Speed kills. It puts pressure on the opposing pitcher and defense. Not only do stolen bases bring baserunners one step closer to scoring, but taking the extra base helps mightily. The Diamondbacks were one of the best teams at both taking the extra base and stealing bases this past year.
According to Baseball Savant, the Diamondbacks ranked 3rd in all of baseball in Runner Runs behind only the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles. They stole a total of 166 bases all year, good for second in all of baseball. They were only caught stealing 26 times. That gives them an 87% success rate on stolen bases, one of the best in all of baseball in 2023.
Not only were the Diamondbacks great at stealing bases, but they were also good at taking the extra base. Runners for the Diamondbacks had 1,269 opportunities to take the extra base in the regular season. They attempted to take the extra base in 38% of those opportunities and were successful 468 times for a 98% safe per advance attempt rate, one of the best in all of baseball.
The playoffs are a much smaller sample size, but the D-Backs have a 100% success rate when taking the extra base, and they have stolen the most bases (16) in the playoffs thus far. They have only been caught stealing 3 times.
Conversely, the Cardinals ranked 18th with -3 Runner Runs and only had 101 stolen bases this year (29 caught stealing). Additionally, the Cardinals only attempted to take the extra base 32% of the time, last in the league. Even though the Cardinals have a below-average sprint speed as a team (27.1 ft/sec) and are behind the Diamondbacks (27.7 ft/sec), they still didn't try and beat the opponent on the basepaths. St. Louis would be wise to follow the Diamondbacks' lead with speed next year.