I understand that it is not the 1980’s. The days of Rickey Henderson, Willie Wilson, Tim Raines, and Vince Coleman tearing up the base-paths are gone, and the Stolen Base is a bit of a lost art-from in today’s game compared to earlier eras. In spite of the numbers of Stolen Bases dropping in recent years, Everth Cabrera of the Padres did his part to find success swiping bags this season.
Cabrera’s Success in 2012:
If you did not already hear, Cabrera led the National League this year with 44 Stolen Bases, and finished 3rd overall in Major League Baseball in said category. I know I certainly forgot what a terror on the basepaths he could be, but this past season Cabrera showed shades of his Rookie self when he was able to get on base after he was called up from Triple-A Tucson. No San Diego player in the history of the franchise had ever topped the National League in Stolen Bases in any season until Cabrera did this year. Sure, his 44 Stolen Bases might not have been a staggering amount, let alone close to the franchise record (70 by the late Alan Wiggins in 1984). Yet the fact that Everth was able to reach that number in only 398 At-Bats and only be caught 4 times on the year is still extremely impressive.
Where Does Cabrera Go From Here?:
If there is one thing Cabrera must improve upon next season as it relates to his base-stealing if for him to raise his On-Base Percentage. In 2012, Cabrera only logged a .324 OBP, and showed some inconsistency at times when it came to plate discipline. In the event Cabrera can find some way to up his On-Base Percentage into the .340-.360 range, he could steal between 60-80 Bases easily in a full season. If of course is the key word here. Cabrera also still has his problems with Strikeouts (110), accumulating Walks (only 43), and hitting for a high average (.246 this season). In fact, the .255 as Rookie in 2009 remains his career-high, and his 110 Strike Outs this year became his career-high, and is a number one does not want to see your favorite team’s leadoff hitter putting up during any year.
As much as the issues as the plate hurt his overall game, there is no denying that Cabrera could be a league-leader in Stolen Bases multiple times over the course of his career. Much of that however will hinge on him being able to play each and every day, and hit with consistency wherever he is inserted in the lineup. But at 26, and with barely even two career seasons under his belt, there is time for Cabrera to grow as a player and get even better.
An improved On-Base Percentage from Cabrera due to plate discipline and better hitting would only make the Padres a better team, and a more potent Offense to boot. More Cabrera on the basepaths means more pressure on the Pitchers, and more pressure on the Pitchers means San Diego’s power hitters and run producers can take advantage.
2012 was a nice comeback year for Cabrera, I hope that he is able to build off of it for years to come.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference