Steal More Bases
It honestly really surprises me why Dave Roberts does not encourage his players to be more aggressive when it comes to stealing bases. Especially when you remember that base stealing was the biggest asset of Dave Roberts’ game as a player with 243 career stolen bases. After all who doesn’t think of this infamous moment when they hear Dave Roberts’ name.
Last season the Dodgers only attempted 105 steals and ranked 19th in the MLB with 77 successful stolen bases. They ranked in the top half of the league with a 73% success rate but still swiped below the National League average (84).
With a more familiar roster this upcoming season, I expect Roberts to implement a more aggressive style on the bases. With a good mixture of young, versatile players in the lineup on a daily basis, there’s no reason why the Dodgers shouldn’t be atop the league in stolen bases.
Chris Taylor has proven to be the ideal leadoff hitter in today’s game. He provides the dual power and speed combination leading off for the Dodgers. Taylor led the Dodgers in stolen bases last season with 17, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to have a 20-20 or even 25-25 season.
Aside from Taylor, there are several other candidates to have more than 15 steals next year. Yasiel Puig had 15 last season, due in large part to his increase in walk rate, so that should continue to trend in the right direction.
The Dodger lineup is presumably getting younger by replacing Adrian Gonzalez with Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal with Austin Barnes. Both players are exceptionally fast for their position and should be able to get 10-15 steals.
That also doesn’t include the return of Andrew Toles who was a good base stealer in the minor leagues. Although his stolen bases haven’t translated to the MLB, if there’s ever a part of a player’s game that doesn’t slump, it’s speed.
There are five players I mentioned above, each with 15 stolen bases potential. It seems as if this is a dying aspect of the game as the league average was down from 2016. This is just another aspect of the game the Dodgers should use to their benefit given their youth and versatility.