We can all agree that Myles Straw is everyone’s deep stolen base sleeper for this year. Is someone still considered a sleeper if everyone labels him as such? Either way, he could be hitting atop the new-look Astros lineup running for his life even with old-school Dusty Baker as their manager. But here’s the Hotels.com Captain Obvious™ statement of the day: there’s only 1 Myles Straw in every league — either ya get him earlier than you want, or the commissioner’s annoying little brother drafts him right ahead of you. So I’m going to highlight 8 players who are being drafted after Straw’s current ADP (339 on Fantrax as of March 23rd) who could sneakily steal double-digit bases for your team. These deep league stolen base threats not only ‘Ain’t Got No Face,’ they might not even ‘Ain’t Got No Head’ they’re so anonymous.
- Austin Slater, OF, SF (396 ADP): Recommending a guy for stolen bases who has never stolen double-digit bases at any point, at any level, at any time, at any stadium, at any age?! Well, I’ll give him credit for 2018 when he stole 15 between AAA and the big leagues. Last year, Slater had 8 SBs in only 31 games, so it’s pretty safe to assume he would at least touch 20 at that pace. The crazy thing is — Slater’s sprint speed (27.8 ft/s) was actually the lowest of his major league career — not by too much though (28.5 is his highest.) Unfortunately, Slater isn’t pegged for a starting role with the Giants, but he’s still projected for 13 SBs and 12 HRs in 393 ABs by ZiPS.
- Kevin Kiermaier, OF, TB: (466 ADP): Kiermaier is the patron saint of the SAGNOF column. Every year he’s the “oh crap — I’m short on stolen bases” pick by someone in the late round of the drafts. And it’s well-deserved too: to start, Kiermaier has never been under the 90th percentile in sprint speed. The problem with KK has always been staying on the field. He’s exceeded 500 ABs only once in his career and that was way back in 2015. That was way back when this year’s #6 player Mike Trout was the consensus #1 player in the league — crazy days! Back to Kiermaier: despite being in the lineup roulette-happy Rays, he’s penciled in as the starting CF for the Rays again and should be good for at least 15 SBs — 20 if he’s nasty.
- Roman Quinn, OF, PHI: (537 ADP): Admittedly, Quinn isn’t guaranteed regular ABs in Philadelphia, but the centerfield job isn’t 100% locked down by anyone just yet. Plus, Andrew McCutchen has a lot of mileage on his 33-year-old body so he might need extra rest days and a DL stint or two. If Quinn breaks camp as the starting CF Quinn is 100% you should take a chance on him at the end of your drafts due to his blistering speed. He’s finished in the top 1% in sprint speed each year since 2016 (he didn’t play in the big leagues in 2017.) He’s not without warts — Quinn’s problem has always been his plate discipline. Last year Quinn stroke out in 33.6% of his ABs and walked in only 4.3%. Also, there’s Dee Strange-Gordon power here — meaning of course — absolutely none. Quinn as of right now is a one-trick pony, but could get to possibly 2 (runs) with playing time and an improved approach at the plate.
- Michael Taylor, OF, KCR: (553 ADP): Trust me, he’s still in the league. Not only that — he’s scheduled for starter’s minutes in the Island of Misfit Toys lineup of the Kansas City Royals. But don’t sleep on his legs yet — he’ll get pins and needles! Taylor averaged 18 SBs in his heydays with the Nationals from 2015-2018, but the career sub-.300 OBP tells the story of why he has an ADP over 550. He’s latched on to the Royals for one last contract before he ends up overseas, but maybe, just maybe he can turn it around. Of course, spring training means nothing, but Taylor has been hitting extremely well this spring. He’s got a .448 AVG and .529 OBP. Those numbers obviously won’t stay that high, but if he has made some plate discipline improvements and he still has one of the top sprint speeds in the league — there could be another 20+ SB season here.
- Josh Rojas, 2B, ARI: (612 ADP): With an injury to Kole Calhoun, Ketel Marte has been roaming the outfield opening up second base to Josh Rojas and there’s definitely sneaky stolen base potential here. In 2018 and 2019 in the Astros minor league system, Rojas swiped 38 and 33 bags, respectively. Admittedly, Rojas hasn’t shown much in his big league auditions (199 ABs, .206 AVG, 5 SBs,) but he was a career .288 over 1,103 minor league ABs with a .370 OBP. Plus, and I repeat — spring training stats don’t mean much — but Rojas has been hitting well so far — 18 hits in 17 games. He has a chance at some ABs and if he’s learned how to putt this offseason there are some stolen base opportunities.
- Anthony Alford, OF, PIT: (614 ADP): I hope Anthony Alford puts something together this year. He was one of the first minor leaguers I drafted way back in 2016 when he was a top-25 prospect with the Blue Jays so I have a soft spot for him. Unfortunately, he was drafted by the Blue Jays all the way back in 2012 and they didn’t have a soft spot for him only giving him 83 major league ABs with a .529 OPS to show for it. Alford has never lacked for speed — even in those few ABs Alford had a top 1% sprint speed in 2019 and a top 3% sprint speed in 2020. If you’re truly, truly, desperate for stolen bases in an NL-only league ZiPS even has Alford projected for 19 SBs in 326 ABs. Just imagine if he makes some progress on his woeful career 4.5% BB% and 35.2 K% and stays in the lineup for 450 ABs — 30 SBs? 40?
- Akil Baddoo, OF, DET: (777 NFBC ADP): Oh on & on and on & on Akil keeps runnin’ like a rollin’ stone. Baddoo has been one of the hottest hitters in spring training: 32 ABs, 11 hits, 12 runs, 4 HRs, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 8 BBs.) The December Rule 5 Draft pick was never a realistic consideration to break camp with the team, but then he picked up a hot bat and hasn’t put it down since. Baddoo definitely has some speed in his arsenal swiping 24 bags in 113 games with the single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels. ZiPS has him down for 301 ABs, 7 HRs, 11 SBs — albeit with a .610 OPS. It’s a fun story to be sure, hopefully, in AL-only leagues, he can keep it going and you reap the rewards.
- Eli White, OF, TEX: (972 ADP): If — and this is a pretty big if — Eli White beats out Leody Taveras for the starting CF job in Texas there are SBs to be had at an unbelievable low cost. Last year, White’s 29.4 ft/s sprint speed tied him with speedsters Fernando Tatis Jr. and Adalberto Mondesi. In his 4-year minor league career, White has SB totals of 12, 12, 18, and 14, not world-beating for sure, but still not bad if he puts up those numbers in a speed-starved fantasy league. So far this spring White’s stolen 3 bases and has a .400 OBP. Taveras only has a .281 OBP and 1 SB. Statistically, White deserves this job, but I still think Taveras will be in CF on Opening Day. If I’m wrong, crash on White for SB help.