It’s long overdue we turned our attention to the underrepresented side of SAGNOF — the cheap steal.  Long ago I realized I like my steals like I like my women, cheap. Sure, there’s girls out there that know which spork to eat their Hamburger Helper with, but real value is found in girls that can have fun in a bar with sawdust on the floor and Jimmy Buffett playing on the jukebox.  Now this doesn’t mean I’m turning my nose up at Kate Bosworth if she shows up at my door in a Vera Wang, carrying some takeout foie gras.  Same goes for fantasy baseball.  Steals is a category I tend to neglect on draft day in March, so it’s necessary to grab them off of waivers.  I’m not suggesting you punt steals, because that would put too much pressure on your other categories. (Just like if you neglect getting laid.)  It’s also one category you can make up ground in fast, so if you need steals, you need to get grabbing.  Now, obviously, not all of these guys will be available in your league and in some other leagues guys like Podsednik, Rajai, etc. will be available.  Anyway, here’s some cheap steals that you might find on your waiver wire in your fantasy baseball league:

Cliff Pennington – Has 17 steals on the year and is owned in 10% of ESPN leagues.  I kinda wish I owned him for 2 months instead of EverCab.  Why can’t EverCab get injured again?  Is that too much to ask for?  I really enjoyed him while he was in my DL slot.

Jason Bartlett – Hasn’t done much lately steals-wise, but he’s capable of putting together a 7 steal month.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Coco Crisp – 2nd most steals in the last 30 days.  Coco Quik.

Will Venable – 2nd highest on Bill James Speed Score for hitters with at least 250 ABs.  The problem is the 250 ABs, i before e, Venable doesn’t play every day.

Lorenzo Cain – My newest favorite player that I don’t own anywhere.  Had 21 steals in 62 games in the minors in case you didn’t read this morning’s post.  Shame on you, btw.

Peter Bourjos – Not only is he fast, but Scioscia may be a lot of things, but scared of running guys is not one of them.  True fact:  If Napoli stole 15 bases and hit .240 with zero homers, he’d be playing every day.

Drew Stubbs – The old adage that you can’t steal first has been put to the test by Stubbs.  So far; Adage 1, Stubbs 0.

  1. Child Please says:

    16-team league where we are already in the playoffs (all teams make it, 4 rounds, 2 weeks per round) with a moves limit of 50 (I’m at 25) would you drop Felipe Lopez for Infante?

  2. Wiley says:

    You’re probably sick of the Napoli questions for the day, but would you take Ruiz over Napoli? Being Philly area resident, it’s hard to see the hometown catcher heating up while your fantasy catcher continues to get benched for no reason.

  3. Shmorgie S. Board says:

    Who’s the better handcuff for Valverde, Perry or lefty-Coke?

  4. El Famous Burrito says:

    @Grey, and anyone else bored right now.

    Who is your fantasy nemesis this year?

    You know, the hot guy you pick up…wait, let me re-phrase that….the player you add to your team that effectively kills his hot streak, then catches fire again when you drop him?

    Mine is Jonny Gomes.

  5. Douchey McDoucheDouche says:

    @Grey Ok, so today my entire ridiculous pitching roster appears to be starting – I can pitch 5 of these characters…..but which 5? I’ve got an idea but interested in what the forum here (and, of course, Grey) think.
    My options:

    B Anderson
    J Garcia

    There is no reason I should have that many good SP in a very tough 20 teamer, but such is the way of life. Who am I starting here, folks?

  6. RandomItalicizedVoice says:

    Grey –

    Of the guys you have listed, how would you rank them the rest of the way in terms of number of steals?

    Bourjos first??

  7. barker says:

    just offered a trade in a shallow 20 team league

    i give johan kershaw brett wallace i get longoria and padilla

    hes dropping christian guzman im thinking why didnt he just offer me another pitcher or guzman but that is beside the point

    current 3b cuddyer — wallace in a util spot
    pitching staff — johan kershaw pelfry (blech) de la rosa vasquez d hudson hellickson rps benoit c perez storen axford

    i definetly could use the offense i can tell its not a very good trade what can i counter with w/o getting laughed at johan and wallace for longo and guzman or johan pelfry and wallace for longo and padilla
    wallace really means nothing to me
    whatdya say grey

  8. Dexter says:

    How much of a $100 FAAB budget would you drop on Utley, who was just dropped? Thanks.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Douchey McDoucheDouche: Lincecum, Haren, Anderson, Dempster… You have way too many SPs for a 20 team league.

