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Clarifying The TOOTBLAN
Written by wrigleyville   
Thursday, 17 June 2010
June 10, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Milwaukee Brewers Rickie Weeks puts the tag on Cubs Ryan Theriot , as he tries to steal second base..Milwaukee Brewers won over the Chicago Cubs 5-4 in 10 innings at Miller Park, the Brewers took 2-3 in the series against the Cubs..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

OK, WV23 is back - if only to set the record straight on our legacy.

The following sentence appears at Bleed Cubbie Blue this morning on the continuing baserunning issues of the Cubs:

Two runners -- Geovany Soto at the plate in the second inning and Alfonso Soriano at third base after doubling in two runs in the fifth -- were thrown out on the bases, but neither was a TOOTBLAN; both were reasonable chances to take at the time and given the circumstances.

TOOTBLAN is, of course, Thrown Out on the Basepaths Like a Nincompoop - a component of the Ryan Theriot Adjusted On-Base Percentage (RTAOBP). Both were invented here at WV23 as an exercise in rationalizing Theriot's deceptively high OBP in 2008.

As a reminder, RTAOBP is calculated thusly:

(click "read more" for full story)

RTAOBP = (Hits+Walks+HBP-CS-Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop)/Plate Appearances (AB+BB+HBP+SF).

Now, the TOOTBLAN has been the subject of heated debate in the last two years. At time, the caught stealing was mistakenly included in the TOOTBLAN (including by me). But as you see from the equation, it is separate from the TOOTBLAN.

So what is a TOOTBLAN?

In short, it is any out a runner makes on the basebaths while attempting to take an extra base - whether advancing from second to third on a groundout (with no runner on first); attempting to stretch a single into a double, a double into a triple and so on; or getting thrown out while advancing on a flyball. It also applies to baserunners who are picked off or who are doubled out on a line drive.

As Al Yellon notes above, Soto and Soriano both took reasonable risks given the circumstances (and Soriano very well may have been safe).

But the TOOTBLAN is an unforgiving mistress. They are what they are. In Soriano's case, it was merely a TOOTB (without the Like a Nincompoop). And that's an error too often made in trying to judge a TOOTBLAN - overemphasizing the LAN at the expense of the TOOTB. In the end, however, it goes as a TOOTBLAN. It doesn't make Sori a bad person.

We felt it was important to come back and clarify this issue now that the TOOTBLAN has extended well beyond Cubs blogs to much of the NL Central.

Carry on, citizens.

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