Although the season isn't even a month old yet, Brett Gardner has already shown that he is more willing to steal bases than he was last year. Through 23 games, he's stolen 6 bases. That's a quarter of the number of bases he stole last year in 145 games. If Gardner keeps up this pace, he could very well end up stealing 40+ bases, which would be a return to the days of 2010 and 2011 when he stole 47 and 49, respectively.
In fact, the team as a whole is on pace to steal about 15 more bases than they did last year. Speaking of last year, does anyone care to guess how the 2013 Yankees ranked in terms of base stealing compared to all of the other teams? 7th place. Considering that the team was filled with a random assortment of players to fill in for the regulars on the DL, and factoring in the older age of the team in general, it's kind of amazing that they managed to steal 115 bases last year. So far this year, the Yankees have stolen 19 bases, which makes them tied for the fourth most stolen by any team. Of course, Jacoby Ellsbury has stolen almost half of those (8) single-handedly. Brian Roberts has also shown that he remains a threat to steal, when he actually manages to get on base, as he's stolen 3 bases. If the team keeps up the current pace, they could pass 130 stolen bases by the end of the season, which they haven't done since 2011 when they stole 147.
When the Yankees first signed Ellsbury, I grumbled over the contract and the fact that they already had enough outfielders, but I have to admit that his speed has improved the team considerably. Not only does he seem to get to almost everything hit his way in the outfield, but he's always a threat to steal, which is fun to watch. Maybe his speed has even inspired Gardner to be more aggressive. Do you think Gardner and Ellsbury will be able to keep up this rate? What do you think the total number of stolen bases for the team will be at the end of the year?
Fun fact: The team that stole the least amount of bases last year only stole 35 total. Comment below with your guess as to which team that was and the winner will receive one internet high-five. Googling doesn't count.