I already went over my Danny Santana fantasy three weeks ago. But forget SAGNOF, Daniel Santana was an offensive machine this weekend! Leading off for the Twins on Saturday, the 23-year-old went 4-for-5 with a double, five runs batted in, and his fourth steal of the season. Need more? He’s eligible as a shortstop and an outfielder. His defense hasn’t been all that great in the outfield, but he could continue to see reps at both center and shortstop even when Morales is ready to DH. Santana is now 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts in just 72 plate appearances. He’s also hitting .373 with a .408 on base percentage. While it won’t last, he’s worth a look while he’s hot if you need a short-term spark. He’ll face the Blue Jays and the Tigers this week. Both teams are in the top ten in baseball for stolen bases allowed… we call that a green light special.

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The 2014 season is two months old, so it’s data day here at the Razzball Steals Emporium. This is kind of like the chapter review our teachers gave us in school, except there is no test, so everybody wins. We have to mention Dee Gordon to start. His ADP was 222. This is ironic because that’s about how many steals he’ll likely end up with this year. With 34 stolen bases on June 1, the 26-year-old middle infielder is on a crazy pace for about 90 swipes this season. Billy Hamil-who?

Gordon has always had speed, but he’s doing more to utilize it this year in the majors. He’s been successful on the basepaths 92% of the time. He’s swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, making better contact, and striking out less in general. Gordon has also been hitting more ground balls, less fly balls, and significantly less infield fly balls. This has all resulted in a better batting average, better on-base percentage, and in turn crazy stolen base numbers. It’s almost as if someone reminded Dee that he was fast and should just try to put the ball on the ground. Amazing!

Gordon owners can enjoy the ride and shouldn’t stay up at night worrying about him falling off a cliff. If anything, I wouldn’t be shy to acquire Gordon off of an owner who was nervous about that very scenario. He won’t provide much outside of stolen bases, but he’ll help you come close to winning that category from a middle infield position, allowing you to roster more balanced players in your outfield slots.

Here’s where we’re at with steals through the first two months in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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It’s not even June and the Mariners are on their second leadoff hitter in James Jones. The 25-year-old center fielder has hit at the top of the Mariners lineup and looks to remain there for the foreseeable future. Yes, I copied and pasted that last sentence from the Abraham Almonte post. Jones has looked good though, hitting .306 with a .377 OBP in the twenty games since his call up. More importantly, he’s swiped three bags already and projects to steal around 15 bases by year’s end. That’s a serviceable number for deeper mixed league owners struggling to find steals in their lineup. Jones stole 25+ in each of his last two minor league seasons, and he’s currently sporting a 62% ground ball percentage which is allowing him to maximize his speed. That percentage is seventh among outfielders with at least 50 plate appearances. This week, Jones gets a favorable match-up against the Tigers, who have allowed the tenth most stolen bases this season (34). A battery of Anibal Sanchez and Alex Avila has quickly become one of my favorite to run against since beginning this column. Jones probably won’t get to face that specific battery this time around, but one of our other SAGNOF picks will. Here are some of this week’s steals plays in fantasy baseball…

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Fellow Razzballer and DraftKings extraordinaire BTXJ brought Daniel Santana to our collective attention last week in the comments. Santana returned from a hamstring issue this past weekend and could be a cheap source of steals going forward. His ability to play both middle infield and outfield, as well as switch-hit, make him an interesting play in deeper leagues and leagues with daily roster moves. He’ll most likely hit from the bottom of the lineup, but he could certainly play his way up at some point. The 23-year-old is 8-for-21 in the majors this year and stole 30 bags in Double-A last season. He had stolen four bases prior to his call up from Triple-A this year. Why does an inexperienced hitter coming off an injury get the lede? He’s got the best possible match-ups this week. It’s only five games, but the Twins draw the Padres and Giants. Those teams are 1-2 for the most stolen bases allowed in the majors this year with 42 and 38 steals allowed, respectively. Even without a ton of playing time, Santana could work in a steal or two against these teams. Here are some other steals plays for this week in fantasy baseball…

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Coco Crisp‘s recent neck injury opens the door for Craig Gentry over the next few days. He’ll likely take over in center and bat at the bottom of the A’s lineup while Crisp practices turning his head in both directions. Hopefully he didn’t promise his bike to anyone who could fix him. You were supposed to sleep on a board, Coco! Gentry makes an interesting play for steals, and he appeared in this very column last week. In 2013, Gentry had 24 stolen bases in just 287 plate appearances, so he’s got some wheels. He’s already got six steals in limited playing time this year. On the schedule this week are the White Sox and the Indians. Both teams are tied for the 10th most steals allowed in the majors (25) so it’s not a bad match-up play. Crisp isn’t on the disabled list, he’s just day-to-day, so it could just be the White Sox series that Gentry gets all of the starts.

