Hello, Razzball Nation! It’s your favorite roto-father, MarmosDad, back with another SAGNOF writeup to help as you sift through statistics for steals this spring. Today is the 4th and final part from my “What’s The Deal When Looking For Steals?” series. I’ll outline some more names to consider at different points in your drafts.
Over the past few weeks, we took a look at some players that fell into that ideal age group for steals production (23-28). We also focused on a few players that have had experience in professional ball (MiLB or MLB), at some point in the past.
Last week, I outlined the “Quantity” section of our research. Which guys fit the previous criteria but also had a certain level of successful stolen bases attempts, (often 20-30+), in those professional seasons? Well, of the three that we looked at last week, none of Jazz Chisholm, Jake McCarthy, or Bubba Thompson have managed to go down to injury, (unlike a couple of others that I seemingly jinxed in February), so at least that’s one bonus.
Today’s theme is going to be “Opportunity”. Having a good speed rating is nice, but what if your target’s manager loathes the running game? What is the team philosophy on steals? Which teams tended to give the ‘green light’ more often?
You want answers? Well, below are the top 12 teams in stolen bases per game from 2022…
|TEAM||STEALS PER GAME
|STEALS PER GAME
|PLAYERS W/10+ SB
Now, I understand that one chart doesn’t mean that every player on these teams should be expected to magically churn out a dozen or more SBs this year. Yes, some of the teams in the top 10 are in this position because they have ‘speedier’ players than other clubs. Is Miami here because of a team philosophy or because they have Jon Berti, the majors’ SB leader with 41 bags in just 102 games played last year? In a lot of instances, this can be a bit of a ‘chicken or the egg’ situation.
Also, there are some obvious numbers that pop out (not unlike Gavin Lux’s kneecap) at first glance. The 2021-2022 jump in Arizona has to be at least partially attributed to one of the guys we looked at last week. Baltimore’s jump from 0.33 (2021) to 0.53 (2022) has to have some of that Jorge Mateo / Cedric Mullins juice behind the increase, too.
So what do I mean by OPPORTUNITY? There are a few factors that go into team philosophies, but I’m going with the basics and the numbers here. Which teams are more willing to let loose on the basepaths and which would rather not run into an out with average to below average runners. In essence, who is going to let their guys…
(Not acceptable advice for the catcher…or for the relief pitcher…or for Chris Rock)
- “OPPORTUNITY is one that The Lineup Builder mentioned in his SBO piece a couple of weeks ago. Is this player an everyday starter or does he have a path to guaranteed playing time? Is he in a good lineup position to get that green light often? Does this player’s MLB manager like to run? Does the big league team incorporate steals into their offensive plan? … Look for teams that either have given players the green light in the past, or teams that have replaced an old manager with a new one. As an example, the Blue Jays changed out Charlie Montoya for John Schneider partway through last season and have publicly announced the desire to ‘run more’ (as a team) in 2023.”
Well, we’ve outlined which teams look like they’re more likely to continue running in 2023. Outside of some players changing teams, or managerial switch-ups, let’s assume that those in our chart above will continue to give players the A-OK when an opposing pitcher is more concerned with the pitch clock than they are with a baserunner’s lead at first.
A lot of the speed guys I’ve outlined already coincide with these teams, too. That means that Brandon Marsh, Tommy Edman, Ahmed Rosario, Garrett Mitchell, Andres Gimenez, Harrison Bader (post-oblique injury…oof), Jazz Chisholm Jr., Jake McCarthy, and Bubba Thompson should at least see a healthy amount of stolen base opportunities. With the rule new changes in MLB, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any (or all) of these guys post career best SB numbers in 2023.
But, Mr. Dad, are there any players left to cover?
You bet Urias there is!
Corbin Carroll, ARI OF : – NFBC ADP: 68.24 –
We’ll lead off here with a Diamondback, and a pretty good one at that. If you’ve opened any fantasy baseball articles this spring, (on Razzball, of course), odds are that this guy doesn’t need much of an introduction.
At 22 years and 6 months, Carroll comes in just shy of our 23-28 age group for optimum speed output. I don’t think we can dock him any points for that, because the ‘experience’ is certainly there, despite the age. He spent 42 games in rookie and A ball in 2019 before 7 games at A+ in 2021. Last year, Carroll blew through the system playing 125 total games at 4 levels and eventually settling in as the Diamondback’s primary left fielder.
The numbers definitely support a breakout, too. The Forecaster gives Carroll its top SPD ranking at an obscene 157. That lines up pretty perfectly with Carroll’s elite 80 grade speed score. Does that translate to steals? Well, he stole 18 bags in 2019, then 20 in 58 games last year in AA. He had 11 SB in 33 AAA games and managed to swipe 2 in his 32 MLB games in 2022.
Steamer is right around where most projections are for Carroll, predicting 18 SB in 126 GP for 2023. Grey has Carroll ranked as his 16th best OF in his Top 20 Outfielders for Fantasy Baseball but is more generous with 27 predicted SB. I’d lean more towards Grey for this one.
