Fantasy Baseball Category Impact: Stolen Bases
Colby Conway takes a look at some players who may not have been drafted that can be added from your waiver wire that can make certain category impacts.
It’s been a minute, well, a couple of weeks actually, since we touched this particular category, so it’s no surprise that stolen bases edged out pitching ratios and wins in this week’s Twitter poll. You can find the poll each week on my twitter (@colbyrconway) to be able to cast your vote and make your voice heard about which category your team needs a jolt in as you pursue a fantasy baseball title.
This week, we focus on a couple of outfielders that can add some much needed speed to your team, as well as a young prospect who likely has multi-positional eligibility in your league format. With some blazing speed and favorable matchups down the stretch for some of these guys, they should be setting the base paths on fire in the final week and a half of the MLB season.
Without further ado…
Taylor Ward, OF LAA – Ward is red hot and should continue to get playing time for the Angels. He’s hitting OVER .500 (10-for-19) over the past week or so, and he’s swiped two bags. He was never a big speed guy in the minors, swiping just 35 bags in 474 career games in the minors, however, it’s encouraging that he was 21-for-28 at the Triple-A level. The majority of his stolen base attempts came at Double- and Triple-A, so he didn’t rack up most of this in Rookie ball, so I do like that. His sprint speed ranks in the 89th percentile, and as long as he’s hitting, he should continue to get on base and Los Angeles should let the 26-year-old run! While he’s red hot, he’ll get on base and steal a couple bags for you down the stretch, and that alone is worthy of a roster spot. He’s hardly owned in any ESPN leagues, so chances are, he’s available in yours.
Roman Quinn , OF PHI—The Phillies called up hyped prospect Mickey Moniak, but that shouldn’t jeopardize much of Quinn’s role in the outfield. He has nine stolen bases on the year and he’s been caught a whopping zero times. He wasn’t caught at all last year either, and he’s an above average 32-for-37 on the basepaths in his career. Could he have more than nine bags this year? For sure. If he didn’t get hurt, he’d have more stolen bases, and he’d also have more if he got on base more. He’s hitting just .231 on the year, and a below average 3.2 percent walk rate has dwindled his OBP to a career low .263 (career average is .308). Still, even with some of the negatives listed there, he can run, he’s successful at it, and the Phillies rank in the top 10 in terms of team stolen bases per game, per TeamRankings. With eight games at the end of the season against Toronto and Washington, who allow the 11th and second most stolen bases per game, he could run rampant down the stretch.
Manuel Margot , OF TB – Margot could be owned in your league but I was absolutely astonished to see that he was owned in just 15 percent of ESPN leagues. I checked over at Yahoo, and it’s just 18 percent over there! That is way too low. Tampa Bay is playing him every day in their outfield and he’s rewarded them with one of his best years at the dish. His 8.6 percent walk rate tied his mark from last year, while his 15.8 percent strikeout rate, .276 batting average, .338 OBP and .311 wOBA were all career best. He’s been thrown out just twice all season but continuing to get on base at a great clip will help alleviate some concerns that his spring speed has dropped for the second straight season and aside from the same mark in 2017 and 2018, it’s been on a steady decline since he entered the year.
Andrés Giménez , IF NYM – Depending on your league, Gimenez may have eligibility at a few different positions, which certainly helps in this sprint of a season. Perhaps this year more than ever! The young infielder has blazing speed and he swiped 93 bags in 393 career minor league games. He’s 7-for-8 in his young major league career and carries top prospect pedigree, which always buys you some time if you’re in a slump, struggling defensively, etc. His spring speed comes in the 94th percentile, per Baseball Savant, but his overall batted ball profile is underwhelming, which posts some concerns, but he’s managed to accrue seven extra-base hits (2 HR) with a hard hit rate and barrel rate in the 9th and 11th percentile respectively. However, a 22-year-old rookie is bound to struggle when he gets his first taste of major league action. He hasn’t stolen a base in two weeks, but that should change. Gimenez and the Mets end the year with matchups against Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Washington, which is excellent, because each of those three teams ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of opponent stolen bases per game. Only the Angels have allowed more stolen bases per game than the Nationals and Braves, and the Rays are the 12th-worst in terms of slowing down the opposition, per TeamRankings.
Follow me on Twitter (@colbyrconway) to ensure you cast your vote for next week’s edition of Category Impact