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July 14, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

Fantasy Baseball Singles Only: Stolen Bases Edition

Fantasy Baseball Singles Only: Stolen Bases Edition
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Every point counts at this time of year and it’s time to start looking for guys to help in specific areas. One area that can actually be helped by the waiver wire is stolen bases. Fantasy GMs can avoid steals in the draft, avoid them for the first few months, find a couple names off the waiver wire and wind up being not awful in the stolen base category. Guys like Juan Pierre exist for a reason. That reason appears to be “to help fantasy teams in stolen bases” because Pierre doesn’t have much value in any other role with a major league team.

The guy most likely to assume the mantle of the ultimate steals only guy once Juan Pierre finally sprints into the sunset is Rajai Davis. Rajai has topped 20 steals every season since 2007. He has 247 career steals and 2457 career plate appearances. He gets a steal once every 10 times he steps into the box. He’s proven that he doesn’t need a starting job to help fantasy teams get steals.

The “Rajai” pattern has repeated itself a few times in the course of Davis’ career. He spends a few months picking splinters out of his butt and ends up on the waiver wire. Then, one of the regular outfielders goes down for a month or two with injury and Rajai ends up getting 80ish% of his at bats. Melky Cabrera got hurt a few weeks ago and Rajai has stepped into reasonably regular playing time. The problem is that Melky is starting a rehab assignment and could be back after the All-Star break. Rajai could still be worth a stash in case Melky gets hurt again or if Colby Rasmus decides to be bad at baseball again.

Remember Julio Borbon? He stole 19 bases in 46 games for the Rangers in 2009 and…hasn’t done much since. He has the speed, but he hasn’t found the playing time to be a legitimate option in fantasy baseball. He’s currently occupying a bench spot for the Cubs, but could work his way into more regular playing time in the coming months if the Cubs choose to deal guys like David Dejesus or Nate Shierholtz. He has to be a better option than Dave Sappelt, right?

Jarrod Dyson is another speedy guy who should get a look if the Royals decide to either deal an outfielder or happen to lose someone to injury. Dyson has only appeared in 33 games this season, but he has 12 steals and 14 attempts. It appeared that Dyson would get more opportunities after the Royals cut ties with Jeff Francoeur, but so far something called “David Lough” has gotten most of Frenchy’s playing time. Lough is a 27-year old in his second cup of coffee at the majors. He doesn’t exactly scream “long term solution.”

Eric Young needs to be added in all formats. There isn’t a good reason to keep EY on the wire because he’ll give fantasy teams an instant boost in steals. The Mets have the worst outfield in all of baseball. A team has a problem when guys like Jordany Valdespin and Andrew Brown are tossed around as answers. Eric Young will play every day and hit near the top of the order and should have the green light every time he gets on base. Young came to the Mets after a trade on June 18th and he’s already stolen nine bases. He’ll likely continue because the Mets simply don’t have anyone better than Young in the outfield right now.

Ben Revere is out for at least a month with a fractured foot and it’s unclear exactly who will get the call up from Triple-A. It could be infielder Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez has spent most of his career at second base, but he’s seen time in center for Lehigh Valley this year and has shown the ability to steal bases in the minors. He’s a name for super-deep or NL-only leagues, but he would likely qualify at an infield position, but see time in the outfield.

The Marlins will look to sell off whatever remaining veterans they have on their roster and Triple-A  speedster Gorkys Hernandez might finally get some playing time at the major league level. Hernandez’ legs have never been in question. His bat has always been in question. He’s looking more and more like a “never will” than a “someday,” but he could wind up on a roster in August or September and luck his way into 10 or so steals. He’s another name for the deep leagues or NL-only.

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