It wasn’t long ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers ranked second in all of baseball with 138 stolen bases. They were led in 2014 by Dee Gordon, who paced the Majors with 64 swiped bags. The club hasn’t come close to replacing that production since trading Gordon to the Miami Marlins after his All-Star season.
The Dodgers ranked 26th in the Majors last season stole just 59 bases. They’ve stolen 33 bases thus far in 2016, which is good for 25th-best. Aside from base stealing, the Dodgers struggled on the basepaths as a whole in 2015.
It played a role in Ron Roenicke replacing Lorenzo Bundy as third base coach in August 2015. The change was followed by more aggressiveness and awareness on the bases. That was expected to carry over into this season under manager Dave Roberts, who stole 243 bases over his 10-year career.
There have been flashes, but the Dodgers again are far from a prolific base-stealing team. Although he hasn’t had many opportunities to be turned loose, the club now has a player with electric speed in rookie outfielder Andrew Toles.
He was promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 8. According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, Roberts recently spoke highly of Toles for bringing a facet to the roster that was previously missing:
“That element of speed is something that we don’t have,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “So to have that dynamic, it’s fun, especially for me, to see that.”
Since being called up Toles is batting .297/.381/.378 with five runs scored, three doubles, one RBI, five walks and one stolen base (on one attempt). Toles has had the unique experience of playing at four different levels this season, and stole a combined 23 bases in 32 attempts during his time in the Minors.
The Dodgers’ current leader in stolen bases is 33-year-old Howie Kendrick, who has seven steals in nine attempts. Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Trayce Thompson are in a three-way tie for second on the team with five stolen bases.