Rockies: Expect More Stolen Bases in 2024

Nolan Jones stealing second base. Jones led the Rockies in stolen bases in 2023.
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Expect More Rockies Stolen Bases in 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Feb. 22) — One of the areas where the Colorado Rockies were lacking in 2023 was stolen bases. A combination of the new rules and the younger, speedier players coming up across the league has made stolen bases see a bigger role in games. With teams like the Cincinnati Reds and pennant-winning Arizona Diamondbacks showing how much of a weapon stolen bases can be, teams naturally will respond, and the Rockies will be one of them. “We’re gonna push that a little bit with more of our guys,” manager Bud Black said.

Part of this will be due to strategy and a change of mindset, but it will also come from having different personnel on the roster. That started somewhat in 2023 with the call-ups of Brenton Doyle and Nolan Jones. Both broke 20 steals on the season, Doyle with 22 and Jones with 20. But only one other Rockie had more than five steals on the season — Ezequiel Tovar, who finished with 11.

The fact that 53 of the Rockies’ 76 stolen bases came from three people is of concern to Black, but he is also keeping it in perspective. “You can have that mindset,” Black said, referring to the desire to run more, “and I think we’re going to have it. But each game is unique. Each game tells you what you can or cannot do, based on the pitcher-catcher combination and all those things. But, on balance, you will see more stolen base attempts, more stolen bases just based on our roster.”

Must Have Balance

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The Rockies are not going to force something that isn’t there. They also will tune the strategies to the roster they have. “It would be great to have nine guys with speed and power and average,” Black stated. Teams like that are hard to come by, with the best examples being the 1975–76 Cincinnati Reds or even the 1996 Rockies, the only team to hit 200 homers and steal 200 bases in the same season.

“We want to have balance,” Black continued, “because that balance is what really puts a lot of pressure on the pitcher and the defense.” He mentioned Jones, Doyle, and Tovar, specifically highlighting Tovar’s intelligence on the basepaths. The team, as a result of Tovar’s baserunning, will “implore him to push a little bit more.”

With a full season of Doyle and Jones, as well as an increased run rate from Tovar, Rockies stolen base totals should increase. But Black added that the push to run more will not be reckless. “The score dictates a lot. If you’re behind, and you put the steal on and get thrown out, it’s not good. So you can be aggressive when you can be, and there are times when you got to push a little bit to set the tone.”

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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