Take a peek at the new SB Rates vs. SP tool that Rudy has conjured up. Using all of last year’s data, it lets us know which pitchers to deploy our SAGNOF specialists against (based on their steals per innings pitched rates). I used it yesterday in DFS when I saw Eric Young was going to start against Cole Hamels, who’s pretty easy to run against. I swapped him into my lineup and it paid off with two steals from EY2 in the game. Here are some other SAGNOF picks for this week…

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Jace Peterson continues to see regular playing time with Chase Headley on the disabled list. Headley is expected to return around May 10th, so we should get another week of SAGNOF from Peterson. The 23-year-old has tallied two steals in 21 plate appearances for the Padres and he has seven home games on the schedule this week against the Royals and Marlins. The Royals have been stingy in allowing stolen bases, but the Marlins haven’t. The fish have given up the fourth most stolen bases in baseball entering Sunday’s games. Peterson had 39, 51, and 42 stolen bases over his last three minor league seasons. He is more of a deep league pickup, or a stop gap in your lineup given Headley’s imminent return, but the speed is real and he’s available (0% owned ESPN). A quick reminder to utilize the new SB Rates vs. SP tool here at Razzball. It’s a quick and easy way to find pitchers who are good targets to run against, and comes in handy for DFS and daily roto leagues. Here are some other steals picks for fantasy baseball this week…

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One of the perks of getting burned by the same player year after year (in this case Cameron Maybin) is that I get to come up with a different pun for a title each season. This one wasn’t my brainchild, though. It comes to us courtesy of Rudy Gamble. He’s not just a stat guy. He’s pretty hilarious, especially on Twitter. Maybin burns me every year because I get sucked in to the youth (he’s still just 27) and the glimpses of upside he still flashes from time to time. Take last year for example, when he came back to the field for what ended up being just a handful of games, but still stole four bases. Maybin was one of my offseason choices for SAGNOF outfielders simply because he still has that 30-40 stolen base potential in his legs. He’ll have to hit and hit well to earn his keep in the crowded San Diego outfield, and health is obviously a major concern, but when he’s on the field he’s still a good steals play. The center fielder will draw the Giants and Diamondbacks this week. Both teams are in the top-10 in baseball this season for steals allowed. Lots of options for steals with some recent injuries so let’s get to it…

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Jarrod Dyson gets a nice short-term spike in value with the injury to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain. Dyson had been placed on the bereavement list heading into the weekend, but he is expected to rejoin the team today. So while he missed the Twins series to sit in awkward silence with his mee-maw and step-peppers, he’ll be deployed in the Royals outfield from today forward until Cain returns.

This means a great opportunity for SAGNOF. I mentioned Dyson in my 2013 wrap-up because he was really one of the most productive base-stealers in baseball last season. Dyson stole 34 bags in just 239 plate appearances. That’s roughly a steal every 7 plate appearances and was the best rate in baseball outside of billy Hamilton. Dyson is your best bet right now for free steals. I say free because I doubt he was drafted in most standard leagues and his ownership percentage at ESPN right now is a whopping 0.0%. He’ll draw the Indians and Orioles this week for seven games. The Orioles have been tough to run against, but the Indians are in the middle of the pack in terms of steals allowed.

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Kolten Wong has received the Grey seal of approval from the BUY column, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about his wheels, considering he’s owned in less than 20 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s hitting higher in the batting order for the Cardinals now, and has stolen three bases in the past week. He’s also hot, riding a six-game hit streak entering today. Wong stole 26 and 23 bases in the last two years respectively, so 20 steals is a safe bet, especially if he can gain some more at-bats from hitting towards the top of the lineup. Last year at Triple-A Memphis, Wong stole 20 bags and was only caught once. He’ll draw the Brewers and Nationals this week. Both have been stingy in allowing stolen bases so far this season, so Wong might not have an easy go of it. Over the Wong haul, though, I like him for 20 steals the rest of the way. Here’s some of this week’s steals plays…

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It may only be for two games, but Dee Gordon draws a nice match-up against the Tigers to start the week. Gordon is already in mid-season SAGNOF form, hitting over .400 with 3 steals entering Sunday’s game. Alex Avila can’t catch a cold. In 2013 he caught base stealers at a 17% clip. That was well below the 28% league average. Word on the street is that he spent the off-season catching up on Breaking Bad and True Detective instead of working on his times to second base, so here’s hoping the good times continue. Tuesday’s probable starter Anibal Sanchez gave up a steal every seven innings pitched last year and the battery should be an easy target for a speedster like Gordon. I found the info on Sanchez using the new SB Rates vs. SP tool here at Razzball. It’s a big help when deciding which pitcher’s to target for stolen bases in your daily match-ups.

There was a tear in the fabric of the SAGNOF universe during Opening Week. Pedro Alvarez stole a base off of Yadier Molina while Billy Hamilton was caught. Black is white. up is down. We’ve gone through the looking glass, folks. Seriously though, Hamilton looks lost. Good thing we have SAGNOF options for all of us schlubs who didn’t draft him in the first five rounds. Here are this week’s steals plays…

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