It’s Only Stealing when you Don’t Get Caught

By jason keen
Updated: December 3, 2008

138-19-8789

Yep, its Charlie Manual’s social security number…just kidding. The 138 represents the total number of stolen bases for the Phillies last season. The 19 represents the total number of times the Phills were caught stealing. And, the 8789 represents the team stolen base percentage (87.89%), easily the highest in all of baseball.

This may be a surprise to many but not to the Phillies, who have been putting up similar numbers the past four seasons. The Phills, who have finished at worst third in the MLB for the last four years in team stolen base percentage, have 100 total stolen bases in three of the four years averaging over 111 per year. In fact, their four year team stolen base percentage is 82% stealing 446 bases and caught stealing only 98 times.

One could argue that with the release of Michael Bourn who went 18 of 19 last season would suggest a drop in the team’s stolen base percentage this upcoming season. However, the inevitable loss of Aaron Rowand who is known for his speed in the outfield and not around the base paths may allow speedy Jayson Worth to pick up what the Phills lost in Michael Bourn. Rowand, who was successful in only 6 of 9 attempts in 612 at bats will be replaced by Worth who was successful in 7 of 8 attempts in 255 at bats.

What damages the Phills chances of becoming the first team in the 21st century to achieve the 90% mark as a team in stolen base percentage is Chase Utley. It has nothing to do with his quickness or his ability on the base paths. For his career he has over an 85% stolen base percentage stealing 46 bases in 55 attempts. It has to do with the 6’4” 255 pound first basement that hits behind him who averages 52.5 home runs in his two full major league seasons.

And last but not least, if a previous prediction proves me correct and Iguchi decides to remain on a playoff contending team at a position he is not used to (3rd base for the Phills) as opposed to remaining at 2nd base for a non playoff contending team, his 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts this past season could increase and quite possible ignite the Phills to the illust

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