This article is part of our The Long Game series.
With the All-Star break now behind us, it feels like time to do one of those miscellany columns, where I don't have any one idea strong enough to carry the whole thing so instead I get to string a few mini-ideas together to pad out the word count... err, I mean, provide additional content to my valued readers.
Fortunately, this particular ASB comes complete with a bunch of material to work with, including the unofficial start of this year's trade frenzy. But to get started, let's look at something I've been tracking all season: the disappearing stolen base.
Who Stole the Steals?
Back at the end of April when I last checked in on this, stolen base attempts per game and league-wide success rate on steals were down from the kinds of numbers we'd seen as recently as 2012, but consistent with the 2013-2015 period. Well, over the early summer, that's changed a bit. The original 2016 pace of 2557 MLB steals I'd calculated has dropped further, and the league is now on pace to steal just 2425 bases, which would be the lowest total of the entire post-strike period. To state it another way, teams are now successfully swiping just under half a base a game (0.499, to be more precise).
Curiously though, the league-wide success rate has actually ticked up very slightly over the last few months. In late April, the league-wide success rate was 69 percent. Post-ASB, it's 70.4 percent.
Since the 1994/1995 work stoppages, trends