Just Who Was the Stolen Base King in the Baltimore Orioles Minor Leagues in 2016?

The Baltimore Orioles do not steal very many bases, all their fans and everyone around the league knows that, but just who in their minor league system stole more bases than anyone else in the organization? That would be outfielder Jay Gonzalez.

Photo: Baby Birdland

Gonzalez, 24, was drafted by the O's in the 10th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Mount Olive. A Division II school in North Carolina, Gonzalez set a school record for stolen bases in his senior year with 51, so the Orioles knew the guy could swipe a bag.

His ability to steal a bag at the Division II level is one thing, but could he translate that into the professional ranks? You bet.

Gonzalez led all Orioles' minor leaguers with 43 stolen bases this year and did so by only playing in 104 total games. He missed some time due to being on the disabled list for a rib injury.

It's not just that the guy can swipe a ton of bags, but does so with a very good success rate. Gonzalez stole 43 bases and was only thrown out nine times giving him a 83% success rate.

In an organization that is not known for stolen bases, Gonzalez stands out. He had 13 more stolen bases than any other minor leaguer and there were only four players in the Orioles' minor leagues that had more than 18 stolen bases at all.

So what's the big deal about a guy who does something that not many in the organization do? Well, that question kind of answers itself doesn't it? If not many people in the organization can do something, that makes that guy much more valuable, both on the field and in "talks."

While the Orioles do not value the stolen base, there are several teams in the league that do, so having a guy in your system that does that, and does it well, can be valuable in possible trade discussions.

If you were curious about how Gonzalez fared in other areas, over 104 total games (19 - AA, 85 - High-A), Gonzalez hit .251 with one home run, 16 doubles, three triples, 31 RBI and scored 58 runs. He also posted a nice .352 on base percentage and walked 55 times. His average may not be impressive, but he does have a good batting eye and is very willing to draw a walk.

If you get the chance to check out Gonzalez in a game, you will notice that it's no surprise that he is so successful at stealing bases because the guy can flat-out fly.


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