It was well-documented in the off-season that the Yankees' offense in 2013 was awful. After all, they were 10th in the American League in runs scored and they finished 14th in wRC+ as well. At the same time, one area on offense that they weren't so bad at was TOOTBLANs. Yes, TOOTBLANs. At just 53, the Yankees recorded the fifth-fewest TOOTBLANs in all of baseball, trailing the Mariners, Twins, Mets, and Orioles, respectively. I guess that's what happens when you don't get on base a whole lot.
Before we dive deeper in this TOOTBLAN analysis, I want to make sure everyone is caught up. For those who don't know what a TOOTBLAN is (and how the hell could you not?!?), it is an acronym short for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop. The official TOOTBLAN Tracker Tumblr account sums up what exactly counts as a TOOTBLAN:
TOOTBLANs include extra base outs, outs on would-be sacrifice flies, pick-offs, double offs, fielder's choice outs with an open base, batter's interference, runner's fielder choice, runner interference, caught stealing on a walk, hit by batted ball, and sundry other things that can happen during a baseball game.
So, if you were to guess, which Yankee led the team in TOOTBLANs in 2013? If you guessed Robinson Cano, you were right. Robbie led the Yankees in TOOTBLANs last season with eight, and it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise because Cano reached base (by far) more often than any Yankee last season.
Despite being acquired by New York in late-July, Alfonso Soriano tied for second (with Brett Gardner) on the team with seven TOOTBLANs. One of those seven TOOTBLANs was quite the whopper, as Soriano got TOOTBLAN'd trying to steal third base against the Red Sox in the ninth inning of a tie game. All told, Soriano had 11 TOOTBLANs last year (tied for 15th in all of baseball), including his time with the Chicago Cubs. The entire list of Yankee TOOTBLANs from last year can be seen right here, but you'll have to change the team to "Yankees" on the second scroll-down on the page.
Because the Yankees' offense was so horrible last year (despite the lack of TOOTBLANs!), the team went out during the winter and signed Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, among others. McCann had just one TOOTBLAN last year, which kinda makes sense because he's so slow; at least he knows he's slow and doesn't try to do anything stupid on the bases. Ellsbury tied with Dustin Pedroia for the most TOOTBLANs on the Red Sox with nine; Beltran had five TOOTBLANs as a Cardinal. Among the other notable Yankee pickups, Kelly Johnson had just one TOOTBLAN with the Rays last year and Brian Roberts had three in limited time with the Orioles.
It's inevitable that the Yankees will TOOTBLAN more in 2014 than they did in 2013, simply because they've added players this winter who'll actually get on base (having Soriano for a full year should also add to the TOOTBLAN total as well). If you look at some of the least TOOTBLANing teams of 2013 like the Mariners (fifth-lowest OBP), Twins (10th-lowest OBP), Mets (sixth-lowest OBP), and Marlins (lowest OBP), it was a case of just not getting on base very often. The Yankees will certainly have an easier time reaching base this year than they did in 2013, but hopefully there won't be too many nincompoops running around the bases in the Bronx this summer.