Time to move on from the 2013 data (quit livin’ in the past, man) and get to the 2014 SAGNOF previews. Just a disclaimer, these posts are mainly focused on guys who will go later in drafts or possibly even undrafted in some shallower leagues – in other words cheap. You won’t see much written about Billy Hamilton or Jean Segura or Jacoby Ellsbury around these parts since their stolen-base contributions will most likely cost you quite a bit. This is all about *not* paying for steals (Steals Ain’t Got NO Face).
I’ve got several posts planned here before the 2014 season starts, including a three parter on SAGNOF outfielders and one on SAGNOF middle infielders. There will also be a red light/green light team preview that will come out just before the season begins for all of us weekly match-up hounds to sink our teeth into. Since we’re not trying to pay for our steals, what better place to start than with three outfielders who don’t even have starting jobs at the moment?!…
Eric Young – 2013: 46 SB in 598 PA
The Mets signed Curtis Granderson and Chris Young this offseason, and while they’ve apparently tried trading both Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, it hasn’t happened as of the writing of this post. This means EY2 finds himself as a fourth outfielder yet again, despite the fact that he provided a nice spark to the Mets atop their lineup in the second half of last year. (His 30 steals after the All-Star Break were the most in baseball.) While this might be seen as a bad thing by some, for us SAGNOF folk, it means he can be cheaply had once again simply by picking the wire or stashing in that last bench slot. In just under 600 plate appearances last year, Young stole 46 bags, good for second most in all of the majors behind only Jacoby Ellsbury. Keep in mind that Young has experience at second base as well and a lot can happen in the remaining off-season and early-part of the season. If the Mets do decide to move Murphy and give Young an everyday shot at the keystone, the newfound dual eligibility (OF/2B) will launch his fantasy value upwards. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Rajai Davis – 2013: 45 SB in 360 PA
The 2013 King of SAGNOF landed in Detroit this offseason in what should prove to be a nice move by Dombroski. Davis will likely platoon with Andy Dirks and pinch run when needed. Davis has shown us already that he is more than capable of thriving in a platoon role, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down with age. He sports a career .354 OBP against lefties, so those of us who like to use our Platoony Tunes should be able to find a lot of value in platooning Davis in our fantasy lineups. To put his 2013 season in perspective, he stole a base every 8 plate appearances, thanks to his pinch running opportunities and straight up nasty base stealing talent. In 51 attempts last year he was caught only 6 times, and his career success rate is 79% (that’s good – Tim Raines’ career SB% is second all time at 85%). Davis might be sitting on the wire after your draft, but don’t let him sit there long if stolen bases becomes a need for your squad. With another 400 plate appearances, he’s a good bet for another 35+ steals, and he’s been known to sprinkle in a half dozen homers on occasion for good measure.
Jarrod Dyson – 2013: 34 SB in 239 PA
If Davis is the King of SAGNOF, then surely Dyson is the prince. He actually stole bags at a more frequent clip than Davis with a steal for every 7 plate appearances. He only had 3 more pinch running steals (7) than Davis (4) if that’s what you were going to say next, so it’s not like he’s getting that crazy rate from pinch running all the time. In my opinion, he’s just as fast and just as talented. Problem is he has no clear role with the team like Davis does, especially since the Royals’ outfield got more crowded this offseason with the signing of Norichika Aoki. This makes him a riskier bet even for a bench slot, but should something shake up the Royals outfield (like an injury), Dyson’s wheels have value. As a left-handed hitter, he could see some starts against righties, but he’s not a reliable mixed league bench bat like Davis. That being said, I think Dyson is an exciting player and one of the better SAGNOF bargains out there given his limited playing time. He’s also shares his name with a kick-ass vacuum. Seriously, they look like spaceships.