ESPN: Diamondbacks could take advantage of new MLB rules on base paths in 2023
With a plethora of new rule changes coming to Major League Baseball in 2023, the Arizona Diamondbacks could take advantage of a few of them with their wheels on the base paths.
“Pitchers are limited to two ‘disengagements’ (pickoff throws or step-offs) per plate appearance, plus the bases increase from 15 inches across to 18 inches square,” ESPN’s David Shoenfield wrote in his key 2023 number for all NL teams on Tuesday.
“These rules increased stolen-base attempts and success rates in the minors. … The Diamondbacks aren’t going to run their way into the playoffs, but their speed is one small edge they’ll have over their opponents in 2023 — when hopefully speed will make a bigger impact overall on the game.”
Arizona had the second-highest net gain running the bases in MLB history in 2022 at plus-162, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Net gain, which has been tracked since 2004, takes into account baserunning production — including runners advancing — as well as stolen bases and outs on bases.
Last season saw three D-backs finish in the top seven baserunners across the league: infielder Josh Rojas (plus-39), rookie shortstop Geraldo Perdomo (plus-33) and rookie outfielder Jake McCarthy (plus-30).
The departure of outfielder/catcher Daulton Varsho to the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will also open up opportunities for the blazing speed of outfielder Corbin Carroll.
And despite only having two stolen bases in three attempts in the bigs, Carroll will still be playing under the rookie designation in 2023 after not reaching the 130-at-bat threshold.
In his time in the minor leagues, the 22-year-old stole 31 bases and was only caught stealing just five times.
“We’ll see if Perdomo keeps the shortstop job after hitting .195 and the Evan Longoria signing pushes Rojas into a utility role, but the Diamondbacks should still benefit from the new rule changes … so look for Carroll, McCarthy and Rojas to take advantage,” Shoenfield wrote.