Monday Rockpile: Rockies Baserunning A Boon To Offense

DENVER, CO - JUNE 02: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Colorado Rockies slides safely into third with a triple as third baseman Elian Herrera #37 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes the late throw in the first inning at Coors Field on June 2, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In the midst of dreadful pitching and barnburning offensive outputs, one of my absolute favorite things to watch in the 2012 season is the Rockies' on the basepaths. Yes, they still have their fair share of blunders and pickoffs, but this team has definitely gotten extra mileage out of baserunners purely by their ability to score on doubles, advance to 3B on singles, and especially not get picked off every time they lean away from first.

The funniest embodiment of this baserunning, for me, has been Michael Cuddyer. The 7 bases he's stolen thus far in 2012 tie for the 2nd highest SB total in his career, tied with 2010. He stole 11 in 2011. This is one instance where I feel Jim Tracy HAS taken an interesting risk and it's been paying off: he's been sending really unusual candidates to steal bases. We've seen Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Nelson, DJ LeMahieu, Jordan Pacheco, and Cuddyer all steal 3B.

Furthermore, the Rockies rank 2nd in MLB in reaching 3B or scoring from first on a single, having seen 36 baserunners at least reach 3B on a single, 2nd in the NL to St. Louis.

Stealing 2B has gone pretty well, having swiped the bag 33 times to only 9 times caught stealing. Overall for stolen bags, the Rockies rank 2nd in the NL (decimal points behind Philadelphia) at a 79% successfully stolen base rate. This makes me happy on the inside. Oftentimes the outside, as well.

Part of the Rockies successful baserunning is probably in part due to the fact that Coors Field is a giant park and similar to the defensive positioning that Rox Girl suggested in yesterday's Rockpile, outfielders play a few steps farther back in order to get a better throw back to the infield. This might lead to an extra second or two of the single rolling to the fielder and providing Dexter Fowler's gazelle legs a bit more time to get to 3B.

It could also be a lot of the defensive incompetence we've seen from guys like Jason Castro trying to do too much in controlling the running game and adding extra postage to his throws that ultimately find an outfielder's glove.

To summarize this, the Rockies have run the bases pretty darn well this season. They lead the Majors in converting baserunners into runs (36% of baserunners ultimately score), which is also likely due to Coors Field. Fangraphs says that the Rockies have provided nearly 3 runs in value just on their baserunning abilities alone. Baserunning cost the Rox 6 runs last season. Per fangraphs, the Rockies' best runners are, in order: Troy Tulowitzki, Tyler Colvin, Carlos Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Eric Young Jr.

This all supports MY hopes that 2012 would be at least fun. Watching crazy baserunning is downright hilarious. It keeps you more engaged in the game, and it makes things just that much more fun. So good on you, Rockies. Keep it fun. Maybe the pitching will find a way to get into some sort of consistent groove and we can win a few in the meantime.

Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa suffers setback; Juan Nicasio goes on 15-day DL - The Denver Post
In the event you've missed this, Juan Nicasio will visit the DL with a knee strain. RHP Guillermo Moscoso will get the call to take his place. Jorge De La Rosa will be pulled from rehab for a week or so due to fluid in his injured elbow. 2012 Rockies pitching, everyone!

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