This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Much of the early-season talk surrounds the record-setting home run pace, and rightfully so. On the flip side, stolen bases are down to fewer than one per game. The last time there were more games played than pilfers was 1972.
In rotisserie scoring, it doesn't matter that steals are dwindling. The category is worth the same as the others. Points-leagues players, however, may need to adjust expectations (a study for another day, to investigate if the decline is uniform or affects some players more than others).
It may not take as many steals to compete in today's game, but there's a smaller inventory to provide the necessary bags. Knowing where to look provides an edge. Today's discussion focuses on the teams most likely to supply the demand for those yearning to compete in the stolen base category.
Let's begin with a historical perspective. What team characteristics result in more running?
The study will look at several correlation coefficients, measuring the linear relationship between two sets of data. One input will be steals. The other will be factors with a chance to influence the level at which a team runs.
A correlation coefficient, denoted as "r", ranges from -1 to 1. Perfect positive linear correlation is 1. As one set of data increases, the other follows proportionately. When r is -1, there's a perfectly inverse relationship. That is, as one set grows, the other lessens proportionately. In terms of this study, those variables generating an r closest to -1 or 1