Not a lot of low-ownership stolen base threats from the past two weeks. The usual suspects are atop the SB leaderboard in that time: 

  • 5: Fernando Tatis and Trea Turner
  • 4: Randy Arozarena
  • 3: Tommy Pham, Tommy Edman, Kyle Tucker, Jean Segura, Cedric Mullins, Brandon Lowe, Whit Merrifield, and Jarred Kelenic

But here are the guys who might be unowned in your league right now. Even though Jurickson Profar is currently owned in 51% of ESPN leagues. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here I go again sounding the trouble alarm. The way relief pitching is going this season I expect this will be a recurring segment every two weeks in SAGNOF. I’m taking a look at closers who have been struggling since the last time I wrote about closers two weeks ago. The concern level scale goes from:

  • Green: “That ain’t no problem, that ain’t no problem.” Shannon Sharpe
  • Yellow: “Oh, I’m stressed!” Jerry Seinfeld
  • Orange: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Han Solo
  • Red: “Molly. You in danger girl.” Oda Mae Brown
Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another fortnight, another group of low-owned speedsters! Yes, readers under 20 years old, fortnight is a real word, it’s not just the name of an insanely overrated video game. Right now, the runaway SB leader is an old favorite: Whit Merrifield with 12 SBs. Then there’s a handful of guys with eight (Jazz Chisholm Jr., Garrett Hampson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Ramon Laureano, Dylan Moore) and then a few more handfuls of players with seven. One of those handful is tied for the lead in SBs over the last two weeks: Niko Goodrum. Here is who else has contributed in that column in the last 14 days:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In case you haven’t caught on yet, the way I approach SAGNOF is one week I’ll cover the ‘saves’ portion of “Saves/Steals Ain’t Got No Face” and the next week I’ll cover the “steals.” Last week I highlighted a few very under-owned hitters who are getting SBs that are available in most leagues. Allow me a moment to flex by pointing out how the players from last week’s article have performed since I wrote about them: 

  • Robbie Grossman: 16 AB, 4 runs, 1 HR, 1 SB, .429 OBP
  • Austin Slater: 9 AB, 5 runs, 2 HRs, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .583 OBP
  • Matt Duffy: 11 AB, 3 runs, 3 RBI, 1 SB, .385 OBP
  • Brett Phillips: 16 AB, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .353 OBP.
  • Tim Locastro, Gregory Polanco, and Sam Haggerty: Don’t worry about it.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I started researching this article, I was aiming to list stolen base targets owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues, but apparently, I could have lowered that number all the way to 7%. However, I’m basing that ownership on FantasyPros’s ESPN data. I don’t use ESPN myself anymore. I’m still waiting for them to reply to a customer service email I sent in 2008. 

But here’s the situation you find yourself in now — you’re dead last in SB in your roto league. “I planned it this way,” you say to your league mates. 

“Yep, I punted stolen bases — who cares about 1 category if I’m dominating the others?” You grimace as you look at Adalberto Mondesi’s 0 SBs on your IL, Jonathan Villar’s 0 SBs on your bench, Leody Taveras’s .160 OBP you had to drop after 3 weeks of garbage baseball. 

And you’re not dominating the other categories, are you Tommy? You’re not dominating them at all. And now you find yourself desperate. Kenta Maeda and Kyle Hendricks have forgotten how to pitch (until this week.) Luis Robert is basically done for the year and that can’t-miss, sure-fire, put him in the Hall of Fame now prospect Kyle Tucker is, in fact, missing all over the place! That’s where SAGNOF has your back. The players below are so low-owned they’re cheaper than free. Pick 1 or 2 of them up and start making that climb in your league’s SB column. Deshi deshi basara basara! Deshi deshi basara basara! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My old boss used to have a sign in her office that read “If you failed to prepare, prepare to fail.” This quote also applies to fantasy bullpen management. At a moment’s notice, your top closer can find himself on the outs and you’ve got to adjust! 

I’m going to take a look at some of the closers who have been disasters so far and help you prepare if the worst is to happen! And I’ll be doing it with the Department of Homeland Security color warning level system!


Blue: Nothing to see here.

Green: Maybe something to see here. 

Yellowing: I’m definitely seeing something here. 

Orange: What am I seeing here?!

Red: Oh god, my eyes!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s in a name? That which we call a closer by any other name would smell as sweet in any inning. We could be inching closer to all bullpens going completely by-committee. In the 473 games played so far – 60 different relievers have notched saves.

