Archive for Stolen Bases

25 NL Stolen Base Sleepers

Yesterday was busy with baseball news including a rush to the wire for Matt Harv…I mean Cody Anderson. Speaking of players who look like other players, remember when Charlie Morton started aping Roy Halladay? That sure was fun.

I’ve been telling people all spring that the entire point of acquiring Drew Storen is so that Roberto Osuna doesn’t get used to closing. He reportedly already likes life in relief more than starting. The Jays have named Osuna as the closer which may permanently shut the door on starting. See Jonathan Papelbon, Aroldis Chapman, etc.

Other things happened too – Jose Reyes is no longer riding a runaway train to deportation. Fear not Trevor Story owners. I hear the Rockies will trade or cut Reyes. The Roto Riteup has more details on everything. It’s time for me to switch gears back to stolen bases. Yesterday was for the AL sleepers so guess what’s up today (oh, you read the headline).

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18 AL Stolen Base Sleepers

Sleeper week continues. Monday and Tuesday were dedicated to deep sleepers. Today and tomorrow we’ll look into stolen base threats. Most of these guys are waiver wire fodder in standard leagues. You should be able to stream them. Certain notably steals threats like Jose Altuve and Billy Burns were excluded because they aren’t sleepers in any sense of the word.

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So, Kevin Pillar is Probably Leading Off for the Blue Jays

As part of my warm-up for my long run each weekend, I make sure to get a fire tweet off before hitting the road. It’s a good way to have the brain let the body know that it’s time to get that money.

To wit:

That, in response to this:

OK, so it wasn’t a fire tweet. We all have off days. But the unofficial-official determination that Kevin Pillar will bat lead off for the Toronto Blue Jays is a little bit disappointing, and it stands to have an impact not just on his own value but the value of those around him in the lineup.
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Trea Turner and How Timing Impacts Late-Round Strategy

I’m always torn when setting a draft date for a fantasy league, particularly a redraft one. Most people I play with generally want the draft to be as close to the start of the regular season as possible, which makes sense – the longer you wait, the more information becomes available, and the more certainty players have, especially when it comes to playing-time estimates.

Depending on your level of risk-seeking, the depth of the league, and your confidence in finding early-season waiver-wire sleepers, an earlier draft might be your preference. It’s certainly mine. In those cases, I’m comfortable using picks in the later rounds on sleepers who may or may not make a team, trusting that if they wind up optioned to the minor leagues (or designated for assignment, as it were), I’ll be able to plug someone in out of the free-agent bin comparable to a “floor” pick I could have otherwise used that selection on.

The longer you wait to do your draft, the less opportunity there is to take those playing-time-uncertain fliers. Either those players will be deemed to be without a job, or others will have grown wise to their hold on a job, bidding the price up.

My favorite example to illustrate the impact of draft timing this year is Trea Turner, the No. 2 prospect of the potential NL East-champion Washington Nationals.
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How Does Batting Order Affect Stolen Bases?

A couple weeks back I provided some (hopefully) useful tables demonstrating how R and RBI are affected by the team’s overall run scoring projection and where the hitter is positioned in the batting order.

At the time I assumed that a similar analysis for stolen bases would be unnecessary. I knew that runs and RBI are largely affected by team context and batting order, but had a feeling that stolen bases were simply a function of player skill. Maybe with a small hint of lineup effect.

Thankfully, our very own Birchwood Brothers questioned that assumption and asked if I had come across any similar research for stolen bases. So here I am to present those findings. Does a player’s position in the batting order affect stolen base frequency? Read the rest of this entry »


The Next Jordan Schafer

Perhaps our very worst prediction of 2015—there’s intense competition for the honor– was that Jordan Schafer would lead the American League in stolen bases. As it developed, he tied for last in the AL, with zero. You can grasp our reasoning, though. Schafer, a year ago, was 28, was among the all-time top 100 in stolen base percentage, had stolen more than 100 bases over the previous four seasons of decidedly part-time play, and was the Twins’ center fielder of choice. He somehow contrived, over the course of April and May, to play himself not only out of the Twins’ starting lineup but out of professional baseball entirely. A .217/.250/.261 slash line, plus three caught-stealings and no stolen bases when your principal asset is speed, will do that to you.

