Ichiro, High Leverage Base Stealer
During one of the off-season threads, a commenter and I had a discussion about Ichiro’s base stealing. Among those who aren’t Ichiro fans, it’s a fairly often repeated claim that Ichiro doesn’t run enough in situations that matter, and he pads his SB totals by taking bases early in games when the impact on wins and losses isn’t that large.
Well, thanks to the amazing Baseball-Reference.com, we can now disprove that myth once and for all. Here’s Ichiro’s career splits, now with Leverage Index added. Look at the breakdown:
High Leverage: 826 PA, 349 times on base, 67 steals, 19 caught, 25% Steal Per On Base
Med Leverage: 2606 PA, 1006 times on base, 147 steals, 37 caught, 18% Steal Per On Base
Low Leverage: 1784 PA, 684 times on base, 58 steals, 10 caught, 10% Steal Per On Base
About a 1/4 of the time that Ichiro reaches base in a high leverage situation, he takes off, compared to 1/5 of the time in normal situations and 1/10 of the time in low leverage situations.
I think we can safely put that false critique to bed.