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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