I’ve been toying with writing a post about Sean Rodriguez versus right-handed pitchers similar to the one I did with Matt Joyce, but as you can tell, I’ve been preoccupied with draft coverage over the last three weeks. In the interim, I did want to point out how good Rodriguez’s baserunning has been this season.
Having the ability to take the extra base is such a nice bonus in a player’s skill set, yet one that often goes ignored. It’s not all about having good foot speed, either, as identifying and reading the trajectory of the batted or thrown ball comes into play as well. Rodriguez was good at it in 2010 (taking the extra base in 47 percent of his opportunities), but is nearing 75 percent this season. That is an incredible rate, but one unlikely to sustain, as only two players on the Rays finished above 55 percent last season (Reid Brignac and Evan Longoria) and neither topped 60 percent.
Matt Joyce (64 percent—and really, what doesn’t this guy do well?), B.J. Upton (57 percent), Brignac (56 percent), Sam Fuld (55 percent), John Jaso (55 percent), and Johnny Damon (46 percent) are all above league average too, with Ben Zobrist (39 percent) almost right at the league-average. In fact, the only players below a one-third take rate are Casey Kotchman (barely, at 32 percent) and Kelly Shoppach (at 0 percent—yes, he hasn’t taken the extra base once this season).
There are other aspects to baserunning besides the extra base, but going from first-to-third on a single will not always produce a run. Still, when a team is strapped for offense in the bottom half of its order, squeezing every morsel of value from a base hit is a good way to make the offense look better than it is.