This article is part of our Collette Calls series.
Most of us on staff have either written or talked about the downward trend in offense enough this season to raise the red flag on what is a slow start. I do not expect it to be a problem all year because I am rather surprised how most clubs are using their rotations and bullpens as if 2021 is a normal season on the heels of a normal season. We are dealing with the big unknown of how last season's abbreviated and interrupted routines will impact the season. Yet, some clubs chugging ahead as if nothing has changed could find themselves testing their organizational depth by summer.
As clubs look to find ways to kickstart the offense, some clubs are looking to the running game. The break-even rate on steals is 72 to 74 percent, and the league has hovered around that figure in recent seasons:
- 2016 - 72 percent
- 2017 - 73 percent
- 2018 - 72 percent
- 2019 - 73 percent
- 2020 - 75 percent
Yet, in 2021, the league has swiped 318 bases in 407 attempts, which computes to a 78 percent success rate. The previous full-season best was in 2007 when the league converted 74.4 percent of stolen base attempts:
Despite the newfound overall success in steals, it is due to a few factors. Teams have been more selective in choosing when to run as the league-wide rate for stolen base attempts when the base in front of the runner is unoccupied is at an all-time low: