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I’ve read a few pieces recently about how stolen bases are down across MLB.  As long as steals are a category they will have value, and if steals are indeed down compared to previous years, then they just become that much more valuable. The guy who is currently second in all of baseball in steals, Juan Pierre, is still owned in less than half of the leagues out there. This is kind of confusing to me.  If we hit the wire to grab a guy who is in line for saves, or we’ll stream a pitcher hoping for a win, shouldn’t we grab Juan Pierre?

When the going gets tough the tough get going, and finding steals is not always easy to do.  You need the player to 1) have playing time/at bats, 2) get on base 3) have the opportunity to steal 4) have the talent to do it, and 5) have a good matchup against a pitcher and/or catcher that isn’t likely to throw him out. Finding all these things is difficult, which makes guys with raw speed alone not necessarily a lock for steals.  Just look at last week’s focus, Eric Young Jr. He’s got speed, but if he doesn’t play or he makes bad baserunnning decisions, he can’t steal.  I put together some data that may be helpful in determining which players could be successful on the basepaths this week. All of these players are owned in less than 50% of ESPN and Y! fantasy baseball leagues and have at least 3 steals on the season so far. Statistics from Sunday’s games are not reflected in the table.

 

Player, Pos. SB CS SBO Matchups G vLHP vRHP
Juan Pierre OF 10 1 51  @SD, @LAD 6 3 3
Rajai Davis OF 6 1 26  @TB, @BOS 7 3 4
Jordan Schafer OF 5 1 23 @CIN, @SF 7 1 6
Jarrod Dyson OF 5 1 5 @BALNYY 6 2 4
Chris Young (DL) OF 5 0 21  N/A (DL) - - -
AJ Pollock OF 5 1 26  @LAD, PHI 7 4 3
Jordany Valdespin OF 4 1 27  CWS, PIT 6 4 2
Nate Schierholtz OF 4 1 40  TEX, STL, @WAS 6 2 4
Will Venable OF 4 1 23  MIA, @TB 6 1 5
Drew Stubbs OF 4 0 38  OAK, @DET 7 1 6
Kelly Johnson 2B, OF 4 2 28  TOR, SD 7 4 3
Craig Gentry OF 4 1 21  @CHC, @MIL, @HOU 6 1 5
Michael Saunders OF 4 0 28  @PIT, OAK 5 1 4
Brandon Barnes OF 3 1 24  LAA, TEX 6 2 4
Justin Ruggiano OF 3 0 29 @SD, @LAD 6 3 3
Aaron Hicks OF 3 1 31 @BOS, BAL 7 2 5
Munenori Kawasaki SS 3 1 26 @TB, @BOS 7 3 4
Andy Dirks OF 3 0 23 @WAS, CLE 5 0 5
Dee Gordon SS 3 0 6 ARI, MIA 6 2 4

Key: SB- Stolen Bases, CS-Caught Stealing, SBO-Stolen Base Opportunites (number of PA when the runner was on first or second with the next base open), -#Games Scheduled through Sunday, including #vs lefties (LHP) and #vs righties (RHP)

Teams highlighted in green are in the Top 5 of MLB in most stolen bases allowed.  Teams highlighted in red are in the Top 5 in least stolen bases allowed.

Playing time and opportunities are important when trying to squeak out extra steals, which is why I provided the number of games on the upcoming schedule for the week as well as the number of games versus left handers and right handers for those players who may be in a platoon situation. For example, I’d love to recommend Rajai Davis going against two green light teams this week, but with 4 of the 7 games scheduled against RHP, you could end up watching him sit  more often than you’d like. Aside from platoons, it’s also useful to know the number of starts by LHP since it is generally harder to steal against lefties than righties.

Green Lights:

Given the scarcity of steals, there is no reason not to pick up Juan Pierre if he’s on your wire and you have a slot for him.  He’s second only to Jacoby Ellsbury in SB and he’ll continue to run. He’s got 4 more than the next waiver wire option (Rajai Davis), a great CS%, and the most stolen base opportunities due to his steady playing time and decent on base skills. (Or maybe it’s that the bases are always empty in Miami). The veteran achieved a milestone last week, stealing the 600th base of his career.

Drew Stubbs also has seven games on the schedule this week.  While he is only hitting .226 in 53 AB against RHP this year, 3 of his 4 steals have come with a righty on the mound and he’ll likely face 6 of them this coming week.

This list is occupied mainly by outfielders, but there are two middle infielders who are worth watching.  Kelly Johnson and Munenori Kawasaki are widely available and have shown some speed.  Of the two, Johnson will most likely provide more fantasy value going forward.

The Dodgers recalled Dee Gordon from AAA Albuquerque.  It’s yet to be seen exactly how they’ll use him, but he went 2 for 4 on Saturday night with 2 steals and a triple. Speed freaks will be drooling over him on the waiver wire. He’ll still need to show that he can get on base consistently at the major league level, but he’s a no-brainer for steals help. His natural speed makes him worth snagging and he’ll have favorable matchups this week with the D-Backs and Marlins both in the top third of the league in SB allowed.

Yellow Light:

AJ Pollock had a slam and legs on Saturday night against the Padres, but I’m worried.  Short term, he’s got 7 games coming up this week and five steals already on the season, which is good, but the phrases “will soon cut into his playing time” and “demotion for regular at bats” have started to spring up in his news blurbs, and that doesn’t bode well for his fantasy value going forward, especially with Adam Eaton eventually coming back into the mix at some point.

Red Lights:

Jarrod Dyson may look tempting given that he has five steals on the season already, but he just doesn’t play enough to warrant a pickup right now, and he’s got tough matchups this week anyway (BAL, NYY).

