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2011 Arizona Diamondbacks Recap - The Offense | October
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Coming into the 2011 season, the big question was how would the Diamondbacks' offense perform without slugging infielders Adam LaRoche and Mark Reynolds? They were expected to be replaced by Juan Miranda and Melvin Mora, which seemed like a certain downgrade from 2010. But the offensive results were much better than expected, partly due to strong seasons from Justin Upton and Miguel Montero as well as breakouts from Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra. Overall, the team ended up scoring 18 more runs in 2011 than in 2010, even though offense around the league was down significantly. How did this happen? It turns out that the answer is probably not because of better clutch hitting, fewer strikeouts, or more productive outs. The team scored more runs in 2011 because of better baserunning.

Year R/G AVG OBP SLG OPS+ R HR SB/CS BB K
2011 4.51 (4th) .250 .322 .413 99 (4th) 731 172 133/44 531 1249
2010 4.40 (8th) .250 .325 .416 94 (7th) 713 180 86/41 589 1529

 

So the Diamondbacks actually managed to score more runs despite a slightly lower OBP and SLG. Did they perhaps hit better in 2011 with Runners in Scoring Position? 

 

RISP PA RBI AVG OBP SLG SF BB K
2011 - RISP 1565 488 .252 .346 .403 33 188 335
2010 - RISP 1601 512 .266 .356 .468 41 199 384

Actually, the team hit significantly worse with Runners in Scoring Position in 2011 than in 2010, with an OPS almost .075 points lower. How about in At Bats with Runners on Base?

Men On Base PA RBI AVG OBP SLG SF BB K
2011 - Men On 2259 602 .259 .340 .430 33 259 533
2010 - Men On 2334 593 .252 .335 .432 41 293 653

Here, the numbers are pretty close, with the rate stats approximately the same between the two years. But it is interesting to see that the numbers of RBI in 2011 were 9 higher than in 2010 despite 75 fewer plate appearances. How did this happen? One reason was that the team did a better job of getting runners to 2nd and 3rd base in 2011. For example, #3 hitter Justin Upton had 277 Plate Appearances in 2011 with Runners on Base, compared to 272 in 2010. But a look at the distribution of those runners on base is quite different.

PA with ROB PA_ROB R1 R2 R3
2011 - Justin Upton 277 173 124 63
2010 - Justin Upton 272 187 112 54

Upton actually saw many more runners on 2nd and 3rd in 2011 than in 2010, even though the total number of baserunners was much closer. And this was true for the team as a whole - more runners on 3rd Base (Note that these numbers are the sum of the individual totals, which will not match up with the team totals, since multiple batters can come up with the same runner on base).

Runners on Base R1 R2 R3
2011 - Diamondbacks 1740 1216 635
2010 - Diamondbacks 1906 1292 577

So how were the Diamondbacks getting more runners to 3rd Base in 2011? Could it be that the team was much better at the so-called "Productive Out", in which a player advances a baserunner while making an out? No, there really wasn't much difference between 2010 and 2011, despite the big drop in strikeouts.

Productive Outs ProdOut Opps Prod Outs Rate
2011 - Diamondbacks 559 148 26.48%
2010 - Diamondbacks 578 148 25.61%

How about the baserunning? Although the team did have a lot of baserunners picked off and thrown out on the bases in 2011, the team's aggressive style did lead to more runs being scored. The table below shows the number of times the Diamondbacks hit a Single when there was a runner on 1st Base. In both 2010 and 2011, the team hit 254 singles with a Runner on 1st Base. But in 2011, that resulted in a 1st and 3rd situation 71 times (28%) instead of 54 times in 2010 (21%).

Runner on 1st with Single Total 1st and 2nd 1st and 3rd
2011 - Diamondbacks 254 175 71
2010 - Diamondbacks 254 193 54

With a Runner on 2nd Base and a Single by the Batter, the team was much more likely to score (61%) than in 2010 (53%).

Runner on 2nd with Single Total 1st and 3rd Runner Scores
2011 - Diamondbacks 160 51 98
2010 - Diamondbacks 162 71 86

The same thing was true with a Runner on 1st Base when a Double was hit. The runner from 1st scored 46 times in 2011 (52%) compared to only 33 times (36%) in 2010.

