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This is the last stop on the SAGNOF express for outfielders. You can Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up, or, if you’re like me, you’ve already been distracted by an advertisement for an adult MMROPG on the sidebar. Just a reminder, these are SAGNOF posts (Steals Ain’t Got NO Face) so we won’t be discussing Billy Hamilton or Jacoby Ellsbury, etc. etc. Instead we’ve got three more outfielders who, for all sorts of reasons, should be obtainable at a nice low price and who may even be available on a shallow league’s waiver wire post-draft. Leonys Martin, Adam Eaton, and Peter Bourjos are all players with relatively little MLB experience, but who could also provide sneaky value with their legs in 2014. While none of these guys are going to win you a ring by themselves, they each have some speedy upside that makes them a nice complement to a fantasy outfield.

Leonys Martin – 2013: 36 SB in 508 PA

For the better part of 2013, Martin was the SAGNOF “Darling of Texas”, which is a lesser known country music B-Side. What was remarkable about last year was his consistency. Martin stole 19 bags in the first half and 17 in the second despite a .226 average against lefties which yielded some playing time to Craig Gentry. He’ll be just 26-years-old this March, and whether he hits in the top or bottom third of the Rangers’ lineup, there is no reason to think he won’t be able to put up 35+ steals again in 2014. There are some grumblings that Michael Choice could steal some at-bats against lefties, but I wouldn’t let that phase you as long as Martin is getting the lion’s share of any platoons. While it was only one season, Martin stole bases at a cool 80% clip, which is fantastic especially considering he wasn’t anywhere near that in the minors (61%). He even chipped in eight homers for good measure. I’ve seen him ranked anywhere from 80 to 200+ on some early Top-300 rankings, which is kind of a large difference. Depending on the size and savvy of your league, he’ll either be a nice piece in the late rounds of your draft or a player whose preseason chatter propels him into the “not really a value anymore” territory.

Adam Eaton – 2013: 5 SB in 277 PA

Not a typo. Five steals. Eaton was a preseason sleeper for a lot of folks heading into the 2013 season, but an elbow injury derailed him for the better part of the year. Some new surroundings in Chicago and a (hopefully) healthy elbow could bring back the old Eaton we know and love in 2014. He’s the one that stole 46 bases across three levels in 2012 and did so at a success rate of 76%, which is nothing to sneeze at. Eaton will likely lead-off for the ChiSox, who’ve shown a little more bravado on the base paths over the last two years (13th and 12th in the majors for total steals in 2012 and 2013 respectively). It should be noted that Eaton had a significant setback with his elbow last year just before he was slated to return, so the possibility exists that he could injure it again and miss some time even in 2014. He’s only 25 years old, but that health concern along with some tame stolen base projections will depress his value enough to make him a nice bargain should he remain healthy and atop the White Sox lineup all year long.

Peter Bourjos – 2013: 6 SB in 196 PA

Just look at those crazy stolen base numbers! 6! After Bourjos averaged 28 steals a season in the minor leagues, he hasn’t quite put his good speed into practice in the bigs save for a solid campaign of 22 steals in 2011. One of the best parts of his game is actually his plus defense in center. While we typically don’t get points for defense in fantasy, an above average defender will usually get a longer playing time leash than a below average one. More playing time means more chances for steals. Over the last three years, Bourjos has an UZR rating of +23, which is good for top-5 among all centerfielders in that same period of time. To put it in perspective, Carlos Gomez has an UZR of +42 since 2011, Jacoby Ellsbury is a +29, and I’m -412, just behind Matt Kemp. I think Bourjos has shown the ability to steal bases, but what he hasn’t shown us yet is the ability to stay on the field. Between hamstring issues and a broken wrist, he’s only managed ~150 games over the last two seasons combined. A healthy Bourjos stole 22 bags in 155 games during the 2011 season, and 37 across two levels the year before that, so there’s no reason to think the soon-to-be-27-year-old can’t get his wheels going again in St. Louis with some luck in the health department. A concern is that the Cardinals don’t run much to begin with. Over the last 3 years, only the Tigers have stolen fewer bases than the Cardinals (193). I’d take the wait and see approach, AKA CWM.

 

Mike also writes for TheDynastyGuru. If you’re a tweeter on Twitter he’s @643ball

 

 

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  1. hondo says:
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    Thanks for pitching in on the weekends,I’ve gotten many a good gleaning from your posts.

