Statistically speaking: Pirates, Yankees among MLB's best on base paths
The Pirates take on the New York Yankees for the first time since 2008, when the Pirates took two of three at PNC Park during a series in which the teams slugged for a combined 33 runs. This year's matchup in the Bronx could well be decided by fleet feet on the bases rather than feats of strength.
The Pirates have been scraping together runs, ranking 22nd in the majors in scoring entering play Friday. The Yankees have been more potent (11th in runs scored), but they're hardly conjuring up memories of Murderer's Row. While neither club has a prolific offense, the Pirates and Yankees are maximizing their run-scoring chances with aggressive, efficient base running.
The Yankees and the Pirates rank second and third, respectively, in Base Running Runs (BsR), which estimates the value a player adds by swiping bags, taking extra bases and avoiding outs.
Base path boost
The Yankees (85 percent success rate on steals) and Pirates (79 percent) are stealing bases at a clip well above the 74 percent MLB average. Jacoby Ellsbury (11 for 13 in steals) and Brett Gardner (9 for 9) have stood out for the Bombers, while the Pirates' Starling Marte has gone 11 for 12 after leading the majors in caught stealings last season.
These teams are proving adept at going from first to third and second to home, too. The Pirates have taken an extra base in 44 percent of potential chances, and the Yankees have done so 43 percent of the time (40 percent MLB average).
Gardner (64 percent) and Marte (59 percent) are taking extra bags at will, which explains why they lead their respective teams in BsR.
Brett Gardner +3.0
Starling Marte +2.9
Brian Roberts +1.5
Jacoby Ellsbury +1.0
Kelly Johnson +0.8
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.