The Cubs have made a handful of higher-profile free agent additions this offseason (Dansby Swanson, Trey Mancini, Jameson Taillon, and many others.). But one under-the-radar signing, a minor league deal for fast outfielder Ben DeLuzio, has me considering: What are the Cubs — or all of MLB, for that matter — considering is about to occur to the stolen base sport?
As , the 2023 MLB season has a bunch of various on-field guidelines coming, which can affect the sport each day. Among these guidelines, you will discover a limitation on pickoff makes an attempt and larger bases round the diamond. And though MLB is definitely hoping these modifications will affect pace-of-play (pickoff limitations) and participant security (greater bases), there are prone to be another potential results. Like, for instance, extra stolen bases?
This isn’t a brand new thought, and growing stolen base makes an attempt is nearly explicitly a part of the thought right here. But what hasn’t essentially been mentioned is JUST HOW MUCH these makes an attempt may improve in MLB beneath the new guidelines.
We have a fairly good knowledge set to begin the examination: Minor League Baseball.
These modifications had been launched at the decrease ranges of MiLB starting in 2021, and had been standardized throughout the minors final season. So I made a decision to try uncooked stolen base and caught stealing totals, and you’ll see the modifications:
Minor leaguers stole almost 25K bases final season, in comparison with simply 20-22K from 2018-2021. That is a HUGE improve (from 2021 to 2022, it was a 25% improve). And as you possibly can see, the quantity of instances gamers had been caught stealing dropped dramatically, from about 10K per season to 7-8K. And that is simply in a single season! There hasn’t even been sufficient time for giant image modifications (like participant acquisition and technique) to take impact, possible inflicting a fair greater spike in the years forward.
Here’s one other method to take a look at the change, and it is much more eye-popping:
That is simply unimaginable. An completely monumental soar just about throughout the board. Put merely, the new guidelines appear to have had a dramatic affect on the variety of stolen bases in Minor League Baseball, each league-wide and on a person participant foundation.
I do not essentially suppose we’ll see fairly as vital a soar in Major League Baseball, the place the stakes are larger, the protection is healthier, and the batteries are extra skilled, however nonetheless. If that is even near a sign of what is to come back, this sport would possibly look an entire lot totally different than it did final season. And for the final decade, even.
Which brings me again to DeLuzio, and a few of the Cubs different additions this offseason:
In 2022, DeLuzio stole 30 bases in the minor leagues in simply 94 video games. He’s quick. And I believe he would possibly rapidly develop into an enormous a part of the Cubs’ MLB technique, if he had been to safe a bench spot. But he isn’t the just one who is likely to be despatched in another way/extra typically beneath the new 2023 guidelines.
Dansby Swanson (18), Nico Hoerner (20), Cody Bellinger (14), and Christopher Morel (10) all had double-digit steals final season. Meanwhile, Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki (9 every) are theoretical stolen base threats. All six of these gamers determine to play prominently on the 2023 Cubs. And I believe they’ll run (and achieve success) much more than we’re used to seeing. And with a common lack of energy on the group, that will show essential to their success this season.