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Ben Revere, Thief

Ben Revere steals lots of bases. He's good at it, right? Just how good is he at stealing bases?

Stop! Thief!
Stop! Thief!
Kevin C. Cox

Ben Revere's skill set includes slapping the ball lightly, making face-planting diving catches, running furiously while pumping his little Tyrannosaurus Rex arms, bunting, and stealing bases. How good is he at stealing bases?

Revere has stolen 42 while being caught just 5 times. His 89.36 success rate is pretty darn good. In addition to being a high percentage, he has lots of them - his net SB-CS is 37 and he creates nearly zero outs to "make" that net of 37 stolen bases.

As the old joke about the tycoon goes:

"I make bolts for ten cents and sell them for five cents."

"How do you make money?"

"I make it up on volume!"

While not exactly describing Billy Hamilton and his 55 stolen bases and 21 instances of being caught stealing, you get the gist. Ditto for Dee Gordon, who is slightly less bad about it than is Hamilton: 58 SB and 15 CS.

In a micro analysis (game situation) a stolen base can mean a lot or nothing. The Braves stole a kajillion bases of Hamels during the No Hitter By Committee.  Arguably, none of them mattered. If Revere steals second in the ninth of a game the Phillies trail by 1 and Rollins drives him in on a single, and the Phillies later win in extra innings, the stolen base is huge.

A way to account for this is the wSB stat, which evaluates runs added by stolen bases. Learn more here. During 2014 YTD, here is your wSB leaderboard for Major League Baseball. Ben Revere can raise his tiny little Tyrannosaurus arms in semi-triumph, being behind only fellow T-Rex Jose Altuve.  Billy Hamilton is 10th in MLB behind such luminaries as Dee Gordon, Andrew McCutchen, Alcides Escobar, and Jimmy Rollins.

Interestingly, the Phillies have the second-highest team wSB in the majors at 6.4. They trail only the Royals who are far and away the best at 11.2.  The remarkable thing about Revere is that his personal wSB is 5.9.  His base-stealing prowess is almost entirely responsible for elevating the Phillies into their position as the second-best base stealing team. Without him, they are utterly ordinary.

Does this offset his terrible arm and near total lack of power? Is he Mike Trout? No. But it is kind of a neat fact, and as long as he can hit well and steal effectively, maybe we'll see enough "Ben Revere doubles" that he can contribute positively to the offense. Walking more would help enormously, but c'est la vie.