Consecutive steals of second & third

This has come up twice this season. A runner steals second, then, with the same batter at the plate, the runner wants to steal third. The Commish sent out a clarificaiton on 2/13/2008:

Can you steal 2nd base and before the batter swings, steal 3rd base?

ANSWER: No. If the offense attempts a jump for a steal and fails or is successful, the offense must then swing away. The offense isn’t allowed to call a hit and run, bunt, pinch hit, pinch run, steal another base, or make any other moves until the next batter. The defense is also not allowed to make a move until the next batter.

And, yet, consecutive steals of second & third do occur with the same batter at the plate. Questions: 1) How often does it happen in MLB, and 2) could that sequence of events be incorporated into ABL/TPB?

Here’s the definition of the situation. A runner steals second, then, with the same batter at the plate, steals third or is caught stealing third. (I didn’t count straight pick-offs from second.) Per the Retrosheet event files, in 2007 that situation occured 40 times. There were a total of 2,542 steals of second, so the attempt for third occurred 1.6% of the time following a steal of second. The stat for the last five seasons taken together is also 1.6% (185/11,657). So, that answers question 1. Only about one time in every 60 does a runner who has stolen second attempt to steal third with the same batter at the plate.

Does this occur often enough to incorporate into the ABL? I’d say… maybe. It could be added by requiring an extra roll in trying to get the jump to steal third. For example, after the defense is given a chance to set, the offense states that he wants to steal third immediately. If the extra roll allows it, he can try for the jump in the normal way.

So, what should that extra roll be? Let’s assume that the runner would get a normal jump one-third of the time. If the runner always tried to steal third immediately, that would indicate that a 1-in-20 extra roll would produce an attempt once every 60 opportunities, which would reproduce the MLB stats. However, managers will not always try this risky sequence. How often would they try if it were allowed? Stealing seems very lopsided in the ABL (a few players steal all the time, everyone else never steals), so I’ll say 50%. So, if the extra roll requires a zero be rolled with a ten-sided die in order to try for the jump, the percentage of attempts will be: 1/2 manager choice * 1/10 extra roll * 1/3 gets the jump = 1/60, which would reproduce the MLB stat.

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