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Was poor base running a factor in Green firing?

Stats paint unflattering picture of team’s run game execution

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San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Looking back, there are probably a number of factors behind the Padre organization’s recent decision to fire manager Andy Green.

Over the years, there had been signs of mutiny within the ranks.

There were some questionable Green decisions regarding how the team represented itself to competitors—one such decision being his passivity in the face of the Cubs’ brutalizing of catcher Austin Hedges back in 2017.

But, above all, there were the losses. Many, many losses.

For those looking for another potential, between-the-lines motivation behind the Green ouster, his team’s base running failures might serve as a decent place to start.

To be clear, it’s hard to fault Green for fielding underperforming lineups at the plate. He didn’t task the roster with three Rule 5 players in 2016. He didn’t sign Wil Myers or Eric Hosmer to massive deals. He didn’t personally take a bat to the hamstring and torso of Fernando Tatis Jr., the player that seemed to serve as the fuel cell behind the 2019 team’s engine when he was healthy.

Green did, however, oversee a squad that has been absolutely clueless on the basepaths in 2019.

San Diego’s cumulative Stolen Base success rate is a paltry 66% this season—fourth-worst in the National League.

Per Fangraphs’ BSR metric—which factors not only base stealing situations but also a player’s success at taking extra bases, being thrown out on the bases, etc.—the Padres were the fourth-worst base running team in all of baseball with a -12.1 BSR valuation.

The Padres did record 66 steals in 2019—good enough for a middling 14th among all teams—but a lineup featuring Fernando Tatis Jr., Wil Myers, and Manuel Margot would be expected to stumble into its fair share of steals.

For a team with a 29th-ranked .239 team batting average, bad base running is an absolute rally-killer. In this case, it may have killed Green’s job security with the San Diego Padres.