The season ends this week, which means pretty soon I’ll be DVR’ing AFL games and streaming grainy video of the Dominican Winter League to get me through the bitter offseason. For the teams that are still in it, a close battle in the steals category can sometimes mean the difference between winning and losing. We’ve turned to many different SAGNOF types this year, but with so few games left I’m looking at adding any and all players that can help me gain ground in the category – even if they are just pinch runners. Listed below are four players who may steal a base or two even if they do absolutely nothing else. That includes getting a hit. This strategy is best for leagues where you can afford to lose a marginal player, you can make daily roster moves, and you have a cushion in the other cats like homers and RBIs. Personally, I’m rostering some of these pinch runners in leagues where I need 3 or 4 steals to catch that next point in the roto standings. Teams highlighted in green are below league average in caught stealing percentage, making them good targets. All of these players have seven games this week so they have the most opportunities to get in there and swipe a bag. Good luck on the basepaths and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at Grey’s place for the big “football” game. Make sure you bring the poppers.
Jarrod Dyson | KC – @CLE (3), @CWS (4)
Dyson is the only one in this group that I’m confident will be more than just a pinch runner. He should also get a start or two and that makes him the best option of the bunch. Cleveland is tough to run against, but Chicago is kind of middle-of-the-road. Either way he’ll get seven games this week. While Cleveland has been stingy (32% CS%), Trevor Bauer has not. The right-hander has allowed 19 steals on the year, which is good for the eleventh highest total in baseball.
James Jones | SEA – @TOR (4), LAA (3)
Jones appeared in every game last week in some capacity and recorded two steals. He has five total over the last fifteen days as well. This is one of the long shots, and I wouldn’t drop anybody good for him. However, I’m using Jones in a couple leagues where stolen bases are super tight and I have nothing to lose in other offensive cats. Jones will get a four-game set against the Blue Jays, who have the fourth worst caught stealing percentage in the majors (21%). Then he’ll head back to Seattle to face the Angels who are about league average. With Seattle in a tight race for a playoff spot, I’m hoping they pull out all the stops and use Jones in situations where they are trying to manufacture a late run.
Ezequiel Carrera | DET – CWS (3), @MIN (4)
A left-handed bat off of the bench, Carrera hasn’t done much in the last week with only two at-bats and a handful of pinch-running appearances. He’s worth a shot if you’re desperate because he may find his way into the lineup should Detroit clinch early and rest a couple of their regulars. Also, Minnesota has the second-worst caught stealing percentage in baseball (18%) and the Tigers face them four times later this week.
Antoan Richardson | NYY – BAL (4), @BOS (3)
Boston and Baltimore are both league average in caught stealing percentage. Richardson was used sparingly last week but still managed to steal two bags and score a run. He’s not a great option unless the players above are somehow already taken in your league and two steals would be a difference maker for you.