The World Series starts on Friday, which means that one of baseball’s best promotions is back for its’ 11th season. Taco Bell offers a promotion that gives away free tacos if someone steals a base in the World Series. In last year’s World Series, Atlanta Braves‘ second baseman Ozzie Albies stole the first base. Here are some prime candidates who could steal the first base in this World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Houston Astros. Let’s take a look at who the taco hero could be this year.
Jose Altuve is a familiar face among baseball fans. He could very well be throned as the taco hero. As someone who has been part of the Astros’ core, he has had his fair share of memorable moments over the past six postseason runs. He is not a power hitter, but he can get on base. In 2022, he hit .300/.387/.533. According to Baseball Savant, Altuve has an average sprint speed of 28 feet per second. This season Altuve stole 18 bases, but has not stolen a base in the postseason.
After a strong finish in 2021, Kyle Tucker had his first All-Star season in 2022. The outfielder has become a regular in the Astros’ lineup, and provides effective defensive play. Tucker even received his first Gold Glove nomination for his position. However, in this case, the best part of his game is his speed. According to Baseball Savant, Tucker’s average sprint speed is 26.5 feet per second. In 2022, Tucker stole 25 bases during the regular season. That is the fifth highest in the American League and, the highest among any other player in the World Series. He also has stolen one base in the ALDS against the Seattle Mariners. He is always a threat to steal a base.
Usually, fans would not see a catcher as a position with speed, but J.T. Realmuto is not every catcher. Realmuto led the Phillies this year in stolen bases with 21, good enough for seventh in the National League. That is more stolen bases by Realmuto alone than the next four catchers combined (Keibert Ruiz, Christian Bethancourt, Nick Fortes, and Wilson Contreras). In Game Four of the NLDS, Realmuto showed off his speed. He became the first catcher to hit an inside-the-park home run in the Postseason. Will he be able to let his speed deliver tacos to the U.S? Time will tell.
According to Baseball Savant, Philadelphia Phillies’ outfielder Matt Vierling is the fastest player in this series. With an average sprint speed of 29.6 feet per second, Vierling is the 20th fastest player in major league baseball. Although he only stole seven bases in 2022, it was a lack of opportunity that prevented him from stealing more bases. Vierling has yet to establish himself as a regular he may be the first player to steal a base in this World Series. He is another strong candidate to become the taco hero.
This postseason, it seems like there has been little that Bryce Harper hasn’t accomplished. As the NLCS MVP, Harper leads the majors this postseason in hits, home runs, and RBI. Not to mention he has a slash line of .419/.444/.907, leading the Phillies to their first pennant in 13 years. Harper has a sprint speed of 27.6 feet per second. Maybe this designated hitter will try to steal a base, as he is on base frequently, and near the top of the Phillies’ lineup.
Like Bryce Harper, Jeremy Pena has been phenomenal with the Houston Astros this postseason. This postseason, the shortstop is .300/.324/.667 with three home runs and five RBI. Although, he has yet to steal a base this postseason, he has stolen 11 bases in the regular season. Still, in his rookie year, Pena has surprised many this season.
Although, it would be hard to have a list without the leadoff hitter of the Philadelphia Phillies. Although he has not been known for his speed, Schwarber currently leads the postseason in stolen bases with two. With an OBP of 375, he could possibly steal the first base right from the start.
Ultimately, the postseason is unpredictable. The thrill of the playoffs is that the unlikeliest stars become the greatest heroes. Usually, players don’t shine until they get the chance to. While it is easy to make a guess, ultimately any position player could steal the first base in the World Series, and that is something to keep in mind.
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Ozzie Albies, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, J.T. Realmuto, Keibert Ruiz, Christian Bethancourt, Nick Fortes, Wilson Contreras, Matt Vierling, Bryce Harper, Jeremy Pena, Kyle Schwarber