Running With Roenicke

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The Brewers ranked 21st in team stolen bases last season, but with Ken “Red Light” Macha no longer in charge, some Brewers could be given more chances to run with new skipper Ron Roenicke at the helm.

Macha was a descendent of the Oakland A’s system, which preached OBP and power over stolen bases. Roenicke, however, spent 10 years as Mike Scioscia’s third-base/bench coach in Anaheim, in a system that always preached putting preassure on the defense and that used “small-ball” very effecitvely for years.

Player – Career high, year – 2010

Carlos Gomez – 33, 2008 – 18, 2010
In 2008, Gomez had 614 plate appearances for the Twins, he has’t had more than 349 since. Health and extremely poor plate discipline have played their roles in Gomez failing to come close to his career high. If he can play everyday for the Brewers in 2011, he should steal 30-plus bases, but there is not a lot of upside in his AVG.

Ryan Braun – 20, 2009 – 14, 2010
Braun is an interesting case. I don’t think many people had him reaching the 20 stolen bases plateau in 2009, but there didn’t seem to be a reason for him not to steal 12-16 bags. It seems like 15 or so stolen bases for 2011 is likely.

RIckie Weeks – 25, 2007 – 11, 2010
Despite blowing past his previous career high in plate appearances (754 in 2010, 560 was his previous career high), Weeks’s 11 stolen bases last season were 14 short of his career high. If he can stay healthy again (emphasis on the IF), Weeks should have the opportunity to steal 20-plus bags in 2011. Did I emphasize IF he can stay healthy?

Alcides Escobar – 10, 2010
After stealing a combined 46 bases between triple-A and the majors in 2009, Escobar was a fantasy sleeper, thought to be capable of 30-plus steals in his first season with the Brew Crew. Well, Ken Macha clearly had the kid gloves on Escobar as he didn’t even attempt a stolen base in April. Then, the month he had the most attempts, he was only 3 for 6, which ended his chances of breaking through late in the year.

While Escobar may have been given the red light more often than not, he didn’t exactly help himself, posting a .235 AVG and .288 OBP.

Now in Kansas City, Escobar should be allowed to run much more often. The Royals are highly unlikely to contend in 2011, so they will want to see exactly what type of potential they got from the Zack Greinke deal.

Corey Hart – 23, 2008 and 2009 – 7, 2010
After back-to-back 20/20 seasons, Hart fell off the map in 2009, making him a late round pick, if anything, on draft day 2010. Those who rolled the dice on Hart were rewarded with a huge comeback year. However, despite setting career highs in home runs, runs and RBI, Hart only swiped seven bases. This seems to be a combination of a change in approach and a regression in speed in general.

Hart was 7-for-13 in stolen base attempts last season, a very poor succes rate, and he didn’t have more than four stolen base attempts in any one month.

There is a chance that Hart can steal more bases in 2011, but his overall regression in success rate is worrisome (and goes back to 2009). Don’t expect him to get back to 20 stolen bases, but around 12 or so would not be out of the question.

Chris Dickerson – 11, 2009 – 4, 2010
His major league stolen base totals don’t tell the real story. Dickerson has some decent speed and, in 2008, stole a combined 31 bases between triple-A and the Reds. Injuries have played a role in cutting down his production over the last couple of seasons, but, when healthy last season, he stole 10 combined bases in only 161 plate appearances.

If Carlos Gomez can’t hack it at the plate or if any of the current outfielders fall to injury, Dickerson may have a chance to provide some fantasy value for owners in need of some stolen bases.