MLB is around the corner, and with it, several projection systems are forecasting players’ performances for the 2023 season.
It’s actually an annual tradition, and there is a whole business behind these projections.
They help teams try to assess certain positions, they help fantasy managers rank players, and they are just fun to watch and analyze.
FanGraphs has its own projections system, and it has already given its verdict on a specific category: stolen bases.
Like bunting, stolen bases are becoming less and less common as an in-game play.
They will never fully disappear, but it’s safe to say they are not as popular as they were in past decades.
Still, there is a lot of value in finding a blazing quick player capable of stealing some bases and putting himself in scoring position.
Here are FanGraphs’ projected stolen base leaders for the 2023 campaign.
Speed is in the forecast for these players in 2023. 💨 pic.twitter.com/4p58W1oBC2
— MLB (@MLB) February 8, 2023
As you can see, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is projected to lead the league in the category, almost two years removed from his ACL surgery in June 2021.
The system is confident in his ability to increase his 2022 stolen base tally of 29.
Now that he will be further removed from the procedure and will likely play something close to a full season, the 35-steals projection seems feasible.
If there is a player in MLB who has the ability and drive to be a 40-40 player, it’s Acuna.
He came very close in 2019, with 41 home runs and 37 thefts.
He is young, he is strong, speedy, and hungry.
He has what it takes to do that and more.NEXT: Chipper Jones Accomplished An Impressive Feat In WBC Play