Runner on 1st with Double Total 2nd and 3rd Runner Scores
2011 - Diamondbacks 89 41 46
2010 - Diamondbacks 92 56 33

Aside from the running of the bases, the team's aggressiveness also showed up in the Stolen Base categories.

Stolen Bases SB2 CS2 SB2% SB3 CS3 SB3%
2011 - Diamondbacks 117 53 68.8% 16 2 88.9%
2010 - Diamondbacks 80 37 68.4% 6 3 66.7%


The team didn't steal 2nd base at a better rate in 2011, but they did try it more often. The bigger difference was in stealing 3rd base, where the Diamondbacks were successful on 16 of 18 tries, led by Chris Young and Willie Bloomquist who were each 3 for 3.

Two more positives from the aggressive baserunning in 2011 - fewer Grounded into Double Plays and more Bases Taken. The Diamondbacks hit into 113 DPs in 2010, but cut that number down to 82 in 2011. The Bases Taken number, which counts bases gained from fly balls, wild pitches, passed balls, and balks, jumped from 110 to 135 in 2011.

The only negative about the aggressive baserunning was that the team did have more runners picked off and thrown out on the bases. 

Baserunning Outs PO OOB
2011 - Diamondbacks 27 75
2010 - Diamondbacks 16 47


But the overall effect is hard to ignore. The team scored 32% of its baserunners in 2011, compared to just 29% in 2010. And it seems the reason wasn't because of better clutch hitting or more power, but simply better baserunning.

Just for completeness, here are the individual stats for Diamondbacks' hitters in 2011. We will look at the individual performances in more detail when we start looking at potential offseason roster changes. 

Name PA R HR RBI AVG OBP SLG SB/CS wRC wOBA wRC+
Justin Upton 674 105 31 88 .289 .369 .529 21/9 112.7 .385 140
Chris Young 659 89 20 71 .236 .331 .420 22/9 81.3 .330 102
Miguel Montero 553 65 18 86 .282 .351 .469 1/1 77.5 .351 116
Ryan Roberts 555 86 19 65 .249 .341 .427 18/9 71.9 .338 107
Gerardo Parra 493 55 8 46 .292 .357 .427 15/1 64.9 .340 109
Kelly Johnson 481 59 18 49 .209 .287 .412 13/3 51.2 .309 87
Stephen Drew 354 44 5 45 .252 .317 .396 4/4 38.4 .311 89
W. Bloomquist 381 44 4 26 .266 .317 .340 20/10 35.1 .291 75
P. Goldschmidt 177 28 8 26 .250 .333 .474 4/0 25.6 .356 120
Aaron Hill 142 23 2 16 .315 .386 .492 5/4 22.8 .376 134
Juan Miranda 202 18 7 23 .213 .315 .402 0/1 22.4 .314 91
Xavier Nady 223 26 4 35 .248 .287 .359 2/0 19.4 .284 70
Henry Blanco 112 12 8 12 .250 .330 .540 0/1 17.1 .366 127
Sean Burroughs 115 8 1 8 .273 .289 .336 1/0 9.4 .278 66
Lyle Overbay 49 3 1 10 .286 .388 .452 1/0 7.6 .371 130
Collin Cowgill 100 8 1 9 .239 .300 .304 4/2 7.6 .270 60
Geoff Blum 55 8 2 10 .224 .309 .408 0/0 5.9 .310 88
Russ. Branyan 69 4 1 2 .210 .290 .339 0/0 5.9 .282 69
Brandon Allen 37 5 3 7 .172 .351 .483 1/0 5.3 .356 119
Melvin Mora 135 5 0 16 .228 .244 .276 0/1 5.0 .221 27
Wily Mo Pena 46 7 5 7 .196 .196 .522 0/0 4.7 .303 83
Cody Ransom 37 3 1 4 .152 .243 .303 1/0 2.4 .255 50
Cole Gillespie 7 2 1 4 .333 .429 .833 0/0 1.9 .522 234
John McDonald 63 2 0 2 .169 .222 .203 0/0 1.1 .197 10