It’s back to business as usual with the SAGNOF column after an offseason on Team Preview Island. It was awesome. T. Moore [Ed. Note– Cheater!] and I sipped little umbrella drinks on the beach while we chatted MLB teams. Before we get to this week’s SAGNOF players, I’m afraid I will have to link bomb you, so heads up.

First, if you’re new here, check out this blast from the past. That’s not a YouTube link, I swear. Here’s the 2013 stolen base data for the best and worst catchers to run against. Here’s the SB Rates vs. SP tool. That’s a great tool for us speed freaks that Rudy came up with. I’ll be referring to it in these posts as the season progresses. Finally, there’s a new steals archive page that will house all of these posts. You can also use it to thumb through some of the offseason articles. There, that wasn’t so bad. Moving forward, it’s time for Week 1. This week’s list includes a young man named Abraham Almonte of the Seattle Mariners, who might be Lloyd McClendon’s new favorite toy…


Abraham Almonte – (@LAA, @OAK)

Just going off last year’s stolen base data, the Angels should continue to be an easy opponent with Chris Iannetta behind the dish. His caught stealing percentage of 19% was well below the league average of 28%. In addition to the favorable matchup, Almonte seems to be McClendon’s favorite leadoff hitter for the time being, which means more at-bats and stolen base opportunities for the young centerfielder. He stole at least 25 bags at each stop in the minor leagues and topped out at 36 in Single-A. If you need reassurance, he already made his first appearance of 2014 in Grey’s buy column.

Rajai Davis – (KC, BAL)

Seems crazy to even list him here, but he’s only owned in 10% of ESPN leagues. He’s been dubbed the King of SAGNOF, and it will be hard to lose that title batting leadoff for the Tigers. During the offseason Brad Ausmus discussed wanting the whole team to run more, and Davis won’t need much motivation to do that. To put it into perspective, last year he stole 45 bags in just 360 plate appearances. That’s about seven less steals than Jacoby Ellsbury in about 270 fewer plate appearances. Does he have issues vs. right-handed pitching? Yes. But that’s why God Rudy created Platoony-Tunes. This week he’s got a tougher draw against Perez and Wieters.

A.J. Pollock – (SF, @COL)

Pollock is a personal favorite of mine this year as a sleeper. He’s more than just SAGNOF as well. Pollock could give you 8-10 homers and 15-20 steals hitting leadoff for the Diamondbacks and there is no real threat to his playing time in center. He stole as many as 36 in the minors and last year he had 12 steals in 15 attempts.  He’s currently owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues so he’s there for the taking if you are looking for a 5th outfielder to roll the dice on.

Middle Infield

Alcides Escobar – (@DET, CWS)

I’m a little surprised to see Escobar go undrafted in so many leagues this year. Either shortstop is really deep, or there is some negativity pointed his direction. While he did have a down year, he’s still a nice SAGNOF option. He’s not going to hit any worse than he did last year. In fact, with some BABIP help, he should be able to hit somewhere in the .250-.260 range again (he doesn’t strike out much either). 2013 was his third straight season of at least 155 games played and he still managed 22 steals despite the lousy OBP and average. He’s only one year removed from a 35-steal season and worth the gamble on a bounce-back. I like the matchup against Detroit this week as well. Alex Avila rocked a 17% CS% in 2013.

Dee Gordon – (@SD, SF)

If Davis is the King of SAGNOF in the outfield, then Gordon is surely the Prince of SAGNOF among middle infielders. We’ve come to accept him for what he is as a hitter (not very good), but with playing time he’s going to steal bases. He stole 59 bases between Triple-A and the majors in 2013. He stole 10 in the majors last season despite hitting just .234 in 38 games. If he sniffs 400 PA, 30-35 stolen bases is a real possibility and that’s valuable coming from your middle infield slot. His ownership in ESPN has already crept up to 33% as the season starts, so if you need some speed and he is staring back at you from the waiver wire, we would suggest you buy.

DJ LeMahieu – (@MIA, @ARI)

DJ spun Rutledge to the minors thanks to his defense and that means he’s going to be the everyday second baseman in Colorado. He’ll draw the Marlins to start the week, but finishes up with a toughie against the Diamondbacks. Saltalamacchia is now behind the dish in Miami and last year with the Red Sox he only caught base stealers at a 21% clip.  LeMahieu won’t kill your batting average (.280 last year), and with 500 PA he could swipe 20-25 bags. He’s admittedly growing on me outside of shallow leagues, especially now that he’s won the job.


Mike’s on Twitter: @643ball

  1. AL says:

    No question dropping Ruggiano for Almonte? I could use higher avg/ops and SB.

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      I like Ruggiano a little better for the long haul, but for right now I could see making that move.

  2. gareth says:

    I saw that Rajai is batting 9th. With kinsler and Ajax as other lead off options, do you really see him see him getting significant time in the lead off spot?

