FLB: The Need for Speed

Back in the preseason, I took a look at which managers over the years have been most apt to utilize the stolen base. In this age of preserving outs, a strategy made famous by the book "Moneyball," which discussed Oakland general manager Billy Beane's tendency to avoid wasted outs by not taking chances stealing bases, it's no longer enough for a player simply to possess great speed. No, these days, a speedster not only needs to be efficient in picking his spots to run, but he also needs a team and a manager willing to let him try.

The preseason data did reveal a few interesting things: The Mets' Willie Randolph, Angels' Mike Scioscia and White Sox's Ozzie Guillen were the most apt to give runners the green light, while the Athletics' Ken Macha, unsurprisingly, never took chances stealing bases. But as with all historical data, as time passes, rosters change, trends change, and things tend to get a bit outdated. For instance, entering the season, would you have possibly guessed that today, the Cincinnati Reds would be the only team in the majors to boast three players with double-digit steals (Felipe Lopez 16, Ryan Freel 11, Brandon Phillips 10)?

As a result, I thought it'd be interesting to take a look back at the stolen-base numbers, especially since the market is always such a tough one to navigate in Rotisserie leagues. We're now just about at the one-third point of the season, which is a fair enough amount of data to draw some conclusions about managerial tendencies.