Missing out on the five-tool players, such as Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen, in the first couple of rounds and not wanting to spend a fourth round or earlier pick for Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon means that steals usually get punted as a category. This is typical because the players that can give you steals after these top picks don’t provide much help in any other categories.
Those who don’t draft steals, will usually be searching for stolen bases from the waiver wire all season. I must admit, I’m very guilty of doing this too, but I need to teach myself to target some guys who can fill the steals category late in the draft. I would rather draft someone who I know can fill a category late in my drafts, than take a chance on somebody like Michael Morse, hoping he can be the 30 home run hitter he was in 2011. At least then I won’t have to worry about having to find steals, like a majority of the league, and who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and find this years’ Dee Gordon.
5 Cheap Speed Targets
Danny Santana, SS/OF, Minnesota: His ADP is mid-round, 124 on FantasyPros, so perhaps he isn’t really cheap, but I felt like he was worth mentioning. Santana in just 101 games last season scored 70 runs and batted in 40, while stealing 20 bases. Yes his BABIP is a bit high at .405, so perhaps there is some regression to be expected. However, a lot of the steals leaders have fairly high BABIPs, due to their speed helping them get on base more. Over a full season it might drop to .360, but that is still very respectable. I think he could be top-80 overall value that is going later than that right now.
Alex Rios, OF, Kansas City: Rios had a horrible season in 2014, his worst since his rookie year. I do not think he is this bad though, although I also don’t think he is the 20/20 guy we saw in 2012 or the 40+ steals guy in 2013 either. However in Kansas City they like to run, so I do expect his steals to increase from 17 last year and he can still hit double digit home runs. He still hits for a good average, .280 last year which is right on his career mark. All this gives him more value than a lot of the stolen base guys in this article, while still being cheap in drafts, current ADP is 172.
Rajai Davis, OF, Detroit: It sounds like he is going to lose his starting job to the newly acquired Anthony Gose, but Gose is a career .234/.301/332 hitter, so it is very possible he doesn’t hold the job and Davis takes it over. Davis is more than capable of holding the job and can definitely steal some bases, 36 last year in 134 games. Davis’s ADP is 258 so he is really cheap, and will possibly go undrafted. Gose’s ADP is 386 right now, meaning he is likely not being drafted in your league, so you can always make the swap if Davis doesn’t work out for you and get the steals from Gose that you expected from Davis.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Kansas City: I firmly believe Dyson would be drafted in every single league, if he was an every day player. In just 120 games last season he stole 36 bases and had a success rate of 83.7%, which if you don’t know is very good. Fact of the matter is he doesn’t play every day due to a very good outfield in Kansas City and his major road block being Lorenzo Cain. Speaking of Cain, he will need to be drafted to acquire his services, but he can steal some bases too and you can get him late enough that he warrants being mentioned here too.
Eric Young Jr., OF, Free Agent: Young is currently a free agent, so he will not be drafted and might not be even when he does land with a team. Regardless of this fact, Young is a sneaky pickup for steals if you are desperate enough. He will provide nothing else for your team though, not even batting average, hitting .229 last season and .252 for his career. Last year he only played in 100 games but was still able to provide 30 stolen bases. Again, you won’t need to draft him, but if you find yourself needing steals during the season, make sure you check on Eric Young Jr.’s availability.
You should be able to take advantage of some of these cheap speed targets in the later rounds of your 2015 Fantasy Baseball drafts. Think quick!
Photo Credit: RWarrin
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