Tool Time: Best base runner

Running the bags takes more than just speed. Baseball acumen and keeping oneself tuned into the nuances of the game can be just as big as pure speed. These San Diego Padres prospects are the best at the base running trade.

Will Venable

A gifted athlete, Venable reads the pitcher better than any player in the Padres' system. As the leg breaks towards the plate, Venable is en route to a stolen base.

Since entering the system, Venable has been a successful thief on 84.9 percent of his stolen base attempts (45-for-53). His baseball acumen in this department can't be touched; he also knows when to go for the extra base and when to be happy with what he has.

Javis Diaz

Last year, Diaz was an afterthought in the base running department. Under the tutelage of Doug Dascenzo, the outfielder found his balance – literally.

Diaz altered his stance to put him in the best position to run and the results were evident once it clicked. After getting caught 10 times in his first 18 attempts, Diaz swiped 23 of his next 27 successfully. He could top 40 in the coming year.

Robert Perry

With his collegiate heritage, Perry is as well rounded as they come – and that includes base running. He is one of the best at reading a pitcher and has quick reactions on his move to second.

Perry also takes advantage of outfielders that are coasting to pick up the ball. He can kick it into an extra gear mustering around the bags to take the extra base and is an all-out hustler.

Danny Payne

With above average speed, Payne gets good jumps off pitchers and has an explosive first step to reach top end speed quickly.

His understanding of balance and solid judgments make him a threat to swipe 30-plus bases annually. He also uses his quickness to get around the bases in a hurry, taking advantage of sleeping outfielders.

Matt Antonelli

He doesn't have top end speed but Antonelli is a diligent base runner that gets the uses all of his faculties to steal a bag or take an extra base.

With terrific instincts, Antonelli makes up for a lack of top end speed by reading pitchers, getting good breaks out of his stance and capitalizing on lollygagging outfielders.

Honorable mention:

Drew Cumberland

One of the quickest players in the Padres' system, Cumberland has an advanced feel for his age – understanding situations and how to read a pitcher. He will be even better with time.

Jeudy Valdez

As raw as they come on the base paths, Valdez is just learning how to use his above average speed. He has a good feel for when to run and has a solid first step.

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