Friday, September 7, 2012

Teams Stealing bases in Major League Baseball in 2012 is so low it seems teams have given up on base stealing as an offensive weapon.

In 2012, Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer Billy Hamilton, stole his 147th base which broke the minor league record set in 1983 by Vince Coleman. The modern day major league record was set by Rickey Henderson with 130 in 1982. The Miami Marlins lead the majors with 130 steals in 2012 (Hamilton has more steals than any MLB team) at a success rate of 79% and the Orioles are the lowest with 44 steals and a success rate of 62%. The MLB average success rate is 73% in ’12. The average number of total steals per team at the major league level is the same in American and National league at 91 per team. This is less than 1 steal per game thru 130 games of a 162 game schedule. In the 70′s & 80′s MLB teams ran much more than they do today. Some people will argue it was because of the many astroturf fields and the game was played at a faster pace. I believe their were more pure baseball players then and few teams had a bench full of big, muscular guys like today. The muscle men came into the game in the early 90′s and more teams began to develop the Earl Weaver Philosophy from his Oriole Managing days when there was almost no running and just looking for the cure all ailments the “3 run home run.” The home run ball was becoming more what fans wanted to see. Then, the men got even bigger and the juiced muscle men began slugging away in the late 90′s and into the early 2000′s when Home Runs were being hit farther & more often than ever. In the summer of 2012, the collegiate baseball summer leagues were using “juiced baseballs” made by Diamond which would fly over large trees & light towers & land 500′ from home plate. The Cape Cod league had over a 100% increase in home runs in ’12 season vs. ’11 season. So, what happens to even coaches like myself in today’s game? You back off the running game when every team is hitting balls over the wall more often. Even though the team i coached in the Cape Cod League, the Cotuit Kettleers, led the league with 65 stolen bases in 44 games, this was the lowest total of a Mike Roberts coached team in many seasons. I wish their were many more Billy Hamilton’s who love to run and work at stealing bases. Doing the “little things” well such as stealing bases at crucial times will always make a huge impact in how games are won and lost. I salute Billy Hamilton. Please keep stealing bases and hope you run yourself to the makor leagues. Coach Mike Roberts

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