Stolen Base Targets for 2024

Stolen base contributors available late in drafts.

The new stolen base rules have made an immediate impact on both the major leagues and fantasy baseball. More and more players are finding their way to double-digit stolen base totals, with the elite base stealers now capable of swiping 40 or more bases with relative ease. While steals are certainly more plentiful, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to fill the category. After all, just because there are more doesn’t mean they’ll be equally distributed among players or fantasy teams.

This article focuses on players who specialize in base-stealing and are available after the first 100 picks (based on NFBC ADP drafts ending on or after February 1). I don’t often recommend chasing players who only steal bases, such as Esteury Ruiz, but there’s a time and place to seek a player like that out. Generally speaking, I will often focus on players who also provide some other contribution, such as another category or perhaps positional flexibility, and I feel it helps provide more balance than just seeking extreme speed at the cost of other categories.

As a final note, this list is provided in order of NFBC ADP, not necessarily in order of value or rank. These notes all come from my Top 300 Hitters for 2024, so please head there if you want to see how I rank these players with more context.


Bryson Stott (2B, PHI), ADP 108 – The spray-hitting second baseman broke out in a big way in 2023 by hitting 15 home runs and stealing 31 bases with a high batting average for the Phillies. He finished as the 60th-best hitter for fantasy purposes in standard leagues, though I’m not sure he can be quite so successful in 2024. The 15 home runs seem about right, but the 31 stolen bases are more than he had in his entire career up until 2023. The new rules give players a boost, but this was a little extreme. I’m envisioning something closer to 20 steals (which is still a big jump from his previous single-season record of 14). Put that together with good ratios (.270 average with a .325 OBP, perhaps?), and you have a hitter who is definitely in the top 100 and has a shot at approaching the top 50.

Andrés Giménez (2B, CLE), ADP 110 – Like many Guardians, Giménez got off to a slow start in 2023, particularly in the power department as he hit just three home runs in his first 61 games along with way too many grounders and pop-ups. Following that skid, things did pick up as Giménez hit 12 home runs and stole 23 bases over the remaining 92 games, which would have been a 20 home run, 40 stolen pace over 162 games.

I don’t buy into Giménez hitting 20 home runs with any regularity, but 15 is a reasonable baseline, and 30-40 steals in the current environment are also repeatable thanks to his aggressive manager. There also should be improved counting stats in 2024 as he cements his role as the number two hitter in front of Ramirez and Naylor, and that will help him return more value in 2024.

Esteury Ruiz (OF, OAK), ADP 124 – NFBC players will take Ruiz a lot earlier than this due to the fact he’s almost certain to lead the AL in stolen bases after swiping 67 bags in 2023, but keep in mind that Ruiz fell short of 50 runs scored and 50 RBI and that the .254 batting average and .309 OBP are just about as good as it’s going to get due to his aggressive approach and complete lack of power. He will steal a boatload of bases and not hurt your ratios that much, which is not super valuable in head-to-head categories formats, but those in roto leagues will probably have him in a tier or two above this.

Thairo Estrada (2B/SS, SFG), ADP 132 – Despite missing over 40 games in 2023, Estrada managed to hit just as many home runs and steal a few more bases than he did in 2022 while also hitting for a better average. Estrada should again find himself at or near the top of the Giants lineup, but as it currently stands, the Giants offense will not create many run-scoring opportunities. 15 home runs and 25 steals could be there, but the counting stat totals aren’t going to be pretty unless the Giants make significant changes to the lineup and Estrada’s health risk exacerbates the counting stat issue even more.

Cedric Mullins (OF, BAL), ADP 147 – With Henderson usurping the leadoff role from Mullins, the range of outcomes for the speedy outfielder is now much wider than in years past. Mullins finished well outside the top 100 hitters in 2023 thanks to a poor batting average, injuries, and then being forced into a platoon to end the season.

Mullins will get another shot at full-time plate appearances in 2024, though it will likely be lower in the order than in 2021 and 2022 (maybe sixth or so) and the leash will be short due to the up-and-coming outfield talent Baltimore has in the minor leagues. If Mullins can solidify his role in the lineup, there should be a path to 20 home runs and 30-35 steals that would put him inside the top 50. If he isn’t able to get into a groove, though, there’s the risk that he will post yet another finish outside the top 100, and possibly even outside the top 150.

TJ Friedl (OF, CIN), ADP 154– It was a breakout campaign for Friedl as he was able to stay healthy and with the big league club for a (mostly) full season’s worth of plate appearances. Friedl dramatically outperformed his expected stats in 2023, beating his Baseball Savant xwOBA by 63 points and his Pitcher List xwOBA (which includes batted ball direction) by 57 points with most of the difference coming in his power numbers. That kind of overperformance makes me doubtful that Friedl can replicate his 2023 performance in any category besides runs scored (as he projects to lead off for the Reds).

