PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres finished second in the National League last year in steals, snagging 118 bases. Down in the Minors, the club boasts a top prospect who could soon add to the Padres' prowess on the bases.
In each of Cory Spangenberg's first three professional seasons, the second baseman increased his stolen base total, going from 25 in 2011 to 27 in 2012 to 36 last year. Spangenberg, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, said he doesn't believe he has gotten any faster since entering pro ball, instead crediting his coaching and experience reading pitchers for the steady climb.
"It's just been learning everything about the art of it," Spangenberg said. "Learning what kind of pitcher you have and if he slides steps or if he has a leg kick. Just having that first instinct to trust yourself and not looking back once you go."
Promoted to Double-A San Antonio midway through last year because of his progressing bat and glove, Spangenberg saw his stolen base success rate dip from 85 percent (17-for-20) to 63 percent (19-for-30) with the jump, but he thinks working in Major League camp this spring as a non-roster invitee will help him bump the number back up.
He's especially keeping a close eye on Everth Cabrera, who stole a combined 81 bases the last two seasons for the Padres.
"I'm just learning from talking to guys," Spangenberg said. "You pick up little tips here and there and you can learn a lot. They've been there and done that so you just have to sort of lay low and watch what they do."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.