As fantasy baseball players and analysts it is often way more fun to talk about the positive side of the game. We talk about players who are excelling and our successful teams while often ignoring those who may be struggling. We hide behind the idea of “it’s still early” and allow ourselves to believe our players will turn it around. However, new information matters and we need to begin to take it into account. For stolen base numbers, it is massively important for us to look at the caught stealing leaderboards. As we have stated in previous articles, hitters who fail to attain a certain success rate start to see their attempt numbers dwindle. If you are counting on that particular player to keep running this may be a disturbing trend.
Ozzie Albies (3/8 on steals) – Many players drafted Albies hoping he could repeat the 30/20 season he posted in 2021. In his previous full seasons, he posted 14 and 15 steals. His five caught stealings lead the league thus far. Historically, he has been quite efficient so this represents a massive change. Overall, I think the efficiency returns but the attempts numbers may fall as he becomes more selective. He may struggle to reach 15 steals this season.
Starling Marte (6/10) – Marte has been one of the best base stealers in the game in the last several seasons. Surprisingly, he has not been the most efficient runner in his career but the current 60% success rate is much lower than its been in his career. As the middle of the Mets order begins to heat up, he may get more red lights on the basepaths. I think he still makes it to 20+ steals but expectations should be tempered.
Rafael Ortega (3/7) – Ortega was one of my favorite late-round targets in 2022 drafts. The Cubs OF had a magical breakout in 2021 with 11 homers and 12 steals. He has been leading off frequently for the Cubs, especially against righties. He was only successful on 66% of steals last season so the efficiency was never his calling card but if he continues to be thrown out more than he is successful that red light might come soon. The power has not been there yet but I think Ortega could see a spike in that department as the weather heats up. However, anyone who was hoping he could chip in 10+ steals might find themselves disappointed.
- MJ Melendez – Typically I look at the top of this list to find a catcher to target but in only a little over 100 innings, Melendez has become a popular target for teams. He has allowed 9 steals in his short time behind the plate. With Perez out Melendez gets everyday playing time. He gets Cleveland and Houston next week meaning potential big weeks for Straw, Rosario, Tucker, and lesser guys like Chas McCormick or Jose Siri.
- Jacob Stallings – We can continue to target Jacob Stallings and the Marlins. This week he faces the Rockies and the Giants. For the Rockies, not too many of their hitters are SB threats but Sam Hilliard could be a guy who gets an extra base or two as a result. For the Giants guys like Thairo Estrada, and Austin Slater if they get a lefty, and some of their other top platoon options could see a boost in value for next week.