Yesterday we looked at team baserunning; now let’s take a gander at the individual leaders for the 2009 season. Again, this is taken from Baseball Prospectus’ baserunning metrics (Hip-hip hooray for Dan Fox), sans the stolen bases, which are already figured in a player’s WAR total. These are the players who were the best at taking that extra base and not getting caught doing it.
Feel free to add these numbers in to a player’s total WAR to get a better picture of what these individuals were worth on the diamond.
Runs Michael Bourn 8 Chone Figgins 7 Emilio Bonifacio 6 Cristian Guzman 6 Dexter Fowler 6 Chase Utley 5 Ryan Zimmerman 5 Rajai Davis 5 Colby Rasmus 5 Ichiro Suzuki 5 Brandon Phillips 5
Baserunning matters, but it doesn’t matter a whole lot — at least not for the vast majority of players. Only 18 players contributed 4 or more runs, and only 13 players hurt their teams by 4 or more runs. Perhaps not surprisingly, we see a lot of speedsters on this list and…Ryan Zimmerman?
Bourn’s +8 lifts him up to the rarified air of 5 WAR, which is actually sort of mind-boggling when you think when you consider his awful 2008 season.
The Legend of Chone Figgins continues to grow. From 2007-2009, Figgins has been good for 19 runs of non-steals baserunning and 21 runs worth of fielding. It will be fascinating to see what sort of contract he gets on the free agent market.
Colby Rasmus may not have had the type of rookie campaign at the plate that was putting him in pre-season discussions for the NL ROY, but he was one of the best defensive fielders in the game (+9 UZR) and also added value with his legs. 2.8 WAR for a rookie is nothing to sneeze at; I humbly submit to you that Colby was a more deserving ROY than Chris Coghlan.
Oh, and is there anything Ichiro and Utley can’t do?
We’ll wrap this up tomorrow by throwing rocks at the biffs of the basepaths.