Friday, February 17, 2017

Mike and Barry (and Others) and Stolen Bases

I have been inundated with responses (5 "likes" and 2 comments on Facebook) to my post of two days ago comparing Mike Trout to Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, and Willie Mays at comparable stages in their careers.  One of the comments (and the guy who made it shall remain nameless) said that I should have included Stolen Bases.  So, in order to save this guy the trouble of looking it up himself, I present the following:

Mike Trout
Hank Aaron
Barry Bonds
Mickey Mantle
Willie Mays
Stolen Bases
Caught Stealing

Again, these stats are from approximately the first six years and 800 or so games of each of the players careers (see previous post for the exact numbers).

I also wanted to check the percentage of successful steals were for some of the players who are noted stolen base marvels and/or great base runners. 

Jackie Robinson  197 SB, 86.8%
Rickey Henderson  1,406 SB, 80.8%
Lou Brock 938 SB, 75.3%
Maury Wills 556 SB, 72.8%
Omar Moreno 487 SB, 72.8%
Pete Rose 198 SB, 57.1%  does not list Stolen Base Attempts for much, if no all of the careers of noted base stealers Ty Cobb (897 SB), Max Carey (738), and Honus Wagner (723), so an accurate success rate cannot be given for them.

  • Trout's success rate at stealing bases is incredibly high.  Better than all but Jackie Robinson in this admittedly small sample size.
  • Aaron and Mantle were not being paid to steal bases.  They also played at a time when the stolen base was not a major weapon in the baseball arsenal.
  • Jackie Robinson's reputation as one of the best use runners ever is pretty much deserved.
  • Would you have bet that Omar Moreno had the same success rate as Maury Wills?
  • I don't remember Barry Bonds stealing so much when he was with the Pirates.
  • I chose to include Pete Rose because, whatever else is became and remains today, I remember him as a smart ball player and a good base runner.  I was shocked to see that his success rate at steals was so low.
FINAL CONCLUSION:  Mike Trout is a pretty damn good ball player, no matter how you look at him.

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