Using Simulation to Estimate the Impact of Baserunning Ability in Baseball

by Ben Baumer

Abstract

In baseball, an offensive team's run scoring ability is dependent not only upon the batting skills of its players, but also their baserunning abilities. Using a Monte Carlo simulation, we investigate the extent to which baserunning ability affects a team's overall offensive production. In particular, we use actual statistics from real players to estimate the effect of baserunning skills upon a team's run scoring ability. Our results largely confirm previous non-academic estimates that the impact of baserunning upon a team's run scoring ability is generally less than 20 runs per season. However, we show that using optimal lineups, that estimate can be increased.

Bio

Ben Baumer is in his fifth season as the Statistical Analyst for the New York Mets. In addition to helping the Mets incorporate statistical analysis into their front office decision-making, he has developed an extensive in-house web and database framework for producing automated statistical reports. During the academic year, he moonlights as a fourth-year PhD student in Mathematics at the City University of New York, where his work has focused on combinatorics and graph theory.

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