"Bill James Handbook" gives Orioles low marks for baserunning

The 2013 edition of "The Bill James Handbook," available today, ranks the Orioles as the second-worst baserunning team in the majors.

If you've been paying attention, you already know that the Orioles ranked last with 58 stolen bases, and that 28 of those came from Adam Jones (16) and Nate McLouth (12). But that isn't the only deficiency.

James notes that the Orioles posted "a -49 net base gain," placing them ahead of only the Detroit Tigers (-67), who happened to reach the World Series. Also, "their stolen base gain (0) and their -49 baserunning gains both ranked third-worst among all teams, and they took the third-fewest extra bases with 127."

According to the handbook, the James/BIS system is based on a system of pluses and minuses that measures both success as a base stealer and the ability to move up an extra base or score on things like a hit, sac fly, passed ball, wild pitch, balk or defensive indifference.

James rates Angels rookie Mike Trout as baseball's top baserunner and the Indians' Carlos Santana as the worst.

More from James:

"For his career, Jim Thome has scored from first on a double only 15 percent of the time. No one in baseball (minimum 1,000 at-bats) has scored less. But 'Big Jim' wasn't the worst baserunner on the Orioles last season: that honor belongs to Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters, among regulars, who both clocked in at a -13 net base gain in 2012. The team's best baserunner was left fielder Nate McLouth, who posted a +18 net base gain, both running the bases (+8) and stealing bases (+10) well."

So there's another reason to re-sign McLouth.

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