Indians 2013 in Review: Pinch Running

Pinch Runner Matt Carson scores - Jason Miller

Continuing our review of the 2013 season, I take a look at how well Terry Francona used pinch runners last season.

Last spring I posted an article that named the best pinch runners in history. In keeping with the 2013 season in review theme, I decided to take a peek at how well Francona's usage of pinch runners turned out last season.

In total, Francona used a pinch runner 45 times. He used them twice in April, four times in May, five times in June, eleven times in July, three times in August, and a whopping twenty during the playoff push in September. Mike Aviles was used twelve times, Drew Stubbs eleven times, Matt Carson nine times, Jose Ramirez seven times, John McDonald and Ryan Raburn twice, and Michael Bourn and Lonnie Chisenhall once each.

In summary, if a stolen base occurred or a run scored happened, they received credit. Extra credit was given if the player went from first to third on a single, scored from third on a fly ball, scored from second on a single or scored from first on a double, moved up on a wild pitch/passed ball, or any situation where they moved up an extra base. I also deducted points if they were caught stealing, were thrown out at home, or failed to pick up an extra base on a double. The rate score is the total points divided by total pinch running appearances.

Here is the data for 2013:

Player

Appearances

SB

Runs

CS/PO

Total Score

Rate Score

Mike Aviles

12

0

3

1

4.00

0.33

Drew Stubbs

11

1

3

1

4.50

0.41

Matt Carson

9

1

4

0

6.50

0.72

Jose Ramirez

7

0

3

0

3.25

0.46

Ryan Raburn

2

0

0

0

0.00

0.00

John McDonald

2

0

2

0

2.00

1.00

Michael Bourn

1

0

0

0

0.00

0.00

Lonnie Chisenhall

1

0

2

0

2.00

2.00

Team Total

45

2

16

2

22.25

0.49

I was kind of shocked that there were only two stolen bases in that many chances. But there was only one caught stealing as well. The Stubbs out occurred in that game in Seattle were he got himself stuck between third and home and just froze. Of the 16 runs scored, four scored via home run (including Carson and Ramirez on the same Aviles grand slam on September 1 versus Detroit). One scored via a triple, three via a double, five by single, two by sacrifice fly and one on a force out.

Jason Giambi led the way (no shock) by being pinch run for nine times, followed by Rayburn with eight, Swisher with seven, Santana with six, Reynolds and Chisenhall with five, Kubel with three and Bourn and Asdrubal once each.

Small sample sizes apply of course, but Chisenhall actually had the best rate score, albeit in only one appearance. His number looks really good because he moved to third on a fly ball and scored via sacrifice fly. But it was Matt Carson who had the best overall performance of the season. He scored in almost half of his chances.

Speaking of conversion rates, the team 35.55% scoring conversion rate is probably a little above average. I only have data for the top pinch runners in history (not every appearance in history), and their conversion rates were typically right around 33.33%. The Overall rate score of 0.49 also is in line with the top performances in history. The 0.49 score would have ranked fifth on the career totals I have (note that this is comparing a full team performance against individuals).

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