As home runs and strikeouts have increased to record heights year over year, the stolen base is becoming something of a lost art. There was an average of 2984.8 steals per season from 2010-2014. That number has dropped to 2464.6 over the past five seasons. However, the number of 20/20 seasons has not fallen off much. There were 43 such seasons over the first half of the 2010s and 41 from 2015 on. That comes out to an average of 8.4 per year over the last decade. I think there are a much higher number of players who can reach that threshold this season. So I am going to choose 20 players who can reach this elusive plateau. 20 is a nice round number and ties in well. 20 players. 20 homers. 20 steals. In 2020. Chef kiss.
Some of the names on this list are fairly obvious and some may cause you to scratch your head. I hope they all make you think at least a little. There are perennial stars who are not on this list, such as Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. It’s not that I don’t think they have any chance of getting to 20 stolen bases this season. I just think that given some of the factors involved (sprint speed, other speed, and baserunning metrics, manager’s tendencies, etc.), they will fall a bit short of the 20 stolen base threshold this year. Other speedsters like Adalberto Mondesi, Victor Robles, and Oscar Mercado fell just short for me in the power department.
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20 Players Who Can Go 20/20 in 2020
Rounds 1-4: The Usual Suspects
Ronald Acuna Jr. (ADP – 1.87)
Christian Yelich (ADP – 3.33)
Francisco Lindor (ADP – 8.87)
Jose Ramirez (ADP – 20.84)
Trevor Story (ADP – 12.55)
Trevor Story is the only player besides Christian Yelich to total at least 70 homers and 50 steals over the last two years. He carries a top-40 sprint speed and has had an SBO of at least 20 percent in back-to-back years. Story’s natural talent on the basepaths is aided playing for Bud Black, who is notorious for his green light. Per Baseball-Reference, only David Bell has a higher Rate+ (league-adjusted steal of 2nd rate) among current big-league skippers. As for the home runs… well, I think a hitter who boasts a top-50 average exit velocity and fly ball rate and a top-40 hard-hit rate who happens to play half of his games in Coors Field can somehow find a way to eke out 20 homers. Story could easily flirt with a 40/30 season if things break right.
Trea Turner (ADP – 15.71)
Fernando Tatis Jr. (ADP – 22.09)
Starling Marte (ADP – 41.43)
Rounds 5-9: New Blood
Austin Meadows (ADP – 49.73)
Keston Hiura (ADP – 53.47)
Bo Bichette (ADP – 71.95)
Luis Robert (ADP – 96.81)
Ramon Laureano (ADP – 99.63)
Rounds 10 and Up: Repeats and Reaches
Tommy Pham (ADP – 112.07)
Tim Anderson (ADP – 122.07)
Cavan Biggio (ADP – 124.65)
Shohei Ohtani (ADP – 126.85)
Danny Santana (ADP – 147.87)
Byron Buxton (ADP – 191.21)
Player B – 19.6 degree LA, 37.5 hard hit %, 89.3 AEV, 5.4 barrel %
Scott Kingery (ADP – 191.48)
I did not expect to have Scott Kingery on this list when I initially started working on this piece. If I was going to highlight 10 or even 15 players, I would likely have omitted him. But I started digging to try to find a player who was going under the radar and Kingery kept popping up. It was almost like those awful rom-coms when the protagonist realizes that the platonic friend turns out to be the person they should end up with. Perhaps I was still scarred by 2018 when Kingery stumbled to a .226/.267/.338 line after spending the spring as a popular sleeper in fantasy circles. But a funny thing happened on the way to Kingery being a bust who would never reach his potential. He put up the kind of season in 2019 that many of us had expected from him the year prior.
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