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Dee Gordon is on pace for 95 stolen bases

May 25, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

Dee Gordon Dee Gordon

Lost in the clamor surrounding Josh Beckett‘s no-hitter against the Phillies was another pair of stolen bases for Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon, who also stole three on Friday, leads the league with 30 stolen bases and no one else is close. Billy Hamilton owns the second-highest stolen base total with 18.

Entering the season, Gordon was considered an afterthought in the Dodgers’ plans, but he has become a central part of their offensive attack. He is slashing .293/.340/.382 and the high stolen base total has been accompanied by an extremely high success rate of 91 percent.

Gordon could also be on his way to doing something that hasn’t been done in 26 years. He is presently on pace to steal 95 bases over 162 games. Should he steal that many, he would be the first player to steal 90-plus bags since Rickey Henderson stole 93 in 1988. Vince Coleman stole 109 bases the year prior.

Due to a confluence of factors — including smaller ballparks and a focus on power — stolen bases have been on the decline. In 1987, teams averaged 0.95 stolen bases per game according to Baseball Reference. It dipped as low as 0.50 in 2003. 2013 saw a 0.52 average and the current MLB average is 0.59. Only three times since the turn of the millennium has the stolen base leader swiped 70-plus bags and none more than 78. Gordon and Hamilton are what remains of a once-glorious breed of speedsters who made the lives of pitchers a personal hell.

  1. elwaysagenius - May 25, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Is that good?

    • renaado - May 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      Good? Dude, thats Godlike amazing! Surely a player you rarely see nowadays.

    • kkkershaw22 - May 25, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      Is that good you say? Walks and singles turn into doubles every time, automatically in scoring position

    • elwaysagenius - May 26, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      Sorry this was meant to be sarcastic.

      • renaado - May 26, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        Should’ve put a smiley face there dude.

  2. thetoolsofignorance - May 25, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    He’s on my fantasy league team with Puig so I noticed. Dodger blue, through and through.

  3. dcarroll73 - May 25, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Yeah,tools, Dodger blue all right. Since we are all swooning over this current Dodger stealer, I will bring up one of the great wrongs in the annals of Dodger theft – Maury Wills stealing the MVP from Willie Mays in 1962:
    Wills – WAR 6.0; OPS+ 99
    Mays – WAR 10.5; OPS+ 165
    Mays even had a comparable success rate at stealing bases (both at around 90%.) All you can say for Wills is 104 stolen bases. I somehow prefer Mays’s 49 HRs. If Gordon does steal 90, I hope voters are a bit more sensible in looking at the bigger picture.

    • dan1111 - May 26, 2014 at 2:54 AM

      This sort of thing is commonplace with the MVP. And this is not even one of the worst cases. At least Wills was one of the handful of best players that year.

      In 2006 Justin Morneau won the AL award despite being the third most valuable player on his team (and 17th in WAR overall). Ryan Howard, the tenth best player in the NL, won the same year. Another year, Howard managed an MVP second place finish with 1.9 WAR.

      In 1996 and 1998, Juan Gonzalez won MVPs over Alex Rodriguez, who led both years. Gonzalez’ combined value over those two seasons was about as much as Rodriguez’ value in his worst of the two seasons.

      In 1992, Dennis Eckersley and his 80 innings in relief won the MVP and Cy Young award. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens led all starters in ERA, WHIP, and K/BB and led all of baseball in WAR (producing three times as much value as Eckersley). You would think Clemens deserved at least one of those awards.

    • stercuilus65 - May 26, 2014 at 4:37 AM

      Ask Kemp about the bigger picture…

    • willis56 - May 26, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      Gordon certainly won’t win the MVP. And I see no player on the Giants worthy of a vote,so
      you have nothing to worry about.

  4. unclemosesgreen - May 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Altuve.

  5. zdravit - May 26, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    zdravit – Mar 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM
    Give Gordon 500 ABs and he’ll easily steal 50. It’s long overdue.

    61 3
    reply report comment
    paperlions – Mar 2, 2014 at 1:56 PM
    Sure, but he can’t hit.

    28 43
    reply report comment
    4d3fect – Mar 2, 2014 at 2:05 PM
    And he can’t field.

    22 48
    clydeserra – Mar 2, 2014 at 4:22 PM
    you think he can hit .100?

    you are an optimist.

    4 49
    reply report comment
    notsofast10 – Mar 3, 2014 at 12:47 AM
    How do you steal first base?

    5 14
    reply report comment
    sawxalicious – Mar 3, 2014 at 1:02 AM
    Ask A.J. Piersinski….

    6 0

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