Mets took fewest extra bases in majors

The Bill James Handbook 2013 reveals the Mets took the fewest extra bases in the majors in 2012 and were the fourth-worst baserunning team.

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The New York Mets were the fourth worst baserunning team in baseball in 2012, with a net base gain of -5. This placed them between the Cleveland Indians (-48) and the Texas Rangers (-4). The Mets took the fewest extra bases last season at 122; the National League Champion San Francisco Giants took the most extra bases with 203.

The James/BIS 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. [Mike] Trout, for example, has a +51 overall score as a baserunner, while [Carlos] Santana was a -45. James estimates the difference between the two baserunning scores resulted in about 20 more runs for Trout’s team than for Santana’s.

“You would have known without our data,” says James, “that Mike Trout was a better baserunner than Carlos Santana, but you cannot know, unless you actually study the data, how large the differences are; and you cannot know, unless you study the data, how many runs are gained and lost due to baserunning. You also cannot know, unless you study the data, how every player ranks as a baserunner.” ...

Jason Bay was the New York Mets’ best baserunner in 2012, with a net base gain of +9. The only other Mets regular to post a positive net base gain was Andres Torres, with +4. Bay did an exceptional job of avoiding the double play, grounding into a double play only 3 times in 47 chances, or 6 percent. (The league average is 11 percent.) He was also never thrown out on the basepaths, and never doubled-off.