Feb. 12: Q of the Day
Do the Cardinals have any base stealing players on the club? With Lou Brock going to Spring Training, will there be an opportunity for him to instruct players on the art of base stealing? I believe we need more base stealing threats.
– Rick S., Fulton, Mo.
The Cardinals’ lineup won’t look much different from last year, so let’s start by taking a look at the numbers from 2012. The club swiped 91 bases — a total that ranked 13th in the 16-team National League. In terms of percentage, the Cardinals were successful in 71 percent of their attempts. That ranked 10th in the NL.
Jon Jay had 19 of those stolen bases. Carlos Beltran had 13. Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina – yes, Yadier Molina — each stole 12. No one else on the current roster had more than six. Of those four team leaders, the only one who I’d confidently project could grow his total (by more than just a few) is Jay. Whether he is more aggressive on the basepath, though, could depend upon where the Cardinals place him in the lineup.
Beltran likely won’t run much more than he did in 2012 since his knees are always a concern. Molina is going to take the extra base when he’s given, but he’s not going to get that many more easy attempts. Furcal, if he stays healthy, will make a healthy number of attempts, but not near the number he did in his younger days.
Even if the Cardinals wanted more base stealing threats, the reality is that this club is not constructed around speed. It’s an offense that returns five 20-homer hitters from last year and one built much more for the big inning. That’s not to say that the Cardinals won’t manufacture runs, and you can do so without stealing bases (i.e. moving first to third on a single, advancing runners with a productive out, sacrifice bunting, etc.).
Brock has always helped with baserunning drills while he is at Spring Training and he will again this year. One of his projects will be Adron Chambers, who has a chance to make the team as a bench player. Chambers has natural speed and with some more instruction could turn into an above-average base stealer. Having that type of threat off the bench would certainly be a plus.
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