One unique person I had the privilege of working with was Bob Didier. Bob was a great big-league catcher for many years. And has been in player development for years.
His father Mel Didier was an amazing scout and had a huge impact on scouting and player development. One thing I take pride in is that I ask questions and journal tons of notes. “How to run without speed” is a short but sweet blog on a part of the game that I feel we have developed for only the elite speed guys.
When you manage a team with a bunch of average runners, you must take advantage of every situation. You may have to pick a breaking ball by the pitcher, a delayed steal, or get a great jump off the pitcher by studying his move to 1st and home plate.
The average runner (6.8 or 6.9 in the 60) has the element of surprise on his side. This is due to the fact that the natural tendency of the opposition is to relax when an average or slow runner is on base. I played with Jeff Bagwell and he by far was the best baserunner/stealer I have ever seen. And he had average speed at best.
Picking breaking balls and change-ups to run on is the biggest secret there is to steal a base by a slow runner. Also, one should realize that if you watch the catcher from 1B and the coaching box, you can pick up many of the types of pitches he is calling.
For example, some teams have their runners look in while leading off 1st for the 2 or 3 finger signs, meaning curve or slider. Most catchers will use a location sign for fastballs only. The biggest aid in looking in on the catcher though is to pick up the pitch out sign.
The hit and run, run and hit, bunt and run, delayed steal, double steal, steal of 3rd and home, squeeze, and bunt for a hit are just a few of the things you can do to intimidate the opposition with a bunch of average runners.
The big thing to remember is that you can make an average runner into an aggressive runner.
He will win more games for you and always look to take the extra base. Another important fact is that an aggressive runner will make himself more valuable to the team.
Which player would you prefer? The one who hits .305 with 10 stolen bases or the one who hits .280 with 30 stolen bases and goes from 1st to 3rd on singles as well as 1st to home on doubles?