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Delay Steal: Key Points

A "delay steal" in baseball is a strategy where a baserunner waits for the catcher to throw the ball back to the pitcher before attempting to steal the next base. This strategy can be effective in catching the defense off guard and increasing the chances of a successful steal.

Here are some college baseball statistics related to delay steals:

  1. Success rate: According to an analysis of Division I college baseball games, delay steals have a success rate of around 55%, compared to a success rate of about 75% for traditional steals (where the runner attempts to steal as soon as the pitcher begins his delivery).

  2. Timing: The best time to attempt a delay steal is when there are two outs and the pitcher is likely to throw a breaking ball or off-speed pitch, giving the catcher more time to make the throw.

  3. Frequency: In a study of over 2,000 college baseball games, researchers found that delay steals occurred in about 4% of all stolen base attempts.

  4. Effectiveness: Teams that use delay steals tend to have a higher overall stolen base success rate than those that don't. In fact, one study found that teams that attempted at least one delay steal per game had a stolen base success rate that was 13 percentage points higher than teams that never attempted a delay steal.

  5. Risk: Delay steals are generally considered to be a higher-risk strategy than traditional steals, as there is more time for the defense to react and make a play. However, they can also be a high-reward strategy, particularly when executed correctly.

Overall, delay steals can be an effective strategy in college baseball, particularly when used strategically and selectively. Teams that incorporate delay steals into their overall baserunning strategy may be able to increase their overall stolen base success rate and create more scoring opportunities.


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