It’s not even June and the Mariners are on their second lead-off 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…
Denard Span – MIA, TEX
Span got the steal against Pittsburgh that I was shooting for, and he’ll get another good match-up this week against the Marlins. Miami is tied with Pittsburgh for the second most stolen bases allowed this year (42). The Nationals are slowly getting healthy again and recently got Adam LaRoche back, so there will be opportunities for Span to score runs as well. Span has what I would call “boring speed”, if there is such a thing.
Anthony Gose – TB, KC
Gose is a player who stole 69 bags back in 2011 when he was in Double-A. He may not play every day, but he’s hit well since his call up this season, batting .308 with two stolen bases. He’s not somebody I’d target in standard mixed leagues, but he’d be a threat to steal anytime he’s in the lineup. Neither the Rays nor the Royals present a good steals match-up, though.
Craig Gentry – DET, LAA
Like Gose, Gentry’s playing time is a little erratic. He does, however, have eight stolen bases on the season and hasn’t been caught stealing yet. He’ll get a favorable match-up against the Tigers, and it looks like he’ll draw the aforementioned Sanchez/Avila battery in the last game of the series. If Gentry’s in the starting lineup, I’d definitely try to get him in there for that game.
Ben Revere – COL, NYM
Revere mentioned in a post game interview Saturday that he is still finding his way in terms of dealing with the ankle injury that sidelined him last season. It was a significant injury, and could explain some of his inconsistencies this year. His ownership dipped below 50% this week, so he may be a player that can be had cheaply right now. The center fielder has stolen 12 bases and is currently hitting .289, so I’m not sure why folks are bailing.
Chris Owings – SD, CIN
I mentioned Owings last week, but the match-up against the Padres makes him worth noting again. San Diego has allowed the most stolen bases in baseball (44). On top of that, Tyson Ross is tied with Gerrit Cole as the individual pitcher with the most steals allowed. In other words, it’s a nice opportunity for Owings to swipe a bag early this week. Owings has six steals and three homers on the season, and he’d make a great replacement for fantasy owners who lost Hanley Ramirez over the weekend.
Kolten Wong – NYY, SF
Wong is platooning with Ellis at second base, but he’s showing a lot more offensively this time around. He was one of last week’s picks, and as I write this he is 2-for-2 with two steals against a Reds team that is tough to run on. Like Owings, Wong offers a nice combination of pop and speed from the middle infield and would serve as a decent replacement at middle infield while Ramirez is shelved.
Mike’s on Twitter @643ball