As we grind toward the finish line for draft season I admit this is the part of the year I both adore and hate most. The excitement of getting down and dirty in the draft room balanced by the 13th round snipe of a player you were targeting. Or for me right now as I slow draft in a few industry events, the torrid rush of building a great team with all the time in the world to study, balanced by having all the time in the world to study as the same guy times out his 4 hour clock for the second time in 24 hours.

(Editor’s Note: We have a few spots left in Razzball Commenter Leagues drafting this month, including some money leagues, like this one for $10 against Truss drafting this Friday, March 15th at 10 PM ET – Click to join!  These drafts are FAST!)

I understand the position that it is a “Slow” draft and people have other things going on in their lives. My position is if you are in an online draft you have the technology to set notifications so you know when you are up. A queue and the ability to set an auto-pick for one round should also be in your repertoire. I get life happens, but it seems to happen to the same people over and over again. I firmly believe 2 hours is a perfect limit. The moral of the story is don’t be a sloth in the slow-draft room. Thanks for allowing me to vent, and now back to our regularly scheduled program

Speaking of not being a sloth, this week we’re looking at some speed that has switched teams. These are the Anti-Sloths who have made a home in a new tree this off-season. These are players that are either going into a new clubhouse with a manager that likes to run more or into a situation that is more advantageous from a playing time or roster perspective. Many of these folks are being drafted well below where their potential steals ceiling is.

Jose Caballero and Amed Rosario – MI – Tampa Bay Rays

I’ve mentioned Caballero already some in an earlier article, but I want to reiterate it here. I don’t think it is a timeshare between these two. Caballero should have a stranglehold on an almost everyday role at SS barring a complete hitting meltdown to start the season. In only 320 Plate appearances last year he stole 31 bases and most of those came in the majors. He is also really solid in OBP leagues with over a 10% walk rate at every level since rookie ball. His K rate should also come down with a full year of seeing MLB pitching on the near horizon. If he gets to 500 plate appearances 40 steals in certainly a possibility. Both of these players will benefit from playing for Kevin Cash and a Rays team last year was third in the majors with 1.23 Stolen base attempts per game. Rosario will find a home in both the infield and the outfield this season and he could easily swipe 15+ bags with enough ABs and pinch-running chances. Are these guys fast you ask? Rosario was 28th in Sprint speed in 2023, and Caballero finished in 57th. Can they steal bases you ask? Over the last three seasons, Rosario has converted at an 88.5% rate, while Caballero checks in at 88.1%. Kevin’s gonna Cash in on the new speed in his dugout and you should too.

Tim Anderson – SS – Miami Marlins

Yes, 2023 Tim Anderson forgot how to hit. He was one of the worst at the dish in all of MLB. Somewhere deep down he still knows how to hit, at least a little bit. Let us say, and we just did, that 2023 is his floor. I can’t see it getting any worse. The Marlins agree with me. They signed him to a no risk deal to play and he’s going to get every chance to prove he is still a viable MLB hitter. What he for certain still can do is swipe bases. Also I’m sure he can still take a punch and start a riot. He is 26 for 28 the last two seasons on the base paths. If the Marlins can correct his awful chase rate and get his strikeout levels back to where they were in 2022 we should see him get on base again and get 15+ steals without a problem.

Cleveland Guardians’ Jose Ramirez, center, and Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson (7) exchange punches in the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Cleveland. White Sox’s Michael Kopech, left looks on. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Harrison Bader – OF – New York Mets

Here’s a guy that just needs to stay healthy to be effective. In the last two seasons, he has combined for only 657 plate appearances. He’s had injuries to his foot, head, hamstring, rib and groin. I guess the good news there is none of them are chronic repetitive injuries. Bader is an elite Center Fielder, he still has sprint speed in the Top 75 in MLB, he is 36 of 42 on the base paths and he’s got a locked-in spot to play now with the Metropolitans in New York. Currently going off the board at pick 411 in NFBC, and he is certainly a steal if you need steals at that spot.

Joey Ortiz – IF – Milwaukee Brewers

Of the five guys I’m discussing today, Ortiz is by far in my mind the biggest reach. If you need steals late in your draft and any of the four guys above are there I am in 100% no questions asked. Ortiz is a wild card. He came over to the Brewers in the Burnes fleecing, I mean trade. His sprint speed is above average, but not elite. Playing time is not guaranteed as Sal Frelick seems to be aligned to get some time at third base where Ortiz was going. All that being said Ortiz has shown enough on-base skills in the minors where I think his bat and glove should keep him in the lineup. If he gets 400 Plate appearances he should swipe 10-15 bases. Yeah, I get it, not nearly as exciting as the ceiling for the guys above, but for someone with 2B and soon to be 3B eligibility he could be a full on 15/15 guy going off draft board at pick 509. Let’s Call him Lil’ Papi and hope he sticks around Milwaukee in 2024.