A more realistic baseline would probably be 15 home runs, 80-90 runs scored, and 20-22 steals, with a significant drop in ratios that are more likely to resemble the .240/.314/.436 he posted in 2022, which is far more inline with what his expected stats have shown at the major league level.

Jarren Duran (BOS, OF), ADP 165 – The trade of Verdugo makes Duran the obvious pick to lead off for Boston, a role he excelled in last season as he hit .319/.350/.547 with 25 runs scored and 23 extra-base hits while going 12 for 13 in stolen base attempts over just 36 games. Injuries and inconsistency threw his train off the tracks at times, but a healthy Duran is more than capable of hitting 15 home runs and stealing 30 bases in 2024. He’s missed time with injury in two of the last three seasons and had two particularly brutal cold stretches in May and August, but Duran is more than worth taking a chance on in the middle rounds of a draft.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, PIT), ADP 179 – Health has been an issue for Hayes in each of the last three seasons, but it was great to see Hayes hit those 15 home runs in 124 games as it was more than he’d hit in the 232 games he played in 2021 and 2022. His aggressive approach will likely keep his OBP low, but the growth in Hayes’s power was real, and if he can have some better luck on the health side, we could see a 20-20 season. Sure, it’ll be on a bad Pirates offense that caps his counting stat totals, but it’s still pretty exciting.

Tommy Edman (2B/SS/OF, STL), ADP 182 – I was not at all in on Tommy Edman in 2023 due to his move to the bottom of the order and his historical performance in that spot, and while Edman has a clear starting role and is coming off a third straight season with at least 27 home runs, I’m still not overly excited about the other assets Edman brings to the table. Edman finished as the 130th best hitter last season according to the FanGraphs auction calculator with stolen bases being the only category where he didn’t provide negative value. I don’t see much reason to suspect anything to improve much in 2023, which makes Edman better suited to deeper roto leagues than anything else for the speed.

Steven Kwan (OF, CLE), ADP 215 – Few players can boast the bat-to-ball skills that Kwan has, but he’s struggled to make a big fantasy impact with that hit tool. Kwan has just 11 home runs across two full seasons, and this number is unlikely to improve based on what we’ve seen.

The skills are there to give Kwan a ceiling that includes a .300 average, 100 runs scored, and 30 stolen bases, but when you have the lowest hard-hit rate and the third-worst barrel rate in baseball, your path to fantasy relevance requires a lot of things to go your way. Kwan finished 2023 outside the top-100 hitters, and if the Guardians’ offense flounders again or if Kwan continues to be capped at 20 steals by his manager, or if he has rough batted ball luck, or if he loses his hold on the leadoff spot, it could happen again. In points leagues or deep formats that value the high number of plate appearances, Kwan should be moved up multiple tiers.

Maikel Garcia (3B, KCR), ADP 230 – Does five to seven home runs and 25 stolen bases with average ratios excite you? Then Garcia is your man. That’s extremely replaceable in most 12-team formats, but those in 15-team leagues will likely have Garcia much higher on your boards.

Whit Merrifield (2B/OF, FA), ADP 268 – Landing place and role will play a big part in how we rank Merrifield. If he lands somewhere that he will be given the chance to hit near the top of the lineup with a manager who likes to steal bases, Merrifield has a chance to be a top-150 hitter. If he goes somewhere that wants him to hit near the bottom of the lineup with a manager who is conservative on the base paths, then he could fall outside the top 200. I am projecting the latter.

Willi Castro (2B/3B/SS/OF, MIN), ADP 299 – Castro swiped 33 bags in 2023 with a .257/.339/.411 line, which is much better than I ever remembered him being last season. Castro doesn’t have a starting job in Minnesota even with the departure of Polanco, but with multiple injury risks across the lineup (Lewis, Buxton, and Kirilloff, for example), Castro could find a way to another 120 games and 20 or more steals.

Brice Turang (2B/SS, MIL), ADP 376 – Turang will struggle to reach double-digit home runs due to how often he hits the ball up the middle and to the opposite field combined with his limited power and propensity to focus on line drives, but his 26 stolen bases in 2023 should be at least mostly repeatable in 2024 as he enters the season with the inside track to the second base job in Milwaukee. Turang will probably hurt you in every category but steals, but that’s how it goes for 25 stolen bases at this part of the player pool.