    @RandomItalicizedVoice: Bourjos is the fastest, Crisp is right there though.

    @barker: Try Johan, Wallace and Vazquez or a lesser pitcher.

    @Dexter: Depends on many factors… In a bubble, $31.

  10. nick m. says:

    I need some replacements with Braun banged up and Tex missing a couple games potentially – could you rank these available fill-ins for me?
    Chipper, Lowell, Travis Snider, Burrell, Lind, Juan Rivera.

  11. barker says:

    what about this for the same league

    santana pelfrey h matsui wallace for longo a hill padilla

  12. Earl Battey says:

    My keeper league team is in second and fading. I just got offered Hanley for my Gallardo and a prospect. I have J-Roll and Sexy at SS and MI, and I’m not sure if the difference between Hanley and one of those guys will be able to push me much closer to the top. If not, I’m losing one of my keepers (Gallardo’s contract is at the minimum, Hanley’s is unkeepable). Am I a gutless weasel if I pass?

    My keeper pool looks like this: Gallardo, Liriano, Ubaldo, RSoriano, Kendry, Hart, Delmon, Gardner, Longo, JUpton, etc. We keep 8.

  13. Dumbmutt says:

    Would you want Bell or Wagner? And is Price ok for one of those guys. I am 80 innings over so losing SP no problem. Also have Weaver Lester and the Mets Santana

  14. Chris says:


    Bartlett, Uribe, Barmes, or Castro for the rest of the year?

  15. BryanK says:

    I’d love some input from the group on this one, keeper league (no draft pick penatlies in keeping, just hold the guy), this year I am in second place with a strong staff (Lincecum, Felix, Latos, Liriano, Scherzer plus closers), I have a decent offense, but it’s lacking in the HR/RBI departments. I was offered this deal:

    I give Lincecum or Felix and Corey Hart for Mig Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez.

    My 1b is Joey Votto, so Miguel would take Hart’s spot in the Util, do I jump on this right now, or is there some reason I should be thinking twice?

  16. BryanK says:

    Edit: If I do it, I was imagining if I do it I give up Felix and leave Lincecum on the team for years to come.

  17. NoEmoJoe says:

    H2H Keeper league where I’m currently in first place:

    Arod/Sizemore or Cargo/Aramis

  18. Grey

    Grey says:

    @NoEmoJoe: It’s fair, if it pushes you over for this year, then go for it.

  19. joecoz says:

    H2H league–have to make a cut to active Hellickson–cut Gordon Beckham or Neil Walker? Have Chris Johnson @ 3rd and B.Rob @ 2nd with Pedroia on DL. Thanks!

  20. NoEmoJoe says:

    @Grey: I wouldnt keep either Aramiz or Sizemore. Does that change your answer?

    Also, for the rest of the year Quentin or Hanson? Would leave me with an OF of Hart, Ibanez, Heyward, Beltran, Stanton (starting 4)

  21. barker says:

    garcia @cin (12 teamer) or padilla @ phi (12 teamer) or pelfrey vs col (20 teamer)
    start any start all or start none

  22. royce! says:

    Looks like the Rays really were just resting Niemann and Davis: “Both are in pretty good shape, actually,” Maddon said. “Best way to describe it is shoulder fatigue or shoulder strain and that we believe they’re not going to be out very long. So it was actually good news.”

    Basically, they’re on the DL because they’re tired. I’m not sure it adds much to say that it’s their shoulders specifically that are tired.

    Hopefully Hellickson will excel and take one of their spots.

  23. NoEmoJoe says:

    @barker: all but pelf for me (I’m an angry Met fan though)

  24. Grey

    Grey says:

    @joecoz: Walker

    @NoEmoJoe: If you need an outfielder, go for it. It’s fair. Hanson…

    @barker: None, except for Garcia maybe depending on your situation.

