Revisiting Expected Stolen Bases (xSB)

In 2023, we witnessed the biggest single-season change to league-wide stolen base per game totals in the last 100 years, driven by both stolen base attempt rate (SBA%) increasing by 2.3% (as we define it, from 7.7% in 2022 to 10.0% in 2023) and stolen base success rate (SBS%) increasing by 4.8% (from 75.4% in 2022 to 80.2% in 2023).

In light of this massive shift, we felt compelled to re-evaluate our Expected Stolen Bases (xSB) metric to make sure it still reflects the way the game is now being played.

A bit of history: The original research piece that introduced xSB was focused primarily on separating the "will to steal" from the "skill to steal”. To achieve this objective, we constructed two models for expected stolen base attempt...


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