Let’s say you’re looking for the player with the best stolen base per plate appearances ratio. You might think of recent SAGNOF heart-throb Rajai Davis, who basically has a steal for every 8 plate appearances. Davis has recently soared to 80% ownership thanks to his outburst of 7 steals in 4 days and an absolute monster day at the dish yesterday. You’d be close, but the answer is actually Jarrod Dyson at 1:7, and who is owned in 79% less leagues. But Mike, isn’t Jarrod Dyson just a platoon player, part of a four-man outfield in Kansas City? Of course he is, but so was Davis before Melky Cabrera went down, and unfortunately that’s where I’d suspect Davis will be headed once again when the Blue Jays’ $8 million dollar man returns from the DL in the next week or so.
Dyson is just as deadly on the basepaths as Davis in my opinion and is even more efficient. In 2012, Dyson stole 30 bags in 330 plate appearances, or 1 steal for every 11 plate appearances, which is basically the same ratio that Davis had. Just to give you an idea, 1:11 is about the rate that Jacoby Ellsbury is stealing bags this year. Dyson actually had a better CS% than Davis in 2012 as well, almost 8% lower than Rajai’s. I don’t disagree that Rajai is the king of SAGNOF and should be owned everywhere right now. All I’m saying is that Rajai recently fell into some increased playing time, and some GREAT matchups (Rays, Red Sox, Tigers) that I pointed out in my last two posts. Despite his swipe during yesterday’s binge, Rajai found out it’s not quite as easy to steal against the Twins as he had just his third caught stealing of the year against them on Saturday. (For yet another common thread between the two speedsters, Dyson has been caught just twice this year, both times by the Twins).
So if you missed out on the Rajai steals explosion, go grab my man Jarrod Dyson. I could easily see both guys stealing 20 bases the rest of 2013, and right now Dyson is much more widely available. Dyson will face the Yankees this week, which is a match-up you may want to avoid, but then he’ll draw the Indians who are softer against the run. Coming out of the All-Star Break, he’ll get the Tigers, who are currently tied for the fourth most stolen bases allowed in baseball.
Here are two other names I think you should be keeping an eye on this week based on their favorable match-ups and recent success:
Eric Young – (Last Week: 4 SB This Week: @SF, @PIT Owned: 7%)
Great news for Young this week, as he not only recorded steals in four straight games but he also got a start at second base, which is another start closer to dual eligibility in fantasy. After watching him get picked off against Arizona last week, I thought things looked bleak. Then BOOM! like a firecracker on the 4th of July he went and stole a base Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! He’s getting regular playing time with the Mets and so far has made the most of it. Young has two good match-ups this week against the Giants and Pirates, and for the first time in a long while I can recommend him with confidence to help garner steals for your fantasy squad.
Brad Miller – (Last Week: 0 SB This Week: BOS, LAA Owned: 2%)
Miller has 2 triples and 2 steals since being called up just a short time ago by the Mariners and could continue to get some looks in the leadoff spot. He’ll draw the Red Sox and Angels, who are both ranked in the top five for most stolen bases allowed (Angels have allowed a whopping 70 SB going into Sunday night’s game). Miller has the natural speed and now the opportunity. If you are hurting at middle infield and need some SB help, he’s my best recommendation this week.
**Don’t forget to stash Adam Eaton, who should return from the DL shortly after the ASB and could be a difference maker in the second half of the season.
Teams highlighted in green are in the top ten in most stolen bases allowed.
Teams highlighted in red are in the top ten in least stolen bases allowed.
Tune in next week for a 1st-half review, when I’ll give you the most recent data on how the league’s pitchers and catchers fare against the run. We’ll also look at how this year’s first half stacks up against previous years’ stolen base numbers.
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