The New York Yankees and Aaron Judge are utilizing a stolen base technique that has been around for more than 50 years, and an rival scout says that it has worked really well for them, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
“All you’ve got to do is watch Volpe and Gleyber Torres,” said the anonymous rival scout who has followed the Yankees for years in both the majors and minors, via Rosenthal. “They look like Usain Bolt out there.”
The technique has been used throughout the minors, particularly by Anthony Volpe, who is now with the MLB team, according to Rosenthal. Aaron Judge is now using the technique, and so is Gleyber Torres.
So far in the 2023 season, the Yankees are stealing 1.2 bases per game, which is fourth in the league behind the Cleveland Guardians, Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks, according to teamrankings.com. The Yankees ranked seventh in the league in steals per game in 2022.
The technique the Yankees are using is to take a short primary lead, then make a lateral hop-like movement as the pitcher begins his delivery. The Yankees call it a “momentum lead,” according to Rosenthal. It does exactly what it sounds like, it gives players more momentum as they attempt to steal a base than if they were just accelerating out of a standstill stance. The technique was invented by Mike Roberts, father of former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, according to Rosenthal.
Players like Anthony Volpe have already used this technique in the past with the pitch clock, limited pick-off attempts and bigger bases. Those rules were used in the minor leagues before, but they are being used in MLB for the first time in 2023, and the Yankees are taking advantage by making the running game a big part of their offense.
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