For 2022, the weekly SAGNOF piece will be focusing mostly on the neverending search for stolen bases. Every week I will help you, the reader, to parse the waiver wire and track down the next player who will underwhelm in all categories except for speed. However, now we are in the magical fantasy land that is the offseason, where everyone is going to steal 20 bases and your latest build is destined to be one that leads the league in stolen bases. Yet we, unfortunately, all know that won’t be the case.

When it comes to stolen bases using the NFBC 12 team leagues as the standard, your end-of-season goal should be somewhere around 130 stolen bases as a team. This should allow you to get 10+ roto points for the category. Based on this the simple goal should be to accumulate bags no matter what position they come from. My question is, should we care what position they come from? Simply, I think yes we should. Below are the average projected SBs by position for all players projected by Steamer to reach 400 PAs (200+ for Catchers)

1B 3.2 2.24
2B 9.1 6.93
3B 6.4 7.6
C 2.2 1.93
OF 8.8 6.59
SS 9.9 6.62

Unsurprisingly, most sources of stolen bases come from MI and OF spots and very few Cs or 1Bs steal bases. 3B is middle of the pack but a lot of that average is being raised by Adalberto Mondesi and Jose Ramirez, hence the massive standard deviation for that position. This is one spot where I think traditional SGP (standings gain points) valuations may fall short. We treat all categories as the same across all positions and in the end add in a position adjustment that is uniform. We should be factoring in the positional baselines for each category across positions. What I mean by this is that if we have a first baseman with 10 projected SBs and a shortstop with the same projection, while they are the same in an SGP model, the first baseman should see his 10 SBs weighted a bit heavier. Mainly, the argument stems from the concept of replacement value. It is easier to find an OF who will get you the 10 SBs over the course of the season than it is to find the same 10 SBs from a 1B. This is also an argument in favor of Daulton Varsho who is a unicorn of sorts as a catcher with potential for 15-20 SBs.

Overall, this shouldn’t cause a massive adjustment to your rankings but it should help when making choices between two players. Overall, getting to 130 is still the goal and you do not get bonus points if you get those stolen bases from different positions, but too often when we draft we assume everything will go right and forget to acknowledge that we will need to add SBs in season. However, this is also super important to remember in things like draft and holds or any other form of a deep league. For example, one player I have targeted thus far in NFBC leagues is LaMonte Wade Jr. who is the rare 1B with speed. In the back half of deep drafts, it is important to keep these averages in your mind when comparing late sources of “speed” who project for right around the 10 SB mark.

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Laura Holt
6 months ago

Hey Paul, nice post! I’ve been having trouble figuring out how to value Wade so far this year so this is an interesting way to look at things… been doing a lot of draft & hold leagues so a guy like Wade is nice late with the double position eligibility and knowing he could provide both a little pop and a little speed.

6 months ago

Good post, Paul.

As you mention SGP’s is the name of our game. That’s what I focus on throughout the season is how I can move up in the standings.