Eric Young Jr. had another productive day on Saturday, but I have to put him here because he played a lot less than I thought he would last week. He didn’t make this table as he only had 2 SB entering Sunday with 4 CS. Grey said it was his mission to get him in the lineup in last week’s BUY, which means it won’t be long until he plays every day and steals 2-3 bags a game. Yes, I have that kind of faith in Grey’s powers of suggestion.

From Around The Web

  1. Milo says:
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    Pierre 16 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 11 SB – .234 BA stats for 5X5

    R and SB = 2/5 categories

    I’ll pass, except to stream and hope he steals a base or two

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Milo: That’s one way to use him if he’s available on your wires most of the time….this week he’s got a good mathcup against SD and a not so great one against the Dodgers…

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        @Mike: or matchup…not sure what a math cup is…

        • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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          @Mike: A mathcup is a cup with magnets shaped as numbers. We had a set of such magnets. My son took them off the refrigerator and put some in a cup one time.

          See, I’m more than just a guy with an avatar of a mouse playing a xylophone.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            @Wallpaper Paterson: lol. My kid likes to fill vending machine dispensers with legos when I’m not paying attention. I’m glad to know what a math cup is now. Bet I’ve got one around my house somewhere.

    • Fat Elvis says:
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      @Milo: Make that 3 categories. He’s a career .296 hitter, hitting .304 over the last 15 days after a slowish start. Also, streaming guys for SBs will make you crazy and probably shave 2-3 years off your life expectancy. Same applies for trying to stream Adam Dunn for homers.

  2. Hondo says:
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    Dee Gordon?

    • Hondo says:
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      @Hondo:

      Oops,never mind.I see that you mentioned him.It’s rough sleeping until 1:30,ya know?LOL

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        @Hondo: haha, no I don’t know, but that’s ok

  3. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Would you drop Revere for Kelly Johnson, Rajai Davis or Kawasaki if you needed steals? While Giancarlo is out, I want to fill in my util spot with a speed guy, so this would only be temporary. Revere is off to such a slow start and is now hitting 7th or 8th most nights.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: That’s a tough one…Revere has been pretty bad. If you can put up with Rajai sitting, he’ll probably give you the most pure speed on a week by week basis, but in terms of overall production Johnson is probably your best bet while he’s hot…my guess is Rajai will be there when you need him on the wire

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Mike: Thanks for the reply. Yeah I picked up Rajai first, then he was barely playing, so I took a chance on Revere and he’s disappointed. I missed out on Juan Pierre when I picked up Revere instead. Kicking mysel for that. I can stand to sit Rajai if he doesn’t play every day. Just hopes he steals one bag per game that he does play.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Shake N Bacon: No problem! If you can find a way to get a guy on your bench to play against the righties then you’re really in business with Davis…

  4. Tehol Beddict says:
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    Pierre has been a God send on my roster

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: Mine too. As a fifth outfielder, he’s single handedly improved my standings in steals over the last two weeks…

  5. Clint says:
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    I think the problem with Pierre previously was there was a lot of question as to what kind of playing time he was going to get. Sites other than Razzball, I believe, seemed to suggest he was only going to be a part-timer so even though I drafted him, I dropped him early on for some power via Pedro Alvarez. Luckily for me, I also had Sterling Marte whose been carrying my team in a LOT this year so far & hopefully has staying power.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Clint: Thanks for the comment! Marte has been a beast…I agree and that’s understandable about Pierre. His slow start and all the talk of the Marlins being so terrible didn’t help either…

  6. Huge Caulk says:
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    What do you think of Jean Segura’s speed…is he a threat for 50?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Huge Caulk: Nice handle. I love Segura and own him in multiple leagues…I drafted him hoping for 25-30 steals, but given the way he has run so far it’s not crazy to think he could reach the 35 mark…50 might be a little optimistic since he has only hit that number once and it was in A-ball back in 2010.

  7. Natural Born Champs says:
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    Drop Joyce for J.Pierre?
    Im 100% Polish so I qualify to be your new polish neighbor. Razzball neighbor.
    Good day to you!

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @Natural Born Champs: Hey, I am half Polish and also German.

      If you need steals get Pierre and drop Joyce.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Natural Born Champs: I agree with Wallpaper…make the switch to Pierre steals help…I read your reply as polish like shoe polish so I was even more confused…haha

  8. Natural Born Champs says:
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    God dammit wrong page haha!

  9. Natural Born Champs says:
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    Done! Thanx for the advise!!

  10. Brendan says:
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    Am I okay in steals or should I chase someone like Pierre or Gordon that can steal tons of bases? I have Matt Kemp, Erick Aybar, Hanley Ramirez, Nate McLouth, and Michael Saunders that are all capable of stealing 20+ bases.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Brendan:Hi Brendan… Picking up Gordon while Hanley is out makes a lot of sense to me…

      • Brendan says:
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        @Mike: Looks like Gordon was picked up in my league and I don’t have a spot for another player. I would probably drop Rickie Weeks in order to pick up Pierre. I also have my eye on A.J. Pollock but I don’t really need another OF.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Brendan: @Brendan: Unless you really need the steals badly, I’d hold on Weeks. He started off slowly last year as well…

  11. the rat bastard says:
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    Good article. With Bourne on the sideline I picked up Pierre. Need them steals…lol.
    Overlooked is Everth Caberrra with the Padres. He has been a good surprise and even has had a little pop.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @the rat bastard: Thanks Rat Bastard….love Cabrera, didn’t make the cut for this article since he’s over 50% owned already…but he’s a beast for steals and more…

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