Major League Baseball has made a concerted effort to increase action during the upcoming season. One way the league hopes to this is with bigger bases.
While player safety may be the overarching reason for the change, the decrease between the bags may give teams like the Cincinnati Reds a bit of an advantage this season.
Reds fans have already seen their favorite team off to the races this spring. Cincinnati is third in the league in stolen bases behind just the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees. But who will lead the team in thefts this season?
Who will lead the Reds in stolen bases in 2023?
When you look at how the Cincinnati Reds roster has been constructed, you'll see a lot of team speed. Jonathan India, Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and Jake Fraley have all swiped at least three bags during Cactus League play.
Among those four players, only Benson has been caught. But don't let that get you down. The former Cleveland Guardians outfielder could be the fastest player on the team.
But when looking for the leader in stolen bases, playing time will certainly need to be factored in. India is the only player from that quartet who'll be a regular in manager David Bell's starting lineup, and the fact that he'll be batting leadoff will offer the third-year player more opportunities.
Last season, Nick Senzel led the Cincinnati Reds in stolen bases with eight. Friedl had seven and India managed just three. But the Reds second baseman, after trying to remake his body and become a power-hitter in 2022, slimmed down and has looked lightning quick this spring.
With very few power bats in the lineup, good base running and stolen bases will be key to the Reds scoring run in 2023. There's no Billy Hamilton on this roster, at least until Michael Siani arrives, but there's a handful of players who could post double digit steals during the upcoming season.