Hey Razzball faithful! It’s great to have you back! I’m trusting that your eyesight has returned since the viewing of last week’s David Bowie picture. Now that that’s out of the way, I think it’s safe to conclude that all of those rule changes and how they will affect the running game has the baseball community in somewhat of a tizzy. From the looks of it, the Benny Hill-esque speeding up of the pitchers should do exactly what we’ve talked about already…


“Don’t think. Just throw!” should create enough of a lack of focus on the runner that it should help those mid-range guys get a bigger jump when stealing bags (especially from first to second).

Ok, Mr. M.Dad. That’s certainly swell, but now that we have the details on the changes, what’s the deal when we’re looking for steals?

An excellent question, bolded and italicized reader. To be honest, a lot of it probably does seem pretty straightforward and commonsensical (believe it or not, a real word). This week, I’m going to dive a bit more into answering exactly that. How is this going to affect who I target and what I look for in a player that has the potential to steal me some of those category boosting bags?

I had this written up a while ago so after our in-depth look at rule changes, I figured it was a great time to include this to help fill in the full scope of speed analysis. What do I look for when trying to zero in on speed guys? Does it matter how old they are? Does team philosophy and lineup position affect my thinking? I can break it down into a few sections here for you.

  •  AGE is arguably the most important number of them all. Speed is a skill for the young. Sure there are exceptions to this rule…see: Davis, Rajai (may his name be praised now and forever), but SAGNOF is not for the aged. There aren’t many players that lead the league in steals if their year of birth starts with a 1, 9, then 8. You want those players that are in their age 23-28 seasons. Peak age = peak wheels.


  • EXPERIENCE is important, too. We’re looking for players that have at least 3 years of playing time somewhere as a pro. It doesn’t matter where, as long as it’s minor or major league experience. Did this guy spend a year in rookie ball, then move up to AA, then get a half season at AAA before that anticipated show call-up? Getting used to the “how and when” to steal is as important as possessing that speed skill itself. Proving that the player can steal bases at a professional level is a huge indicator of future success. Any experience with steals at the major league level is the next step that should be a determining factor in our research.


  • QUANTITY is another good indicator of future success. Has this guy stolen 15-20 (or more) bases in a minor (or major) league season before? More than once?  Has he passed that golden steals number of 30 in a full professional season? A perfect record of 6-for-6 in steals attempts is nice, but almost all of our roto leagues reward quantity over quality. In other words, no one cares if Player A was caught stealing 40 times if he can successfully nab 60 bags.


  • 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 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? Texas, Miami, Cleveland, Chicago (Cubs), and Philadelphia were the top five teams in stolen bases in 2022. 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.

(Get those first round draft slots ready for more of Bo’s flow)

So for our player profile blurbs this week, I figured we could focus on some steals guys that fall into that AGE grouping (23-28). We won’t have the Trea Turners or JT Realmutos here, or those shiny new rookie names. I’ll pick two of the younger burners from the first section of our numbers, and one of those prime (age 26-28) runners to look a bit more closely at below.

But before we start, if you’re looking for more names or numbers to pick through on your own, don’t forget to head over to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Rankings page where everything is sorted all tidy and clean for your convenience!


Amed Rosario, SS – (age: 27) – ADP : 120.1 – One of two players from that Mets/Guardians 2021 deal that I could have written up today, we’ll go with Rosario now and save the other for later…ooh, the suspense.

Firstly, for those of you looking for a prime-aged steals source, Rosario falls right in the sweet spot of when MLB hitters usually tend to approach their peak. His 82% SB success rate last year was high enough to indicate that he’s using his high speed rating to his advantage.

Additionally, Rosario posted a pretty healthy .321 OBP in 2021 and a good .312 last year. Getting on base is a skill in itself, and is going to dictate how many of these guys can actually take advantage of the new rules. Rosario is projected to come pretty close to that .312 OBP in 2023 (Steamer has him at .313).

We can add all of that up in our basket of post-100 ADP, throw in the fact that Cleveland was the 3rd highest in stolen bases per game last year, (hello, organizational green light!), and even peek in at his Forecaster speed grade of 145. That’s good for 4th on the list of guys with >400 AB (tied with Jorge Mateo and Christopher Morel).

The lineup strength and batting order position look pretty promising, too. Rosario is currently slated to hit 2nd between Steven Kwan and in front of Jose Ramirez. Not a bad situation if you’re waiting to backfill your SS slot with a guy that could/should at the very least repeat his 18 SBs from last season and give you some even better counting stats along with it. Steamer seems conservative with the projection at 16, and Grey has him swiping 20.

