Welcome to our final SAGNOF post of the season. If ever there was a time to not give a damn about the face of your steals, it’s now. Maybe guys like Ender Inciarte that haven’t carried their weight lately finally got you some SBs. Perhaps your dart throws like Joey Wendle have found the mark. If you’re still reading the SAGNOF Report this late in September I’ll assume you’re in connection for a top spot in your leagues. Feel good about that. Baseball is an absolute grind, in real life and in fantasy. There’s much less luck in fantasy baseball than any other sport. You earn your titles. Enjoy them.

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Maybe it’s the weather. Summer’s heat is starting to break, after all. A handful of teams have been running like gangbusters lately. The Royals are one such team. They’ve taken advantage of weak pitcher/catcher combos. That’s likely to continue as teams look to squeeze a few more wins from the 2018 season. Here are some teams that are in good position to continue that trend.

  • Those running Royals are at it again. The top two base stealers the last week were Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi. You could take a stab at Alex Gordon for some steals.
  • Rumors of Shohei Ohtani’s speed from his time in Japan were hard to believe. It’s been legit. The A’s and Astros also make for a plus schedule. It’s a good thing you don’t need a functional UCL to steal bases.
  • The Rays have a pretty cushy week steals-wise, facing the Rangers and Blue Jays. Joey Wendle is probably the most actionable Ray. Wendle hasn’t been running much lately, but he had five steals in August.
  • Trea Turner and the Nats have a four game series on tap with the Mets this week. Turner will certainly get his. Adam Eaton could also make for an interesting play if he happens to be on your league’s wire.
  • Saves chase: with Trevor Hildenberger having a hard time holding onto leads this weekend Taylor Rogers figures to see some extra saves opportunities. Rogers is a lefty, so Trevor May is worth a speculative add in the event the Twins give up on Hildy.

Below is a table of the top ten catchers to run on…

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Did you know they’re remaking Magnum P.I. with the title character sans mustache? That’s some bunk, right there. Unlike that fake, Magneuris Sierra could be a real deal smooth operator. Steal a couple roto points these last few weeks by employing a heavy speed approach. Base swipers like Sierra are popping up with September call-ups and certain teams throwing in the towel. Keep grinding speed chasers.

Join the 2018-19 Razzball Fantasy Premier League for a chance at prizes! Don’t know about Fantasy Soccer? That’s okay, Smokey is here to walk with you throughout this journey of exploration and an absurd amount of accent marks on player names. So probably hide all your snacks. It’ll be a long journey…

Ah, words.  It is funny how the simplest play on words could lead to such stupid humor.  Because on one hand, Mallex Smith could be an exotic dancer… on the basepaths, and the other?  Well, we know the implication.  Either way, in his artistry it can only be called one thing:  SAGNOF sexy.  The base-stealing profession hasn’t been the most flourishing business, with the price of liquor licenses and the growing deficit of accumulation on the stat.  It is a dying business.  One that allows you to jump all nimbly-pimbly from steal branch to steal branch.  When looking at steals, especially in the SAGNOF world, I try to break them down into a two week stretch.  I look for who is getting the at-bats, who is getting on base, and of course who is actually stealing bases.  Over that 14 game stretch, Mallex is doing all three.  He is getting at-bats, and not all from the leadoff spot either.  ( He’s getting on base at a .528 clip, with a BB% of 13%.)  These numbers are all the dream scenario for a SAGNOF savior for a week or three.  Steals?  Well, he stole more bases (6) than everyone in baseball not named Jose Ramirez or Whit Merrifield. The joyous thing about this, is that the Rays are basically punting but not actually trying to lose.  So the at-bats and opportunities will and should continue.  As with most saviors of the theft, counting stats are going to be spotty and the one thing you can count on slightly are runs scored, but in smaller comparisons, because… well, the Rays don’t score a ton.  So if you are on the lookout for a few here and few there steals, then Mallex is your boy for the next few games, or even a week.  But don’t fall in love, because he will break your heart by Labor Day.  Cheers!

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You know what is fun this time of year?  The bullpen shuffle.  Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases.  Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians.  The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now?  I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man.  Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation.  Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club.  Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now.  In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go?  He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name.  So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait.  Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential.  More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump.  Cheers!

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The only way to compare things is to look in the past and see how we match up to the year previous.  For pace reasons, for setting your mind at ease, and to basically not bore you to death, I am only going back one year because I have gone over the decline of the ever loved “stolen base” as a cumulative stat.  So in 2017 through the first 81 games of the season,  (roughly… because every team plays different amounts of games) there were a combine 1,405 steals by all MLB teams. In 2018, we currently sit at 1,310.  Now remember games for AL teams are off a bit, but still, we are sitting at 95 stolen bases fewer than the year previous.  That is an eye catching number, even when you break it into a smaller number like percentages it still sucks for the SAGNOF love.  Just to delve into it further, there were three players with 30-plus steals and three above 20 steals at the All Star break last year.  (With the leader, Billy Hamilton garnering 38.)  This year, there are only six players above 20, and none above current theft leader Michael Taylor with 23.  The downward trend, the going away from using the steal as an asset in fantasy is a dying trend that we are lucky to be apart of from a draft usability standpoint.  I am more of a “see what I know baseball guy” rather than a number cruncher, but nobody uses the steal effectively to set the pace of a game anymore.  Now for fantasy it sucks that we are mimicking real life, as a grab the best players to accumulate stats to fill our rosters mentality is the M.O., but I would be interested to see how your league standings are reflecting this downward trend in steals and how much the league leader in the category has, and if you think it is worth chasing as a catch up stat for the second half of the year.  So give me some feedback, and here’s some charts of catchers to steal on and pitchers to exploit.  Cheers!

