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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Stealing Against the A's

A few days ago, Tyler Bleszinski guffawed that the Angels had better watch out on the basepaths, as new sheriff Damien Miller was gonna gun down Eckstein et al. Well, the Angels' running game has only improved vs the A's in the last two years:

YearSBCSSB%
2002125.706
2003175.773

Ramon Hernandez' 2003 CS% of .330 was good, but not nearly as good as the .400 he sported the year before. While it's altogether possible that Miller may actually represent a step down given age and years behind the plate, it seems to me that something else is going on here. Consider this:

Tim Hudson
YearSBCSCS%
1999---
200086.428
2001188.308
200279.563
20031010.500
Mark Mulder
YearSBCSCS%
1999145.263
2000243.111
2001247.226
200258.615
200376.462
Barry Zito
YearSBCSCS%
1999---
200034.571
20012311.323
2002109.474
200376.350

So, it looks like something happened for all three here: a light came on in 2002 and suddenly steals against dropped dramatically. It couldn't have been Hernandez, as he caught most games back to 2000. Did they change coaches? Was there an anti-theft elixir put into the water coolers in the Oakland dugout? Whatever happened, it doesn't seem to coincide with the principle catcher. Despite what Tyler believes, I'd be more likely to bet that steals against will change only minimally with the addition of Miller. David Eckstein, you are cleared to take second.


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