NEW YORK — On Thursday, in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto took a walk from Colorado Rockies reliever Tyler Kinley. Coach Paco Figueroa was waiting for the catcher at first base, armed with information. Figueroa kept it short. He reminded Realmuto that Kinley had one of the better pick-off moves on the Rockies, but added an important caveat: Kinley leaned back before throwing a pitch. When he didn’t lean back, it meant he was about to throw to first base.

Realmuto studied Kinley’s movements in the next at-bat. Then, as Kinley prepared to face Matt Vierling, leaning back to throw a four-seam fastball, Realmuto took off for second base. He was safe, and Vierling walked, putting runners on first and second for Didi Gregorius, who reached first base on a fielding error.

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After just four at-bats, the bases were loaded for Roman Quinn. Quinn walked, forcing in Realmuto to make it 4-1 Phillies in what ended up being a 7-1 win. Reflecting on the stolen base a week later, Figueroa smiled. It was the perfect example of how the Phillies are using nuanced information to their advantage on the basepaths.

For Figueroa, baserunning isn’t just about being fast, it’s about being smart. It’s knowing how accurate the catcher’s arm is, what the pitcher’s pick-off move is, whether the outfielders get behind fly balls and whether the middle infielders block the bag, all before you step up to the plate. In 2022, baserunning — and basestealing — is somewhat of a lost art. But the Phillies continue to make it priority, and that work has been paying off.

Prior to Monday’s games, the Phillies were tied for first in MLB in stolen-base percentage (92%). They’ve been caught stealing only once this season, in 301 stolen- base opportunities (when there is a player at bat and a runner on first and no one on second or a runner on second and no one on third), and have stolen 12 bases. They are tied for third in MLB in run -coring percentage — the percentage of times a baserunner eventually scores a run — with 34%.

Roman Quinn, the fastest player on the Phillies’ 26-man roster, has been in the organization for 11 years. He’s seen the Phillies’ approach to baserunning change over that span, from stealing bases regardless of the situation, to stealing bases when the situation calls for it.

“Now, it’s about the right time to go,” Quinn said. “It’s about studying the pitcher, getting better jumps, knowing tendencies, knowing who is behind the plate. When you’re smart, and successful with it, it creates an energy. The game is geared more towards power, which is awesome. But to see someone stealing a base makes you want to do it, too.”

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Jean Segura can attest to this. He ranked second in stolen bases for the Phillies last year, with nine, and said he was influenced by watching Realmuto on the basepaths.

“When I see guys do those little things, it fires me up,” Segura said. “It’s selfless. We notice it. When you’re smart about running the bases, and run them hard, you create pressure on their defense on the other club. These guys run hard, so we have to do a better job. It’s a weapon. And if you have a weapon, you use it.

“There’s a lot of guys here that have the ability to steal bags: Harper, myself, J.T. I’d rather have OK stats and be part of something big. Get on base, and sacrifice myself, to give a better opportunity to the guy behind me.”

Segura gives an example. In the seventh inning of the Phillies’ April 25 game against the Rockies, Segura hit a single. In the next at-bat, Rhys Hoskins hit a line drive single to leftfielder Kris Bryant. Normally, Segura wouldn’t try to go from first to third on a single to left field, but he remembered something Figueroa had told him about Bryant: He tends to hesitate on occasion.

As Segura ran from first to second, he noticed that hesitation. So he took off for third, and was safe.

“I could see that he wasn’t expecting me to do that,” Segura said. “Once I saw he was taking his time in getting to the ball, I decided to go. I’ll go first to third in your face. That’s me. I don’t want to run into an out, but I’m aggressive.

“One of our main goals, as a team, is to play hard. Tell the opponents that we’re here to play baseball, not to [expletive] around.”

The Phillies ended up scoring four runs that inning, a chain reaction Figueroa believes was sparked by Segura’s aggressive baserunning. He says one of his goals as a coach is to eliminate the notion of a routine play.

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“I know a lot of coaches in the game who have the same job I do,” Figueroa said. “Our question is, how can we be different from the other 29 teams? Because everyone is pretty much saying the same stuff, when it comes to baserunning.

“They talk about primary lead, secondary leads, advance on a tag, all of these techniques. But my thing is mindset. Are you going to bust your [butt] to first to help your team with two outs? Any extra bobble, we’re going to be safe. Any base hit in the outfield, we’re going to take the extra 90 feet. That’s the mindset you’ve got to have. And I’m telling you, once the opposing team sees that, you’re applying pressure on them.

“Those things win games. Yeah, you’ve got to hit to play in the big leagues. But those little baserunning plays … a good read can win you a game. A bad read can lose you a game. We’ve seen it. We’ve been in situations where we’ve missed the playoffs by a game. All of that comes into play.”

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