Good morning, I hope everyones day has started well. Pass me the coffee and I’ll be OK.
A few things in Giants news today
~ Keichii Yabu has been promoted to setup man. I wasn’t aware of this until I caught Schulman’s Notebook column on the Chronicle. The article talks about Pat Misch going back to AAA and this quote from Bochy popped out at me.
Bochy acknowledged he has no true long reliever now that Keiichi Yabu has been promoted to setup man, and said, “We’re going to have to get some multiple innings out of guys like Vinnie Chulk, Billy Sadler, Alex Hinshaw and Jack Taschner.”
Interesting, the 39-year-old Yabu has been a pleasant surprise this year. I would prefer to see someone like Sadler or Hinshaw work the 8th inning and get that late inning experience, but Yabu has earned his new role for now. By BP’s WXRL, relievers expected wins added, Yabu is 4th on the team behind Brian Wilson, Tyler Walker, and Jack Taschner.
~ The Giants have signed their 5th round pick RHP Edwin Quirarte for 193K. Quirate throws a low-90′s fastball, a slider, and a split-finger fastball. He profiles as a reliever.
~ So much for home comfort, the Giants have the worst winning percentage at home in the majors. Their current winning percentage of .371% at home is worse than both the Mariners (.388%) and the Nationals (.400%) home percentages. On the road the Giants are a game under .500.
~ I was looking at the Giants team SB% this morning — it sits at 71% currently — and I started to wonder, was the success rate of 71% good enough? If you believed the advertising campaign, the stolen base was going to play a large role in the Giants team success this year. Tom Tango of ‘The Book’ fame, has a quick and easy formula to calculate the break even rate for stolen bases in a given environment. In other words, at what point does stealing a base hurt or help your team?
The formula looks like this:
A very quick rule of thumb on the breakeven point is to do this:
1. take runs per game and divide by 2 (so, a 5.0 RPG gives you 2.5. That’s close to the breakeven of SB, 2.5, to CS, 1).
2. Figure the percentage (2.5/3.5 = 71.4%)
3. Subtract 3%
4. Breakeven is: 68.4%
In The Book, I said the breakeven point for 1999-2002 (5.0 RPG) was 68.7%.
So, a 4.0 RPG environment would give you: 2.0, which is .667, which becomes .637. This is why it really pays to play small ball against a great pitcher.
The current RPG in the NL is 4.55, so our formula should look like this.
4.55/2 = 2.275
2.275/3.275 = 69%
Breakeven is: 66%
So, in the current run scoring environment of the National League our breakeven point stands at 66%, meaning that if you’re going to steal a base make sure that you’re successful at least 66%+ of the time. By this formula, the Giants are doing a good enough job of stealing bases this year. Keep in mind that the current RPG of 4.55 will most likely change by the time the season is done and as a result, so will our breakeven point. From ’01 to ’07, the average RPG has been 4.61.
It goes to show that in a low scoring environment, such as facing a great pitcher as Tango stated above, the breakeven point for stealing a base is lowered, making it a more attractive option than swinging the bat — and most likely making an out. The lower the scoring environment becomes the lower the value of each out. Take for example the Chicago Cubs. Cubs’ pitchers have given up 3.99 RPG this year. Following the formula above, the breakeven point works out to 63%. The Giants would do well to try and steal bases when they play the Cubs, that is if the Cubs pitching stays at its current level of 3.99 RPG. But, for every Cubs there is an equally bad team when it comes to pitching, such as the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates hurlers have been giving up 5.23 RPG this season, making the breakeven point 69%. When the Giants play a poor offensive team such as the Pirates, they should just swing the bats.
Something to think about and watch for the next time the Giants try to steal bases against poor pitching teams like the Pirates or Colorado.