Tool Time: Top Base Runners

Speed alone does not equate to stolen bases. Tony Gwynn wasn't the fastest player by any means but he still managed to swipe 319 bases, including 56 in one season. These San Diego Padres prospects are the best thieves in the bunch.

Brad Chalk

The outfielder came a game away from having a perfect season in the stolen base department. Timed with the fifth-fasted 60-yard dash during 2008 Spring Training, Chalk takes quality leads and jumps at opportunities, not taking extra steps to reach his goal.

Chalk swiped 19 bags in 21 attempts, good for 90 percent efficiency. He takes instruction well and has good instincts for reading pitchers and getting a good jump. He also has solid speed in motion and clean slides.

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 82.5 percent of his stolen base attempts (52-for-63). 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.

Lance Zawadzki

He doesn't have the top-end speed of some other players but is an exceptional runner that has first-step quickness and hits his highest gear quickly. Eliminating a hop step has done wonders.

With an uncanny ability to read the pitcher, Zawadzki is off at the first lift of the leg and glides into second with ease, accounting for his 28-of-31 success rate last season with Fort Wayne.

Dan Robertson

Not a burner by any means, Robertson is a diligent base runner that uses all of his faculties to steal a bag or take an extra base.

Going 20-of-27 a season ago, Robertson is an aggressive runner that is always looking to put pressure on the opposition. He has a double step that slows him slightly but is off at the break of the pitcher's hand from his glove.

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.

Honorable Mention:

Drew Cumberland

One of the quickest players in the Padres' system, Cumberland has is still learning the nuances of base running – understanding situations and how to read a pitcher. He will be even better with time and may be the best of the bunch one day.

Matt Antonelli

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.

Blake Tekotte

Tekotte may one day be near the top of this list, but he still has some learning to reach the goal. He went 7-of-11 last season, as he learns how to read pitchers and works on his initial first-step quickness.

Danny Payne

Payne's understanding of balance and solid judgments make him a threat to swipe a good number of bases annually. He also uses his quickness to get around the bases in a hurry, taking advantage of sleeping outfielders.

Luis Durango

There is no doubting Durango's speed, but his acumen for stealing bags has not caught up to the talent level. He went 15-of-23 a season ago – his best to date – but should be stealing 40-50 bases a year. Improving in this area remains a priority.

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