Trea Turner is on the verge of breaking out at the plate, but he is already one of the best stolen base threats in baseball.
Turner is 12 for 13 on the base paths this year, and was successful in his each of his previous 15 attempts going back to the 8th inning of a Sept. 27 game against Philadelphia last year. That was, until he was caught stealing by Francisco Cervelli on Tuesday night.
Only five players have stolen at least 20 bases in a season without being thrown out once since MLB began tracking caught stealing in 1951. Chase Utley currently owns the record with 23 in 2009.
But since Turner was caught on Tuesday, he will be competing in a different group – at least 45 stolen bases and 5 or fewer attempts that resulted in a caught stealing.
Such seasons have only happened 11 times in baseball history, topped by Jacoby Ellsbury in 2013, when he finished 52 for 56 for the champion Red Sox. Ichiro Suzuki is the only player in the club with just 2 failed attempts when he stole 45 bases in 2006 for Seattle.
In his first two-and-a-half seasons, Turner is 93-110 on the base paths, good for an 85 percent success rate. Turner is on pace for another 55 stolen base attempts in 2018, so if he remained on his current trajectory, he would safely reach the next base on 47 of those attempts. Add in his current 12 steals, and 59 stolen bases on 67 tries would be remarkable, although it would be just outside that elite group.
But it wouldn’t be too surprising if Turner has cleaned up his stolen base approach and is a more effective base-stealer in year three of his career. He is already one of the fastest men in the game, so with improved technique, he may never be thrown out again (and I’m only half-joking).