Through eight games, the Mets have just one stolen base, which was executed by Mike Baxter in the ninth inning of yesterday's win. This does not come as a surprise. A look at the Mets' roster indicates that this small sample size development is not an anomaly. Outside of the currently DL'd Andres Torres, David Wright and Jason Bay are the two biggest threats to steal a base, and neither can be reasonably expected to steal much more than 20 of them. Maybe Kirk Nieuwenhuis can swipe a few if he sticks around. The sum of the ZiPS projected stolen bases for players on the Opening Day roster is just 81, far below the Mets' season average of 145 over the past seven seasons. Yet the Mets should do just fine scoring runs this season, because -- prepare to have your mind blown! -- getting on base and hitting for power are important. Stealing bases, not so much.
The Padres led the league in stolen bases last season but were second to last in runs scored. The Cardinals were last in stolen bases but tops in runs scored. Why the disparity? The Padres were last or second to last in OBP and SLG while the Cardinals were first in both. This wasn't an oddity; a similar correlation can be observed year after year. Not even stealing 262 bases in a season can overcome the inability to reach base. Stolen bases are a footnote, even in a depressed run-scoring environment. Terry Collins seemed to recognize all of this in his postgame comments yesterday:
"We’re missing three guys that created runs," Collins said about the departures of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan. "[Stealing bases] was part of their games. And our guys, we’re a little different than that. We’re going to use the on-base percentage and get on base and hopefully get those big guys in the middle of that lineup swinging the bat the way they’re capable of and we’ll score our share of runs."
The Mets should, at the least, be above average in the OPS department this season. If that's the case, scoring runs won't be a problem.