This morning, Fangaphs unveiled another addition to their statistical database: Ultimate Base Running. You can read the story behind that stat here. While this another interesting tool to use when evaluating player performance, much like using UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) to rate defense, it probably shouldn’t be taken as the end-all in conversations about base running. Keeping in mind that UBR is a cumulative stat, lets take a look at how the Red Sox offensive players seem to be doing on the base paths…
Dustin Pedroia: 1.3 UBR, 0.6 career UBR – The 0.6 career mark comes from negative ratings back in 2006 and 2007, but Pedroia has posted a 1.3 or better UBR in every healthy season (last year he posted a -0.3).
Jacoby Ellsbury: 0.7 UBR, 3.7 career UBR – This stat seems to be particularly important to Ellsbury, the Sox leadoff hitter. His best season baserunning wise, according to this stat, was 2008 (4.1 UBR), which was followed by a negative value in 2009 (-1.5).
Jed Lowrie: 0.5 UBR, -0.8 career UBR – It’s hard to judge Lowire based on this stat simply because of the small bits of “here-and-there” sample sizes so far in his career. Given his pedegree, I’d expect him to post a very positive number overall this season.
Mike Cameron: 0.3 UBR, 18.5 career UBR – Much like UZR shows Cameron as being a very good defensive player over his career, UBR shows him as being a positive baserunner as well. No surprises here.
Kevin Youkilis: 0.1 UBR, 3 career UBR – One doesn’t associate Youk with speed, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad baserunner. On the contrary, UBR suggests that Youk has been an above average baserunner pretty much his whole career.
Marco Scutaro: -0.4 UBR, 6.5 career UBR – Earlier in his career, Scutaro’s playing time was a bit sporadic, but after becoming a full-time player with the Jays back in 2008, his game as a whole started to take off. Not only did he show more patience at the plate, but UBR suggests that his baserunning also improved. He posted a 3.3 UBR last season for the Sox.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: -0.4 UBR, -2.6 career UBR – Sample sizes are a bit small for Salty, but I don’t think anyone would argue that he’s especially good with his baserunning overall.
Carl Crawford: -0.7 UBR, 20.3 career UBR – Just another sign of Crawford’s unexpected struggles with the Sox. He posted a 6.1 UBR with the Rays last season and hasn’t posted a negative UBR since 2003. I can’t wait until his game gets back to form.
Jason Varitek: -0.9 UBR, -20.2 career UBR – He’s a great capitan.
J.D. Drew: -1.8 UBR, 10.9 career UBR – Perhaps yet another sign of Drew’s decline. Much as he has been an underrated defensive player (and underrated overall), Drew has always been a very good baserunner, but he’s clearly not off to a good start this season.
Adrian Gonzalez: -2.1 UBR, -12.8 career UBR – As long as he keeps mashing, which he will, no one will mind the fact that he’s not great on the basepaths.
David Ortiz: -2.8 UBR, -40.5 career UBR – What a hitter!
What are your thoughts on UBR with regard to the Sox?
Categories: Boston Red Sox