What other sport has a position for a player based solely on when they come into the game? There aren’t wide receivers who only play in the 2nd half. There aren’t goalies who only come onto the ice in the 3rd period. You play your best players when you need them most. 

I’m going to take a look at some of the low security/closer-by-committee teams and let you know who I think is the reliever I think could be in the closer conversation soon. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ramon Laureano is running angry about his 2020 season. After an .853 OPS over his first two seasons with the Athletics with 20 total SBs, Laureano saw his OPS plummet to .704 and accumulated only 2 SBs in 2020. He’s already more than halfway to his season-high 13 SBs. 

Is this for real? Yes, to an extent. He’s projected for 131 SBs if he plays 150 games this season. Thems Rickey numbers! The (current) Athletics organization is notorious for not stealing bases, but Laureano has the speed and while he doesn’t have an elite walk-rate — his 81% contract rate paired with his legs can help him get on base at a decent rate. The only thing that could stop Laureano is an injury. In his young career, he does seem to be slightly injury prone — already dealing with a jammed wrist early this season. 

Below you will find the stolen base leaders so far this season. For each of the players included, I’ve highlighted their sprint speeds and their xwOBA. xwOBA is an indicator of a batter’s skill based on the quality of contact (incorporating exit velocity and launch angle,) the number of times they made contact while excluding the fielding result. There are 22 players who have stolen 2 bases, but I’ve chosen to highlight 7 of the interesting players that popped out to me. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The best haircut I ever received was from a bald man. I don’t usually get anything fancy — just a trim here, a buzz there. Throughout my life I went through all the same generational hair trends of men currently in their mid-30’s. As a pre-schooler in the early-90’s my Mom spiked my hair straight up a la Bart Simpson because who was cooler than the Bart man? Then in the mid-90’s, I transitioned to the Jonathan Taylor Thomas Home Improvement middle part because all the girls thought he was so cute. In the early 2000’s  I jumped on board the ‘Caesar’ bandwagon popularized by George Clooney in his ER/From Dusk Till Dawn days and that’s pretty much where I’ve remained. Low maintenance, good enough, it was “The Rachel” for men! Back to the point of this story — the bald man. Who better to appreciate hair than a bald man? I got out of his chair looking like a million bucks and the bald man was proud of his work. 

What does this have to do with fantasy baseball, you ask? In my 14-team home league, I’m punting saves. Correction — I’m punting saves + holds. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of coaching decisions and slow catchers but of plate appearances. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of your lineup slots. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the stolen base zone! 

Not too long ago on this very site, I wrote an article about which catchers had the slowest pop times and worst caught stealing percentages

Even less long ago I wrote about which team managers allowed their players to attempt the most stolen bases

Now comes my honors thesis at the Grey Albright School for Fools: which players each week are on a team run by a manager who likes to steal bases AND are facing a catcher who isn’t great at throwing out runners! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We can all agree that Myles Straw is everyone’s deep stolen base sleeper for this year. Is someone still considered a sleeper if everyone labels him as such? Either way, he could be hitting atop the new-look Astros lineup running for his life even with old-school Dusty Baker as their manager. But here’s the Hotels.com Captain Obvious™ statement of the day: there’s only 1 Myles Straw in every league — either ya get him earlier than you want, or the commissioner’s annoying little brother drafts him right ahead of you. So I’m going to highlight 8 players who are being drafted after Straw’s current ADP (339 on Fantrax as of March 23rd) who could sneakily steal double-digit bases for your team. These deep league stolen base threats not only ‘Ain’t Got No Face,’ they might not even ‘Ain’t Got No Head’ they’re so anonymous. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The people were asking for a closer rankings update and I haves to gives thems what they wants. To recap — here are my preseason rankings from February 3rd: SAGNOF: Preseason Closer Rankings.

TLDR: I ranked the closers in that first article according to three factors: their job security, their pitching ability, and the team they’re on providing them save opportunities (good offenses, good starting pitching, good other relievers.) 

As you’ll see below in only a month and a half there has already been some moving and shaking in my rankings. Only a few hours after my article went live it was out of date because the Twins signed Alex Colome which muddied the Twins closer situation. Some guys have lost/gained in the rankings due to their small sample size spring stats. 

Let’s get into it!

Please, blog, may I have some more?