Will The 2017 Mariners Be A Top-Ten Base-Stealing Team?
Since Ichiro left the Mariners in 2012, the M’s have struggled to steal many bases. In fact, over the past five seasons, they have been one of the worst base-stealing teams in all of baseball. Now that the Mariners have acquired Jean Segura, will he and Leonys Martin spark a base-stealing frenzy in Seattle?
The addition of speedster, Jean Segura means that GM Jerry Dipoto is hoping that this year’s Mariners squad are going to steal more bases than the have in the last half-decade.
The last time the M’s lead the league in stolen bases was back in 2001 when the club had Ichiro, Mark McLemore, and Mike Cameron. Since then, they have only been in the top-five in league base-theft once; that was back in 2010.
Furthermore, in the last five years, the Mariners have not only not been one of the top base stealing teams, they’ve been one of the worst.
In 2013 the team was so bad a stealing bases that they ranked twenty-eighth in the league for that stat, and only surpassed the American League’s worst base stealing team, the Detriot Tigers, by fourteen bags taken.
Granted, the Mariners haven’t had many speedy guys on the roster in the last five years, but now the team has a handful of guys that can possibly steal double-digit bases.
Since 2012, the M’s have only had three players go beyond stealing twenty bases, they were: Michael Saunders, who took twenty-one bases in 2012, James Jones who snagged twenty-seven bags in 2014, and Leonys Martin who swiped twenty-four bases this past year.
As we know, two of those three players aren’t on this year’s roster, and weren’t on last year’s either, which partly explains the low total of bases taken.
But, with this year’s squad chock-full of potential base-stealing talent, there is a sense that this 2017 roster could break the one hundred steal plateau for the first time since that 2012 team who had one hundred and four base thefts.
If we try to calculate how many bases the 2017 Mariners could steal based half on potential and half on averages, reaching one hundred steals doesn’t some so far-fetched.
Segura has stolen at least twenty bases in each of his last four seasons, once surpassing thirty thefts and once breaking the forty bags taken mark. So, let’s pencil him in for thirty steals for ’17.
Martin has also reached thirty steals twice in his career, finishing with a career-best thirty-six back in 2013. It feels like maybe he could reach thirty again this season, although he hasn’t taken that many bases since 2014, so let’s put him down for twenty-five steals -one more than his total last year.
Next, we have the young duo of Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia. These two guys have fresh legs and a lot of potential speed stored up in their bodies.
Expect manager, Scott Servais, to use both of these men fairly equally, either playing together at different outfield positions on some days or swapping out for each other in left field. Together the combo could steal anywhere from fifteen to twenty bases.
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Then if we move on to the power trio of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager we can optimistically add about a dozen more bases stolen. One may come from Cruz on what could be considered defensive indifference, but the rest would come from Cano and Seager.
Cano set his career-high of ten bags stolen in 2014 and Seager has amassed thirteen once back in 2012, although those numbers have declined every year since.
That leaves the rest of the M’s squad having to steal about fifteen bases to cross the one hundred line.
With the quickness that Taylor Motter has -he has taken at least fifteen bags in every minor league season since 2011- and the stellar athleticism of Mitch Haniger, it seems quite likely that they could combine for the remaining steals needed, even if they see part-time work in 2017.
Now that we’ve figured that out, would between one hundred and one hundred and ten stolen bases bring them back into the top ten for stolen bases in the league?
If we look at league totals from each season over the last three years, yes, it would be enough to finish near the back-end of the top ten, but in it, none the less.
Next: The King Finishes His Wild Winter
We already expect the Mariners to be in the top-five in the MLB for home runs hit, but if they can also finish in the top ten in steals, there should be even more reason to think that the M’s will finally break their playoff drought of fifteen seasons.