the first (and only) time in 2006. Maybe he really has screwed his head on.
  4. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox: 2.5 (10.3)
  5. Alex Gordon, Royals: 2.4 (6.5)
  6. Aaron Rowand, Giants: 2.2 (15.7*) -- Rowand was actually especially bad last season, with a -2.8 mark. And yet, with roughly a third less at-bats to date, he's already almost mirrored his negative mark from last season positively. That's a big jump in limited playing time.
  7. Brian Roberts, Orioles: 2.2 (11.6)
  8. Danny Espinosa, Nationals: 2.2 (2.8)
  9. Michael Bourn, Astros: 2.1 (13.9) -- Bourn had a 5.8 mark in 2009, which placed him fifth. Chone Figgins ran away with the top spot at a 7.9 mark, but Bourn has racked up strong numbers consistently the last few seasons. He may not hit for much power or even average, but he does everything else.
  10. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 2.1 (24.0*)
There's a couple interesting names here, but by and large, this list is far from surprising. It's comprised of speedy or competent runners who need to bring value beyond their traditional offensive skill set to remain valuable.

And now, your trailers, a list that is wholly unsurprising:
  1. Paul Konerko, White Sox: -4.4 (-44.2*****)
  2. Casey McGehee, Brewers: -4.1 (-4.2)
  3. Brett Wallace, Astros: -4.0 (-4.0)
  4. Chipper Jones, Braves: -3.6 (-4.4********) -- A lot of missed seasons for Jones, but the trend is clear: he used to be a decent baserunner... until his knees went to hell.
  5. David Ortiz, Red Sox: -2.8 (-40.5*****) -- Ortiz is the anti-Larry Walker, who was hailed for his baserunning acumen despite lack of speed. Ortiz and a few other guys on this list are considered the slowest runners in the game, so it's not much of a surprise.
  6. Ryan Howard, Phillies: -2.8 (-22.5)
  7. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: -2.5 (-27.2****)
  8. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: -2.4 (3.9***) -- Soriano posted his first negative mark in 2006 (discounting missing 1999-2001 numbers), his last season before joining the Cubs. In five seasons with Chicago, he's only posted two positive marks.
  9. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: -2.1 (-12.8)
  10. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: -2.1 (-19.0)
Want more? How about the top and bottom five from 2002 to today?

The top:
  1. Juan Pierre (43.6)
  2. Chone Figgins (41.7)
  3. Jimmy Rollins (33.6)
  4. Carlos Beltran (30.5)
  5. Rafael Furcal (28.6)
Former/kinda current speedsters who have had age and injuries affect their speed. Unsurprising.

The bottom:
  1. Konerko
  2. Ortiz
  3. Jim Thome (-33.9)
  4. Pat Burrell (-30.6)
  5. Kevin Millar (-30.2)

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 11:02 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 2:47 pm

Phillies could target Rowand, Ordonez

The Phillies may bring back a former postseason hero to serve as their new right-handed outfielder.

Rowand Aaron Rowand, who just won a ring with the Giants, is a name that has come up for Philadelphia to target, as SI.com's Jon Heyman reports. The deal would be contingent on the Giants eating a significant portion of his remaining salary -- $24 million over the next two years. Given Rowand has been squeezed out of a starting spot, the Giants should be motivated to eat the contract to a certain degree and ship him out.

Except that Rowand has been brutal against left-handers for two years and is largely limited to just center field and possibly left, but not right. Philly needs a right-fielder.

That's out.

Ordonez Heyman also tabs Magglio Ordonez as another target, which might be a savvy move. Ordonez could be had for one or two years at a solid salary but not outlandish and could give Philadelphia the right-handed power bat it needs as Domonic Brown eases into a starting role. Ordonez could shift to left to replace Raul Ibanez when Ibanez sits or eventually leaves the organization.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 26, 2010 10:47 am

Torres 'much better'

Andres Torres
Just when Andres Torres started heating up for the Giants in the postseason, it looked like he might be lost.

The outfielder came up limping after diving into first base on a bunt single in Game 6 of the NLCS, and was diagnosed with a mild strain of a muscle near his left hip. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Torres is "much better" and hopes to have him available in his customary leadoff spot for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday.

Torres wasn't willing to say for certain that he'll be ready to go, only that "I hope so."

Torres, who had an appendectomy in September, went 2-for-16 in the division series against Atlanta, and got off to a 1-for-10 start in the first three games of the NLCS. But in the final three games he went 6-for-10 with a pair of walks.

