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James Jones has appeared in this column before, but his three steals against the Padres last week opened the eyes of fantasy players in all formats. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise given who those steals came against though. The Padres are one of the worst teams in the majors at holding baserunners and on that particular night it was Tyson Ross on the mound. Ross is currently leading the major leagues in stolen bases allowed (21). He’s got a big red target on his back for those of us in daily leagues looking to deploy SAGNOF types. If you look at it as a rate, the Padres hurler is giving up about a steal for every five innings pitched. Ross is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks this week, so even fringy players like Tony Campana might be worth a shot for a stolen base. Week to week we give you the best and worst teams to run against, but looking even closer at the individual pitchers can be helpful for daily lineup changes. Hey Mike, I wish we had a tool for that! I hear you, friend. Check out the SB Rates vs. SP tool. It will give you the stolen base against data for each pitcher in 2013. Here’s a quick rundown of the best arms to run against in 2014 fantasy baseball…

A.J. Burnett, Gerrit Cole – 15 SBA

Burnett has been a yearly target for those of us who chase steals, but Cole has only recently emerged as an arm to run against. It’s worth mentioning that the hard throwing righty has actually given up those steals in 30 fewer innings than Burnett. That’s a rate of about one steal for every five innings pitched which is roughly the same rate as Ross mentioned above.

Scott Feldman – 14 SBA

Feldman’s vulnerability was on display the other night against the Nationals. My SAGNOF senses were tingling as the Nats touched him up for a whopping five stolen bases in five innings. Feldman was second in the majors last season with 30 stolen bases allowed.

Colby Lewis, John Lackey, Felix Hernandez, Drew Hutchison – 13 SBA

Lackey has pitched well this year, but his stolen base woes have continued this season. Last year, Lackey led the major leagues in stolen bases allowed with 36. He’s a prime target. King Felix is an example of an ace whose exceptional pitching doesn’t translate to immunity from allowing stolen bases. He finished last year in the top 15 with 17 steals allowed, and will likely surpass that mark with 13 already this season. Drew Hutchison is one of the new kids on the block, but with two and a half months of the season in the books, it’s safe to list him as a new SAGNOF target.

Marco Estrada, Roberto Hernandez, Ubaldo Jimenez – 12 SBA

Sorry to pile on your nightmare season Estrada, but you’re not holding baserunners very effectively either. We’ve also got our second Phillies pitcher already in Hernandez. The Phils make a decent target as a team, ranking 7th in the majors with 50 steals allowed. Even Cole Hamels coughed up 25 steals in 2013, although he’s doing much better this year with only four allowed in 80 innings pitched.

Francisco Liriano, Jered Weaver, Tim Lincecum, Bud Norris – 11 SBA

Lincecum was also in the top ten for stolen bases allowed in 2013, so his name appearing here doesn’t surprise me. Bud Norris was also on the front page of the steals leaderboards last season. Having Matt Wieters out should only make it easier to run against him.

  1. chrisL says:
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    12 team keeper league: normal 5×5 scoring:
    Who (if any) would you add:
    Charlie Morton
    Jesse Hahn (SD)
    Wade Miley
    Edwin Jackson
    Thanks again.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’ve always been a fan of Morton. Boring but solid arm in fantasy.

  2. Grover says:
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    Howdy mix master mike, which pitcher would you roll with for this week; jake odorozzi , Wei yin Chen, bartolo colon , jake arrieta, or Matt Cain?

    Also for next slot I need to pick one out of three ; cueto, tanaka or Strasberg.

    It’s a 10 team h2h points & it’s a weekly league.

    Thanks love the posts

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks!

      Arrieta, Tanaka

  3. Sweet chin music says:
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    Do you like Alexei Ramirez this week / the long term? I don’t think I’m at the point of dropping him- yet. Since dee Gordon has eligibilty what so you think about benching a-Ramirez & moving dee Gordon to SS & pedroia from bench to 2b? Or just leave Ramirez at SS & Gordon at 2b?

    — I was thinking of dropping Matt Holliday to add tommy la Stella, good bad move , if I did that id be leaning on starting Stella . Other OF jay Bryce, Hunter pence, springer, Brantley & polanco as utility & Bryce Harper hopefully returning next week

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I like Alexei, but you need to be playing Gordon, yes.

      I’d hold Holliday

      • Sweet chin music says:
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        @Mike:

        Thanks for the response mike! Yeah good call on Holliday, I feel if I drop him he’d be scooped up, you’d play both pedroia & Gordon over a ram?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime. I’d play Pedroia and Dee yes, and look to move one of the three in a trade. They all have value.

  4. J Boy says:
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    Mike, better to stash Mookie Betts now in hopes of an imminent call-up or stick with James Jones for bench swipes? Thanks, keep up the great work.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Stick with Jones for now. Bird in hand, blah blah.

  5. Mello Yello says:
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    Great column GM Mike! James Jones is most definitely a large blip on the SAGNOF radar. Hey I’m liking Odor man. Stole a base over the weekend, has decent pop, plays at the Launch Pad…less than 10% start him in Yahoo right now…guess we’ll see how it all falls down Kanye West (you know, when he was good…remember?)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks! yeah, I like Odor a lot. quietly putting up decent numbers despite being rushed to the majors to fill the need. it would be really great if he hit higher in the order…

      • Mello Yello says:
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        @Mike: At some point it’s gotta be logical to put him at the deuce after Andrus, before Beltre

  6. It's Monday funday says:
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    Need to pick one jake arrieta or Matt Cain- looks like they both have two starts. What’s up with the cubs & nats not playing on Sunday for week 13?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Ride Arrieta while he’s hot. Not sure about week 13…

  7. fausto says:
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    Fister/Springer for ellsbury or
    Bumgarner for ellsbury?
    Which one wins? Im hurting bad in sb totally fine in hr.
    Pitching is crap besides those 2 might add well stream matchups.

    • fausto says:
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      @fausto: its a Redraft league FYI.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Prefer the one-for-one and keep Springer around. He could also contribute some of the steals you need help with…

  8. Marshall says:
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    Arrieta or colon this week?

    I’m league mgr so u can change up until 3am est, but leaninging toward arrieta , you?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Agree, Arrieta

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