    @royce!: Sounds like usual club nonsense. I’m sure they’ll be fine in a few weeks.

  25. Martin says:

    @grey- i usually play steals by the week in my H2H league. An example, yesterday, I’m facing an owner who has Ellsbury. He got 4 steals in one game. Therefore, I just decide to completely not look at SAGNOF’s this week. However, with the trade deadline about to pass, should i try and trade for a speed guy? How does my Domonic Brown for Najer Morgan sound?

  26. barker says:

    baker @ CWS start or sit

  27. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Martin: Eh, Morgan’s hurt.

    @barker: I’d start him or drop him.

  28. Lava says:

    Where do you see Asdrubal going forward with steals? I picked him up when’ve came off the DL, and could certainly use steals out of my SS. Is he a safer bet than, say, Pennington, going forward?

  29. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Lava: He’s safer than Pennington.

  30. Bostonbeerman says:

    Carlos Ruiz or Molina to fill in for Soto?

  31. JG_isms says:

    Hey Grey,
    Just got finished doing my duties as a Benny by vacationing in LBI. Great time, great weather. I left the place clean. (Jersey that is)
    Quick question, which would ya rather have for the rest of the season? I have Hammel and Niese. Wanna move Hammel for a closer. Was just offered Axford for Niese. Make it or counter with Hammel?
    The rest of my rotation is Carpenter, Gallardo, Cecil, Hellickson & Silva.

    oh my other closer is Soriano

  32. Grey

    Grey says:

    @JG_isms: You didn’t invite me? I’d take Axford for Niese.

  33. Steve says:

    Grandy not in the lineup. No great loss there, then.

    That said, In my H2H matchup this week I’m playing the guy in second (I’m in first) and today I’m without Soto, Tex, Braun and Grandy. Felling a bit undermanned…

    Complete change of subject – If you’re interested in RCL fantasy football, I’m commishing a league for anyone who’s playing fantasy football for the first or second time, and wants to experience the sheer exhilaration of being part of an RCL League.

    So if you’re happy paddling around in the shallow end, shoot me an email at sglyon(at)gmaildotcom.

  34. Sos says:

    Denard Dawg was just dropped in my league and I’m in desperate need of steals and in no need of hr’s and rbi’s. Worth dropping any any of Hart, Tabata or VWells?

  35. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: You better get some replacements for Soto, Grandy and Braun. And even Tex.

    @Sos: I’d drop Wells for him if you were fine in power.

  36. Steve says:

    @Grey: Bit screwed for today (it’s Yahoo so any add/drops won’t take effect til tomorrow).

    DL’d Soto, grabbed Jaso. Grandy will be back tomorrow (big whoop), have CQ to slot in for Braun and can drop Olsen after midnight tonight (so I can get tomorrow’s start) your time to get a Tex replacement.

    As I think I’ve mentioned before, legitimate questions could be asked as to why I don’t apply myself as assiduously to other tasks as I do to fantasy baseball roster management…

  37. Greg Gallagher says:

    @Grey “Adage 1, Stubbs 0” – classic!

    @El Famous Burritto: Carlos f*****g Quentin…..

  38. Jay says:

    @Grey: I’m dying for a 3B. I’ve had yawnstipating Callaspo almost all year and Freese has finally been ruled out for the duration, so I’ve been plugging in streaky losers like Betemit. Who is a good bet to be better than Betemit in the near future (deep, mixed, OPS league): J.Hairston, Cantu, B.Hall, Encarnacion, etc etc.?

    Guys like C.Johnson, Walker, Keppinger, Headley, Infante, Gordon, Wallace, etc are taken. I’m trying to trade, but if that fails I have no clue where to go in FAAB next week.

  39. Wilsonian says:

    Kemp out tonight. Sore vag or just a day off because Torre doesn’t want his owners reaping the “benefit” of him playing in Citizens Flank?

  40. @Steve:

    I’ve played FF a few times, is that too much for your nOOb league?

  41. fitz says:

    @Wilsonian: .050 avg over the past 7 games I think we might be the ones getting the advantage. That 5 hit game did nothing to get him going.

