Need for Speed: Stolen Base Options to Stream (7/31-8/5)

Adam Howe sheds light on deep stolen base options based on matchups.

Every stolen base means that much more in this shortened season and odds are it was difficult to prioritize speed in your recent drafts. You either have too much speed or not enough. This series will be focused on the latter. If there’s a category to make up ground in this year, it’ll be stolen bases. The category may be the tightest in every roto league, with just a couple being the difference between the top and bottom of the standings.

Here are a couple of options that may be sitting on your wire that have a good shot at getting you at least one more bag. I’m going for the deep cuts and focusing only on players owned in less than 20% of leagues, per Yahoo. This list will change week to week, but you’ll continue to see a general theme. The picks will be focused not just on the speedsters that are generally undrafted (looking at you Jarrod Dyson), but mostly on sneaky pickups that can take advantage of their matchups.

One thing to consider here is that these match ups are always subject to change, as most things are nowadays, and most of these suggestions are best served in a league with daily moves. Weekly adds can still be considered in a pretty deep league, but know that this is only focused on the possibility of stealing bases, even at the expense of other categories. So, after that disclaimer, let’s see who’s poised to run over the next few days:

Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres:

Going into Friday’s games, the Padres lead the league thus far in stolen bases with 11. Now, to be fair, seven of those came in their four game series against Carson Kelly and the Diamondbacks last weekend, but it shows their willingness to run and take advantage of situations as they arise. One of those stolen bases came from the legs of the switch hitting Profar, who’s been starting regularly for the Padres at second base and hitting in the middle of the lineup. Antonio Senzatela allowed five stolen bases in 2019 in just 25 appearances, and his 9.8% walk rate from 2019 combined with Profar’s career 9.3% walk rate could provide added opportunities. It doesn’t hurt that Profar gets to play in Colorado for the weekend, which may help his other categories in the case he doesn’t get the opportunity to run wild.

Later in the week, the Padres host the Dodgers who currently rank third in the league in providing stolen base opportunities (runner on first or second with the next base open). They’ve allowed four stolen bases so far this season and allowed successful stolen base attempts 79% of the time in 2019.

Niko Goodrum and Victor Reyes, Detroit Tigers

In 2019 the Cincinatti Reds only provided opponents with 2,048 stolen base opportunities, fourth fewest in MLB, but allowed 88 stolen bases (sixth highest). Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani were on the mound for 24 of those swiped bags and line up to start two of the three in their next series against the Tigers.

Goodrum has put up double digit steals in each of the past two seasons with 492 or less plate appearances in each. He’s regularly leading off for the Tigers and currently ranks in the 76% for sprint speed through the first full week of play of the 2020 season.

With Cameron Maybin going on the IL, Reyes could/should see more regular playing time in the Tigers’ outfield, albeit hitting in the bottom third of the order. One of the fastest players on the team, Reyes present one of the more obvious threats on the base paths. With more regular playing time he warrants a bit more ownership than his current two percent mark in Yahoo leagues. Our own Scott Chu has detailed him here.

Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates

Leading off for the Pirates, Frazier hasn’t ranked too highly in sprint speed this year thus far, but ranked a bit higher in 2019 and is presented with good opportunities against Yu Darvish and Jon Lester in the coming days. The Pirates match up against the Twins after that, who have yet to be run on this season, but provided opponents with the highest stolen base success rate in 2019 of 82%.


Honorable mentions

Robbie Grossman vs Yusei Kikuchi (8/1)
Brett Phillips vs Dylan Cease (8/2)
Myles Straw vs Arizona (8/4, 8/5)


Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

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