It’s getting time for some teams to start making a single category move to improve in the standings. Today, I am going to examine speedsters owned in less than 5% of ESPN leagues for owners looking for a few extra steals.
Alcides Escobar (4.7%): Escobar has nothing going for him (.230/.254/.316) except the chance he could get back to stealing bases like he previously. Since he’s a complete statistical black hole otherwise, he should probably only be used in the last week or so of the season to not kill the other categories.
Adam Frazier (4.6%): Frazier is one of the more balanced choices to help with steals going forward. Steamer has him with only five more over the rest of the season.
I would love to have him in a daily lineups league where I could plug-and-play him on Mondays and Thursdays when teams have off days. Additionally, Frazier has both second base and outfield eligibility to increase his usability.
Kolten Wong (3.6%): While coming up as a prospect, Wong had the potential for steals and had double digit steals in his first two MLB seasons. But the potential hasn’t come to fruition the last two years with a total of eight swipes in the majors and two in the minors. He hasn’t even attempted a steal since May 5th this season.
Not all is doom and gloom. Since July 14th, he’s been starting regularly and has a unique .286/.390/.314 slash line. Like Adam Frazier, I see him as a plug-and-play guy who won’t kill your team’s AVG or OBP while maybe eventually providing some steals. Hopefully.
Delino DeShields (3.4%): DeShields has the best opportunity to be a difference maker of everyone I will examine. He’s 9th in the league with 19 total steals. He’s got potential but he is just not playing since Carlos Gomez has returned.
He can’t steal if he is not playing. Since the All-Star break, he’s had 12 PA and was caught stealing one. Desperate owners may just need to pick him up and stash him and hope for the inevitable Choo injury. If the opportunity presents itself, he could easily post 10 steals rest-of-season.
Taylor Motter (1.9%): Motter falls into the same class as DeShields, previously useful but now without a job. Motter’s path to playing time is even harder to visualize with him being demoted to the minors.
Of the guys I’m examining, Motter displays the best power-speed combination by producing 7 HR and 9 SB in 232 PA. What got the 27-year-old demoted was a .238 BABIP and the resulting .204 AVG? If he gets a full-time job again, he could a nice power-speed threat if his owner can endure the low AVG. Lots of if’s.
Ben Revere (1.5%): Even though Revere has 11 steals on the season, the rest of his value is limited. He’s never walked or had power. His AVG has been under .250 the past two seasons. He only plays against right-handed pitchers. He’s just a speed play for the most desperate owners.
Ketel Marte (0.7%): After Marte stole 28 bases across four levels in 2015, he looked to be a nice stolen base option. The stolen bases have disappeared with 11 steals last year and only seven this year (none in the majors).
The strange thing with Marte is that he has hit nine home runs between AAA and the majors. He’s transitioning himself into a power hitter with pull and fly ball rates at career major league highs. Maybe he’ll start running again but his owners shouldn’t count on it.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.