  42. yankees2010 says:

    Hello again Grey,
    I am sure you have been asked this question numerous times seeing as Mr. Soto has just been DL’d and you were pretty high on him, but I wanted to know who you would pick up for him:

    Ruiz, Jaso or Arencibia?

    By the way, this really sux at this point of the season!

    Thanks Grey.

  43. big o says:

    brawl (?) …. st lou/cinn

  44. big o says:

    yadier and phillips had words ….
    bases emptied
    carpenter and rolen

  45. fitz says:

    Cueto kicking people lol

  46. big o says:

    meant to say “benches emptied”

    carpenter …. pushed up against wall , behind home plate …. quite roughly
    took it in lower back
    both managers gone

  47. Steve says:

    Jay Gibbons in the Dodgers lineup. WTF?

  48. @Steve:

    That’s exactly what I was thinking…

  49. Wilsonian says:

    @fitz: ya know, I thought of that after I posted that comment. He’s been pathetic. I’d actually rather have Pence playing than him. I’ve also got Wright on my bench tonight, too. How sad is that? Two keepers riding the pine because they’re terrible.

    @big o: I actually met Scott Rolen last Saturday night at a bar in Chicago. Guy is nice as all hell, but he’s shockingly huge. I wouldn’t want to mess with him.

  50. GrandSlamSingle says:

    @Wilsonian: @Steve: The Dodgers are facing Kyle “Can’t Get Lefties Out” Kendrick tonight.

  51. Steve says:

    Effing Kendrick is killing me.

  52. Steve says:

    @GrandSlamSingle: And I’m sitting Padilla in the lague where I own him.


  53. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Seequinn: Just seems like a small sample size type thing, but I didn’t look too in-depth at it.

    @Steve: Ha, I hear ya.

    @Greg Gallagher: Thanks!

    @Jay: Betemit, I guess… You should’ve been more vigilant when I first mentioned Johnson, Walker, etc.

    @yankees2010: Arencibia

    @fitz: Ha!

    @Steve: Puzzling.

  54. Jay says:

    @Grey: I had Johnson when he first came up but wasn’t patient enough to hold him after that oh’fer week. Walker was a target but I got outbid in FA.

    Now I’m looking to acquire Aramis Ramirez. Do you think Aramis can hit like he did in early July again this year?

  55. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Jay: Better than Callaspo.

  56. Jay says:

    @Grey: Haha, no kidding, but I’d have to give up starting pitching to get him, which is not exactly my strong suit. If you owned Aramis (OPS league) would you take Braden in return? Or Braden plus a guy like Fowler or F.Lewis?

  57. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Jay: I wouldn’t take Braden, but someone else might. Try it. I’d also give Lewis or Fowler along with Braden.

  58. danimal35 says:

    drop either Wallace or D. Brown for Snider?

  59. Grey

    Grey says:

    @danimal35: Brown, unless it’s a keeper, then Wallace.

  60. danimal35 says:

    And Bartlett or Hardy for SS…I have Hardy with really no shortage in power but dunno if i should pick the schmohawk SS scab

  61. Fletch says:

    @Grey: Would you trade Haren/J. Upton for either Holliday or CarGo?

  62. GrandSlamSingle says:

    @Steve: Looks like the wheels are coming off of Padilla.

  63. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Grey: hellickson or minor

  64. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    Damn… Big Baby Jesus got crucified in his return. It’s gonna’ take a miracle to resurrect my ratios by Sunday.

  65. paulzone says:

    would you drop either vazquez, volquez, simon, or scherzer to pick up hellickson? i’m reluctant to drop simon unless you think he’s lost the closer gig??

  66. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Awesomus Maximus: Ha

    @paulzone: Simon might get 5 more saves the rest of the year… He would be my first choice. I’d lose Volquez in a non-keeper otherwise.

  67. Anonymous says:

    I’m quite happy I benched Baker. I’m certain I’m not the only one (the only one happy to have benched Baker… I’m sure some poor fools out there started Baker. I LOL at them.)

  68. Steve says:

    @Elijah: Of course not. Fire me a mail.

