Fast and furious or slow and steady?

January 17, 2011 – After just one season of calling Target Field home, the Twins brain trust has determined that they have a need for speed. The Twins are coming off of a season where they stole just 68 bases. The last time the Twins stole that few bases was 25 years ago, back in 1985. Since the Twins started playing in Minnesota they have stolen a total of 4,343 bases or an average of 87 “swipes” per season. The teams all-time high for SB’s was 151 in 1997 and their all-time low was 32 way back in 1963 but that year they also slugged a team all-time high of 225 home runs to make up for it.

There does not seem to be any consistency to where the Twins finish in the standing based on their stolen base totals. Back in 1997 when they stole 151 bases, they finished fourth with a 68-94 mark. In their World Series seasons, they had 92 SB’s in 1965, 113 SB’s in 1987 and 107 SB’s in 1991. Here is a table showing the Twins top base stealing teams:

Rank Year Won Lost Finish SB CS
1 1997 68 94 4th 151 52
2 2001 85 77 2nd 146 67
2 1976 85 77 3rd 146 75
4 1996 78 84 4th 143 53
5 1992 90 72 2nd 123 74
6 1999 63 97 5th 118 60
7 2004 92 70 1st 116 46
8 1969 97 65 1st 115 70
9 1987 85 77 1st 113 65
10 2007 79 83 3rd 112 30
10 1998 70 92 4th 112 54

But will Gardy use the speed tool if he has the chance? The numbers tell me that he will not. If we compare Gardenhire and Tom Kelly we see that in TK’s fifteen seasons his teams swiped 1,699 bases or an average of 113 per season with a high of 146 in 2001. When you look at Gardy’s 9 seasons you end up with 859 stolen bases for an average of 95 per year with a high of 116. In TK’s final season as manager in 2001, his team ended up with 146 steals, the following year with Gardy at the helm his boys stole just 79 bases with pretty much the same cast of characters. So it will be interesting to see if the Twins burn up the base paths in 2011.

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