The art of the stolen base in MLB has lost some of it’s luster within the last few years of baseball. It’s all about the long ball and pitchers just blowing heat past guys without really even caring about the runners on base.
But even with all that focus on power, one thing remains certain. There will always be a spot on the roster for a guy with wheels.
Enter Whit Merrifield and Starling Marte.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield has been a terror on the basepaths since he entered the league in 2016. He gets on base, and gets moving right away. Whit led the AL in steals in 2017 (34) and all of baseball in 2018 (45). This guy is a stud for a Royals team that hasn’t done too much since their World Series title in 2015. Check his highlights.
A’s outfielder Starling Marte has always showcased his combination of speed and power, especially during his tenure with the Pirates (2012-2019). His 2016 All-Star season saw him swipe 46 bags, but he’s never actually led his respective league in swiped bags.
After his July trade from the Marlins where he already accumulated 22 steals, Marte has been thrown into the American League with the aforementioned Merrifield, and has stolen 15 bags in 21 games.
These two guys have been have been on a tear in 2021. But the best part?
They’re tied at 37 a piece entering play on Sunday.
And seriously? Who cares about the long ball? Who cares about ERA titles? Who cares about wins and losses? Actually, I care about all of these things. BUT stolen bases are freaking cool. It’s like a 3-5 second adrenaline rush trying to determine if he’s going to make it or not. And these guys don’t really get caught. Merrifield has been caught twice and Marte, 3 times this season.
This is just fun. People need to be watching this. If your team is out of the playoff race, or has been out of it since Opening Day like mine, this is the race you want to watch.
Check MLB At-Bat. Check Baseball Reference. I find myself tuning in to Royals games and A’s games now because I think this race is phenomenal. Plus, the A’s are actually good and fun to watch.
One of these guys might pull ahead with the lead as I’m writing this blog. I’m sure one of them will be ahead by the end of the night. Or maybe they’ll still be tied.
I DON’T KNOW.
BUT THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING!
Follow this race through October 3rd and let’s see who finishes on top.