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I have a love/hate relationship with Labor Day. On one hand, I have to say goodbye to all of my white pants and seersucker sportcoats. I’m also not a big football guy, so it pains me to see my baseball mates quietly drift off into the world of fantasy football. There’s also a lot to love, though. It’s a day off from work if you’re lucky. It’s also the start of some really exciting pennant chase baseball. And last but not least, we have the expansion of MLB rosters. September gives us a chance to see some fresh faces and possibly some future stars. While none of them are likely to make a huge fantasy impact, there are a few players who have come up that could help in the steals category. Billy Hamilton is the most obvious name. He’s the guy you want if you’re going to gamble on a September call-up. There are some other names, however, that are worth a look in very deep leagues or NL/AL-only leagues. Guys like Jose Ramirez in Cleveland, Dee Gordon in LA, and Jim Adduci in Texas all have speed to offer. Like Hamilton, they’re not going to see regular playing time, so while they are fun to mix and match, they aren’t players that I would rush to add to my roster. Hamilton is the exception to the rule. His speed warrants a look even if he’s relegated to pinch-running most nights. Here are some of the best bets for stolen bases this week in fantasy baseball:

Eric Young@ATL, @CLE

Last week’s green light special didn’t disappoint. 4 steals and a pair of 3-hit games were a welcome sight from Young, who had started to cool off a bit. His match-ups get a lot tougher this week, though. The Braves and Indians are much stingier against the run than his previous opponents.

Jarrod Dyson  – SEA, DET

Complaining that your team doesn’t have any stolen bases while leaving Jarrod Dyson on your waiver wire is the fantasy equivalent of getting locked in a grocery store and starving to death. I know ESPN’s ownership numbers are bull, but 15% seems criminally low for a guy who stole 5 bases last week and another 5 the week before. He’s getting regular playing time now with Bonifacio getting his starts at second base, so there aren’t any reasons not to let this guy help you gain some points in steals. The Tigers can’t catch a cold, so look for the success to continue later this week.

Emilio Bonifacio - SEA, DET

Bonifacio just keeps on rolling in Kansas City. He also had 4 steals last week and he is getting regular playing time at second base. He’s one of the better bets for the final month of the season from your waiver wire, even if it’s just for the stolen bases. Like Dyson, he’ll get the tasty match-up against Detroit.

Jordan Schafer - NYM, @PHI

Schafer will continue to see a boost in playing time with Heyward out. He can be kind of frustrating to own given that he’ll sprinkle in a few good games among a bunch of 0-fers, but his 4 steals last week were helpful to those who took a chance on him. He might be a good play against the Phillies later this week. They’ve been one of the easier teams to run on all year, especially when Cole Hamels gets the nod on Saturday. Cole has allowed the third most stolen bases in baseball among qualified pitchers.

Leury Garcia - @NYY, @BAL

Garcia swiped a pair of bags last week despite not playing every day. He has cheap steals written all over him for deeper leagues and AL-only leagues, but this week’s match-ups are tough. If you’re giving him a look, my advice would be to wait until next week when he draws the Tigers and Indians instead.

Pedro Florimon - @HOU, TOR

Another AL middle infielder who’s heating up is Twins’ shortstop Pedro Florimon. He’s appeared in this column before, but never really stole enough bags to warrant sticking through slumps. Over the last two weeks he does have 4 steals and a .289 average, so if you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel he might be worth a peek. The match-ups with Houston and Toronto could yield some stolen bases.

The Red Sox (DET, NYY) have pulled out in front of the Angels (TB, TEX) and Tigers (BOS, KC) for the most stolen bases allowed in baseball with 115 entering Sunday. A friendly match-up with the Sox might get Brett Gardner moving again.

Teams highlighted in green are in the top ten for most stolen bases allowed.

Teams highlighted in red are in the top ten for least stolen bases allowed.

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10 Responses

  1. West says:
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    Hey guys I’m an avid reader, but first time poster. Just entered my first week of playoffs and need the green light to drop Carl Crawford for Dyson. We have two rounds of playoffs that last two weeks each, I come in as #1 seed but my opponent from 4th place has a scary good team; he does not have a place to put Carl if I drop him btw.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @West: Dyson could give you a real nice steals boost. Especially since he will face the Indians and then Detroit again next week. As long as you are okay with the steals being empty ( he won’t help you in other cats) I’m fine with that.

  2. stynyr says:
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    Wacha tomorrow against the Reds, or Chen vs. Seattle tomorrow and Detroit on Sunday?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @stynyr: I’d roll with Wacha.

  3. Coco Crisp's Fro says:
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    Hey Mike. Nice article by the way. Rest of the season rank these SS in a Keeper league: Dee Gordon, Brad Miller, Jonathan Villar. What happened to Villar by the way?. He was on his way in the SB category, then got hurt and fell off the planet.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Coco Crisp’s Fro: Thanks man. I’d rank them Miller, Villar, Gordon. Not sure about the steals drought from Villar. Looked good early but major league pitchers can adjust, and he’s gotta adjust back like any other rookie. Could be banged up at this point in the season as well. Still like him though. Both he and Miller could be sneaky good plays at SS next year.

  4. Nation says:
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    Thanks for all the work Mike, its always much appreciated!

    I remember earlier in the year that you used to post the top and bottom 1/3 of teams as a quick addendum to your work on the bottom. Do you still have that information, or would you mind posting where we could find that info? Sorting through ESPN or Baseball Reference for individual catcher CS% seems tedious and if you’ve already done the work…

    Asking for a friend obviously.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Nation: sure….just go to ESPN’s MLB page.
      click “stats”, “player fielding” and select “catcher” in the position drop down.
      CS% will be the second column from the right and it is fully sortable.

      just remember to click “non-qualified” to include all MLB catchers who have played this year

      to sort it by team, use “team pitching” instead of “player fielding”

      thanks for reading!

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    i would think due to boneface hitting higher in order and better in general (and having less platoon problems) he’d be better steals pickup than dyson (plus crazy position eligibility strength)?

  6. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Sure, those are all fair points and I would agree that Boni is probably a better all around guy to have in your lineup. I would just keep in mind that they have basically had the same number of at bats over the last week, with Dyson getting regular starts too and actually hitting for a much higher average. If you expand the sample to over the last month, Dyson has the same number of swipes as Boni in 30 less at bats, Dyson is owned in 40% less leagues, so availability is much higher. Thanks for reading!

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