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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Vince Coleman teaching baserunning to Astros

The Baseball World According to Tarp.

The Houston Astros may be going to the American League, but they may not play America-League type ball. Former Cardinals star Vince Coleman, the first man to steal 100 bases or more in the big leagues in three consecutive seasons, is the baserunning instructor for all levels of the Astros’ system, and he is preaching aggressiveness.

Coleman, who will spend a lot of time at Class A Quad Cities, was recommended to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow by former Houston infielder Enos Cabell, who is in the Astros’ front office.

“With a St. Louis connection (Luhnow ran the Cardinals’ player development area), how could you not hire me?” said Coleman, laughing.

“I’ve got a Ph.D in the stolen base and baserunning. Baserunning is very underrated, even though it’s the aspect which determines where you win or lose ballgames.”

One part of the game that has bothered Coleman is the negativity associated with baserunning. “You’ve heard the terms, ‘Don’t get picked off. Don’t make the first out at third base. Don’t get doubled up on line drives.’ Those are the ‘how-not-tos.’

I’m the ‘how-to’ coach. We’re going to diffuse all the negatives,” said Coleman.

...Coleman said he was “on the couch” at his home in San Diego when the chance to help the Astros came up. He said that if he wasn’t doing this, he would be taking Michael Jordan’s money in golf.

Recently, Coleman said he dusted Jordan for three days in a row in the Jupiter, Fla., area. “I got fat,” said Coleman, meaning his wallet was bulging.

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2013 at 09:56 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros

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   1. NattyBoh Posted: March 02, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4379113)
Don't get run over by the tarp machine. Don't hit your teammate with a golf club. There's a lot of "how-not-tos" with Coleman.
   2. Swoboda is freedom Posted: March 02, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4379119)
Don't throw firecrackers at fans would be a big one, especially the kids.
   3. NattyBoh Posted: March 02, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4379124)
Don't fight your coaches. I should query "Vince Coleman" and either "NY Daily News" or "NY Post".
   4. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 02, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4379129)
"First, you grip the firecracker real good, then..."
   5. GuyMcGuffin Posted: March 02, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4379165)
Former Cardinals star Vince Coleman, the first man to steal 100 bases or more in the big leagues in three consecutive seasons,


If he's the only man to do that, why distinguish him as the first?

It should also be mentioned that Rickey Henderson did it in 1980, 1982, and 1983. The stoppage of 1981 cost him the opportunity to steal 100. Though he would have had an uphill climb to 100 given his numbers for that year.
   6. Tricky Dick Posted: March 02, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4379166)
I am interested to see what Coleman can do with Delino DeShields, Jr. DeShields stolen 102 bases between A and A+ last year.
   7. Morty Causa Posted: March 02, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4379169)
Would Coleman's instructions be along the lines of Steve Carlton's when at the height of his powers he was asked how to throw his hellacious slider: You hold the ball like this, he said showing the grip, and you throw it like hell.
   8. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 02, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4379188)
Astros players in unison: "Where is this thing you keep referring to as "second base"".
   9. Delorians Posted: March 02, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4379189)
Wow, multiple articles about the Astros in Hot Topics at one time. Doubt that happens often these days.
   10. eric Posted: March 02, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4379204)
Wow, multiple articles about the Astros in Hot Topics at one time. Doubt that happens often these days.


Train wrecks are always big news.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 02, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4379216)
Baserunning is very underrated, even though it’s the aspect which determines where you win or lose ballgames.”


Yeah, good luck with that. Clubhouse attendant: "Keeping the uniforms clean is very underrated, even though it's the aspect which [sic] determines where you win or lose ballgames."
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: March 02, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4379224)
Baserunning is very underrated, even though it’s the aspect which determines where you win or lose ballgames.”


I wouldn't be surprised at all to see baserunning figuring into a larger than expected percentage of close games.

Beyond that, yes it's a small valuable skill, that over the course of a 162 game season pales in value compared to hitting, defense and pitching. But teamwide, it does beat out outfield arms and catchers arms in importance.
   13. depletion Posted: March 02, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4379231)
One of those Cards teams, 1985, had the lineup correlated almost perfectly with runs scored per player. McGee scored 114 while batting 2nd and Coleman scored 107 while leading off. Ozzie batted 8th, not 5th, also.

Coleman 107
McGee 114
Herr 97
Clark 71
Smith 70
VanSlyke 61
Pendleton 56
Porter 30
   14. Walt Davis Posted: March 02, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4379233)
Baserunning is very underrated, even though it’s the aspect which determines where you win or lose ballgames.

I think Coleman's meaning was you have to get around the bases to score, doesn't it make sense to do a good job of getting around the bases.

Now they just need to bring in Jimmy Wynn as on-base coach and they're set.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: March 02, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4379234)
Astros' career OBP leaders:

Berkman, Bagwell, Morgan

I'm starting to think that Morgan trade wasn't a very good idea.