  69. knighttown says:

    Desperation time. Looking to change my OF around a little. I need two of the following:

    Bruce, Ludwick, LoCain, Bourjous, Dexter, Pie, Crisp, Murphy

    I need all 5 categories without punting any of them.

  70. Mr2Bits says:

    Grey : Do I hold Gardner right now or go with someone like Pierre, Bourne, Davis or Crisp? My steal situation has taken a dump since Gardner never sees any bags and then doesn’t steal anymore.

  71. fitz says:

    Drop DLee for Luke Scott?

  72. knighttown says:

    I’m also looking at Corner Infidel and not liking my options. Are either Ike Davis or Pedro Alvarez and upgrade over Berkman?

  73. Joe B says:

    @Grey: Pick two of these three OF for a standard roto league…


  74. Joe B says:

    @fitz: hell to the yes… Luscious Luke is en fuego. He will hit more HR this week than Lee will hit the rest of the year.

  75. fitz says:

    @Joe B: thanks Joe, I just have trouble dropping Lee after his 2nd half last year but now that he’s on the bereavement list I am forced to get rid of him and actually feeling good about it.

  76. Martin says:

    @grey- scott baker or brett anderson?

  77. Anonymous says:

    @Martin: Anderson, without a doubt.

  78. struggler says:

    H2H with QS rather than Ws. Would you start Bills @ PHI or Arroyo vs. STL? They’ve both been pitching well but I’m leading in all pitching cats for the week. Not sure if I should take the chance on either? What do you think?

  79. Grey

    Grey says:

    @struggler: I wouldn’t chance either if you don’t need them. If you need one, Arroyo.

  80. Juan says:

    Choo, Holliday, Delmon Young, CarGo, Ellsbury, Guerrero.

    In H2H, I have 6 OFs but I can only start 4 of them. Who would you rather start? please pick 4 of them.

  81. Juan says:

    @Martin: Anderson. No question.

  82. struggler says:

    The dudes got 3 starts in the afternoon. I’ll run Arroyo out there and reevaluate after those. Just checked the stats and Bills seems to handle the Phils rather well. I think for the first time this year I read something of interest from Karabell:

    Billingsley has a 4.61 ERA at home. On the road a 2.95 ERA this year. His career ERA is half a run better on the road.

  83. Wilsonian says:

    2 questions:

    1) Is Snider, Tabata, Murphy, Fowler, or Infante an upgrade over Beckham for a UTIL spot in a 16 Team H2H Keeper?

    2) Just got offered Phillips/Bautista for Weeks/Holliday (from a Cardinal fan, shockingly). This is in my 8 Team H2H Keeper, and although I most likely wouldn’t be keeping any of those four, I’m leaning towards not taking it (maybe making a counter), but I wanted to know what you thought before I said “No.”

  84. Steve says:

    Uh oh:

    Braun (wrist) can’t swing a bat right now and isn’t sure how long he’ll be out, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt reports.

  85. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Juan: Choo, Holliday, Delmon Young, CarGo… Unless you need steals. Then Ellsbury over Choo.

    @struggler: Eh… It’s a Little League stadium.

    @Wilsonian: Snider… I’d want Holliday.

    @Steve: Yeah, it’s not good.

  86. fitz says:

    Anybody else having problems with ESPN Fantasycast?

  87. Steve says:

    @fitz: Yeah – the numbers against all of my players are too low…

  88. Terrence Mann says:

    Wow. I don’t do much analysis of players here but Bryan Bullington has looked great tonight. The dude is a Hershiser clone. Built like Hershiser, delivery like Hershiser, even looks quite a bit like Hershiser. He’s also had some flashes of filthy stuff. He threw two sliders that went in the dirt in Aybar’s second at bat. Aybar swung at both of them in the process of striking out.

    I had no clue he was the number one pick in the 2002 draft until tonight. If scouts saw the same stuff I’m seeing right now, I understand why he was so hyped. Bullington is supposed to be filling in for Bannister while Bannister gets his stuff together. IMO, there’s no way Bullington isn’t a new fixture in the rotation. Next to Greinke and Soria, I’m already convinced he’s the third best pitcher on the staff.

