Five Last 14 Day Thieves

At a stolen base attempt every 54.8 plate appearances, hitters are trying for a swipe at the lowest frequency this century. That means it’s more difficult than ever to find steals on free agency to gain points in the category. Luckily, there are a handful of hitters who have attempted a bunch of steals over the last two weeks and aren’t owned in the majority of CBS leagues. Let’s discuss them.

Steals Targets
Name CBS Ownership PA OBP SB CS SBA
Jonathan Villar 51% 53 0.415 8 2 10
Amed Rosario 45% 48 0.375 3 2 5
Adalberto Mondesi 34% 34 0.412 3 1 4
Terrance Gore 0% 2 0.500 4 0 4
Joey Wendle 42% 51 0.340 4 0 4

Since getting picked up by the Orioles, Jonathan Villar has played regularly, struck out less frequently, and attempted steals at a better clip than when he was with the Brewers. He continues to show good power, which begs the obvious question — how is he owned in just 51% of leagues?! He’s a clear target if you need speed and he’s shown the ability to help out in multiple other categories as well.

Since August, Amed Rosario has picked up his performance to acceptable levels from putrid. Finally getting on base at a rate above .300, it’s no surprise that he has suddenly started stealing bases. He has already attempted 13 steals since the beginning of August, which compares favorably to the 15 he stole throughout the entire season over the first four months. Patience remains an issue, but sometimes that takes time. He’ll likely be a popular breakout/sleeper choice heading into 2019 drafts.

Adalberto Mondesi is back, with a new name and a far more respectable strikeout rate. He’s showing power and speed and basically displaying the skills we expected of Byron Buxton heading into the year. While what he has been doing has been exciting, I still remain cautious. Despite posting a mid-20% strikeout rate (which ain’t good, but not red flaggy), he has actually posted an insane 19% SwStk%. That would rank as the highest mark among all qualified hitters if it came over enough plate appearances. The only reason his strikeout rate isn’t higher is because he swings at everything, at a mark that would rank seventh in baseball. The best way to counteract a severe inability to make contact is to keep swinging. Eventually one of those swings is going to connect with the baseball! That high Swing% also explains the pathetic walk rate. I’m not exactly optimistic about him long-term given his current skills, but might as well play him now while he’s getting regular playing time.

Want a serious stolen base sleeper? Say hello to Terrance Gore. He has stolen four bases already in just two plate appearances! That’s of course because he has acted as a pinch runner, and actually all four of his steals were executed in that role. The Cubs have too much talent to give Gore many plate appearances, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t continue to pinch run. And when he’s on base, he’s going to run wild. This is a guy who stole 68 bases back in 2013 at Single-A with the Royals, and has swiped in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, during various seasons. He might even score a bunch of runs if those pinch running appearances are successful.

The Rays entered the season having no idea what to do at second base. Luckily, Joey Wendle has emerged and he has even been excellent defensively there. He has never been a big basestealer in the minors, topping out at just 14 steals, but his success rates have always been respectable and he has run frequently over the last two weeks. He’s the type to fly under the radar without a standout skill, but decent skills all around, which in total makes him a valuable fantasy player.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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5 years ago

Mike, I appreciate the article, but in any competitive league all these guys except Gore and maybe Rosario have been owned for a while. This is good for the 10 and 12 teamers, but would have been nice to include a few more deep guys like Gore

5 years ago
Reply to  dukebd555

“but in any competitive league”

Mondesi is owned in 34% of all leagues. Therefore, almost 2/3’s of all leagues have him available. In fact, even 50% availability (Villar basically is) means he’s ‘widely’ available. Not sure how else to put it, but you’re just wrong.

5 years ago
Reply to  tb.25

I get your point that Mondesi is only owned in x percent of leagues, but the guy is somewhat correct in that most money leagues he has been owned for months.

5 years ago
Reply to  dukebd555

Yeah Mike, please provide analysis specific to MY league. . . . .

5 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Not my league- but my guess is if you are still reading these blogs in September your team is in contention and you probably play in a competitive league. Mondesi and villar have been owned for over a month now. Villar has been the best second baseman for over a month now! If he isn’t owned in your league, you need a new league