I saw a brief tweet from Susan Slusser a few days ago about this but I can't find it or anything about it now. It's Bill James ranking of all the teams. The 2013 edition of "The Bill James Handbook," available now, ranks the A's as the best base-running team in the majors. The Tigers, then Orioles were the worst. The Giants I think we're 4th.
" According to the handbook, the James system is based on a system of pluses and minuses that measures both success as a base stealer and the ability to move up an extra base or score on things like a hit, sac fly, passed ball, wild pitch, balk or defensive indifference." The handbook also tells you the best and worst individuals per team, of which I do not know. Someone maybe fill us in on that and a relevant stat or two. My guess would be Coco lead the A's based just off his stolen-base success. I'm curious how Cespedes did on taking extra bases. How important is base-running?
The A's we're only 9th in MLB stolen-bases this year. But they were caught stealing just 12 out of 67 times. They were somewhat aggression-lucky on the other base-path aspects this year and third base coach Mike Gallego seemed on fire till the playoffs. The A's did go away from the stolen-base post all-star, being 4th in MLB up until that point. It makes sense as the A's were on a sustained outburst of power. They were 18th in HR's pre-all star. They were first in HR's post-all star. There seems little reason to run and bunt if you can do that.
A high amount of outfield assists allowed the A's to control the base paths from both sides and a combined (offensive & defensive) base path stat might favor the A's as well. The addition of Chris Young would only seem to bolster the A's on both sides of the base paths as he stole 28 bases in 2010 and is known for a strong arm. This may be a market inefficiency being actively exploited. A great steal-stopping catcher, with three strong outfield arms, would allow the A's to maximize a defensive base-path strategy.
Even though the Tigers were ranked last, playoff time made it look like the Tiger's we're first and the A's last. They ran at will and the A's made many outs on the base paths. The Tigers team RISP was terrible for the series but time and again bunts, steals, and outs gained them runs. The best team at it all year could not. The A's were used to winning with great RISP and power by this point when the Tigers showed a one-run strategy has its place at times in the playoffs.