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      Hey Gareth…loving this weather today in Ohio. I actually opened my windows!

      That’s an error on my part. Call it wishful thinking and Almonte on the mind. Rajai kind of is what he is at this point though and while he won’t get as many ABs, his value with his legs is still there no matter where he hits in the lineup. My bigger concern is him platooning, but that’s always been the case with him so we knew that going in.

  3. Ghost of the Disappeared says:

    Mike: Yeah, Pollack was on my queue when I realized I was out of bench spots.

    Liked him better than Lake going into Spring.. Lake;s ST and Pollock’s 0-7 OZ start made me draft Lake first instead. Who, I have since had to cut to open a slot out of need – not dislike… Had to many OFers and not enough corner-men.

    Still have another cut. Most likey Fields unless he beats out Qualls for most Closer duty – doubtful. For going polliwog-ing in the puddle for spot starts – You must have 2 open flex slots on any ESPN team IMO

    I did get your Revere – mid 190s. when needed speed and a more BA protection disparately.

    I had been targeting Escobar (he will have a good season) all pre season. But, once I had McClutchen, Villar, Revere, and Gordon. I added Aybar (who I thing will have a bounce back season) instead for the BA difference over the speedy-er Escobar.

    Here’s the draft. Had to help Jay Wrong the whole draft too – He was fall down drunk again at draft – Does RazzBall have a D&A Abuse Program?

    The 2014 RazzBall League GREAT VALLEY MAGPIES

    C Carlos Santana, Cle C, 1B, DH Draft
    1B James Loney, TB 1B S Free Agency – Flex Player
    2B Kelly Johnson, NYY OF, 2B Draft
    3B Pablo Sandoval, SF 3 Draft
    SS Erick Aybar, LAA SS Draft
    2B/SS Dee Gordon, LAD SS Draft
    1B/3B Corey Hart, Sea 1B, OF Draft
    OF Andrew McCutchen, OF Draft
    OF Jay Bruce, Cin OF S Draft
    OF Jose Bautista, Tor OF Draft
    OF Alex Gordon, KC OF Draft
    OF Ben Revere, Phi OF Draft
    UTIL Austin Jackson, Det OF Draft
    P Madison Bumgarner, SF SP PP Draft
    P Justin Verlander, Det SP Draft
    P David Robertson, NYY RP Draft
    P Glen Perkins, Min RP Draft
    P Ernesto Frieri, LAA RP Draft
    P Jim Henderson, Mil RP Draft
    P Joaquin Benoit, SD RP Draft
    P Josh Fields, Hou RP Draft
    P Sergio Santos, Tor RP Draft
    Bench Michael Cuddyer, Col OF S Draft
    Bench Chris Carter, Hou 1B, OF, DH Draft
    Bench Jonathan Villar, Hou SS Draft
    DL Jesse Crain*, Hou RP DL15 Free Agency – He was cut.

    Loney just replaced Alonzo (via a Crain Wavier and DLing) who was picked up for Lake –
    That is not cheating… I think?

    Do you have any good cheating tips?

    • Ghost of the Disappeared says:

      @Ghost of the Disappeared: @Ghost of the Disappeared: That was too not to and desperately not disXXXXX spell check errors there.

      Crain was cut be someone else and picked up by me. I was in one in front of Jay on the Waiver wire HAHAHA… Maybe, he wants to trade Hamels now.

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      Looks like a good team. Lots of speed and saves that might be a surplus you can trade from later. I have Crain stashed a couple places too. I have a feeling he rises to the top once his arm is reattached.

      It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught. So my best advice is don’t get caught.

      • Ghost of the Disappeared says:

        @Mike: Mike: Just added Bonafacio for Loney – as he was benched anyway tomorrow .

        I will get my estra starts from flex players on matchups. 5 to 7 a week – when I get rolling in late May…

        IMO RPs are better than SPing in ESPN, the way the rules are laid out.. Verlander didn’t get the win today bummer. Plus, is Closer-geddon over with??? I doubt it. I don’t Twitter, so I always miss the new Closers – Last 2 years have been brutal on me with Closers dropping like flys.

  4. Ghost of the Disappeared says:

    Mike: Bonafacio today WOW 4-5 1 SB – Picked him up today on my other active ESPN team. CHA CHING – He’s going tp win himself a full time role at that rate

    Froze one ESPN team where 7 out of 12 were NO SHOWS – Bummer that…

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      nice, and that steal came against a tough catcher in Martin.

      7 out of 12 no shows is what Tehol would call a #disgrace

      • Ghost of the Disappeared says:


        Looks like I just lost a closer – ALREADY- Henderson did not close – K Rod is the man now – for at least today

        And he was gone before I could get back my team – proving you can’t have too many closers to start the season with these days..

