Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

The Reds took great advantage of changes to MLB’s basestealing rules last season. They finished with 190 stolen bases, 24 more than the next-closest team.

However, the Reds ranked only 14th in our Net Bases Gained baserunning stat, which measures the combination of stolen bases, success rate, and other baserunning elements, such as advancing an extra base on hits and doing other positive things on the bases.

One reason why the Reds did not rank well in Net Bases Gained was that they ranked 25th in bases advanced on wild pitches, passed balls, balks, sacrifice flies, and defensive indifference.

But in 2024, the Reds have ramped up their baserunning game. They enter Friday with an MLB-best 45 stolen bases in 24 games (Elly De La Cruz has an MLB-leading 15). But they also rank 3rd in the majors with 36 bases advanced on wild pitches, passed balls, balks, etc.

They’ve gone from middle of the pack in that all-encompassing Net Bases Gained to No. 1.

It’s easy to point to De La Cruz’s stolen base total or the 6 other players with at least 4 stolen bases as important. But there are 2 Reds who haven’t stolen a base this season who have also contributed to the team’s baserunning success.

Catcher Tyler Stephenson, a decidedly negative baserunner last season, has already recorded 7 of those baserunning advances in 21 games. He tallied 10 in 142 games in all of 2023.

Additionally, Stephenson has batted with a man on first and no outs or one out 17 times and not hit into a double play. He grounded into 16 double plays last season. As a team, the Reds have grounded into only 9 double plays, 2nd-fewest in MLB.

Another player not known as a burner on the bases, designated hitter Nick Martini already has 5 bases advanced via wild pitch, passed ball, etc. He didn’t have any in the last 2 seasons he played in the majors (2021 and 2023).

Shout-out to some of the other teams off to strong baserunning starts:

The Orioles rank 2nd in Net Bases Gained with Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg tied for 8th individually. They are a combined 9-for-9 basestealing this season. The Orioles are 20-for-21 in that department. The Royals rank 3rd with basestealing being the primary reason why. Kansas City ranks 2nd with 27 steals in 31 attempts.

The Diamondbacks and Twins, who rank 4th and 5th in Net Bases Gained, respectively, have been better baserunning teams than basestealing teams. Arizona is the one team with more advances on wild pitches, passed balls, balks, etc than the Reds. It has 48. Corbin Carroll is tied for 3rd in Net Bases Gained so far in 2024. He was the runaway leader in 2023.

The Twins are a weird case. They rank 5th in Net Bases Gained despite having an MLB-low 5 stolen bases this season. When they’ve had baserunners, they’ve done a good job of taking bases and avoiding outs. But getting baserunners to begin with is the bigger issue. The team has the 4th-lowest on-base percentage in MLB this season.

Net Baserunning Gain Leaders