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Looking back on the unofficial first half of the fantasy baseball season can be a lot of fun, unless of course you are in dead last, in which case it’s about as much fun as watching your auntie’s cat play with its new Cat’s Meow toy while you eat stale Circus Peanuts. In any event, the gods of SAGNOF have not been as kind to us thus far in 2013, and it shows in the numbers.  The total number of steals in the league, 1524, is the lowest it’s been since 2006. In addition, there are only 21 players with 15 or more steals at this point in the season. That’s also the lowest it’s been since 2006.  It feels even lower given that just last year there were 28 players with 15+ steals at the break and 30 the year before that. This all means that players who steal 30 bags or more are a little harder to come by, and it’s no sure thing that each fantasy team will have one or two guys that can carry them in steals like in years past. It also means that having a guy like Ben Revere break his foot and lose his season is a much bigger blow to our fantasy squads (mine included) than it used to be. So what do we do if we lost a guy like Revere or missed out on a Jacoby Ellsbury or Everth Cabrera type? If you read my column regularly, you know I’m a big fan of playing the match-ups when it comes to steals, and seizing the opportunity to eke them out whenever possible against teams that are weak against the run. After all, just because steals are down in general, it doesn’t change the fact that they still make up 20% of our offensive points in most leagues.

Here is some of the data from the first half of the 2013 season. Teams and pitchers highlighted in green have shown a weakness in allowing stolen bases, while teams and pitchers highlighted in red are tough against the run. I also included the league averages for comparison. While it’s no sure thing that playing guys against these teams will give you steals, it’s just one more piece of information for your toolbox when making roster decisions on a daily or weekly basis.

Team Stolen Base Statistics
League Average – 51 Steals Allowed, 28% CS%
Team SBA CS%    Team SBA CS%
DET 71 22% STL 21 40%
LAA  71 20% ARI  26 28%
TB  68 23% BAL  29 43%
CHC 68 27% LAD  30 50%
BOS  67 24% NYY  30 35%
SD  66 27% MIN  34 37%
SF  65 23% CIN  40 32%
PHI  63 26% TEX  40 25%
MIL  63 19% NYM 42 30%
CWS  62 22% MIA  43 42%

Notes: Washington is sitting just outside the top ten for steals allowed with 60 on the season and a league worst 12% CS%. When you combine those two statistics they are actually one of the easiest teams to run against. It’s one of the reasons I like Eric Young of the Mets, who’ll face Philly or Washington over 20 times in the second half of the season.

As far as pitchers go, it’s sometimes helpful to know who is easy to run against for those of us in daily leagues that can play even smaller match-ups. Here are the pitchers who have allowed the most stolen bases in 2013 (minimum 60 IP):

John Lackey, Edinson Volquez, Scott Feldman, A.J. Burnett, Tim Lincecum, Roberto Hernandez, Barry Zito, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jonathan Pettibone, Yovani Gallardo, Matt Cain, Chris Sale, Edwin Jackson

Notes: On the other side of the coin, Adam Wainwright has yet to allow a steal in over 140 innings pitched this year.

I hope this information is helpful. Next week we’ll get back to focusing on individual players who may be available to help in the steals category. Enjoy the All-Star Game and thanks for reading!

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  1. PB&J with a baseball bat says:
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    Who do you like better ROS, Eric Young or Leonys Martin?

  2. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Martin, but it’s getting closer IMO.

  3. Ferga says:
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    Will Aoki steal more in the 2nd half ? Im running him out there in an obp league but need steals.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Ferga: I’m not sure he will. His steals numbers in japan weren’t as high as you’d think (twenty SB a year more the norm for him than thirty). Last year might have been more of a blip and we gave him “wheels” based on last years number.

  4. Steve Stevenson says:
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    EYJr. needs 4 starts or 7 appearances at 2B to get eligibility in yahoo. Think he gets there? I don’t really have a spot for him at OF but once the trade deadline passes and I can jettison my speculative RP plays, I could stash him for batty calls and potential starts at MI later in the year.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: I think it’s possible, especially now that Jordany “I like to call out my manager in public” Valdespin is out of the picture. Might be worth the gamble to hang onto him, although it may not happen quickly.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        @Mike: To put it another way, even if he doesn’t I’d rather have him on my bench for steals help than a RP that doesn’t end up closing.

      • JoeC says:
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        @Mike: In Jordany’s defense, Terry Collins is an idiot and deserves to be, not only called out, but fired.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @JoeC: ha! That’s fair…

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: if he still needs 4 in yahoo, this also means he’s only had 1 start at 2b all year. Beware of waiting for this. Or multiply times 5 his Mets at bats to find out how long it could take. I’d say he’d get it by next may or so. Unless he gets more total late inning appearances, as that could happen.

  5. JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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    Thoughts on Martin ROS? Is he solid enough to rely on as my starting CF in a 16 teamer? My gut says yes in a league that size, but I always especially appreciate the perspective of others on younger/unproven players. Thanks.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @JoeMorgan’sMustache: yup I like Martin in that deep of a league as a starter. Especially now that he’s seeing time in the two hole.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        @Mike: I think he could kiss double digit homers and thirty steals

        • JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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          @Mike: Sounds good…that is what I was thinking as well. Appreciate the input!

  6. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Nice perspective on how the fleet of foot are becoming more and more rare as of late. I didn’t notice it but then I find my team struggling in the steals department and every week I’m struggling to find a speedy guy on the waiver wire. Your posts definitely help me out. I just traded for Carlos Gomez, so my steals woes should hopefully cease!

  7. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    hey shake,whats up with gardner not running much,i traded ellsbury for kershaw,traded for revere to make up for steals and now just traded for gardner,whew,any thoughts,thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: He’s striking out a little more and walking a little less, but other than that everything seems to be in line with his career numbers. He probably won’t get back to his 40+ SB numbers of a few years ago, though, and it looks like this year we’ll be happy to get 30 out of him. Speed seems to be one of the skills that declines quickly, but he’s only 29 so it’s kind of a puzzler where all those SB went. You still did a good job getting a decent replacement for Revere though, losing Ben hurts.

  8. Tom Jacks

    Tom Jacks says:
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    Good stuff, Mike. Very interesting.

Comments are closed.