Lastly, and most importantly, Arizona ranked as 5th best in SB/G last year without a full season from Jake McCarthy (99 GP) or Carroll (32 GP). A full 162 from both of these guys could mean that the D-Backs challenge for that top spot in 2023.
All I know is that the 68.24 ADP in NFBC is still probably too low to plan to have this guy on your squad. He went in the 3rd round of our DFS Anonymous RCL (on Fantrax) Sunday night, and I would assume you’ll need to jump ahead of that ADP if you want to ‘sing some Carrolls’ this summer.
Nico Hoerner, CHC SS : – NFBC ADP: 139.08 –
Hoerner falls right in the middle of our ideal age grouping – he turns 26 in early May. That’s a good indication that he’s running into his peak years right now, (pun relatively unintended).
The Cubbies’ shortstop played 14 games in Rookie/A ball in 2018. He followed that up with 95 games in 2019, finishing with 20 games in MLB after spending a good chunk of time at AA. The majority of his games since then have been at the MLB level, but Hoerner had never topped 20 steals in any of his years prior to 2022.
The SPD score in the Forecaster was a whopping 146 last season, but is more modest in its prediction of a 115 in 2023. This lines up with Hoerner’s 55 grade speed, which rates snugly between average and above average wheels.
Steamer is buying the repeat in SB, though, as its prediction is an even better 22 steals for 2023. Grey has Hoerner ranked as his 22nd shortstop in his Top 20 Shortstops for Fantasy Baseball, which sounds like he’s buried…but Grey actually mentions that Hoerner was one of his sleeper posts that wasn’t published. 24 steals from the boss’s prediction means that there is another believer as far as a repeat is concerned.
Lastly, the Cubs had the 4th highest steals per game in 2022, and should continue to run in 2023. On our Podapalooza panel, Sara Sanchez (@BCB_Sara) mentioned that even though the Cubs had the second highest rate of caught stealing last season (tied with Tampa, second only to Texas), the ‘blue bears’ don’t look like they’re changing gears anytime soon. With four regulars at double digit steals projections, it would probably be surprising if they suddenly introduced the stop sign in the North end of Chicago this year.
Oswaldo Cabrera, NYY OF: – NFBC ADP: 353.95 –
(Bet you never thought you’d see this Cabrera in a stolen base article)
Sorry, Miggy, wrong Cabrera.
There were a few names that made the short list for our third and final profile. Steven Kwan, Cedric Mullins, and Dansby Swanson all check off boxes from some (or all) of our previous criteria as well as from the list of teams above. But this one is a deeper dive that could help you out in those larger drafts when you get close to Round 30 in your 12-team leagues.
We’ll have to address that this one is a bit of a stinger, too. Two weeks ago I wrote up Harrison Bader and outlined that, despite his OBP issues, Bader had a pretty healthy 60 grade speed score and should probably be a good bet for around 20 SB in 2023. Alas, one man’s oblique injury is another man’s treasure…that’s how the saying goes, isn’t it?
Enter Oswaldo Cabrera. This one, admittedly, is a bit of a stretch. But we are looking at a post 350 ADP, so bear with me.
Cabrera just turned 24 on March 1st. He had 5 years of experience in the minor leagues before landing in New York for good in 2022. In 2021, Cabrera managed to swipe 21 bases between two levels (AA/AAA), then followed up with 16 total stolen bases in his ascent through A and AAA, eventually settling in at Yankee stadium for 43 games.
The speed scores, admittedly, do not jump off the page. His 40 grade speed lines up with his 40 grade hit tool…both are considered below average in scouting circles. The Forecaster SPD score? It’s a bit more positive, as it lists Oswalo with a 131 for 2022 and predicts 126 in 2023 (for reference, that’s right between Bryan Reynolds and Christian Yelich).
Steamer is realistic in its assessment with a very conservative prediction of 8 SB in 325 AB for 2023. Grey has him listed as his 84th OF (hey, I said we’re over 350 players deep here) and slotted in for the same 8 steals. However, Grey did write up an Oswaldo Cabrera sleeper post way back in December that, at the time, was much more flattering if anything happened that might increase his playing time.
Grey did point out that a team like the Yankees might not want to give guys the green light as much as others, just because of the power potential in that lineup. As I mentioned in the beginning here, I’m sure some managers list the ultimate sin as running yourself out of an inning. The Yankees were the 7th most successful team in MLB steals per game last year, (0.63), but on a positive note, that was a total that had nearly doubled from a pretty ugly 0.39 in 2021.
Given the data outlined above, Oswaldo could have a tough time cracking the double-digit mark this summer. BUT…If Harrison Bader ends up being sidelined for longer than expected, and Oswaldo Cabrera can back into 400+ at bats? He could be one of those players that benefit from the new rule changes and manages to boost that prediction into the low teens at the very least. That’s not bad for a player you’re drafting close to Round 30.
That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed the breakdowns here, and throughout the other sections of what I look for in steals research. Next week, I’m planning on taking one last look at any names you should know that I missed. I’ll also include guys that might be close to securing a roster spot or improved lineup position. If you have any questions or comments, or anything you want me to take a deeper dive into for steals, feel free to hit me up in the comments here or @MarmosDad on Twitter!