The Art of the Steal

I’ve been slacking like a lazy turd compared to my cohorts. There is a lot here my little minions so sit back, relax, and strap it down.

The art of the steal is a craft that is increasingly harder to come by in today’s MLB. The Rickey Henderson, Billy Hamilton, and Scotty Pods of the world made, a fine living running after the pitch delivery. Hurling their body, extending their arms and leaning one way or another to avoid capture. Just to get an extra 90 feet closer to home plate. It may be dying in baseball, but it is not dying on the South Side of Chicago and certainly not for MLB teams poised for October dreams.

Our young lads are poised to buck the non-stealing trend and be the next gen base stealers in the MLB. Make Stealing Bases Great Again, just as Justin Timberlake brought “Sexy Back,” the baby Sox are going retro and bringing “stolen bases back.” The Sox aren’t going retro because it’s cool, like drinking Pabst, and wearing flannel, but because research shows that teams that steal have a higher tendency to make the playoffs. We don’t have the mashers/maulers the Bronx Bombers or Boston do. In fact, the Sox ranked 16th in homers and 24th in RBI’s. We might as well have had pencil armed Mort and baby back Andy in our 3-4 spot. That’s not how this team will make the playoffs. The ‘Good Guys,” will to make the playoffs on the base paths, grabbing 90 feet at a time. So how do we get there? Let’s take a look.

Looking back on the last 3 seasons I studied the top 10 base stealing teams. Looking at the team’s total stolen bases, stolen base percentage, W-L, and the average age of that team. Blue indicates playoff team and red indicates a respectable record. Pay attention to the last category, it ranks the MLB teams Youngest-Oldest (so 1st being youngest, and 30th being oldest). I added the age because I was looking for correlations that model our current Sox and I came across some interesting finds. Take a gander los minions, and see if you see-what I see:

2016

Team Stolen Bases Stolen Base % Record Team Avg Youngest-Oldest Rank
Brewers 181 76 73-89 5th
Reds 139 73 68-94 8th
Arizona 137 81.5 69-93 2nd
Indians 134 81 94-67 22nd
Padres 125 74 68-94 9th
Royals 121 77.5 81-81 15th
Nationals 121 75.5 95-67 19th
Pirates 110 71 78-83 20th
Astros 102 69 84-74 1st
Rangers 99 73 95-67 13th

This table shows that 3/10 top stealing teams made the playoffs and 2 teams with respectable records. Also, note the Astros record, they are considered the model modern team. Suck up the field, stock up on draft picks and trade away assets to rebuild through the draft. The best part? The Astros were the youngest team in the MLB in 2016. Scroll down and look at the 2018 table and see who the youngest team was.

2017

Team Stolen Bases Stolen Base % Record Team Avg Age Old-Youngest Rank
Angels 136 76 80-82 2
Brewers 128 76 86-76 23
Reds 120 76 68-94 25
Rangers 113 72 78-84 14
Nationals 108 78 97-65 6
Red Sox 106 77 93-69 24
Diamond Backs 103 77 93-69 15
Astros 98 70 101-61 9
Twins 95 77 85-77 26
Royals 91 75 80-82 7

This table shows that 5/10 top stealing teams made the playoffs and 1 with a respectable record. Ok so are old pals the Astros got a little older, but they still ran at the same pace. Our point of interest in the 2017 table, is our Division mates, the Twins. Twins snuck into the playoffs, and played with the 4th youngest team in baseball.

2018

Team Stolen Bases Stolen Base % Record Team Avg Age Old-Youngest Rank
Indians 135 79 91-71 26th
Rays 128 72 90-72 3rd
Red Sox 125 80 108-54 11th
Brewers 124 80 96-67 23rd
Nationals 119 78 82-80 9th
Royals 117 76 58-104 20th
Da White Sox 98 71 62-100 1st
Padres 95 73 66-96 3rd
Rockies 95 74 91-72 21st
Braves 90 71 90-72 8th

This table shows that 5/10 of the top stealing teams made the playoffs and 2 with respectable records. The Sox “made it the boarrrrrdddd… YES!” This is the table I have been waiting for. So many teams to point to. The Braves rank as the 8th youngest team and showed that they can swipe some bags. Key in on the Fish too who rank as the 3rd youngest team. The Rays capped off the year with a very respectable record, in a difficult division and they went 90-72 and got left out of the playoffs.

In Conclusion, the baby Sox are young, fast and hungry. The fun part? A lot of our speed hasn’t even entered the majors yet. We still have the likes of Nick Madrigal, Luis Basabe, Micker Adolfo, and Blake Rutherford who all have a good pair of legs on them. All ready to swipe 90 when called upon.

Things seem to point up when you have the stones to steal a base. Hell the Sox don’t have much to lose, so why not get risky on the base paths. Let’s start to develop an identity, and raise the blood pressure and anxiety of every pitcher/catcher/middle infielder that we face. The Sox can send that message next season. When Our Lads get on base, they’re coming fast, coming hard, coming for 90 feet.

A quote from Marv from the movie Sin City, “Let’s get back to the old days, the bad days, the all or nothing days, Its blood for blood and by the gallon.” If the Sox continue to steal at their current pace then just maybe we all will be popping a Modelo tall boy at 35th and Shields, on a brisk October afternoon.

Signing out from Sox Sided headquarters. Leave a comment, don’t leave a comment, who gives a shit. I hope you enjoyed the read my minions.

Joe

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