  2. Mike

    Mike says:
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    anytime man…thanks for reading

  3. The Thumb says:
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    I’m saying this because I love you/these posts. Look at where you explain SAGNOF, these aren’t pitchers :)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @The Thumb: LOL…I put saves…thanks for the heads up Thumb!

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @The Thumb: Fixed. Thanks for the catch!

  4. Count de Monetball says:
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    Thanks for the weekend reads mike. I haven’t quite figured out why am so fascinated with the steals side of SAGNOF this year, I forget are you making a projection of what teams will be red light what teams will be greenlight as far as from a defense of steals projection this year?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Count de Monetball: yup, I’ve got that one in the hopper but probably closer to the start of the season since there are still moves being made. I already started looking at the CS% of the catchers though. In the meantime, Rudy put together a new tool for SAGNOF. Look in the dropdown menu for tools and you’ll find it. It lists every pitcher basically and the steals against information for each. I’m really excited about it and props to Rudy for making it.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Count de Monetball: you might like this Count…it’s from last year but I keep it bookmarked, so figured I’d share with ya…hopefully the link works :)

      • JRR says:
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        @Grey:

        Lol! I read that as Razzball.com caught stealing a review of ….

  5. Marti says:
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    Nl keeper auction league…unlimited keepers..root league…

    Rank thevfollowing

    Dom brown 11
    Arena do 6
    Wainwright 16
    G Cole 9
    Wong 6

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Marti: Arenado, Cole, Waino, Brown, Wong

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    when comparing low steals totals between STL and DET over last few years, keep in mind that it certainly appears more likely that DET’s lack of them is in fact a strategy with guys like A-Jax having horrible steals totals last year, whereas STL really is a slow ass team most of the last few years. Carpenter/Beltran/Holliday/Kozma/Descalso are NOT fast, but those were the guys who even could be basestealers last few years. The best one was Jay, and he isn’t good at it either. Now they have Bourjos/Wong it will likely be better. If again they end up with low steals totals after this year you can point to it being organizationally strategic.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @goodfold2: good point, they really didn’t have much there

  7. gareth says:
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    Thanks for the Sagnof tips mike! I think I’ll target power early and speed later in drafts. Lots of 30 steal guys, not so many 30 homer guys. Those power steal guys -gold!

      • James says:
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        @Mike:

        you can still get Moss and Carter pretty late in drafts for 30 home run power.

  8. Stock says:
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    Thanks for the info on SB. Im really trying to figure out if Hamilton is worth picking up using one of my slots for him. Any help/advice?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Stock: I’d say it really depends on how many slots you have to fill, but he’s gonna start and leadoff so he’ll have every opportunity to make an impact with his legs. If it’s a keep 3 or keep 5 I wouldn’t bother, but if it’s a keep 10 or 12 he’s worth a look. My best advice would be to see where he’s going in some pert drafts and try to avoid overpaying for him (or anybody for that matter) since there are steals out there in later rounds. I try to save my keeper slots for players I feel are big values or who have a track record that makes them somewhat reliable.

      • Stock says:
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        @Mike: Thanks for the feedback with actual info not just comments like… sounds good, maybe,depends. What is keep 10 or 12? Keeper leagues. Im yahoo pro. Thanks

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Stock: ha anytime…I thought you meant a keeper slot when you said slot, so I was referring to the number of guys kept. If it’s not keepers, and you’re just deciding whether or not to draft him, I’d just say that he’s going to get a lot of buzz which might lead to some reaches/overpays. He’s going to steal a lot of bases, but (and take this with a grain of salt since most of my posts here are SAGNOF) you can find speed later in the draft and maybe use that pick/money to get a more balanced/less risky outfielder. If in your draft he falls to you at a point were you think he is a steal than snatch him up, just don’t reach IMO. For a second opinion, here’s Grey’s take from the rankings… http://razzball.com/top-40-outfielders-2014-fantasy-baseball/

  9. mauledbypandas says:
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    Really love this series. Also, the link Grey posted is really good. You can really sneak in some steals with a poor throwing catcher/pitcher combo.

    It’s odd how the ESPN dudes seem to think this year steals are a high priority when we all know SAGNOF. Seriously though there are a lot of steals out there, no need to go nuts over a Hamilton or Ellsbury type, but who knows. If they slip far enough anyone can be good value

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @mauledbypandas: thanks for the kind words…the CS% posts are always interesting and fun to write. well said…there will be steals out there

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