3 up, 3 down: running game philosophies

corbinTim Corbin (Vanderbilt), Greg Goff (Campbell) and Jason Stein (Eastern Kentucky) all led their teams to prolific stolen base totals during the 2013 season. Here’s their take on a few aspects of the running game we discussed in this issue’s Feature article (https://insidepitchonline.com/Press-Center/Lineup/2013/Stolen-bases-an-argument-of-quality-versus-quant.aspx)

1. Would you rather have your team steal the most bases it possibly can (quantity), or have a high (75% or above) success rate?

TIM CORBIN- “I would tell you that stealing the “most bases” would not be our top priority but rather the “quality of the attempt”…right pitch, best jump, right time, what advantage did we gain, was it “show-me” stolen base or an effective team stolen base. Putting up high stolen base numbers has not necessarily translated into the most effective offense, but it can be a component of one.”

GREG GOFF- We never talk about percentage with our players, as I feel may take away from their aggressivness. I want my players to trust their instincts and be fearless on the bases.

JASON STEIN- I think you need to factor in both quantity and success.  Certainly above 75% is the goal but you must have quantity or guys throughout the line-up that will run so the opponents fear the line-up instead of just a guy or two.

2. How would you define what a “good base stealer” is? More stolen bases or higher stolen base percentage?

TIM CORBIN- I would say the high percentage runner with the most attempts, not the runner with the most attempts. To me it’s like passing the football…you can unload 60 passes in a game, but it’s worth may be minimal if your completion rate is down and your yards per catch is low. Running efficiency is like passing efficiency to me.

GREG GOFF- I feel a good base stealer is someone that trust themselves, has good instincts, and fears nothing. I prefer the bags over a percentage.We try to promote that within our program during practices and scrimmages.

JASON STEIN- A good base stealer has no fear of getting thrown out and of course must have a good success rate

3. Do you keep close track of your team’s stolen base totals and/or their accompanying percentages throughout the course of the year? What do these numbers tell you when you are scouting your opponents?

TIM CORBIN- I look more at who an opponent is running against – are the numbers bullied or true. If you are running on a team that defends the running game well…then you must have an efficient running game.

GREG GOFF- We talk more about the process than actual numbers. What are pitchers trying to do to stop us and find their weakness and expose it. Stolen bases are a big part of our offense and I feel  helps us score runs. Educate them on good times to run and when not to run, help them gain confidence through practice and scrimmage games, and turn them  loose in the spring is my approach to the running game. Its always a risk but to me you can’t reach your full potential without risk taken.

JASON STEIN- We keep track of all percentages and hopefully teams are worrying about the running game.