When it comes to the Orioles offense, one much-discussed stat category is on-base percentage. We know the O’s are somewhat lacking there. Their .311 team OBP last year ranked 11th in the American League.
But the Orioles were at least within sniffing distance of the league average mark of .316 in that category.
But in another stat category, the Orioles ranked last in the AL, last in the majors and were not even close to league average.
That category is stolen bases. The Orioles had just 44 as a team last year and San Francisco was next-lowest in the majors at 56. The AL average was 93, so the O’s didn’t even produce half of that.
Enter Everth Cabrera. He led the National League with 44 steals (in 48 attempts) in 2012, matching the O’s team total from last year.
Cabrera ranks eighth in the major leagues with 99 steals since 2012. While he didn’t match his 2012 total, with 37 in 2013 and 18 last year, he looks like Rickey Henderson in his prime compared to the rest of the Orioles and their feeble output from last season.
The Orioles are a slugging team, not one built on speed. We know that, and the lack of steals didn’t keep them from winning 96 games last year or the Giants from winning the World Series, for that matter.
Maybe steals are not all they are cracked up to be, but the Orioles could use more and Cabrera could bring them to this team.
Orioles’ stolen base leaders the last five years:
2010: 21 by Corey Patterson
2011: 13 by Robert Andino
2012: 16 by Adam Jones
2013: 30 by Nate McLouth
2014: Eight by David Lough
Cabrera is probably the best O’s basestealer since Brian Roberts, who became the third player in team history to steal 50 or more when he got 50 in 2007.
Cabrera once stole 73 bases in the minor leagues, when he played in the South Atlantic League in 2008.
But before Cabrera can steal a single base as an Oriole, he has to first make the club. Second would be working his way into significant playing time. You have to figure he has a great chance for the first part and probably a good chance for the second part.
Will he challenge Jonathan Schoop for the second base job or Ryan Flaherty and a host of others for a utility job?
We don’t have that answer yet, but Cabrera does bring a speed element that the team is lacking and has lacked for several years now.
Do you think Cabrera will become a key player for the Orioles? How much can he help the team in the stolen base department and how important would that be to the 2015 Orioles?