The stolen base is a dying art in today's game, as teams and managers are not willing to risk giving up the out, but despite that it can still be a valuable weapon for teams. In 2013 the Baltimore Orioles ranked 16th in all of baseball with 79 stolen bases, but don't expect that kind of output in 2014.
It's hard to imagine that 79 steals nearly puts you in the top half of the league, but it does and the days of Ricky Henderson and Vince Coleman are over. The Kansas City Royals led the MLB with 153 stolen bases, while the Detroit Tigers brought up the rear with just 35 swiped bags, so as you can see there is quite a disparity in the league.
The bad news for Orioles fans that enjoy the stolen base is that Baltimore has already lost its leading base stealer from 2013 in Nate McLouth, but as a whole have lost 47 of their 79 steals or 59.5% from a year ago. McLouth led the way with 30 steals, while Alexi Casilla added nine, Chris Dickerson five, and Brian Roberts three, while all of these guys have either already found new homes for 2014 or are still free agents.
Adam Jones will enter the 2014 season as the Orioles best stolen base threat as he had 14 last season, second only to McLouth, but this team is going to struggle trying to get the extra base. Outside of Jones, no other current Oriole had more than six steals last season and newcomers David Lough and Francisco Peguero each have six or fewer stolen bases in their big league careers.
In all fairness, it is unlikely that both Lough and Peguero make the Opening Day roster, but one of them will and their minor league stolen base numbers should be mentioned in this conversation.
Lough has shown over parts of seven minor league seasons that he can swipe a bag when the team needs it as he has posted 96 career stolen bases, and has had seasons with 26, 14, 14, 19, and 12 steals.
Peguero on the other hand has shown he can be a speed demon at times in the minor leagues as he has swiped 131 career bags in parts of eight minor league seasons, which include seasons of 25, 25, 22, 12, and 40.
As you can see, it is quite feasible that whomever makes the roster between Lough and Peguero could become the team's best stolen base threat. Whether or not it's Peguero or Lough or Jones, the Orioles are not going to be lean on the stolen base to win many games in 2014.
Jemile Weeks must be mentioned as well, as he stole 16 bags in 2012 with the A's and 17 in the minors last season and is likely to be the kind of guy Casilla was last year for the Orioles.
Manager Buck Showalter is known for not being a big believer in the stolen base, and the 2014 squad looks like they will not give him any trouble in keeping him from limiting the attempts.
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