This year we don’t have SAGNOF we have SSSAGNOF. That’s Shortened Season SAGNOF, baby! I just started breakdancing after screaming baby. What, is this a lost episode of Ally McBeal? ‘Member that show? I don’t, because I didn’t ever watch crap TV shows. Get your taste out yo’ ass! Also, that popsicle stick. That vacuum cord. That microwaved burrito. How many things do you have in your butt? As mentioned the other day in my Jarrod Dyson 60-game sleeper, steals might be the most predictable stat we have this year. Have Sprint Speed, will travel from 1st to 2nd. With runs and RBIs, it’s going to come down to lineup placement. With home runs, it’s going to come down to–Well, just go read the article. With steals, it’s gonna be as easy to measure as clicking that little button on the top of your stopwatch. By the by, what if the person pressing the clock button is slow, doesn’t that change the clocked time by a lot? Has anyone ever said runners’ times pre-digital age are all hogwash because it depended on the old man in black & white with the monocle pressing a stopwatch button? Did I just uncover some truth that everyone already knew but me? Yes? Cool. Our 2020 fantasy baseball rankings have been updated to a 60-game season. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for steals?
1. Sprint Speed: There’s been some chatter made of which is better: Sprint Speed or Time-to-First. A case was made that Time-to-First helps managers decide whether or not to allow someone to steal, so it’s better for us too. Without the manager’s approval, there are no steals. Of course, it also matters what the pitcher-catcher combo is, pop times, and pitcher-to-plate time. It all matters to a certain extent, but for our purposes — or porpoises if dolphins have taken over by the time you’re reading this — we don’t need to tread into those weeds for a 60-game season. Okay, wanna go in the weeds a little? I’m not sure how much I buy Time-to-First is better. A guy on 1st, getting a ten-foot lead and reading pitchers is a totally different skill than hitting and running to first. If managers use Time-to-First to decide who should run, then, okay, sure, whatever. But it’s not like there’s huge disparities. Is Altuve faster for Time-to-First than Sprint Speed? Yes, by a lot actually. Does that mean he will steal more? I don’t see how it has anything to do with it. Okay, back to first point, Sprint Speed is The List — l’chaim — for Steals. You can’t fake fast.
2. 1st Half Leaders in Steals: For the other posts about 60-game strategy, I focused mostly on August and September. For steals, I think fresh legs are a thing, and why I’m looking at 1st half steals from last year. (Another reason why I wrote that post about Jarrod Dyson the other day.) Also, unlike other category strategy posts, I removed at-bat qualifiers. I want guys who can steal 15+ bags in the fewest number of at-bats. Even platoons don’t bother me if a guy is going to steal when he’s playing. Steals will come in bunches and if you get a guy stealing, say, a dozen steals in the month of August, you’re gonna walk away with that category. Mallex sounds like Maalox for good reason, but if he steals 25 bags in 60 games, let’s turn this mutha out. Compilers are going to be wretched to roster this year, and I will likely do another post just about that, but think about 60-game year from Andrelton Simmons. 5 HRs, 7 SBs? That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.
3. OBP is Poop: I mean, OBP matters if you’re in an OBP league, but for steals? The top steals guys from last year’s 1st half is a complete hodgepodge of gross OBPs. There’s only one guy (Yelich) above .350 OBP. You don’t love looking at only the 1st half and want the full season picture? Only three guys from the top 10 have .350+ OBP. As you move further down the list, OBP is as inexact. Maybe that’s why we don’t have great steals years anymore in MLB, because the fast guys also happen to be guys who don’t take a walk. As the license plates in Aruba say, “There is no Kokomo.” What does that have to do with anything? Nothing, just like OBP for steals.
In summation: To misquote the girl in The Fresh Prince parents’ Porsche, “Run fast, speed turns me on.” By the way, the mom from Parents Just Don’t Understand video doesn’t look like she’d own a Porsche. She looks like a soccer mom van all the way. Steals are simple: guys who can steal, due to their speed, are going to be category movers in a 60-game season. It’s really that simple.
Here’s a few names that stood out to me as going late (after 100 overall) and could surprise with 15+ steals in a 60-game season: