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John Dewan's Stat of the Week

The Best and Worst Baserunners So Far in 2016

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Who comes to mind when you think of the best baserunner in baseball? Bill James created a statistic to measure baserunning production called Net Gain that takes into account stolen bases (SB Gain) and baserunning advancements on both hits and outs (BR Gain). Using this statistic, we can evaluate who the best and worst baserunners are so far in 2016.

Best Baserunners of 2016
Player Net Gain
Mike Trout, Angels +41
Brett Gardner, Yankees +35
Billy Hamilton, Reds +34
Rajai Davis, Indians +34
Mookie Betts, Red Sox +33
Note: through games of July 20

Mike Trout tops the leaderboard with a Net Gain of +41. Billy Hamilton, who dominated the leaderboard in 2015, is tied with Rajai Davis in third place with +34. He is only trailing Trout by seven despite missing 15 games this year. When we look at Net Gain as a rate statistic to account for the number of times each player was on base, Hamilton leads the way with 0.37 Net Gain per times on base. Note that the same five players are present on both leaderboards.

Net Gain per Times On Base Leaders of 2016
Player Net Gain Times On Base (Min 80) Net Gain per Times On Base
Billy Hamilton, Reds +34 91 0.37
Rajai Davis, Indians +34 108 0.31
Brett Gardner, Yankees +35 145 0.24
Mike Trout, Angels +41 176 0.23
Mookie Betts, Red Sox +33 153 0.22
Note: through games of July 20

The top two players in overall stolen bases this season - Jonathan Villar (34) and Starling Marte (33) - are not on the leaderboard because even though they have stolen more bases, they have not been running the bases as well. All five players listed above are in the top 10 in stolen base percentage among players with at least 10 stolen base attempts. Mike Trout leads Major League Baseball with 94 percent of his attempts being successful (17 out of 18).

The worst baserunners so far in 2016 are as follows:

Worst Baserunners of 2016
Player Net Gain
Yunel Escobar, Angels -21
Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals -21
Brandon Phillips, Reds -19
Jay Bruce, Reds -19
David Ortiz, Red Sox -19
Note: through games of July 20

Yunel Escobar and Cheslor Cuthbert are tied as the worst baserunners so far this season with a Net Gain of -21. The five players above combine for an overall stolen base percentage of 52 percent. They have also done really poorly taking the extra base with a combined advancement rate of 33 percent. David Ortiz, in particular, has an advancement rate of only 14 percent.

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