Coco Crisp‘s recent neck injury opens the door for Craig Gentry over the next few days. He’ll likely take over in center and bat at the bottom of the A’s lineup while Crisp practices turning his head in both directions. Hopefully he didn’tÂ promise his bike to anyone who could fix him. You were supposed to sleep on a board, Coco! Gentry makes an interesting play for steals, and he appeared in this very column last week. In 2013, Gentry had 24 stolen bases in just 287 plate appearances, so he’s got some wheels. He’s already got six steals in limited playing time this year. On the schedule this week are the White Sox and the Indians. Both teams are tied for the 10th most steals allowed in the majors (25) so it’s not a bad match-up play. Crisp isn’t on the disabled list, he’s just day-to-day, so it could just be the White Sox series that Gentry gets all of the starts.
Take a peek at the new SB Rates vs. SP tool that Rudy has conjured up. Using all of last year’s data, it lets us know which pitchers to deploy our SAGNOF specialists against (based on their steals per innings pitched rates). I used it yesterday in DFS when I saw Eric Young was going to start against Cole Hamels, who’s pretty easy to run against. I swapped him into my lineup and it paid off with two steals from EY2 in the game. Here are some other SAGNOFÂ picks for this week…
B.J. Upton – @SF, @STL
Upton’s ownership percentage has finally dipped below the 50% mark (and for good reason). If you can tear yourself away from the idea that he’s going to be the player he was in Tampa and start looking at him more as a SAGNOF play, he’s still valuable. He’s got seven stolen bases on the year despite a .202 batting average and this week he gets the Giants, who have allowed more steals than any other team in baseball (37). Yank him for the Cardinals, though. They are at the complete oppositeÂ end of the spectrum having allowed only nine steals allÂ year.
Nyjer Morgan – @TOR, OAK
Tony Plush (thanks Gareth) is going to make it hard for the Indians to ignore him if he continues to play like he did on Sunday. He’s got wheels, with a couple 30+ steal seasons under his belt in 2009 and 2010. Even in a more limited role he stole double digit bags and has three so far this season in just 13 games. Keep an eye on the starting lineup, but he might be worth a look this week against Toronto and Oakland, two teams that have allowed quite a few stolen bases so far.
A.J. Pollock – WAS, LAD
Pollock often gets overlooked (hence the wild paintings and alcoholism) but in the past week he’s stolen five bases and put together two multi-hit games. He’s now at three homers and five steals on the year and available pretty much everywhere. In a recent blurb my league’s server wrote, “Pollock has some ability.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is! #analysis
Mike Aviles – @TOR, OAK
Aviles has a better playing time picture than MorganÂ and he’ll also benefit fromÂ the good match ups this week. He’sÂ filling in nicely while Jason Kipnis is injured and over the course of a full season he’s a 15-stealÂ guy. He has stolen four in 25 games this year, and makes a nice bridge player at middle infield while one of your regulars has the day off or is nursing an injury.
Danny Espinosa – @ARI, NYM
Espinosa flirted with a couple of 20/20 seasons not too long ago, and he’s already tallied five homers and four steals this season in just 34 games. He’ll continue to get decent playing time with Zimmerman shelved and he’s got a favorable match up against the Diamondbacks to start the week. He strikes out a lot (29%) so you’ll have to stomach a bad batting average, but Espinosa actually makes for a sneaky pickup if you’re in need of a cheap power/speed combo in the middle infield.
Rougned Odor – HOU, TOR
Odor’s been called up after a hot start in the minors to fill a hole in the Rangers’ infield. My guess is he’ll head right back down when Profar returns, but in the meantime he’s definitely worth a look. Odor stole 32 bags across two levels of the minor leagues in 2013 and had six steals prior to his call up this season. This week in particular favors his legs as the Astros and Blue Jays are both in the top ten for stolen bases allowed.
Mike’s on Twitter @643ball