Need for Speed: Stolen Base Options to Stream (9/18-9/23)

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

This series has focused on finding the diamonds in the rough that can help you jump a spot or two in a single category. Hopefully the difference they’ve made in short spurts has outweighed any diminishing returns in other categories. If there’s a category to make up ground in this year, it’ll been 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 leagues. 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 matchups 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:


Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles:


Oh Cedric Mullins, how I’ve missed you. Perhaps in these final weeks of the 2020 season you can make up for all the terrible expectations I had for your 2019 season. Now back in what appears to be a regular role that finds himself near the top of the Baltimore line up close to every game, Mullins is taking advantage of the opportunity to the tune of 6 stolen bags on 8 attempts in 39 games, leading his team. Let’s not forget Mullins has shown his speed at every level through his development in the minors since starting his professional career in 2015, recording 17 steals in 68 games at Low-A, 30 steals through 124 games at A-ball, 38 steals in 130 games at AA, and 25 steals in 125 games at AAA.

Facing off against Tampa Bay this weekend won’t hurt Mullins’ chances at recording a steal or two either. Tyler Glasnow has allowed 9 stolen bases on the season, while pitching through just 60 stolen base opportunities (runner on first or second with next base open) thus far. Peter Fairbanks, one of the Rays’ best options out of the pen, leads all relievers with 7 stolen bases allowed through just 22 IP. Next most? Matt Barnes with 6 SB allowed in 19.2 IP, who the Orioles should see during their following series against Boston. Don’t sleep on Mullins if he crushes a double and is sitting on second base. The Rays lead baseball in both successful and attempted stolen bases against with a runner getting to third, with 7 out of 8 on the year. I expect Mullins to continue to take advantage of the situations as they are given to him and use his elite speed (88th percentile in sprint speed this year, with 94th and 95th percentile rankings in each of the previous two seasons) to continue to make things happen on the base paths through the end of this season.


Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins


If you haven’t started looking around for legitimate options in Miami (or St. Louis for that matter), you may be missing out. All those missed games early in the season are leading to extra opportunities in the final month for Marlins every day players. The Fish have eight games in the next six days and the best part may be that many of these players in question weren’t even options in the first month of the season. Enter Jazz Chisholm. Since getting the call Jazz hasn’t lit the world on fire or anything, getting on base to a tune of .224 in 49 plate appearances. Even with the low OBP, Jazz should see opportunities to take advantage of against the Nationals and Braves, who are tied for second-most stolen bases allowed on the season with 37 each. Should Chisholm get the luxury of starting off against Aníbal Sánchez specifically, he should feel even more comfortable on the base paths as Sanchez has had a history of giving up stolen bags, with this season being no exception to the tune of 10 stolen bases on 10 attempts, leading all of baseball.

The difference with Jazz is that when he has gotten on base he hasn’t been afraid to run. He’s made three stolen base attempts in 10 opportunities thus far and Miami has shown they are not afraid to be aggressive when given the opportunity as they have attempted the second-most stolen bases in the league with 53 and having 12 different players record a stolen base for the team. Even Miguel Rojas has attempted four stolen base attempts in 38 opportunities. With the team leaders in stolen bases either on new teams (Jonathan Villar) or on the shelf (Jon Berti, Magneuris Sierra), look for Chisholm to continue to step up and use his talents on the base paths when the opportunities arise.


Leodys Tavares & Anderson Tejeda, Texas Rangers:


Leodys Tavares made this list before and while still leading off for the Rangers against the Angels, who have allowed a league-leading 56 stolen base attempts, and the Diamondbacks (fourth-most with 42) he’ll make the list once more. This time he’s accompanied by fellow rookie Anderson Tejeda, who finds himself as the Rangers’ starting shortstop in the bottom third of the line up on most days. Tejeda isn’t a burner (69th percentile in sprint speed this season) but has shown an ability to pick his spots and take opportunities as they arise. He hit 10 stolen bases through 115 games in full season A-ball and then recorded 20 stolen bases through 164 games across two years in High-A. That was the highest level Tejada saw before getting the call up to Arlington. Through his first 14 games with the Rangers, Tejeda has already proven his ability to take advantage of opportunities as they are given, successfully stealing three bases on three attempts in 13 opportunities, his most recent coming against the aforementioned Angels.

Perhaps he’s just excited to be at the highest level even though he never even sniffed AA or AAA. Perhaps he’s been given a green light so the Rangers can have a better idea of what exactly he can do. Whatever the reason, there’s no reason to shy away from letting either of these guys take advantage of the upcoming match ups in your starting line ups this weekend. Special shout out to their Monday match up, as Dylan Bundy and his eight stolen bases allowed (sixth-most) take the hill for the Angels.


Honorable Mentions


Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier (TB) vs Jacob deGrom (9/21)
Miguel Rojas (MIA) vs Washington and Atlanta


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.

2 responses to “Need for Speed: Stolen Base Options to Stream (9/18-9/23)”

  1. Larry V. says:

    Good info, Adam. Thanks. Did you investigate pitching matchups for PHL’s Roman Quinn? His team schedule looks good. He plays 8 games in this 6-day stretch. Four against TOR who has given up the 12th-most SBs. The other 4 are against WSN (tied with ATL for 2nd-most yielded SBs). Just 2% rostered on Yahoo.

  2. Adam Howe says:

    Quinn wouldn’t be a bad grab either. Toronto has allowed an above average amount of SB on the season and Washington is near the top of the list. My only hesitation with Quinn was always playing time concerns. He looks like he has an upper hand in centerfield at the moment, but could miss out at playing both games of those double headers, bringing his opportunities down. He’s got the speed, as he’s shown by stealing two bases since returning from the IL recently, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

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