So of course we’re eager to tell you who the 2016 version of Jordan Schafer is. By this, we mean the player most likely either to steal far more bases than anyone envisions or to put the quietus on his career. As we wrote last year, our mistake with Schafer was not taking seriously his spring training record, which was short on speed and long on slow. Thus, our recommendation this year comes with a sub-recommendation: Watch this guy during spring training (or let us watch for you; we promise to report back). If there’s evidence that he can’t run, and you haven’t already got him, don’t take him; if you’ve got him, jettison him, as his team will presumably get around to doing. Read the rest of this entry »


Mariners’ Playing Time Battles: Hitters

After 7 disappointing years under Jack Zduriencik (which followed 5 soul-crushing seasons under Bill Bavasi), new Mariners’ GM, Jerry Dipoto, raced up I-5 with a mandate to bring consistency and a fresh approach to the Emerald City. Faced with a number of holes to fill, the former Angels exec has already made a series of moves signaling a shift in the Mariners’ philosophy towards defense and on-base ability, a welcomed change from that of the last regime’s affinity for low on-base, immobile power hitters who strike out a lot. Huzzah.

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Cheap Speed: Breaking Bad Style

I have spent the last few weeks rewatching Breaking Bad. For those who have never watched it, it is arguably the greatest show of all time. It is the classic story of a high school chemistry teacher that gets terminal cancer and becomes a drug kingpin to make sure he leaves something behind for his family. Let’s be honest, the story of Walter White could be any of us, minus the drugs, Mexican cartels, violence, terminal cancer, money, and ability to make thermite in our kitchen. Read the rest of this entry »


Ladies And Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Gentrifying

“The romance of New York [City] during that era is contagious.” So comments a reviewer of a recent book of photographs from said era. And what era might that be? The melting-pot 1920s? The beatnik 1950s? The pot-and-protests 60s? The dot-com 90s? Nope; the 70s. The pink mist of nostalgia that now envelops 1970s New York City puzzles us a bit. In memoir after memoir—most of them quite good, by the way—1970s NYC is portrayed as culturally and intellectually heady beyond the imaginings of those then unborn or unfledged. But at the same time, it’s depicted as dirty, dangerous, and broke, and the memoirists describe it as if they’d survived the trenches at Guadalcanal.

We ourselves aren’t nostalgic about 1970s New York, or 1970s anywhere else, for that matter. In one respect, though, we kind of miss the decade, because (awkward segue coming) it saw the rise of the lively-ball-era stolen base. Even in the 60s, of course, there were stolen-base avatars like Maury Wills and Luis Aparicio. They’d steal fifty or more bases and lead the league every year. Otherwise, though, nothing: on average, a 60s team would attempt a stolen base about every other game. Read the rest of this entry »


Anthony Rizzo Gets A Boost Of Speed

Anthony Rizzo ended up as the #3 overall first baseman according to Zack Sanders end-of-season rankings. Looking over Rizzo’s stat line about everything lined up with expectations. The 31 home runs and .278 average are well within expectations. A few additions around him in the lineup boosted up his counting stats. The only change in his stat was a huge jump in stolen bases to 17. In his previous four seasons, he only had 16 stolen bases total. I am going to examine Rizzo today especially the chances of his stolen base total staying up.

Not Stolen Base Information

The 26-year-old’s stats were in line with expectations, if not a bit better. One item which improved was his 19% K% in 2014 (and it is near his career average) dropped to 15% in 2015. Rizzo went with the approach of swinging more (44.5% to 46.8%) and making more contact (79.7% to 83.1%). If a few more of these batted balls fall in play, he could push a .300 AVG.

I could even expect his Run and RBI total to increase as the rest of the Cubs grow and mature. The team’s wRC+ has gone from 81 in 2012 to 96 this season. The 2012 to 2014 teams averaged 609 runs a season with the 2015 squad scoring 689 runs. With Rizzo hitting in the middle of the lineup, he could easily top 100 Runs and 120 RBI.

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