Commentary

The stolen base revolution

With scoring down, certain clubs are benefiting from an increase in steals

Updated: May 12, 2011, 1:26 PM ET
By Ben Lindbergh | Baseball Prospectus
Michael BournScott Wachter/Icon SMIThe speedy Michael Bourn leads the majors with 13 swipes and hasn't been caught once.

After a surprising number of low-scoring games and a flurry of no-hitters, the 2010 season was quickly christened the "Year of the Pitcher," but if 2011's early returns are any indication, the pundits may have spoken too soon.

Scoring is down for the fifth consecutive season, and not by a little: On average, teams scored over a quarter of a run less per game this April than they did last April, and unless offense picks up significantly over the next few weeks, this May will be the first full month since July 1992 in which the average team scored fewer than four runs per game.

The effects of the offensive drought have been felt in a number of highly visible ways. One of the most notable is the increase of stolen base attempts. After falling out of favor during the offensive explosion of the PED era, the stolen base is back in vogue, and certain teams are taking far more advantage of the phenomenon than others.


To see which teams are benefiting most (and least) from the rise of stolen bases, become an ESPN Insider today.

Ben Lindbergh

Baseball Prospectus
Ben Lindbergh is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus. He has interned for multiple MLB teams and is a member of the BBWAA.