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Let’s take a look at some players presently underperforming in the stolen base category that are likely to pick up the pace a bit. Some of them are returning from injury so it may be cheating a little to reference their early season performance, but since most don’t contribute significantly in the other power categories, they may be available if their original owner opted to release instead of reserve them.
Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox – Eaton is due back early next week and will resume roaming center field. Granted, assuming continued health is a leap of faith based on Eaton’s inability to fend off the injury bug, but if he does, he’ll be given the green light as the White Sox are not shy about letting their player’s run. Rest-of-season projection 16 SB, Upside 20
Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals – The good news is the Royals like to run as evidenced by being second to only the Padres in steals since 2011. The not-so-good news is with Norichika Aoki in town, on most nights Cain finds himself in the bottom third of the order which serves to reduce opportunities a tad. Still, only two pilfers from a guy that has hit double digits the past two seasons in part-time duty is a bit light. Rest-of-season projection 14 SB, Upside 18-20
Norichika Aoki, Kansas City Royals – Speaking of which, the Royals’ new leadoff hitter is not taking advantage of his new team’s penchant for running primarily because he’s not getting on base as much due to an increase in strikeouts. However, the majority of the whiffs came early as Aoki has only fanned twice in the past week and just five the past two weeks. He’s been snake-bit with balls in play over this span. Now that the contact issue appear to be solved, the batted balls will start finding holes and the steals will climb. Rest-of-season projection 16 SB, Upside 20+
Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres – As mentioned earlier, the Padres love to run and back in 2011 and 2012, Maybin was a big part of it with 40 and 26 bags. Even though his OBP is about 40 points above his career norm, Maybin only has one swipe. Expect that to change…soon. Rest-of-season projection 20 SB, Upside 25+
Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers – This is a vote of confidence that Jackson will continue to run as Brad Ausmus didn’t inherit Jim Leyland’s reticence to run as the Tigers are second in the league in pilfers. It also helps that A-Jax has only been caught once in seven attempts. Rest-of-season projection 16 SB, Upside 20+
Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals – Wong is back in the bigs and should be at minimum on the good side of a platoon. Early indications are he’ll hit second which is a good spot to run. Wong’s minor league pedigree suggests he can pick his spots to go. Rest-of-season projection 14 SB, Upside 20+
Anthony Gose, Toronto Blue Jays – Admittedly, this is a short-term call as Gose is up primarily because Colby Rasmus is on the shelf. Gose is playing the role filled by Rajai Davis and Davis was not shy about running. Granted it was earlier in his minor league career but in 2009 Gose swiped 76 as an 18-year old at Class A Lakewood then bagged 70 at Double-A New Hampshire in 2011 so he’s got the wheels. Grab Gose for a short-term steals boost and who knows what may transpire. Rest-of-season projection 12 SB, Upside 20+
Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankee – While an outfield of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Ichiro isn’t exactly Murderer’s Row, the Bronx Bombers may not have a choice if Carlos Beltran is out for an extended period of time. Ichiro can still scoot so if he gets the chance, steals are there for the taking. . Rest-of-season projection 10 SB, Upside 15+
Sam Fuld, Minnesota Twins – Management is not at all happy with Aaron Hicks so when Fuld is devoid of concussion symptoms, he could get some decent playing time. Rest-of-season projection 10 SB, Upside 15+
Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox – Largely due to Dustin Pedroia’s difficulty stealing successfully, Boston may rein in the attempts though they have shown the willingness to let those with a strong success rate run and Bradley Jr. is 5-for-5 on his young career. Rest-of-season projection 10 SB, Upside 15+