Struggling Pirates offense isn't taking advantage of one important element

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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The Pirates' offense has continued to be very poor to this point in the season, even as the team manages to hover around contention. There are multiple guys to point the finger at, but most of the offensive woes can be tied back to the hitting coach. As the Pirates look to remain in the playoff hunt, the existing pieces of their offense could try something different to score more runs while they wait for lineup reinforcements: stealing more bases.

With only 45 stolen bases, the Pirates rank 22nd in all of baseball. They have also only been caught stealing eight times, which is among the best in baseball as a team. This lack of base stealing comes as a surprise, given the amount of speed they have on the team.

The Pirates have four players ranked above the 75th percentile in sprint speed. Why aren't they stealing bases?

Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales, Jack Suwinski, and Jared Triolo are all highly ranked runners. Despite having great sprint speeds, they have combined for just 18 stolen bases this season. That number needs to be higher in order to score more runs, as this team has not hit for much power. Power displays are crucial when a team reaches October, given that it's tougher to string hits together and push the issue. In the regular season? This team needs to be running.

These four are not the only ones who have speed in the organization. In 2023, Ji Hwan Bae ranked in the 97th percentile in sprint speed. Ke'Bryan Hayes also stole 20 bases in 2022. Michael A. Taylor stole 13 bases last year and also has six this season.

As the Pirates sit right now, they are four games from .500 and 3.5 games away from a Wild Card spot. Their starting pitching has still been holding strong, with other players knocking on the door of joining them. They need offense to go with that stellar pitching, but recent efforts have not been great, and this failure has put the Pirates into the position they are in. Moving forward, stealing bases needs to be a part of their everyday strategy. They have fast players. Now they have to use them.

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