It’s almost unfair.
As of Monday, the Dodgers had successfully stolen 78 bases this season with 14 misses — the second-highest tally in the majors. They’re on track to bag a total of 105 steals in 2022, their highest since Dee Gordon stole just about every base he could for L.A. in 2014. With a power-hitting lineup and an uncanny ability to work the count, why would the Dodgers add stealing bases to their collective résumé?
Well, why not?
Steve Henson at the Los Angeles Times has plenty more on the Dodgers’ new favorite hobby.
“I think we do a good job of picking our spots,” manager Dave Roberts told Henson. “When you’ve got Trea, Belli, Mookie, Freddie stealing bases, it’s a good thing. It adds to us being dynamic.”
While Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman are indeed the slickest runners on the Dodgers, they’re not alone. Justin Turner is 10 for 10 on stolen bases since 2018, and Austin Barnes is nine for 10 since 2019. Picking their spots is all part of the formula for success.
Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, who’s often seen coaching at first base, has a knack of his own. He’s particularly good at studying video of opposing pitchers, finding their weaknesses, and passing that info on to potential thieves.
Despite technological tools like replay challenges and PitchCom — through which catchers can signal for a pickoff move and fielders can adapt accordingly — the Dodgers show no signs of playing it any safer.
“If we get a chance to put some stress on a pitcher and get a guy in scoring position, we’ll do it,” McCullough said.
You know it, you love it: it’s Trea Turner’s signature slide. Jeff Passan at ESPN makes the case for why the rest of baseball should love it, too.
David Laurila at FanGraphs introduces us to Emmet Sheehan, a pitching prospect and rising star in the Dodgers organization.