Surprising statistic reveals an aggressive style of play for the Reds

Cincinnati Reds base runner Jose Barrero.
Cincinnati Reds base runner Jose Barrero. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's early, but one things we've seen from the Cincinnati Reds during the first four games of Cactus League play thus far is an aggressive approach on the base paths.

While so many are talking about the new rule changes involving the pitch clock and eliminating the defensive shift, another change that Major League Baseball has made this year is the implementation of larger bases.

In an effort to lessen collisions between fielders and runners, MLB enlarged the bases by 3 inches (going from 15 inches to 18 inches). That also decreased the distance between the bags by 4.5 inches, thus encouraging more opportunities for stolen bases. The Reds have taken full advantage this spring.

Reds look to be aggressive on the base paths in 2023.

Whether or not it carries over to the regular season, we won't know. But the Cincinnati Reds lead all major league clubs this spring with 11 stolen bases. Moreover, they're a perfect 11-for-11, having yet to be thrown out.

The next closest team is the Washington Nationals with seven steals, though they've been gunned down once during Grapefruit League play this spring.

Last season, the Reds were tied with the Chicago White Sox for 24th among all major league teams in stolen bases. Cincinnati's 58 steals outpaced only the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, and Minnesota Twins.

You'll notice, there was only one playoff team (Padres) among that group. Now, that's not to say that stolen bases equals postseason baseball. Only four (Cleveland Guardians, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers) of the Top 10 teams in that category went to the playoffs in 2022.

But with such a young team, David Bell may need to resort to more outside-the-box ideas in order to put runs on the board. Outside of Wil Myers and Joey Votto, the Reds don't have many power bats in the lineup. That means a focus on manufacturing runs could become quite prominent in the Reds dugout during the 2023 season, and stolen bases is one way to do that.

Outfielder Will Benson leads the way with three stolen bases this spring. Both Jake Fraley and Richie Martin have a pair as well. Jonathan India, Jose Barrero, Chad Pinder, and Matt McLain have each stolen one base so far this spring.

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