Slow clap for all the folks who drafted Jean Segura last year and his 44 steals. Now a slower, even more appreciative clap for Grey, who tagged him as a fantasy sleeper heading into 2013. The following list is not meant to find you the 2014 version of Jean Segura, but rather identify the middle infielders who are the essence of SAGNOF (Steals Ain’t Got NO Face). These players will be cheap at the draft or may go undrafted entirely. You probably won’t want any of them as your starting shortstop or second baseman, but you’ll want to stash them away in the dark corners of your mind for when you are desperate for steals and there is a vacancy in your middle infidel slot. How cheaply you can acquire these players has a lot to do with the depth of your league and since not all fantasy leagues are created equal (thank God), you’ll have to take that into consideration when weighing the value of their steals. And hey, you never know, maybe the next Jean Segura is in here somewhere…

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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.

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Indians Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Ed Carroll from Wahoos on First and co-host of the Wahoo’s on the Mic podcast.

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Finding cheap stolen bases in your fantasy league is what SAGNOF is all about, and sometimes that means rostering a risky player here and there. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the guys you see once you scroll down into the triple digits. The ones with the minus sign next to their name on $ values. In the last post (Part 1), I looked at three outfielders whose playing time situations made them nice options for stolen bases without breaking your bank. This week, we’ve got two more outfield candidates for quality steals numbers at a discounted price: Ben Revere and Cameron Maybin. Both are centerfielders with a 40-steal season under their belts, but both are also coming off of 2013 seasons that were plagued by injuries. While Maybin and Revere are most likely going to see their values depressed in this year’s draft, I think they are a gamble worth taking as a fifth outfielder in most mixed leagues thanks to their speed on the basepaths.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Cubs Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Mauricio Rubio Jr. from CubsDen.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Rangers Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Joseph Pytleski from RotoBanter.

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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).

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Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

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Two weeks ago we looked at the speedsters from 2013 and there were more than a few names on the list that were available on the waiver wire at some point. For deeper leagues and daily fantasy players that need to maximize each and every matchup, even the smallest advantages can mean the difference between a win and a loss. That’s why we focused a lot on matchups this past year, and we’ll do it again in 2014. Even the best base stealers get caught once in a while, so it’s good to know as much as we can about who might be doing the catching before deploying our fantasy lineups. There’s a lot that goes into a stolen base, of course, and the battery of pitcher and catcher is a large piece of the puzzle. Pitchers who are good at holding baserunners can be avoided while pitchers who have a tendency to cough up a lot of steals can be exploited. Here’s how some starters fared in 2013 and over the last three years against the stolen base.

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SAGNOF refers to “saves/steals ain’t got no face”. In other words, they can come from unlikely sources throughout the season and us fantasy baseball folk shouldn’t sell the farm for them on draft day. Let me tell you, 2013 was no exception. When I received my series assignment from Grey earlier this year, I was excited to explore steals as a topic for my column, if only because I knew it would help a lot of people out there do better in the category. I also couldn’t recall many other fantasy sites hitting steals as a primary topic week-in and week out, so hats off to Razzball for being ahead of the game yet again.

It was fascinating to follow along as players rose and fell in value based on steals alone, and even more fascinating to watch match-ups against certain teams yield steals in bunches. This offseason, I’ll be posting every other week and sticking with the stolen base as my focus. We’ll start by taking a look back, but then we’ll shift our gaze forward to 2014 and see if we can get a leg up on the competition prior to our drafts next spring. Let’s get started with a look at the big picture when it comes to steals over the last five years…

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