He had three hits in the clinching Game 6, two of them against Roy Oswalt. After legging out the bunt single against Brad Lidge in the ninth, Torres says he came out of the game because he didn't want the injury to hamper him on defense in the bottom of the inning with the Giants up by a run. Aaron Rowand replaced him in center field, but it turns out it wouldn't have mattered -- the Phillies didn't hit anything past the infield in the ninth.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 24, 2010 12:25 pm

Giants' Torres limping

Andres Torres The Giants hope to learn more about the injury to Andres Torres leading up to Wednesday's start of the World Series.

Torres left Saturday night's Game 6 of the NLCS after the top of the ninth inning. Torres slid into first on a bunt single in the top of the inning and came up limping. He stayed in the game, but was replaced by Aaron Rowand in center field for the bottom of the inning.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the game that he believed Torres injured his hip, but wasn't sure. Torres did take part in the celebration, though.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 15, 2010 5:44 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:10 am

Giants: Rowand in, Zito out

Giants manager Bruce Bochy just told reporters in Philadelphia that outfielder Aaron Rowand will remain on the roster for the NLCS.

That almost certainly means Barry Zito is still out. He was hoping to make the roster as a reliever, but the Giants already have left-handers Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt.

It's fairly amazing that Giants have made it this far considering they're paying Zito and Rowand a combined $30.5 million this season -- nearly a third of their payroll -- and both have struggled to the point that they are non-factors in the postseason. San Francisco is still on the hook for at least $88.5 million more for the duo.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:28 am

Zito not part of Giants' postseason plans

Barry Zito
Who would have imagined prior to the season that the Giants would make the playoffs, but not use Barry Zito?

Manager Bruce Bochy said San Francisco's highest-paid player will not start in the National League Division Series against Atlanta, and the San Jose Mercury News says he's not expected to make the roster at all due to the Giants' surplus of talented bullpen arms.

The Giants are riding a wave of pitching, and Zito, who made $18.5 million this season, isn't part of that picture. He went 9-14 with a 4.15 ERA, and had a hugely disappointing outing in his key final start Saturday, walking in two runs in the first inning.

"I stand behind Boch," said Zito, who has at least $64.5 million and three years left on his contract. "He's the skipper so I stand behind his decision. "The last game ... the money was on the table, and I didn't attack the zone the way I should have. Luckily [Jonathan Sanchez] picked me up the next day, and we won the NL West."

Aaron Rowand, the disappointing outfielder who is the Giants' second-highest paid player at $12 million, will make the roster, Bochy said. Rowand batted just .230 this season and played himself into irrelevancy.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:44 pm

Zito puts Giants in jam

Barry Zito
With the Giants needing just one over the Padres to clinch the National League West, Barry Zito put them in a tough spot with a bad start.

The veteran lefty gave up consecutive singles to open the game, and after a sacrifice moved the runners up, he intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases.

After getting the second out on an infield pop fly, Zito needed an out to escape the jam and had a force at every base. And he did the unthinkable, walking the next two batters, Yorvit Torrealba and Scott Hairston, to force in two runs.

After giving up a third run in the third, it looked like Zito was done, as Aaron Roward headed to the on-deck circle to bat in his place. But Bruce Bochy called Rowand back into the dugout and let Zito bat.

Apparently Bochy decided that if he's going to lose this game, he's not going to also come out of it with a burned-up bullpen when there's a Sunday showdown, and a possible one-game Monday tiebreaker, looming. Zito has put San Francisco in a tough spot.

UPDATE: After Zito walked Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer on five pitches to open the fourth, Bochy pulled the plug. Stauffer ended up scoring, putting the Giants in a 4-0 hole, and San Francisco has to get six innings from the bullpen.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 12, 2010 2:50 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2010 2:50 pm

Giants' Torres has appendectomy

Andres Torres
As CBSSports.com columnist Scott Miller reports from San Diego, the Giants were dealt a blow in their pennant chase today when center fielder Andres Torres had to undergo an emergency appendectomy.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Torres reported feeling a little off the past couple of days, and overnight he had intensifying pain and called a trainer early this morning. He underwent laproscopic surgery and will miss at least 10-14 days.

Torres, who has been slumping in the past couple of weeks, is batting .269 with 60 RBI and 23 stolen bases. Aaron Rowand, batting .235, was in Torres' spot in the lineup today and is the Giants' primary option until Torres returns.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
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