Monday, June 25, 2007

Ringo's and Nieves's Arms: Killing the Junkees

First let's start off with Nieves: After Sunday's debacle, with the Giants stealing five bases off Old York, Nieves has now allowed 10 SB's while catching 5 runners. That's a 33 percent success rate. Not great, but not horrible.

Now Ringo: It's great that Posada's having a career year at the plate, because behind the plate, he's been absolutely dreadful. So far, opposing base stealers have made it safely 55 times, and have been caught only a baker's dozen. That's 55 for 68. Horrible.

I know, they've played 73 games, so we're taking less than a steal per game. And even if it were a steal a game, how much does that matter?

Well, for one, on some occasions, a well timed steal makes a huge difference. Dave Roberts in the '04 ALCS, for example. So once in a while, a steal will be big. Another thing is that the other teams might catch on and start taking advantage. Old York is lucky that you have teams like the A's and the Blue Jays who don't believe in stealing bases. But teams that do will run all over you.

Another factor is that the pitchers might get paranoid every time there's a guy on first that in a few moments he'll be in scoring position. That could lead to more fat pitches. (I've noticed more pickoff attempts.)

Finally, once teams notice they may start running even if they normally wouldn't.

Of course, the counterargument is something like this: Obviously there are more teams that don't run a whole lot, because there's only an average of one attempt per game. If this were 1985, it would be a problem, but not so much in 2007. As for the paranoia factor, there's no clear evidence that there's anything to it, and even if other teams start running, Ringo will revert back to his old ways of throwing out guys 30 percent of the time, not 19, thus, this is just an abberation.

I guess we ought to hope it continues and that other teams catch on.

(To be fair, as bad as Ringo's been, Boston's Jason Varitek has been even worse. He's thrown out only 3 of 24! But when you lead by 11+ games, it's not that big a deal.)

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