SB leaders are Cedeno, Biggio, Cruz and Morgan -- another set of very nice players.
   16. Squash Posted: March 02, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4379243)
Isn't the general consensus that Coleman wasn't actually a particularly good baserunner, just incredibly fast?
   17. KT's Pot Arb Posted: March 02, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4379253)
Would Coleman's instructions be along the lines of Steve Carlton's when at the height of his powers he was asked how to throw his hellacious slider: You hold the ball like this, he said showing the grip, and you throw it like hell.


Astro's analytics team convinced Lunhow that the Astros wouldn't be able to make enough outs at the plate, so they decided their best avenue to increasing them further was the basepaths.
   18. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: March 02, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4379260)
16 - that was my thought.
Why not hire Raines?
   19. Perry Posted: March 02, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4379315)
Isn't the general consensus that Coleman wasn't actually a particularly good baserunner, just incredibly fast?


Whitey Herzog said Willie McGee was actually faster, but Coleman stole more bases because of his brazen attitude about it.
   20. Ryan Lind Posted: March 02, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4379318)
The worst percentage teams since 1961:

1. The 1978 Toronto Blue Jays, 28/80; 35%
2. The 1965 New York Mets, 28/70; 40%
3. The 1970 Cleveland Indians, 25/61 40.1%
4. The 1967 San Francisco Giants, 22/52, 42.3% * Willie Mays was 6-0! Everyone else was 16-52
5. The 1973 Pittsburgh Pirates, 23/52, 44.2% * Al Oliver was 6-0! Everyone else was 17-52

The "top" 100

Aside: Last year's Pittsburgh squad lead the NL in caught-stealing while finishing dead-last in stolen bases. That is not a feat that happens often.

In fact, since 1961 it's happened just twice. The 2012 Pirates and the 2005 Nationals.
   21. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 02, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4379331)
Isn't the general consensus that Coleman wasn't actually a particularly good baserunner, just incredibly fast?


"Run real fast" seems like a good coaching idea.
   22. OCF Posted: March 02, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4379386)
Where did the idea come from that Coleman "wasn't a particularly good baserunner"? Oh, yes, he was. Just check out measures like runs scored/times on base. There was one year in there - and it probably was only the one year - in which something like 20 balks got committed while he was on base. Those count, too. Now, there are serious limits to how valuable a left fielder with no power at all and middling (at best) on-base skills can be, so I'm not trying to claim that Coleman was anything he wasn't. But he was a baserunner.
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 02, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4379401)
Isn't the general consensus that Coleman wasn't actually a particularly good baserunner, just incredibly fast?

Per b-r he took extra bases on hits 53% of the time in his career compared to MLB averages typically in the mid-40's and with league leaders (among batting qualifiers) in the upper 60's and 70's.
   24. Squash Posted: March 03, 2013 at 03:52 AM (#4379550)
Where did the idea come from that Coleman "wasn't a particularly good baserunner"? Oh, yes, he was. Just check out measures like runs scored/times on base. There was one year in there - and it probably was only the one year - in which something like 20 balks got committed while he was on base. Those count, too.

The point is more about his technical skills. Coleman can't teach other players to be incredibly fast like he was. He might himself have been a valuable baserunner in his career, but are there nuances in there he can impart to other players or is it more that he was just incredibly fast?
   25. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 03, 2013 at 04:11 AM (#4379577)
16 - that was my thought.
Why not hire Raines?


The Jays beat them to it. He got hired to be Toronto's "minor league baserunning and outfield coach".
   26. Tricky Dick Posted: March 03, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4379703)
Astro's analytics team convinced Lunhow that the Astros wouldn't be able to make enough outs at the plate, so they decided their best avenue to increasing them further was the basepaths.

Interesting Fangraphs article on growing importance of stolen bases as overall run environment has declined.
   27. Howie Menckel Posted: March 03, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4379817)
That 1977 Blue Jays team is amazing. Under manager Roy Hartsfield, they went 59-102 W-L. Here's a list of the players who had more steals than caught stealing:

Gary Woods 1-0

That's it. Dave McKay is next-best at 4 and 4.
Rick Bosetti was 6 (a team high) for 16, and Luis Gomez was 2 for 12 (!).

No one on the 1965 Mets stole more than 4 bases, meanwhile. Their W-L record was 50-112 for Casey Stengel.
   28. Ron J2 Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4380405)
Isn't the general consensus that Coleman wasn't actually a particularly good baserunner, just incredibly fast?


If you combine Tom Ruane's study (at retrosheet -- nder the research papers section) with Sean Smith's work (at baseballprojection.com -- still available via the wayback machine) you can break his speed related value to:

exceptional at base stealing (#4 behind Henderson, Raines and Willie Wilson)
very good at DP avoidance
basically average at base running
slightly below average at reaching on error (this is actually common for fast guys. A lot of plays that would generally be scored as "error" are scored as "hit" for guys who can fly)

Sean has Coleman as +75 base running (which is stolen bases plus base running) +22 in DP avoidance and -4 at reaching on error.

Tom broke it down by base stealing and the other speed related aspects and gets Coleman as +75 in stolen bases and +19 in everything else.

IOW very close agreement in overall value -- leaving very little in the baserunning category if we accept Sean's numbers in DP avoidance and reaching on error.

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