Question of the Day, 4/26 …

When will the Halos start running again? — @K_Dodd3

A lot of you had this question, so I figured I’d address it. I wrote about their shockingly low stolen-base total earlier in the week, but it’s probably worth delving into a little further. The Angels are currently tied for 26th in the Majors with seven stolen bases, which is surprising because they have two of baseball’s fastest players in their lineup — Mike Trout (four steals) and Peter Bourjos (zero attemps) — and because Mike Scioscia‘s Angels teams have always been built on aggression.

The biggest reason for the low number, in my mind: Personnel. Simply put, when you have a lineup that’s capable of driving the ball, you’re less willing to sacrifice giving up an out on the bases. And the fact Bourjos and Trout are hitting right in front of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo is a big reason why Scioscia hasn’t sent them very often. First, he doesn’t want to risk an out with his big bats up. Second, he doesn’t want a successful stolen base to lead to pitchers walking Pujols — already with five intentional walks — because first base is open.

Now, that’s just an explanation. I’m not saying I agree with it. I’d like to see Trout and Bourjos get turned loose a little more often, shaking some things up since the offense isn’t really clicking just yet. But, you know, they don’t pay me to make those decisions.

** For some supplemental reading, check out this piece from FanGraphs on the stolen bases being down throughout baseball.

Alden

3 Comments

In my opinion, the team isn’t ruining as much because of injury concerns/risks. With Aybar and Callaspo on the DL already, they can’t afford to lose Trout and/or Bourjos as well. Once Aybar is back, Trout should slide back into the lead off spot and we’ll see the team’s speed being utilized.

They weren’t stealing even when everyone was healthy.

And I don’t understand the notion of the top of the order not stealing because they have heart of the order next. Doesn’t that go for every team? Didn’t that go for the Angels last year?

And if they don’t want Pujols getting walked, bat Trumbo behind him. Move Hamilton down because of how he’s hitting now, not how he did in the past.

Part of the problem is that Bourjos, for all his speed, is not a good base stealer. He is terrible at his reads. For his short career, he has 36 stolen and 13 caught. Watch at first and see how many times he is going backwards as the pitch is delivered.
Added to the stolen base problem, I would like to see Trout bunt more. I think he is trying to “drive the ball” to much and not using his speed, so is rolling into double play balls, despite the guy on in front of him being very fast. At least 3 times now, he has come up in the 7th+ inning with men on 1st and 2nd no outs and grounded into double play. Let him bunt there. Worse that happens, 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, and they walk Pujols, that is why we supposedly have Hamilton, and with bases loaded, you hope he will be better. Best case, he beats the throw out and now we have bases loaded for Albert and a guy on first who can score on a double.

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