RESEARCH: The Skill to Steal and the WILL to Steal

Tommy Pham beats the tag.

Stolen bases are an unusual fantasy baseball statistic. Every other statistic that we use — even saves — is largely a reflection of some combination of skill, context, and luck. Stolen bases, of course, is a reflection of those same three factors, too. But there's a fourth factor that may be unique to stolen bases, something even more fundamental to statistical output than any other factor for any other category: the WILL to steal a base. In theory, players who reach base safely (with no runner ahead of them, anyway) can literally attempt to steal a base EVERY TIME if they wanted to! There is no rule to stop them. Yes, they must reach base safely first, but once they do they can try to steal second, steal...

Almost!

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