The Baltimore Orioles started off the season utilizing the stolen base much more than they did last season, but despite the success, the team went away from it in the second half of the season.
Baltimore stole 79 bases this season, which was 16th best in baseball and were thrown out just 29 times for a 73% success rate, while their 29 caught stealing was good for a tie with the 9th least in baseball. In 2012, Baltimore was thrown out 29 times as well which was fifth fewest in the league, but their 58 stolen bases on the season was dead last among the 30 teams in the league.
Flip the script to 2013 and the Orioles stole 21 more bases, but you may be surprised just how lopsided that total was towards the beginning of the season.
The Orioles swiped 55 bags prior to the All Star break which was good for 13th in the league and 8th in the American League and they were successful an astonishing 80% of the time only getting thrown out 19 times in 74 attempts.
However, once the All Star break came and went, so did the Orioles will to steal. Baltimore posted just 24 stolen bases in the second half of the season, which was 8th fewest in all of baseball and were caught just ten times, but their success rate dropped from 80% in the first half to 71% in the second half.
It may just be a coincidence that the Orioles played sub .500 ball after the All Star break and their stolen bases went down as well, but there to at least be some correlation there. Take this into consideration, Baltimore's overall OBP went from .316 in the first half to .308 in the second half, which may not sound like much, but it is. Perhaps manager Buck Showalter felt that he could not jeopardize what base runners he was getting by trying to take the extra base. Only he knows that, and who knows, maybe the base runners themselves did not want to risk it, but we find it interesting that Baltimore all of the sudden decided to stop attempting to steal bases.
Perhaps no player is more recognizable in this aspect than Nate McLouth, who came out a man on fire, or as his t-shirt said a 'base burglar'. McLouth swiped 30 bases this year, which is impressive seeing as how that ranked him 14th in the MLB, but did you know that 24 of those came prior to the All Star break? McLouth had a success rate of 81% for the season, and an astonishing 86% success rate prior to the break, so the question is, why did he stop running?
Again, only the team knows that answer, but it does leave you wondering if perhaps the fear of losing an out took away one of the offensive weapons the Orioles had in the second half of the season.
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