Chicago Cubs: Placing more of an emphasis on stealing in 2020

David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs’ Joe Maddon was a manager who didn’t prioritize stealing bases and it is something this team should start during as we enter the David Ross era.

One of the underrated skills in the game of baseball–especially the Chicago Cubs–is the ability to steal bases. Having a specialist speedster on the bench is something that can make or break a close game.

During the Joe Maddon era, the Cubs didn’t place too much of an emphasis on stealing bases and some may say it hindered their ability to manufacture runs when the going got tough. As we enter the David Ross era, this team should emphasize this aspect of the game more, as it could provide a great impact.

During Maddon’s five years with the Cubs, here is how the team finished in number of stolen bases:

2019: 29th

2018: 24th

2017: 24th

2016: 20th

2015: 9th

These rankings can show the little importance placed on stealing bags. When you look at the teams that led the league in the category during these seasons (Reds 2015, Brewers 2016, Angels 2017, Indians 2018 and Rangers 2019) and find one playoff appearance, the argument can be made of the lack of impact this aspect of the game may have.

However, with a group like the Cubs, who have an offense that seems famous for going hot and cold, finding a way to manufacture runs becomes important.

Without an emphasis on that, the Cubs have to look to other outlets to find offense and we see the strikeout numbers pile up as a result. Here is how the Cubs have ranked in strikeouts during the Maddon era:

2019: 12th

2018: 13th

2017: 10th

2016: 9th

2015: 1st

Being in the top half of the league each season is significant and the cold nature where we often find this group makes things difficult to develop consistency. Baseball is becoming a game where home runs and flash have become the norm while good, old fashioned baseball is becoming a lost art. It seems as if the league has moved away from stealing bases and it’s something that really shouldn’t be abandoned.

Terrance Gore gave the Cubs a spark in the 2018 Wild Card game, as his speed helped the Cubs bring the game into extra innings against the Rockies. We got to see firsthand the impact of having a speedster who can run the bases can really do for a team and that shouldn’t be forgotten about.

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As Ross instills a new culture of Cubs baseball, getting more active on the base path is something that should be implemented. This Cubs team has a lot of potential and looking for ways to provide a spark will help the group reach their ceiling.