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?

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Steals might ain’t got no face, but team stolen base attempts definitely do got yes face. (Totally crushed this lede!)

Today we’re going to get into something that normally makes fantasy baseball FAR superior to fantasy football in my opinion: coaching decisions. You could have the best wide receiver in the game, but whoopsie daisy — Mike McCarthy decides he wants to run the ball a lot today. Now you’re out $500. At least with fantasy baseball, the manager will always put his best lineup on the field and it is completely up to the hitter to do his job. The coach isn’t telling him “Hey you, I don’t even want you to swing up there.” 

Today’s article deals with managerial decisions on the basepath — specifically the stealing of second base. I’m going to let you in on some secrets on which managers have itchy trigger fingers when they have a runner on first with an empty base 90 feet away and those who are a bit gun shy when it comes to sending their runners. (Wow with all the violent imagery. What is this, CPAC?) 

First, some alarming data — here are the average manager second base stolen base attempt percentages from the past 10 years. (Analytic nerds will soon refer to this stat as MASBSBAP.) 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I’ve only been loosely following the counterproposals MLB and the MLBPA are exchanging. Where are we at now, 200 to -38? How does a negative game take place? Only position players are allowed to pitch and only pitchers get to hit. You thought that was cute before, huh? It seems like the most likely season is 50 games, which would be wild. Stats like steals are going to be so very hard to manufacture. I’d suggest streaming rabbits against pitchers that can be run on from the jump, to be honest. Here are the worst pitchers when it came to stolen bases yielded per inning in 2019.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Draft season is getting into full swing. Unless things break right for you early you’re likely to find your team a little light in the steals department. Take a stab at some of these cheaper players to boost your speed.

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Usual Suspects

  • Jarrod Dyson – Dyson probably has the most guaranteed playing time coming into the season. Injuries tend to cut into his ABs but when he’s in the lineup he’s running.
  • Delino DeShields Jr. – We’ve all been there with Delino. He’s cheap and has 50 steal speed if he could only play everyday and avoid the litany of injuries that tend to derail his season.
  • Dee Gordon – I’m actually interested in Gordon as a speed dart. He’s been around a while but is a seemingly young 31. The wheels aren’t what they used to be and will likely degrade as the season goes. Still, there’s plenty of scenarios that see him leading off in Seattle.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 
 

Draft season is suddenly reaching its climax, not unlike the titular Rabbit does in women that aren’t his wife in Rabbit, Run. He’s not the rabbit we’re interested in, however. We’re after some free steals late in drafts because Steals Ain’t Got No Face. Let me type that again in all caps so you’ll know I’m shouting. STEALS AIN’T GOT NO FACE. Don’t overpay for Mallex Smith when you could get Dee Gordon much later. Either could be the leadoff hitter for Seattle. Chasing speed is a dangerous game. I prefer building it into my entire roster little by little but at some point, you need someone to lead the charge in the steals category. Consider these speedsters as speculative plays late in your drafts…

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

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.

 

It’s the time of year that every counting stat matters down to a single digit. Are you in need of a rabbit or two to help push your stolen base total? Here are some potential sources of speed…

  • Greg Allen: Here’s a rare gem. Allen has the kind of speed that could equate to  40-50 steals over a full season. He’s showing it since getting the call as a regular outfielder, with 6 SBs in the last 14 days. He’ll sit occasionally, but the Indians don’t seem to have many other options in centerfield.
  • Rafael Ortega: There isn’t much firepower left in the Marlins lineup, but Ortega has shown the ability to get on base about 35% of the time. That gives an above average opportunity for him ply his trade as a base stealer. He may not be a leadoff man with a career .350 OBP, but you can ride him while he’s making contact.
  • Amed Rosario: Speed is a large part of the equation for Rosario as a prospect so when he came into the season with a bum wheel it was cause for concern. Rightfully so, as he only managed to steal 6 bases in the first half. He may be over the leg issue, however. He’s swiped 4 bags in the last two weeks to bring his second-half total to 9 SBs.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Late steals, or “cheeky swipes” as they call it across the ocean, are sometimes hard to find late in drafts. Well not hard to find just takes some digging and speculation.  The stolen base stat is a precipitously dying stat.  I mean, why steal a base when you can just hit a homerun?  Or that is the growing trend of the baseball thievery…  Last year 83 players stole 10 or more bases.  That number hasn’t really differed much in the last few years, the high in 2015 and the low being in 2016 of 79.  So while overall steals are down, the number in between the leader and the low end is just increasing in smaller increments.  So with the SAGNOF theory, saves and steals are the afterthought come draft day.  Not completely forgotten about or disregarded.  Just valued at a lower premium based on so many players being low category contributors across the board.  Sneak steals on draft day and getting the most out of your squeeze per investment into draft picks is the name of the game.  Paying a premium for the big hitting steals guys like Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon and obvious top-5 overall pick in Trea Turner are all well and good, but at what cost in relation to their draft pick?  So the helpfulness of this post is to look at value according to ADP and the steals value the will give our team come opening day in the counting stat department.  Most of the players with steal appeal are MI eligible and on draft day, if you miss out early, it seems like the best place to look for straight SAGNOF satisfaction.

Here is a table of steals, caught stealing, and total steals across all of the MLB for the last five years so you didn’t think I was lying to you about the accumulation factors with SB’s…

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Wanna take a guess at who the title is?  Anagrams are fun, and by fun, I mean about as fun as going to a baseball game and staying sober.  Since that first sentence merely took eight seconds to read, I would assume that your guess of Fernando Valenzuela was wrong.  The real answer is Amed Rosario.  I could have went with endless possibilities, but a “sore diorama” sounds like a science fair experiment gone wrong.  So onto the SAGNOF usefulness for the man that could have been “armoire soda,” but alas the diorama wins.  Over the last 15 games with the Mets on coast mode to losing, the question is: are they in a coasting mode for losing and futility?  Anyways, over his last 15 games, he has a .364 batting average, a .391 OBP, 7 runs, and the all important 3 steals.  He never exuded elite-type speed in the minors, maxing out at 19 across two levels this year and last.  So the speed could be blossoming like the ability to make pumpkin spice anything nowadays and have lonely single people furnish an entire apartment with it. With the season less than two weeks from finish, look high, look low, look Amed Rosario.

Please, blog, may I have some more?