Best & Worst Jays Pitchers vs Opponents Running Games

Who shuts opponents down? And which pitcher allows over a 90% SB success rate?

About three weeks ago I heard the most amazing stat. Cleveland Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin, in 165.1 IP, had a total of ZERO stolen base attempts against him.

This is a far cry from the Chris Young’s of the world. Back in 2007, then Padre Chris Young pitched 173 IP. Opponents went 100% in stolen base attempts. The number? 44. Yes, 44 for 44 in SBA.

Maury Wills

Sabr stats typically don’t include stolen bases, as the jury is still out whether or not pitchers control the outcome. The answer seems obvious in extreme cases such as Tomlin/Young but in most scenario’s there is some debate.

Regardless of where you stand in the pitcher control running game debate, a quick gander within the statistics is at least interesting if nothing else.


2011 Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher / Steal Rates

Note: 2011 AL Average = one SBA per 9.4 IP (or 9.4 score)

Note: JPA has thrown out 25% of would be base stealers. Molina is at 28%

Relievers (40+ IP)

RP have their own set of issues. Inherited runners, game situation, etc. I don’t place too much stock in these numbers unless they are overtly extreme.

Pitcher IP SBA per IP SB CS
Jason Frasor 42.1 5.26 6 2
Frank Francisco 45.2 3.47 12 1
Casey Janssen 48 12 1 3
Jon Rauch 52 26 1 1
Shawn Camp 60.1 6.67 7 2


Francisco’s 3.47 score sets off a red flag, as does the 12 for 13 success rate.

Francisco 4 year data (210.1 IP)

Season SB CS
2008 7 1
2009 4 0
2010 9 1
2011 12 1


Two year SBA attempt rate of one per 4.23 IP, with an astounding 93.75% success rate.

Conversely, Jon Rauch allows an SBA only once per 26 innings.

Rauch 4 year data (250.2 IP)

Season SB CS
2008 3 1
2009 5 0
2010 0 1
2011 1 1


Only a total of three SBA in two seasons. Rauch is the anti-Young, a tall righty that controls the running game.

Starters (65+ IP)

Pitcher IP SBA per IP SB CS
Kyle Drabek 72.2 7.22 7 3
Brandon Morrow 153 7.65 16 4
Carlos Villanueva 101.2 7.78 12 1
Jo-Jo Reyes* 110 8.46 11 2
Ricky Romero* 200.1 9.52 15 6
Jesse Litsch 66.2 22.06 2 1
Brett Cecil* 109.2 36.4 2 1


Most starters are in line with the 9.4 average, such as Romero, Morrow, Villanueva, etc. The success rates are also within the AL ballpark average, which is 71.2%.

The outliers are Jesse Litsch & Brett Cecil.

Litsch 4 year split (2007,2008,2010,2011) 400.1 IP 

Season SB CS
2007 6 3
2008 3 6
2010 2 0
2011 2 1


Good rate from the control righty. Similar in style to Indians Josh Tomlin.


Cecil 3 year data (375.2 IP)

Season SB CS
2009 4 4
2010 4 2
2011 2 1


Impressive career attempt rate of just once per 22 innings.

What does this mean?


Upon second thought, the pitchers with low attempt numbers have been fringy arms that surrender HRs. Teams are likely staying put and waiting for the multi-run HR. The better starters (Romero, Morrow) potentially deal with opponents attempting to ‘scratch across a run’. I’ll run a further MLB wide study in the off-season, comparing stolen base rates vs pitchers based upon ERA, FIP, etc.

In the meantime, we’ve learned that opponents hug first vs Cecil and can swipe a free base from Francisco.

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2 replies on “Best & Worst Jays Pitchers vs Opponents Running Games”
  1. says: VB13

    I would think that for somebody like Frank, defensive indifference would have pushed that score a little lower. Although, I don’t think it would adequately explain everything.

    1. says: matthias

      I don’t think indifference in the culprit. Frank didn’t close in 2010, as he was primarily mid/set-up relief and his SBA attempts & success rate are similar to his 2011 closing numbers.

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