Baseball Note 6/7/15: The Elusive Stolen Base

The 2015 Dodgers, occupiers of first place in the National League’s West Division, and the darlings of local LA media, have not only the fewest stolen bases of any major league team, but they are the only team to have more runners caught stealing than they have stolen bases. They have stolen 13 bases in 28 attempts over 56 games this season, compared with last season, when they were second in the majors with 138 steals. This year, at the current rate, they project to less than 40 steals for the full season. Of course last year the since discarded Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp accounted for 86 of those 138

steals. Their replacements have stolen a grand total of ten bases in slightly more than one-third of this season. As of today, only six Dodgers have stolen even a single base and only Jimmie Rollins on the entire team has stolen more than two. Gordon alone has stolen 20 bases so far this season, and a total of seven players currently have more steals than the Dodgers as a team.

As the commentators on tonight's ESPN
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broadcast of the Dodgers-Cardinals game discussed, while the Dodger’s lack of base running ability and stolen base prowess may not adversely effect the regular season, it could be a significant problem in a potential post season where the team would face quality pitching every game and where a single stolen base and manufactured run could make the difference in winning or losing a series, and advancing or not advancing towards the World Series.

The Dodgers, second in the majors in home runs, have been winning with power, but there will be key games where a stolen base, or lack of a steal, could make all the difference.

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