With a month and a half off of our full 162-game schedule, we have to work that much harder to claw and scrape our way in each category throughout the four plus months remaining on the schedule. If you work at it as diligently in May as you do in September you can put yourself in a good spot to not sweat the final few weeks.
Throughout draft season you hear it from every angle: You have to prioritize stolen bases early. Easier said than done though right? I’m here to tell you there’s still hope. You either have too much speed or not enough. This series will be focused on the latter.
If there’s a category to make up ground in, it’ll typically be stolen bases. Each week I’ll be providing a couple of options that may be sitting on your wire that have a good shot at getting you at least one more bag. I’m going for the deep cuts and focusing only on players owned in less than 20% of leagues, per Yahoo!, which typically focus on leagues with 12 teams.
This list will change week to week, but you’ll continue to see a general theme. The picks will be focused not just on the speedsters that are generally undrafted, but mostly on sneaky pickups that can take advantage of their matchups, may it be with an offense-first catcher or a starting pitcher with a history of focusing solely on what’s in front of them and ignoring the baserunners. Before we move on to this week’s recommendations, let’s see how last week’s speedsters faired.
Last Week’s Results
Michael A. Taylor (KC) – 0 SB
Heading into Saturday’s game Taylor still hadn’t even attempted a stolen base, which is a little disappointing. A home run during the Friday double header isn’t why Taylor made the list, but obviously you’ll take what you can get.
Miguel Rojas (MIA) – 0 SB
Now rostered across 47% of Yahoo! leagues, Rojas won’t be making a reappearance on this list for the foreseeable future.
Sam Haggerty (SEA) – 0 SB
Haggerty did find a way to collect 6 plate appearances through Friday’s game, despite only starting in one game. Even with the pinch running appearance on Thursday, Haggerty has failed to attempt a stolen base so far this week. With Jarred Kelenic finally getting the call and Kyle Lewis and Mitch Hanigar healthy, Haggerty should continue to see his playing time relegated to pinch hit/runner duties and can be ignored for now.
JP Crawford (SEA), Matt Duffy (CHC), Jon Berti (MIA) – 0 SB combined
Ouch, my first full fail, as not even one of the honorable mentions could muster up a stolen base through Friday’s game. There’s still two days left to be redeemed, but I’m ready to move on to next week.
One other thing to consider here is that these matchups are always subject to change, as most things are, and most of these suggestions are best served in a league with daily moves. Weekly adds can still be considered in a pretty deep league, but know that this is only focused on the possibility of stealing bases, even at the expense of other categories. So, after that disclaimer, let’s see who’s poised to run over the next week who may be available in your league:
Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres
I’ve been eyeing Profar for this list for a while, but he hasn’t qualified since the beginning of the season after seeing a boost in playing time for the Padres. All it took was a Covid scare in San Diego to see his rostership dip below the 20% mark across Yahoo! leagues and boom, here he is. Now, to be fair, Profar himself is currently sitting on said Covid IL, supposedly as a precaution, so this recommendation is being made with the hope that he is activated in time to see a bulk of the playing time for the Padres next week. If he is, Profar should enjoy two nice match ups against Dom Nunez of Colorado, who has yet to throw out any baserunner through 15 attempts this season, and Luis Torrens of Seattle, who is second only to Los Angeles’ Will Smith in total stolen bases allowed this season with 18, and just 2 runners caught. San Diego has a proven track record of aggressive base running, currently leading the league by a considerable margin in total attempts (52) and successful steals (41), with 11 different players with at least one stolen base on the season.
Billy Hamilton, Chicago White Sox
Oh man, I can’t believe I’m bringing myself to recommend Billy Hamilton again. This is what happens when the speedster backs his way into semi-every day playing time with manager in Tony LaRusa who will entertain the idea of seeing Hamilton playing most days, especially with the slew of injuries the White Sox have experienced in their outfield this season. Hamilton has started in centerfield in three of the past four games for Chicago and if he can find his way to first base he’ll always be a threat to steal, we already know this. He’ll have six games next week to make it worth it. This is all about the speed Hamilton brings to the table, regardless of his match up. If he gets a boost in playing time he’s worth a stream for the multiple stolen base upside alone.
Yonathan Daza, Colorado Rockies
2% rostered. 6 games – 3 @ SD, 2 v ARI (off Thurs)
Daza saw his stock rise considerably a couple weeks ago, as he put together a string of starts in the Rockies’ line up, looking as though he may see regular playing time in the Colorado outfield. As time went on his playing time diminished and with it went his rostership percentage. Currently rostered in just 2% of Yahoo! leagues, Daza is seeing a resurgence in playing time for Colorado and making the most of it, collecting three hits in each of his last three games. With Raimel Tapia and Charlie Blackmon battling injuries to their thumb and groin, respectively, Daza has the opportunity to put his 75th percentile spring speed to good use on a more regular basis next week. The match ups ahead of him also make him a tempting speculation, as the Rockies travel to San Diego to start the week, a team that has only caught 8% of would be base stealers (2 out of 24 attempts) and host the Diamondbacks, who have also seen 22 runners successfully steal a base so far this season, tying them with the Padres for 5th most in baseball.
Nick Maton (PHI) vs Chad Wallach (C, MIA) and Christian Vázquez (C, BOS)
Daulton Varsho (ARI) vs Will Smith/Austin Barnes (C, LAD
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)