Pete Crow-Armstrong (OF, CHC), ADP 499 – Traded back in 2021 for Javier Báez, Pete Crow-Armstrong’s athletic abilities have been on full display. He is a talented defender which should give him a bit of grace as his bat develops at the major league level. His debut last season did not go well as he went hitless in 19 plate appearances. His 20 home runs and 37 stolen bases in the minor leagues speak to his upside as a fantasy asset. The concerns over his hit tool prevent PCA from ranking higher on this list.

PCA was not included in the consensus write-up from November, but he did rank as the Cubs’ top prospect in our rankings from July which you can check out here.

Harrison Bader (OF, NYM), ADP 549 – You can’t project Bader for more than 110 games, but even in that short amount of time he should hit a couple of home runs (up to 10, I’d guess), and steal 20 bases with bad ratios. That has a certain utility in some formats, and his hot streaks will land him on even some 12-team rosters for a few weeks. He’d be a 15 home run plus 30 stolen base threat if he played anything close to a full season, but he hasn’t done that since 2019.

Ceddanne Rafaela (OF, BOS), ADP 561 – Following closely behind Black among top prospects for 2024 is Ceddanne Rafaela. Rafaela possesses plus speed and profiles as an outfielder at the major league level. He stands at 5’8” which limits his power projection and adds risk to a suspect hit tool. The Red Sox outfield is crowded and Rafaela will need to prove himself offensively to earn consistent playing time.

Here is what Martin wrote about Rafaela last November:

“The Red Sox gave Rafaela a brief look in September last season, and he offered mixed results. He hit .241 with eight extra-base hits but struck out 33% of the time with a 4.8% walk rate. His glove was great, but the bat was concerning. Rafaela needs a strong offensive Spring Training to give the Sox hope for his future.”

Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS/OF, MIA), ADP 620 – I was stunned that Berti, who finally played over 130 games for the first time in his career, stole just 16 bases despite the new stolen base environment (he stole 41 in 2022). If you want to take a gamble on some steals, then the versatile Berti and his 30 stolen base upside is worth a look at the end of drafts, though he’s likely to be a big drag on your runs and RBI (just 33 RBI in 133 games last season).

Jake McCarthy (OF, ARI), ADP 622 – Speed upside is the name of the game, and McCarthy is a near lock for 40 steals if he plays a full season. It’s not at all likely he’ll get that kind of opportunity in 2024, but even 100 games should be enough to hit a few home runs while swiping 25 bags.

Brenton Doyle (OF, COL) ADP 646 – 10 home runs and 22 steals in 126 games ain’t too bad, and the Rockies are likely to give Doyle a full season as their center fielder in 2024. He achieved these numbers despite posting a mind-blowing 19 wRC+ in Coors Field last season, which I have to think is some kind of fluke. If Doyle is even close to average at home in 2024, he’ll be a popular streamer in those games.

Drew Waters (OF, KCR), ADP 649 – Waters stole 16 bases and hit eight home runs in 98 games last season, and while he’s likely to start the season in the minors, he could certainly put up double-digits in both home runs and steals if he plays 100 games. The strikeout rate remains a big issue (33% in 130 games in the majors), but if he can walk 10% of the time, Waters could be of interest to deep OBP managers.

Victor Robles (OF, WSH), ADP 695 – Robles should be able to steal 20-25 bases in the new speed environment and he managed to steal 8 in just 36 games last season. There’s absolutely no power to speak of here and he’s a career .238 hitter, but darn it, he can steal some bases and that’s not easy to find down here. It helps that he’s likely the starting centerfielder in Washington, too, which means 120-140 games should be available.

Myles Straw (OF, CLE), ADP 721 – Straw is a mortal lock for 20 stolen bases and 50 runs scored. Sure, he’s one of the worst hitters with a full-time gig, but he’s fast.

Vidal Bruján (2B/SS/OF, MIA), ADP 732 – His new team doesn’t run as often as his old one, but Bruján should have a slightly easier path to playing time now that he’s out of Tampa Bay. Bruján is unlikely to provide much fantasy juice outside of the speed department, but given 100 games to run in, Bruján could certainly swipe.

Photo courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@kurtwasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here at Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor of Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and co-host of the Hacks & Jacks Podcast on the PL Podcast Network, and 4x FSWA Award nominee for Best Fantasy Baseball Podcast. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad of three, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

2 responses to “Stolen Base Targets for 2024”

  1. Rob Shaffer says:

    Hey Scott,

    Just pointing out that there’s a mistake in the Tommy Edman write-up. It states that he’s had 27 HR in each of the last three years, but I think it’s supposed to say 27 SB’s. I figured you’d want to have it corrected.

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