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Outs on the Bases - Out of Control with Roenicke

by Tim Muma                                                  5/10/2013
                                           7:00am



Despite my conservative nature as a player and coach, I actually enjoy and appreciate aggressive baserunning as a strategic way to take extra bases and put pressure on the defense. However, there are few things I hate more in baseball than making stupid outs on the bases.

Whether it's trying stretch a single into a double or the
contact play (above), outs on the bases are deflating
As I've said before, there is a fine line between aggressive and dumb - the Brewers have been a little bit too much of the latter on the bases.

Going for an extra base on a hit or trying to steal one has its place depending on a variety of
circumstances, including score, inning, home/away, current batter, on-deck batter, pitcher, arm of the catcher, arm of the outfielder...I could go on and on.

While this might seem unrealistic to analyze while on base, these should all be taken into consideration before the pitch and quickly assessed.

Of course, this came to light on Wednesday night as the Brewers knocked out 12 safeties at hitter-friendly Miller Park, yet only managed 1 tally in a 4-1 loss to Texas. Twice the Brewers ran into outs that cost them at least one run and potentially a few more.

Segura's miscue was not of the aggressive
nature - but it was just as frustrating
Jean Segura decided to slow up on his way to the plate and Jonathan Lucroy didn't exactly help out, resulting in an out at home (though he still looked safe). Then Aramis Ramirez took off for 3rd on a pitch in the dirt and was thrown out. Yes, Lucroy waved him over, but the onus is ALWAYS on the baserunner in that situation. He knows how quickly he reacted, where the ball is exactly and if he has a legitimate chance to be safe.

Thus in that frame, the Brewers banged out 2 triples and a double, but only scored once.

The whole "outs on the bases" trend is nothing new since Ron Roenicke took the manager's job in 2011. Considering the power and general offense prowess of this club, his aggressive style has done more harm than good, eliminating baserunners and killing rallies fueled by the bats, not their legs.

Some may say, "It didn't hurt them last year, they led the NL in runs scored." I can't argue that their offense was really good, but imagine if they didn't have 60 outs on the bases, which tied for the 2nd most in the league. That is a ton of outs on players who already reached base safely.

Let's not forget that Aramis Ramirez was injured
stretching a single into a double
The point is, the Brewers need to pick their spots much more carefully so as not to create outs that shouldn't even exist.

Here's a quick breakdown...

2011 Brewers
74 outs on the bases (3rd most)
21 outs at 3rd base (tied for 3rd most)
27 outs at home plate (tied for 3rd most)

The World Champion Cardinals that season had 9 fewer outs on the bases - not a ton different - but they had 9 fewer at home plate. That makes a huge impact when talking about "lost runs." Furthermore, the Brewers were average when it came to taking extra bases successfully (41%), while the Cards were 3rd best (43%).


2012 Brewers
60 outs on the bases (tied for 2nd most)
14 outs at 3rd base (tied for 2nd most)
23 outs at home plate (tied for 4th most)

The World Champion Giants that season made the 3rd fewest outs on the bases (48) and made the fewest at home plate (10). The Brewers success rate was even worse this season at just 38%, tied for the 2nd-worst mark in the NL.


2013 Brewers
14 outs on the bases (2nd most)
4 outs at 3rd base (2nd most)
5 outs at home plate (tied for 2nd most)


With a power club like the Brewers - which includes
Yuni B. right now - more cautious running is a must
It's very early yet, but it's interesting to note that St. Louis actually has the most outs on the bases,
including the most at 3rd and home.

However, just like in 2011, their extra base success percentage is better than Milwaukee's at 43% to 39% - meaning they're making better decisions and executing more efficiently.

Again, there's a balance between what the Brewers are able to successfully accomplish on the bases and at the dish, but it's frustrating to see bad decisions on the bases snuff out big innings or take any runs off the board.

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