WASHINGTON — Everybody knows Trea Turner is fast, and while speed isn’t all that one needs to steal a base, it’s a huge part of it. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Turner has great instincts.
After all, the 24-year-old shortstop has 74 career stolen bases in just 182 games, and that includes a modest two SBs in his first season (27 games). In other words, Trea Burner has stolen 72 bases over 155 games the past two seasons.
For context: Only 113 times has an MLB player ever stolen 72 or more bases in a season.
Now, keep in mind, Turner’s only gotten better at stealing bases as his career has aged. In his first big-league season, he stole just two bases in 27 games, or one base every 13.5 games. In his second season, he stole 33 bases in 73 games, or one every 2.2 games. (Hey, remember that time the Nationals gave tickets to anybody who could outrun Trea Turner?)
On Wednesday night, Turner stole his 40th base of the season. It was his 83rd game.
That’s one stolen base every 2.075 games, assuming he doesn’t steal any more bases Wednesday. Prorated over a full season, that’s roughly 78 stolen bases — something that’s only been done 76 times in baseball history, and only four times since 1990.
And that’s ignoring 1) that he continues to up his rate the more he plays and 2) that he was injured for much of the season.
More context: Billy Hamilton leads the league in stolen bases (obviously) with 58 in 132 games, a rate of one stolen base every 2.276 games — prorated to 162 games, that’s just more than 71 swipes. And he’s already tied his career high for steals in a season.
Dee Gordon, second in MLB, has 52 steals in 140 games. That’s a rate of one every 2.692 games, or about 60 steals per 162 games. Gordon’s steals record is 64 in a season.
Third in all of baseball is Turner, who, again, has missed 62 games this season. (For what it’s worth, Turner has 23 home runs in 182 career MLB games, compared to Hamilton’s 17 in 530 games and Gordon’s 11 in 693.)
So the question presents itself: If Trea Turner plays a full season, does he lead the league in steals?