FanGraphs Audio: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Effort

Episode 749
When Mike Trout slid headfirst into second base recently on a stolen-base attempt, he incrementally improved his odds of beating the catcher’s throw. He also increased the probability for injury. In the end, he did steal the base. He also did suffer an injury, one that’s likely to keep him out till mid-July and cost the Angels a couple wins. The cost, in this case, would appear to seriously outweigh the benefit. Does that mean that Trout shouldn’t ever attempt a steal if the play is likely to be close? Is there an argument for valuable players to avoid unduly exerting themselves? Managing editor Dave Cameron answers similar to these.

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Audio after the jump. (Approximately 42 min play time.)

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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