Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown’s article attempts to attribute the Padres’ early-season success to their new “aggressive on the basepaths” mentality.
This is the telling quote:
“Whatever’s left behind when small ball packs up to go home, that’s what the Padres play.”
Sorry, Mr. Brown, that’s wrong.
Do the Padres lead the league in steals? Yes, they do, with 49.
Have they done a pretty solid job on steals? Yes, they’ve stole successfully 77.78% of the time.
Has this helped them win?
Yes it has. It’s given the team an extra…three runs.
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Three runs. That’s 30% of a win.
Hey, for a team with an offense this anemic, every bit helps, but saying that stolen bases are the reason the Padres are winning the division is like saying the Yankees won last year’s World Series thanks to Brian Bruney and Jerry Hairston.
The reason the Padres are winning is because, between pitching, defense, and hitting, they’ve managed to score more runs than the other team 24 of 40 times.
Most of this is because the pitching staff leads the majors in xFIP (3.81) and the defense is second in UZR/150 (12.6).
What kills me is that David Eckstein basically says that in Brown’s article:
“So the Padres pitch and defend – “Without that, none of this works,” Eckstein said – and run, and spend another day in first place.”
Damn straight, David.
Basestealing just doesn’t add up to too much in the end. If the Padres were to steal successfully on their next 100 attempts, that would still be just about 19 runs. If they were to go 100-for-110, that would be just 11 runs–a little over one extra win.
It makes for a nice story, but that story simply doesn’t check out. The Padres are winning with pitching, defense, and a slight bit of help from basestealing. That’s the truth.