There’s only three weeks left in the regular season! If you haven’t already done so, now is certainly the time to completely ignore player values and just pick up what you need and drop what you don’t, given your place in the various category standings. One of the easier places to make up ground is stolen bases. So let’s discuss a bunch of lesser owned (all these guys are owned in 60% or less of CBS leagues) hitters who have attempted at least six stolen bases over the last 30 days.
Dee Gordon was always a divisive fantasy hitter because he was all steal and no power. Those specialists always had a big fan club and also a large group of fantasy owners who vow to never own one. Now with home run power through the roof, Gordon’s lack of it hurts even more. However, with stolen bases also down, his steals are worth more to soften the blow somewhat. Unfortunately, he’s been injured, forcing him to miss a chunk of the season, so at the moment, he’s sitting at his lowest stolen base total since his 106 plate appearance season back in 2013. But that’s mostly a playing time thing. He’s back now and he’s been running, attempting nine swipes over the last 30 days, for a pace of around 54 on the season. That’s more like the Gordon we used to enjoy rostering (for the fan club members)! Even though the Mariners are firmly in the basement and should really be playing all their youngsters, Gordon continues to play every day, so could give you a bunch of steals the rest of the way, potentially gaining you a point or two.
While Kevin Newman didn’t open the season as the Pirates starting shortstop, he is theirs now and better yet, their leadoff hitter. He makes fantastic contact leading to a low strikeout rate, which is a must given his low walk rate, and combined with a strong BABIP, has resulted in a solid OBP. That has given him more opportunities to steal and he has actually attempted six of them in the last month. Unlike Gordon, Newman could potentially contribute in several categories over the final weeks besides steals.
I’ve completely ignored Tommy Edman all season long because I never heard of the guy and didn’t bother to look him up. But he’s been playing every day, shuffling between third base and right field, even though he wasn’t a highly rated prospect heading into the season. He has rarely walked, but makes better than average contact, and possesses below average power. But he has gone 11 for 12 in steals in less than half a season and stole 30 bases in the minors last year. I’m not sure he’s a regular in the long-term, but for now while playing every day, he seems like a guy who will do a little of everything and bring an undervalued skill set to happy fantasy rosters.
Dylan Moore has been a jack of all trades for the Mariners this year, appearing at every single non-catching position, including pitcher. He has now been playing mostly every day at shortstop with J.P. Crawford hurt, even though he’s carrying an absurd 31.9% strikeout rate. I call it absurd because a .174 ISO isn’t nearly high enough to be acceptable. That said, he’s been Edman-like with his combination of some power and speed, though his extreme skill set has resulted in a putrid batting average unlikely to get any better.
It seems like every year, Delino DeShields is a sleeper, disappoints, then reappears and earns some value. He’s back playing a lot of center field and doing what he does best — steal bases. He’ll probably lose some playing time when Nomar Mazara, potentially tonight, but he’ll still likely be good for a couple of steals the rest of the way.
Jarrod Dyson has been the official “I need steals” pickup for many years, and this season has been no different. Amazingly, at age 34, Dyson has now set a new career high in plate appearances, the first time he has exceeded 400 of them. He has even converted a career best HR/FB rate into a career high in homers. Dyson is now a power/speed combo play!
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.