Base running, and more specifically, base stealing, was a big topic of conversation this past season.
With the rule changes designed to make it easier for runners to take the extra base, there were more attempts in 2023 than in 2022. Per Mike Petriello of MLB.com, runners attempted 1,072 more steals this year than in 2022. They also succeeded at an 80.2 percent clip, the best rate in history.
And now there's a new Statcast metric, Pitcher Base Advances Prevented, that measures "... the skill of pitchers at preventing base runners from advancing on the bases," per the Pitcher Running Game Leaderboard on Baseball Savant.
Zack Wheeler kept the running game under control in 2023
It turns out that the Philadelphia Phillies' top starter, Zack Wheeler, was among the leaders in the Pitcher Base Advances Prevented stat.
With four Pitcher Base Advances Prevented, the righty ranked 16th out of 342 qualified pitchers in the new metric, which puts him in the 95th percentile. For comparison, free agent Aaron Nola was 337th with -9 Pitcher Base Advances Prevented.
Runners had the 594 stolen base opportunities (a pitch thrown with a runner at first base only) against Wheeler, the 21st-most, and he kept the attempt percentage to 1.2 percent.
How did other Phillies pitchers perform?
Including Wheeler, nine Phillies pitchers appear on the rankings for 2023.
The second-best Phillies pitcher in PBAP was Michael Lorenzen at 34th. He had three Pitcher Base Advances Prevented.
Taijuan Walker ranked 54th with three Pitcher Base Advances Prevented. Lefty Cristopher Sánchez finished 71st with two PBAP.
Matt Strahm and Ranger Suárez both had one Pitcher Base Advances Prevented, ranking 166th and 176th, respectively.
Seranthony Domínguez ranked 203rd at an even zero PBAP, while Craig Kimbrel's -3 PBAP ranked 303rd. And the aforementioned Nola finished last on the team with his -9 PBAP.