We're almost at the end of the 2023 regular season, and we can now say for sure: The stolen base is back.
With the new rules encouraging base-stealing, a whole lot of players are checking off stolen-base milestones like they never have before. Let's take a look at the biggest standouts -- with their 2023 stolen base totals and their sprint speed as tracked by Statcast, powered by Google Cloud.
One note: This is more about players who have increased their base-stealing dramatically this season than it is about the top base-stealers, period. So yes, Bobby Witt Jr. and Julio Rodríguez are great base-stealers, but they were already stealing a lot as rookies.
Here are 10 players who are stealing a lot more in 2023. (All stolen base totals are through Friday's games.)
1) Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
2023 SB: 66. Sprint speed: 28.0 ft/sec
We'll start with Mr. 30-60. Acuña couldn't have made power-speed history without a huge jump on the stolen base side. His Major League leading 66 steals are more than double his 2022 total (29) and nearly 30 more than the NL-leading 37 he had in 2019, his previous career high. Acuña has created tons of stolen base chances for himself -- his 314 opportunities (when he's on first or second with a base open in front of him) are third-most of any baserunner -- and he's taken advantage of the new rules by running more aggressively than he has since he was a rookie.
2) Corbin Carroll, D-backs
2023 SB: 47. Sprint speed: 30.1 ft/sec
Everyone knew about Carroll's elite speed -- he broke into the big leagues last year as the fastest player in baseball. But even with that blazing speed, Carroll only stole two bases, and only attempted three, in his 32-game MLB debut. Now he's running. In 2023, the D-backs' 23-year-old breakout star has 47 stolen bases in 52 attempts. He has the same elite 30-plus ft/sec sprint speed, but he's taking off four times as often as he did a year ago.
3) C.J. Abrams, Nationals
2023 SB: 41. Sprint speed: 28.6 ft/sec
Abrams had just seven steals in 90 games as a rookie in 2022, even though he'd stolen 28 in 76 Minor League games up to that point. He looks like that base-stealing prospect again in 2023, running on 28% of his total opportunities compared to less than 10% last year. The 22-year-old is just the third Nationals player to swipe 40 bags, after Trea Turner in 2017 and '18 and Alfonso Soriano in his 40-40 season in 2006.
4) Nico Hoerner, Cubs
2023 SB: 40. Sprint speed: 28.6 ft/sec
Hoerner was a solid base-stealer last year, with 20. But he's doubled that in 2023, reaching the 40-steal mark in a nearly identical number of games, taking advantage of 315 stolen base opportunities, second-most in MLB. Hoerner's gotten great jumps. His stolen base total includes eight steals of third base without being caught once. Only the Yankees' Anthony Volpe (nine) has more while still being perfect.
5) Ha-Seong Kim, Padres
2023 SB: 36. Sprint speed: 28.5 ft/sec
Kim had 12 stolen bases in 150 games last season. He hasn't even reached that many games played in 2023, but he's already tripled his stolen base total. The Padres infielder ran on six percent of his stolen base opportunities in 2022; he's running on 18% of them in 2023. So Kim's increase in successful steals matches his increase in aggressiveness.
6) Willi Castro, Twins
2023 SB: 31. Sprint speed: 28.6 ft/sec
Only six players stole 30 or more bases during the 2022 season. Ten players have already reached that mark in 2023, and there are likely more to come. Castro is one of the 10 who have done it, and he'd never even come close before, despite always having the speed to steal. In both 2021 and 2022, Castro finished with nine stolen bases. The most fun part about his 30-steal season: Castro has stolen home three times (as part of double steals by the Twins). No one else in the Majors has done so more than once.
7) Bryson Stott, Phillies
2023 SB: 28. Sprint speed: 28.9 ft/sec
Stott is having a breakout sophomore season for the Phillies, and a big part of that is getting the most out of his excellent speed. The 25-year-old has more than doubled his stolen base total from his rookie season, from 12 in 2022 to 28 in '23. Stott even has one more stolen base than his teammate and two-time league leader Turner. And he recorded the league's milestone 3,000th stolen base of 2023.
8) Christian Yelich, Brewers
2023 SB: 27. Sprint speed: 28.0 ft/sec
Yelich's stolen bases had dropped off after his career-high 30 for the Brewers in 2019, but he's brought back that side of his game. Yelich's steals dipped to just nine in '21, but after perking back up to 19 in '22, they've jumped all the way to 27 in '23. That's nearly as many as the last two years combined, and the 31-year-old Yelich, who's still plenty fast, could post his second 30-steal season. More importantly, he's been a better base-stealer this year -- he's been caught just three times, exactly the same number as in both '22 and '21, even as his successful steals have increased.
9) Francisco Lindor, Mets
2023 SB: 26. Sprint speed: 28.2 ft/sec
Lindor has set a new career high for stolen bases, and the mark he broke was set back in 2018, when he had 25 steals. Lindor's 26 stolen bases in '23 equal his combined total for '21-22, and he's also stealing at the most efficient rate of his career. The Mets star has been caught only twice, giving him a personal-best 93% success rate.
10) Xander Bogaerts, Padres
2023 SB: 16. Sprint speed: 27.7 ft/sec
Bogaerts isn't a huge speedster, but he's made stolen bases a significant part of his game for the first time in a long time. Bogaerts just passed his previous career high for steals, which came in 2017, and he's only been caught once along the way. In the five seasons between '17 and now, Bogaerts never reached double-digit stolen bases. But under the pro-stealing rules in '23, the 30-year-old is swiping bags again.