In today’s mailbag Jason Beck answers questions about the Tigers aggressiveness on the basepaths. Beck notes:
I think what you’ll see this season is an emphasis on more aggressive baserunning aside from stolen bases, such as going from first to third or second to home on singles more often. They have the personnel to improve in that area. Guys like Placido Polanco and Ivan Rodriguez aren’t speedsters, but they’re intelligent baserunners, and their stats on taking the extra base back it up. Brandon Inge and Craig Monroe also have potential in that area.
This makes the perfect reason for me to link to the detailed work that Lee has been doing on the Tigers and baserunning.
Lee’s stats definitely support Beck’s hypothesis that Rodriguez is solid on the basepaths. He rates as one of the top Tigers on taking an extra base on hits, advancing on fly balls, and gaining bases without the ball being put in play.
That a 35 year old catcher is arguably the team’s best baserunner speaks equally of the lack of speed on the Tigers, and the fact that Rodriguez is pretty remarkable.
In terms of the other players that Beck mentions, the results are mixed. Inge tends to be above average, and Polanco overall is pretty average.
In the 2007 Bill James Annual Carlos Guillen, Ivan Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson rate as the top baserunners on the team.