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New managers don’t matter too much in terms of fantasy baseball. They won’t magically improve starting rotations or increase their team’s respective power production. The one exception, though, can be on the base paths. In other words, it’s important to ask: Is a manager running more or less than his predecessor did?

This sort of comparison can have limited usefulness if the rosters changed in a big way, but it’s always wise to check in after a month of a new season to see if any distinct philosophy changes could impact a guy’s fantasy value. For example, did Ryan Braun steal more bases last year due to the introduction of Craig Counsell? Perhaps. It was probably more due to his health, but the fact that Jonathan Villar already has 13 stolen bases and six caught stealings this year, it could indicate that Counsell is willing to run a bit more than former manager Ron Roenicke did in 2014.

Here are the number of team stolen bases and their respective ranks for the squads that are led by new managers in 2016:

Team

2016 SB

2016 SB Rank

2015 SB

2015 SB Rank

Dodgers

9

29th

59

26th

Mariners

13

25th

69

21st

Marlins

13

23rd

112

4th

Nationals

19

16th

57

27th

Padres

25

7th

82

17th

The Dodgers and Mariners don’t seem to have seen too much change in their base-running tactics. This probably has a lot to do with the specific make-ups of the rosters, as teams with Chase Utley, Nori Aoki, Seth Smith, and Justin Turner batting atop the order wouldn’t be smart to run too often. With that said, Ketel Marte only has four stolen-base attempts in 2016 after stealing 20 bags in just 65 Triple-A games a year ago. New manager Scott Servais could be a big reason why.

It’s tempting to blame much of the Marlins’ stolen-base decline to the suspension of Dee Gordon, and rightfully so, but new manager Don Mattingly didn’t run much while with the Dodgers. They ranked 26th in the league with him at the helm in 2015. Christian Yelich attempted 21 stolen bases last year in just 525 PA and 28 in 2014. He’s only attempted five steals in 166 PA this year. Adeiny Hechavarria hasn’t attempted a single stolen base. J.T. Realmuto has only three, and Ichiro only has two. It seems to me that Marlins players—save Gordon—should see their stolen-base expectations lowered for the remainder of the year due to Mattingly’s arrival.

The Nationals and the Padres, on the other hand, have run more often by a healthy margin. That is why Bryce Harper already has six stolen bases, which ties his entire output from 2015. That is why Anthony Rendon has seven attempts this year, after just three in 355 PA in 2015. That is why Wil Myers already has four stolen bases, after stealing just five last year and six the year before. That is why Jon Jay already has a couple steals, after a combined six stolen bases in 2014 and 2015.

None of this is to suggest that approximately 40 games of statistics is predictive. This does give us some interesting data, though, that points toward long-term fantasy trends—one that should help the likes of Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, while hurting guys like Ketel Marte or Joc Pederson, the latter of whom stole 30-plus bases while in the minors in both 2013 and 2014 but only has five big-league steals.

Again, as I’ve discussed before, fantasy owners don’t have the luxury of time when it comes to reading early-season trends. It’s analyze-and-hope. It appears that the Padres and Nationals are running more often than they have in the past. It’s time to adjust expectations accordingly—and it’s why I’m feeling good about Ben Revere still stealing 30-plus bags despite losing much of the early season to injury. The Nats are a-runnin’ this year.

Thank you for reading

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huztlers
5/19
New managers are probably afraid to make calls - they don't want to give the critics anything to talk about. Once these managers establish themselves (or not), their true colors will show.
Dodger300
5/20
So Yelich 21 stolen bases last year. This year, he has attempted five stolen bases with the season 1/4 complete.

This should be used as evidence to expect that Marlins players attempts will be lower this year? I guess so.

By one.