    People were understandably excited when Strasburg came into the league. The most thrilled I was this year watching a pitcher was Medlen early in the season. He was nasty and it came completely unexpected to me. Watching Bullington gives me the same feeling I had watching Medlen before everyone knew who he was.

    If you’re in a deep keeper, I’d snag Bullington before everyone else catches wind….just in case I happen to be right.

  89. royce! says:

    @struggler: I think that Billingsley’s home/away splits might be more a product of random noise than anything. The difference in his WHIP for the year is only .03.

    In 2007, the last time his home/road ERA splits were so pronounced (4.24 home, 2.59 away) his FIP and xFIP were actually higher away. And his career FIP and xFIP are higher away.

    So, I don’t know how long it takes home/away splits to normalize, but I don’t think you should put too much stock into Billingsley’s. Last year, I think his away ERA was .04 higher.

    I have a theory that I have yet to test, though- I think that what might be guiding the home/away splits might be that he’s much better during the day. His day ERA is almost a run lower, and his day WHIP is .20 lower. So his ERA, etc., are going to be better wherever he pitches the most times during the day.

    I think I may have written all of this to disprove the idea that Karabell has written something of interest.

  90. Terrence Mann says:

    Yuniesky Betancourt had a baby this weekend and missed the Seattle series. Gregor Blanco is currently missing time because his wife is expecting any minute. Hochevar and Gordon are both expecting. Billy Butler…well, his wife just always looks pregnant.

    All these babies make complete sense. The Royals are all screwing their wives in October and November because they sure as hell aren’t anywhere near a baseball diamond.

  91. Martin says:

    @grey- i was offered brett anderson for my huff and hellickson. I should reject right?

  92. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Terrence Mann: re: babies — That’s hilarious. re: Bullington — Hmm… I’ll watch him.

    @Martin: Yup

  93. royce! says:

    After today’s start, would you rather have Bumgarner or Hellickson?

  94. Anonymous says:

    Wade LeBlanc with a useful start. All hail the hodgepadre! Also, Huston Street on the bereavement list for a reason I can’t recall.

  95. Steve says:

    @Anonymous: Not sure it’s the bereavement list, quite the opposite in fact.

    His wife has had a baby. What else?

  96. Anonymous says:

    @Steve: Thanks for the clarification. I just remembered he wouldn’t be playing, so I can fit my four starts in tomorrow without benching a potentially actionable reliever.

  97. Steve says:

    @Steve: By the name of Ripken Ray.

    Ripken Ray Street. Don’t these people realise it’s the kid that has to live with it?

  98. Son of Sam Demel finally gets a save… and of course he’s not on my team anymore. So true about Pennington/EverCab.

    Fun time in Cincy tonight, old time baseball – Owning both Carp and Cueto on the same team I thought I would have a heartattack! Visions of a Greg Nettles bodyslam ruining Bill Lee’s shoulder…

    Brandon Phillips may be my new favorite player

  99. struggler says:

    Thanks royce! I’m not saying Karabell is right in his observations. He just pointed out something of interest. It’s especially interesting since you dedicated 5 graphs to trying to disprove it as interesting.

    Anyways the stats I’m going to use to decide to run Bills out there is career vs philly: 25ip 23ks 3.24ERA and career in the Little League park:
    20ip 19ks 1.25WHIP

    Also, no Ryno or Utley in the lineup.

  100. royce! says:

    @struggler: Yeah, I did a lot of research earlier in the year while trying to decide if I should drop him…I concluded that he was having some bad luck.

    Unless a team is in the same division as a pitcher, I tend to ignore the pitcher’s splits against that team. Not that this is true for Billingsley, but a pitcher in the NL West could go for years without pitching against a team in the NL East. I can’t remember who it was, but this year ESPN promoted starting someone against PHI based on the fact that they had a really low ERA against them historically. However, the last time they pitched against PHI was 2006.

  101. Grey

    Grey says:

    @royce!: Hard to turn down Bumgarner because his spot is secure in the rotation. Hellickson will probably be better in a short period of time.

    @Anonymous: Gotta love the hodgepadres.

    @3Fingersbrown: Yeah, was thinking the same thing. Can’t remember last time we had a good old fashioned brawl.

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