2017 Fantasy Baseball: Finding Cheap Sources Of Steals
Finding cheap sources of steals late in drafts is a precarious thing. When you draft some guys high like Paul Goldschmidt and Dee Gordon, you are getting steals at a premium position. With guys like this you are also using a high draft pick to gain their services because they don’t usually hurt you in a specific category. Unless of course you drafted Gordon high last year and had to deal with his suspension. That hurt me in a couple of leagues.
These guys are not thought of being elite in the stolen bases category, but a couple will have the upside to get into the Top 10 in stolen bases this year. A basic strategy for drafting outfielders is trying to get three studs, a multi-position guy to fill other holes, and a steals guy that won’t kill other categories. Most of these guys are defensive guys or just have the speed to cover a lot of ground, which is why they should stick in their respective lineups.
So what I’m looking at are some guys that might be overlooked for a variety of reasons. Some because of their age. Some might slip through as a result of not having the track record of some of the others. A couple due to being part-time players and not getting an everyday role until now.
Currently, these guys can all be drafted with the 200th pick or later. While steals are not as abundant due to teams changing strategies, they are still a category in H2H and rotisserie leagues everywhere. I never like to punt a category; I just try to find the value later in drafts. So here are the guys that should be a cheap source of steals late in drafts for your Fantasy team this year.
Finding Cheap Sources Of Steals
Cheap Sources Of Steals Late In Drafts
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
The main reason Kiermaier is on this list is his amazing defense. It is the one skill that can keep players in the everyday lineup. His average will not wow you, but when you are looking to acquire steals at a discount later in the draft, these are the type of guys you look for. Since last year after the break, his average went up, as well as his steals. His OBP went up to .343 from .307. Add to the fact that he got 15 steals after the break compared to just six in the first half, and you are looking at a player that will fly under the radar in most drafts. Allowing you to reap the benefits all year long.
Keon Broxton, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
This one depends on who was paying attention to your league in the later stages last year. Keon Broxton had 29 games played in the first half where he hit an abysmal .125/.253/.188 and had seven steals. After the break he was a mad man at the plate. He had 46 games played and had a .294/.399/.538 with 16 stolen bases. Now, I do not believe Broxton can hit for those numbers over a season, but he should still have a reasonable average and could be a 20/20 guy that you do not have to overdraft to get.
Ender Inciarte, OF, Atlanta Braves
Nothing about Ender Inciarte’s game will get you excited. His average won’t kill you, but the steals is what you are looking for. Just like Kiermaier, defense is his bread and butter. But that’s okay; you just need him in the lineup where his career .337 OBP can be utilized. Hitting in front of Freddie Freeman, he should see his fair share of pitches to hit. This should also keep his runs palatable enough that you can make him your late round fifth outfielder.
Rajai Davis, OF, Oakland Athletics
Welcome back Rajai Davis! Teams like the Athletics have to fight every game to try and score runs. Enter Davis. He is almost assuredly a lock for 35 steals. Not much else will be garnered from Davis, but if he can stick near his career .314 OBP, you are getting what you need, steals.
Leonys Martin, OF, Seattle Mariners
Just like some other guys on this list, Leonys Martin had more stolen bases in the second half. Martin had nine in the first half and 15 post break. He is the starting centerfielder for the Mariners and projected to hit toward the bottom of the lineup. He won’t have the luxury of hitting in front of the hard hitting Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. He will not completely kill your average, but don’t expect much more than 70 runs scored, and around 10-15 home runs. Look to get 20-25 stolen bases from Martin, though.
Travis Jankowski, OF, San Diego Padres
In 131 games played last year, Travis Jankowski swiped 30 bags. getting double-digits in each half of the season. Also, the Padres should continue to run this year. His strikeout rate is a bit concerning, and his average isn’t that great, but the .332 OBP last year is a good sign. He was also caught stealing 12 times, so if he cuts those down, he could be in the 35-40 range. It is possible he puts the bat on the ball more regularly to get his average up, but I would not count on it. Like Davis, his value is all about his steals.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Seattle Mariners
Unlike Martin, Jarrod Dyson will have the opportunity to hit in front of Cano and Cruz. Dyson projects to hit leadoff for his new team. Dyson will have more opportunities to get runs on his new team than in Kansas City. Being an everyday player he should eclipse his career high of 120 games played. If he can keep his OBP around his career average of .325, a 40 steal season is not out of the realm of possibility.
Kevin Pillar, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Looking at Kevin Pillar’s split stats; he was pretty consistent from an average, OBP and stolen bases category. Unfortunately he hit zero home runs after the break. Not that he was crushing the ball out of Rogers Centre pre-break. He only hit seven dingers last year, so don’t expect a spike in that area. But Pillar could hit .275/.316/.390 with close to double-digit home runs and close to 20 stolen bases. Defense keeps him in the lineup and honestly, you could do a lot worse when his name rolls around in the draft.
Charlie Tilson, OF, Chicago White Sox
This one is a little trickier. Charlie Tilson was acquired from the Cardinals in the Zach Duke deal last year. Unfortunately for Tilson, he tore his hamstring in his first game with his new team. While he is expected to win the job of everyday centerfielder, he could also get the leadoff gig for the Sox. In 100 games for the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate, Tilson batted .282/.345/.407 with 15 stolen bases. But Tilson has had a 46 stolen base year in Double-A two years ago in the Texas League. The White Sox don’t look to win many games this season, so Tilson should be able to stick around. There will no doubt be growing pains with Tilson, but if he can get on, you could have 20-30 steal upside.
So there are the players I think you can target in finding cheap sources of steals in your draft this spring.
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