In the preseason, I took a look at the pitchers and catchers who are the best and worst match ups for base stealers. Today I want to update that piece. The home run is king in daily fantasy, but steals can help as well. Picking the best base stealers of the day won’t win you a lot of daily contests, but you can’t spend big on power hitters at every position. A steal will get you a couple of points on DraftStreet, plus it comes along with the point from the single or three quarters of a point from the walk that allowed the hitter to reach base.
To determine the most and least favorable pitchers for base stealers, I took a look at all pitchers who have faced 300 stolen base opportunities since the beginning of 2012, which yielded a sample of about 115 pitchers. Baseball-reference.com defines a stolen base opportunity as all plate appearances in which a runner was on first or second with the next base open. Below is a chart showing the pitchers with the best and worst ratios of stolen bases per stolen bases per opportunity, best meaning the least favorable to base stealers and worst meaning most favorable to base stealers.
For catchers, I looked at all catchers who have caught at least 700 innings since the beginning of 2012 (43 catchers) and considered the percentage of time a base stealer was caught trying to run on a particular catcher as well as an advanced stat, rSB. The Fielding Bible describes rSB as giving the catcher credit for throwing out runners and preventing them from attempting steals in the first place. You can find this stat under the advanced fielding tab here on the site. Below are the lists of the best and worst catchers in this sample, best meaning least favorable to base stealers and worst meaning most favorable to base stealers.
The Daily Five
Left-handed Royal hitters, varying prices: Anibal Sanchez is the only pitcher from the “most favorable to base stealers” side of the list above. He is a right-handed pitcher, so some of the left-handed Royals who can steal bases could have value. Those guys are Eric Hosmer (1B, $6,525, 7 SB), Elliot Johnson (2B, $4,314, 12 SB), Alex Gordon (OF, $6,470, 5 SB), and Jarrod Dyson (OF, $6,839, 12 SB).
Coco Crisp, $7,789: Assuming Chris Iannetta starts for the Angels today, this will be a good base stealing match up for Crisp. He’ll also face right-hander Jered Weaver, and he’s been much better hitting from the left side in the last couple of years.
David Price, $16,795: Does his opponent have a below average wRC+ vs. LHP? Check. The Blue Jays have an 88 wRC+ vs. LHP. Is he avoiding bad conditions for pitchers (i.e. wind blowing out, high temperatures)? Check. With a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms in Toronto, their retractable roof will presumably be closed meaning no wind and cooler temperatures.
Kyle Lohse: $12,006: Does his opponent have a below average wRC+ vs. RHP? Check. The Marlins have the worst wRC+ vs. RHP. Is he avoiding bad conditions for pitchers (i.e. wind blowing out, high temperatures)? Check. Again, with a chance of rain in Miami, their retractable roof will presumably be closed.
Mike Leake, $12,506: Leake has the good match up. The Pirates are below average vs. RHP, and they have the 5th highest strikeout rate vs. RHP. But the conditions won’t be ideal. The problem is that the conditions everywhere look to be less than ideal today. It will be cool in San Francisco, but Chad Gaudin and Ian Kennedy are the options there. No thanks. It’ll be cool in Colorado. But it’s Colorado. The roof will be closed in Houston, but Joe Saunders is going for Seattle against an Astros team that is actually decent against LHP, while Bud Norris is going for Houston against a Mariners lineup that is OK against RHP. Everywhere else will be hot with the wind blowing out in almost all parks. But it’ll be low-80’s in Cincinnati and the wind will be blowing more right to left than out, so these conditions aren’t as bad as elsewhere.
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