Is Julio Rodriguez the next king of the stolen base?

There are several extreme statistical exceptions throughout the history of sports. From Wilt Chamberlain, who averaged 48.5 minutes per game in the 1961-62 season (only 48 minutes per NBA game), to Wayne Gretzky, who had so many assists that he would even be the leader in points in his NHL career. Never scored a goal, some of the star records are so inaccessible that discussing them may seem pointless.

Ricky Henderson, a well-traveled tramp who often found his way to Auckland, had stolen bases. And as a popular Twitter account in Super 70s Sports Celebrated on ThursdayHenderson began on May 12, 1982, as the MLB leader in theft – 35th.

This is a number that seems more absurd the longer you look at it. Last year only two players managed to steal so many bases throughout the season. In 2019, only five players were hit there. Henderson, who approached a record 130 steals in 172 attempts in 1982, exceeded the average in mid-May. It was such a relentless pace that it avoids the curve for another stolen baseline discussion.

If you can replace the stealing expectations of your base with the modern reality, however, Julio Rodriguez from the Seattle Mariners is having an impressive start to his rookie season. He and the Sailors open the series against first-placed Mets at City Field on Friday night and the main league leader with 10 steals in 11 attempts, 21-year-old Rodriguez is the first player with 50 or more. In the season that Di Strange-Gordon had 60 in 2017.

Could Rodriguez be the future of baseball, as he boldly offered before this season? absolutely. Could he be the torch bearer for the dangers of Henderson and the game’s other large stolen base? Not if he continues the last hot series on the plate.

Rodriguez’s move to the Majors was initially very rough. After losing on April 29, he hit a .211 at a base of .550 plus a slash percentage. He mitigated these poor results a bit with defensive efforts and aggression on the base lanes: in 19 games, he had stolen nine major league leaders. Since then, his highly regarded talent has appeared in .835 OPS 12 games – but he has only stolen one base.

It is too early to say how things will turn out for a young player like Rodriguez. But in the current environment it is not surprising that a player who can strike, especially one who can strike for power like Rodriguez, should focus on that rather than finding ways to produce offense by stealing bases.

Pitcher nightmares in the 1980s were filled with images of Tim Raines, Vince Coleman, or Henderson, long before the first base. But in recent years, even gamers who have the ability to steal large numbers and mix speeds have gone the other way. Beginning with Mike Trout magnifying his strength and ending with Trea Turner’s efforts to protect his body from wear and tear, the game’s best base thieves abandoned what was once a highly-selling ability.

Overall, teams are averaging 0.49 steals per game this season, a moderate increase over last year, but it will also be the fourth consecutive season in which the average is below 0.5. This is 0.85 compared to the modern peak in the 1987 game – in the era of Raines, Coleman and Henderson. During the season, this seemingly small portion can be added. Last season, Kansas City Royals led the way with 124 steals from MLB; In 1987, On average The team stole 138.

Major League Baseball called it a problem. A player who flies in seconds, scattering the crowd, creates a more convincing game than a few lone home runs and dozens of hits. So MLB, as it conducts experiments at the small league level, prioritizes finding ways to encourage jogging, such as limiting the number of pitchers in one league from rubber and requiring pitchers to move away from rubber to try to choose from another.

Still, sometimes it feels like there will never be another Jose Reyes, let alone another Henderson. When we expect MLB initiatives to be hampered, we need to keep in mind that baseball is a drop in statistics and we are not actually hunting for stolen bases.

There were only six seasons when the major league average was below 0.3 steals per game and all six in 1949-1956. From 154 games. Worse still, they were caught 38 times in an attempted robbery.

A year later, Henderson was born in Chicago and stole a record 1406 bases.

And it was hardly just Henderson. The revival of stolen bases in the 1950s happened remarkably quickly. In 1958, Willie Macy led the San Francisco Giants with just 31 steals. By 1962, Maury Wells from Los Angeles Dodgers had changed the game – and set a new modern record – with 104.

Thefts became so frequent that in 1976, 10 players had 50 or more in the same season, and the average number of thefts per game exceeded 0.7 – this figure would reach 22 seasons in a row.

In that spirit, a return to the bases of theft may now seem unlikely, but all that is likely to need is that the player wants to do so and the team does not tell him to stop. Revival can flourish from there.

If that happens, Henderson will not need to lose sleep on his records.

If Rodriguez, or anyone else, reaches 50 in one season, they can repeat that success for 28 consecutive seasons, and at least six are behind to connect with Henderson. Sure, it’s not impossible, but like the behavior of Chamberlain and Gretzky, this record is so bizarre that it’s best not to spend too much time thinking about whether or not someone might threaten him.

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