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Afterthoughts on draft day, or sleepers that only the select few stick with for SAGNOF?  The realm of SAGNOF rotates around the perplexity for steals and the hotness of said player when garnering the stat.  Leonys Martin is one of those guys this week that I’ll be focusing on.  Draft season, he was an afterthought… or was he a deep sleeper?  Being drafted in the 400’s overall and basically being drafted around Lonnie Chisenhall.  Which if we are all paying attention, is good for you,  but bad in terms of name value to stat value ratio currently.  Over the last 13 games, Martin has been unleashed, scoring 12 runs, swiping 4 and slashing a very unusual Martin line of .294/.379/.647.  For someone who’s career slash line is a fraction of said mark, the small sample size for the mini-fortnight breakout is welcoming.  He was a stolen base darling… four years ago and now that he has been given a chance to shine at the top of the Tigers lineup in front of quality hitters like Castellanos and the like, is this a growing SAGNOF trend that we can buy into?  I am saying yes on the short term, long term?  We know what Leonys is.  He is a .250 hitter with questionable on-base potential that has two feet and can run effectively given time and consistency.  If he is lying around in your league on the waiver wire, give him a shot as the Tigers do score some runs and the lineup behind him has shown some decent skills at moving runners over and doing all the things needed for Martin to be successful in the short term. More SAGNOF-dom charts and tidbits after the jump!

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The theory of SAGNOF is capitalizing on the chances in front of your face.  The “polish sausage” king of steals has returned from the minors and re-established his presence in the stead of others.  Travis Jankowski started the year out of favor, not just based on ability, just on talent.  With Manuel Margot struggling and injured and Hunter Renfroe basically doing the same exact thing (but getting Pipped by Franchy), Travis has jumped from AAA and shown his best SAGNOF face.  Hitting .368, with 2 steals and OBP of .455 over 12 games since his return.  We all know of his one sided ability in the SAGNOF game because that is what makes him the prince of this and basically the west coast Rajai.  His availability in leagues is less than 5% owned across most formats and should steadily climb until the outfield situation is a muck.  An OF of Margot, Franchy, and Travis is of the extremely light-hitting variety.  It is using Travis now before the likes of Wil Myers, whose return is the question.  With Myers eventual return a few weeks off to possibly 10 days, using Jankowski now for the steals affect isn’t a bad idea as his stats say that he can hit, get on base and effectively get on base. The 30-steal year just two years ago shows that he has a penchant for the swipe, just has to avoid attrition, replacement and the inevitable return of better talent.  He has the gig for the next week to 10 days so now is the time to see if you can steal, pun intended, a few bases to pad your stats and move along.  That is what SAGNOF is, hit and move.  Don’t fall in love.  get what you want out of it and than throw it to the waiver wire dogs.  It is a sad world we live in and there is no cuddling in the quest for steals world.  I don’t care how great the big spoon feels.  More saves and steals ain’t got no face goodies after the bump.

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If all the experts in the world had baby T-Rex arms, no one would be able to pat themselves on the back. I am lumping myself into the SAGNOF love fest that the grand master Lothario himself, Grey,  was part of and preached in the preseason on why Tim Anderson was the mac.  Or the PC, whatever your preference in lapputers is. I not only loved the guy two months ago, I love him more now that he is living up to the steals hype and maintaining other stats that make him basically a eight-games-into-the-season stud. Looking over his stats and nothing jumps out as a SSS type thing… Is the OBP higher than it will be in 20, 50, or 80 games?  Maybe, but are we certain that he can’t maintain a .350 OBP moving forward? Looking at the back of his baseball card, speed has always been there. As he develops into his body, considering that he is only 24, the power was going to develop from what we saw in the minors.  His high total for any other season besides last year was 13 combined for 2016 that encompassed AAA and 99 games with the Sox. But this is the SAGNOF corner of the world, taters are good, but swipes are delicious.  He has 5 steals in eight games, and is on pace for a whole lot more if he can keep that vital OBP to a respectable number.  He has the license to steal and should continue to do so…but it could get better.  He hasn’t hit anywhere but the bottom-half of the order.  This has eerie similarities to what we saw last year from Merifield.  Sustain great number from the bottom and then boom, move up the order and become an even better kleptomaniac.  So while the steals now are fantastic and a boon to his draft day value (thanks Grey!), keep an eye out for if/when he moves up the order and his numbers could from what they are now to even better.  SAGNOF rant over, let’s get to the tidbits, and the bits of tid that keep all the girls squirrely.  Cheers!

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