Cincinnati Reds have deceptively bad year on the base paths aside from Billy Hamilton

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds had a bad 2016 base running season, aside from all world base stealer Billy Hamilton.

For the second year in a row, Cincinnati Reds’ center fielder Billy Hamilton was the best base stealer in all of MLB.  He was +68 bases with 58 steals in just 119 games.  While finishing second in the majors in steals, he was also more aggressive going from first to third in 2016.

He was less aggressive going second to home in 2016.  In 2015 all 12 times that he had an opportunity to go home from second he took it.  In 2016 he advanced on only 5 of 11 opportunities.  With the outfield built around him, Hamilton needs to stay aggressive and get on base in 2017.

Brandon Phillips was at the other end of the spectrum, seeing the largest decline in base running outcomes from 2015 to 2016.  His extra bases taken decreased by 36 and his stolen bases went from +17 in 2015 to -2 in 2016.  His stolen base success rate also dropped from 88% in 2015 to 64% in 2016.

Phillips wasn’t the only Red that had a tough 2016 on the basepaths.  Joey Votto also had a difficult season with -18 bases.  This is primarily due to the fact that he only went first to third three times in 37 opportunities.

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Although he is no longer with the Reds, Jay Bruce ran the bases poorly in 2016.  His net gain was -21, all due to lacking aggression on advancing after getting on base.  Bruce only went first to third 7 of 34 chances in 2016.

The Cincinnati Reds can expect better base running in 2017, unless Jose Peraza plays too much.

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Peraza only had seven games of MLB experience heading into the 2016 season and it showed on the basepaths.  Much like the veterans Phillips and Votto, Peraza did not take the extra bases.  He was -10 bases taken even though he 21 had steals in just 72 games.

Scott Schebler didn’t have a great 2016 season on the basepaths, but that was because of his awful stolen base outcome.  He only succeeded twice in 6 stolen base attempts.  The rest of his baserunning was average.

You can expect better base running from both of them if third base coach Billy Hatcher challenges them to run more.  Peraza had 64 steals one year in the minors and Schebler projects to steal 6-10 every year.  They are both faster than the people that were in front of them last year.

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The Reds were bad base runners last season.  They have a chance to get better by being aggressive and giving Phillips less playing time.  Just replacing Bruce with Schebler should be worth at least one win this season.