High Crimes: MLB's Top 10 Candidates for Straight Steals of Home
In the past three years, a handful of players have accomplished straight steals of home, making what had become a rarity in recent decades into an occasional, situation-specific maneuver that is not always accounted for.
Jayson Werth, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Orlando Cabrera, BJ Upton, Grady Sizemore and Aaron Hill are among the successful, but who will be next?
10. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Rollins already has an MVP trophy to his name and a World Series ring, so stealing home would be just another addition to his resumé.
Though he has only two steals this season, Rollins has not stolen fewer than 20 bases since his rookie season, and he hasn't been caught more than ten times since 2003.
Unfortunately, pitchers are on the lookout against Philly after Jayson Werth stole home on a throw back to the pitcher earlier this week.
9. Eric Byrnes, LF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Byrnes stole 50 bases in 2007, but he only managed four in an injury-shortened 2008.
Byrnes is all about hustle and is not opposed to endangering his health or his reputation in order to make a superb play, so don't be surprised if he shows up on SportsCenter with a dirty jersey and a clean swipe of home.
8. Michael Bourn, CF, Houston Astros
In the two seasons in which he played more than 100 games, Bourn has homered only six times, which should tell you how big an emphasis speed has on his game.
Last season, Bourn stole 41, but he hit only .229 and struck out 111 times. His average this season, however, is a formidable .319, and he's already swiped 13 bags so far.
He's got the tools to do it, but can he get to third base often enough to have a chance?
7. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox
Pedroia had only 20 steals in his MVP effort last season, but he possesses cat-like reflexes and fears absolutely nothing.
Then again, Pedroia has the deck stacked against him since Ellsbury's humiliation of Andy Pettitte has made teams more aware of Boston's speed.
6. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B, Florida Marlins
Risky pick? Absolutely. But you gotta like a guy who steals three bases and hits an inside-the-park home run on Opening Day of what looks to be his first full major league season.
Bonifacio has only stolen four since then, but something tells me that more are on the way.
5. Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Seattle Mariners
Patience is a virtue that Ichiro knows well. It took him seven seasons to get noticed by MLB scouts, but in the eight seasons he's played in the US, he has yet to steal fewer than 30 bases.
Ichiro has tried to steal home before and failed, and it takes even more guts to do it the second time around. Have faith, though...given time, he will succeed.
4. Juan Pierre, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Pierre is the active leader in career stolen bases, holding a nearly 50-base lead over Omar Vizquel (who's already stolen home).
He has yet to steal less than 40 bags in a complete season, and he's already got seven this year. Pierre is also in the top 10 in active triples leaders. I like his chances.
3. Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
In every complete season he's played, Jeter has had double-digit stolen base totals, topping out at 34 in 2006.
He doesn't steal a lot, but his baseball instincts are probably the best in the game, so he knows when to go and when not to go. If he gets a big lead at third, look out.
2. Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
Reyes gobbles up bases like he's playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.
In the past four seasons, he's averaged more than 64 steals per year, and in 2007 alone, he had the same number of steals (78) as he had strikeouts. The dude is quick.
1. Chone Figgins, 3B, Los Angeles Angels
Figgins has 15 thefts already this season and has stolen more than 30 in each of the past five seasons.
Having seen a significant amount of playing time at third base, he's acutely aware of his positioning in relation to the bag and where the opposing third baseman is playing on a given pitch.
With the ability to make all those finely tuned observations every time he reaches third (which is a fair amount—he's in the top 40 in runs scored), there's no reason Figgins shouldn't be the next man with charged with "grand theft baseball."