Lead Distance represents the distance between the base and the baserunner's center of mass as the pitcher makes his first movement -- either to home or to the base on a pickoff attempt.
Lead Distance might be the most overlooked aspect of stealing bases. Certain baserunners -- those who can react quickest to a pitcher's move -- take leads that are longer than an average player. In doing so, the distance between the base stealer and the base he is trying to swipe is cut down.
Sure, Maximum Speed, Acceleration, a catcher's Pop Time and a pitcher's delivery all have a major impact on stolen bases, too. But on a bang-bang play, the runner's initial Lead Distance can sometimes make all the difference. (The same can hold true even when the runner is not attempting to steal, but rather when there is a close play at the next base after the ball is put in play.)
In A Call
"He's X feet off the base"