Fantasy Baseball Stolen Base Watch
Howard Bender checks in with the MLB stolen base leaderboard for both players and teams as well as which catchers are allowing the greatest amount of theft on their watch to help fantasy baseball owners stay pace with the category in fantasy baseball.
It’s been a little while since we checked in on the stolen bases, so now that we’re past the two-month mark in the season, we can see how the data is looking now in comparison to what we saw last time (steals being up on the year) we looked.
Here’s the current player leaderboard as of games played through Sunday, June 4, 2017:
I left in stats that pertain to on-base work as that obviously gives you a strong idea as to just how much opportunity these guys create for themselves. You know the old adage, “You can’t steal first base,” and as annoying as someone sounds when they say it, it still holds true. Of course, you’ve got chuckleheads like Hamilton and Peraza, both of whom the Reds have running like a bunch of jackrabbits out there, where the on-base concerns are slightly lessened, but for Buxton, Dyson and even Villar, there should be some worry as to where they finally end up on the leaderboard. The top 20 cuts off a nine steals right now and while that will steadily increase as time goes on, you have to wonder where these three will end up come year end and just how much further behind the overall leader they will be.
High strikeout rates are also a killer which means players like Broxton, Buxton and Villar have some added concerns. Buxton and Villar at least have a slightly above-average walk rate, but Broxton is going to have trouble seeing opportunities given his plate discipline. Of course, it may never matter as no manager is going to freely give a guy the green light with just a 50-percent success rate. Kevins Pillar and Kiermaier are guilty of that one too.
Keep your eyes on the number of opportunities for Dyson as well as the Mariners are getting Mitch Haniger back soon. Dyson will still see the majority of at-bats from center field, but GM Jerry Dipoto did say that Ben Gamel and Guillermo Herdia would platoon in left field with Heredia occasionally spelling Dyson in center. It doesn’t seem like it would be a major cut into Dyson’s playing time, but with slumps we’ve seen him fall into, it’s worth noting.
Injuries will soon know both Trout and Maybin from the leaderboard, but while Trout is out for another seven weeks, Maybin should be back relatively soon and if he can maintain this 16-percent walk rate, he should be back on it soon enough. He’s only maintained double-digit walk rates during his time spent in the minors, so the likelihood of that seems a bit low. However, if he does find a way, and can stay healthy, perhaps there’s still a smidgen of fantasy value left in my Fantasy Achilles.
And here’s what the overall team leaderboard looks like around MLB for the same time period:
Always important to just keep tabs on which teams are doing the most running. For those who will soon be in need of some stolen base streaming, head-to-head leaguers, you should probably put together a watch-list of potential pinch-runners and late game defensive replacements who could find their way into some stolen base situations.
Players like Hernan Perez, Delino DeShields Jr., Shin-Soo Choo, Ben Rever, Michael Taylor and…forgive me…Tommy Pham, could prove to be decent streaming assets moving forward. You won’t find a burner among this group really, but they’re definitely better than trying to fish off guys with speed on teams like the Mets, Orioles, Cubs, Rockies or Braves.
And what stolen base piece would be complete with the addition of which catchers just plain suck at throwing out baserunners? Well here you go…
While I can’t map it out for you here, you should definitely be paying attention to which of your players are facing or could be seeing plenty of these 10 backstops who own the worst caught-stealing percentage (CS%) in the majors right now. I’ve been targeting those lesser-known, fringe guys who are in the same division as a few of these catchers and it’s definitely helped me stay competitive in the category, especially in leagues in which I don’t own more than one or two players from the top-20 leaderboard up above.
And one last thing to note:
We are still slightly ahead of last year’s stolen base pace. We’re right about even in the American League with the average team stealing 28 bases and slightly ahead of the pace in the Nationals League which has an average of 30 steals per team. With a 29 steals per team average of for all of MLB, we are again slightly ahead. Last year, those numbers were 28, 29 and 28 (rounding down) respectively.
Keep on runnin’, boys!