Riley Greene, OF – (age: 22) – ADP : 193 – This one is a bit of a cheat here as Greene is just 22 years old and falls just outside of the 23-28 zone that I outlined above. His name came up on my Podapalooza panel from the weekend (shout out to Darius Austin for highlighting him in our discussion).

Greene is a young player that checks a few of the boxes mentioned above. He has those ‘youthful legs’ that we’re looking for in a steals guy, and according to Roster Resource, he projects as the Tigers’ leadoff hitter. Although pointing this out might be a bit redundant and commonsensical (there’s that word again!), those guys at the top of the lineup don’t have to worry as much about having the bases plugged up in front of them. Open bags = open season for stolen base attempts.

Greene’s sprint speeds don’t jump off the StatCast page (59th percentile), and he doesn’t necessarily have that history of SB dominance in the minors (peaked at 16 in AA in 2021/2022), but the OBP isn’t terrible (projected at .324 by Steamer). The speed score in the Forecaster is top ten for players with >400 AB. Greene also fits into that mid-range player group that could see a pretty healthy boost in SBO. All of these factors just point to a potential boost because of rule changes. I don’t necessarily see him putting up huge SB numbers, but he could get close to that minor league peak if he can hold down that leadoff spot. I’ll admit that he is pretty young and inexperienced…if only there was a word/color that I could use to describe that…but I don’t see many speed threats that could usurp his leadoff spot (sorry, Akil Baddoo). Steamer’s projection is conservative here too, but with 9 SB it’s the highest of all of the projection systems that I checked out. Grey has him with 7 SB in his Top 60 Outfielders.

Garrett Mitchell, OF – (age: 24) – ADP : 302 – Let’s do a bit of a deeper dive in our final forage for the fleet-footed. In an earlier article, I mentioned that Milwaukee’s OF situation was a bad omen for Esteury Ruiz coming into the year.  But Milwaukee solved that problem for themselves (and Ruiz) when they traded him to Oakland. Then they freed up another OF spot when Hunter Renfroe was shipped to Anaheim for Junk…literally. Opening up those OF spots gives Garrett Mitchell a clearer path to playing time. That’s one bonus for this list as guys that play more often get more opportunities to steal bases. Yes, follow me for more obvious takes like this, don’t run at large stray dogs, and don’t eat the yellow snow at the park.

Projected starting lineups have Mitchell in CF batting out of the 7th spot without much competition from the bench. Milwaukee does have Tyler Naquin and Sal Frelick in AAA, so a slow start could sink those everyday playing time hopes, but the other numbers look good so far.

The OBP from the minors and MLB cup of coffee should regress for sure. He certainly won’t post the same .353 in those 44 AA games or the .435 in 20 AAA games. It’s safe to assume the .373 in 28 MLB games isn’t happening either. Steamer projects Mitchell for a .307 OBP in 2023, so needless to say he could anchor down that CF spot by surpassing that on the regular.

Looking at some of the other numbers and information, Milwaukee was the 10th ranked team in 0.59 steals per game, so the organizational philosophy is there. Perhaps most importantly, Garrett Mitchell has that sweet, sweet 70 grade speed (along with a 55 raw power score). For those of you that might have held the Math textbook upside in school, that 70 (or 0L) is considered well above average or ‘plus plus’. That’s the good news.

The bad news is Garrett Mitchell might also invoke thoughts of that old saying, “you can’t steal first base,” as his contact rates aren’t great. He’s projected at a 62% contact rate which is well below the 2022 MLB average of 75%. A 29.6 projected K% is about as big a woof as you’ll get out of anyone…BUT…(turn it around here!)…IF he can hold on to that playing time and improve his OBP, this guy could steal more than a few bags to help out your fantasy teams this year. Steamer has him projected at 13 SB in 387 PA. Grey has him at 18 steals in his Top 80 Outfielders

Just remember, as I said before, there are reasons why these guys that have ADPs post 300 are where they are. Even with the top-end skills, there are always bruises or holes in their skill sets. For Mitchell, the upside is there, but there’s a reason he’s not ranked in the top 200 overall.

Hopefully, this helped out a bit and gave you some names to consider in your drafts this spring. There are a lot of other players that fall into the 23-28 year old range, but we’ll save a few of those names for next week when I try to dig a bit more into EXPERIENCE as a factor in our player searches. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit me up in the comments here or @MarmosDad on Twitter!