        Will wait and see what develops here.

        • Mike

          Mike says:


          • Ghost of the Disappeared says:

            @Mike:Parnell may be out too
            Valerde may be in according to some sites. Hope so –

            Hendo is supposed to get his job back – yeah right, and the check is in the mail too

            Yeah crazy, while I sat here yapping, I missed picking up K-Rod. Damn me!

            And you guys on RazzBall think you suffer from me. Let me guarantee you, I suffer from myself the most!

            ****** Ghost falls to ground pounding his chains

            • Mike

              Mike says:

              “Wherever I go…there I am.”

              -some smart guy

  5. SheriffMcRawDawg says:

    What’s up Mike? Big fan of the column.

    I don’t see nearly enough teams posted here so I’m going to take up some real estate w/ my RCL team – curious to see what your thoughts are?
    And question – Pollock’s available in my league and I’d like to go for him, but I feel like I’m set for speed, and kind of like Escobar as a MI backup. Is it as easy as Escobar for Pollock?

    C Matt Wieters, Bal C
    1B Mark Trumbo, Ari 1B, OF S
    2B Howie Kendrick, LAA 2B S
    3B Evan Longoria, TB 3B
    SS Jean Segura, Mil SS
    MI Everth Cabrera, SD SS
    CI Jose Abreu, CWS 1B
    OF Adam Jones, Bal OF
    OF Wil Myers, TB OF
    OF Norichika Aoki, KC OF
    OF Khris Davis, Mil OF
    OF Adam Eaton, CWS OF
    U Chris Johnson, Atl 3B
    BN Alcides Escobar, KC SS
    BN Justin Morneau, Col 1B S

    P Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP
    P Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP
    P James Shields, KC SP
    P Danny Salazar, Cle SP
    P Jim Johnson, Oak RP
    P Steve Cishek, Mia RP
    P Jose Veras, ChC RP
    P Corey Kluber, Cle SP
    P Ubaldo Jimenez, Bal SP
    BN Michael Pineda, NYY SP

    Thanks a lot!

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      Thanks Sheriff. I like your team a lot. Nice balance of power and speed.

      Yup, looks like you have plenty of speed. I’d agree that having a MI backup is nice and as much as I like Pollock, I’m assuming it’s a 12 teamer and Pollock isn’t a sexy pickup so he’ll probably sit on the wire.

      I’m wondering if you could afford to lose Johnson and just roll with Morneau in your Util, maybe stream from the extra bench slot or add a reliever with some saves potential. I don’t normally carry more than one bench bat but that is my personal preference.

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:

        @Mike: thanks! yeah good point. johnson is not a very sexy util, my thinking was just cover at 3B/corner and decent avg./other counting stats out of the 4 hole (he can hit some doubles I guess)… but as I type this K-rod is out there… and I suppose johnson’s expendable if Freese is out there still… pull the trigger?

        • Mike

          Mike says:

          Yup, I would. Don’t think you need both him and Morneau

  6. Mike says:


    After today’s closer turn of events…

    Hold Jim Henderson or drop him for Francisco Rodriguez?

    And what about Matt Lindstrom? He flew off the waiver wire everywhere today.



    • Mike

      Mike says:

      If you have Henderson already I would hold. As far as CWS, I’m still thinking this is going to end up being Nate Jones’ gig, but if you have an extra piece you can drop easily for Lindstrom, go for it for the short term at least. Saves are saves.

      • Mike says:

        @Mike: Thanks Mike!

        • Mike

          Mike says:


  7. Ryan says:

    I went and dropped Henderson for k-rod and am now starting to regret it. Do you think I should pick hendo back up and let one of my bench pitchers go instead. I’m thinking maybe Gee or Quintana, they’re my two bench pitchers. Curious about your thoughts. Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      Both Gee and Quintana are more streamer types to me, so if you need some saves and want to let that closer situation resolve itself on your roster, I could see dropping either one of them. I would prefer holding Gee due to ballpark and league. Depends on how desperate you are for saves I guess.

      • Ryan says:

        @Mike: cool thanks for the help

  8. Alex says:

    With Jose Reyes injured already, would you drop Michael Pineda for Dee Gordon or Chris Owings? Or should I wait out the 10 days it’s going to take for Xander Bogaerts to get SS eligibility? 10-team ROTO, redraft

    • Mike

      Mike says:

      I like Xander better than both of those guys at shortstop, but no reason to wait, either. In a 10 team league should be easy to replace Pineda. You can use the Hitter Tron to figure out which of those two guys will be a better bet while you wait on Xander’s eligibility.

  9. LongoTulo says:

    better option…or rank them…Raj Davis, Abraham, Bonifacio?


    • Mike

      Mike says:

      You’ve got them in the right order. Boni’s better for straight steals, but Almonte will give you a little more everywhere else.

Comments are closed.