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Hunting for Steals

It is a notoriously difficult task, but projecting steals correctly over the final two weeks can provide the points many fantasy teams need to win a title. Unfortunately, there are few tools at our disposal when trying to do this in the short term. We can look at the schedule and find the catchers that are easy to run on. Then we can try to find some players that are currently playing well. Then we just have to throw the dart.

Let’s take a look at some steals options down the stretch. We’ll break this up by the different league depths to try and find some players that are available on your wire.

10-team Leagues

Julio Borbon
Sometimes you don’t even need to check the schedule. Borbon has shown the ability to put up a double-digit steal month, and that sort of impact speed does not belong on the wire. Borbon averaged 57 steals per 162 minor league games and with the lack of pop and mediocre defense, he is the rare DH that makes his bread with his feet. Rajai Davis is hotter in September, but he’s probably long gone from your wire. Andrew McCutchen is a more complete hitter, but he’s probably also long gone and he’s gone a little cold to boot. With Michael Young and Josh Hamilton hurting and Hank Blalock out of the picture, Borbon will play. It doesn’t even matter who is the opposing catcher – a shot and Borbon is on second.

12-team leagues
Chris Getz
Getz is turning out to be an okay second baseman with the ability to get on base (7% walk rate) mixed in with passable defense (-3.6 UZR) and some good speed (24 stolen bases on the year). He has six stolen bases in his last ten games, so he’s looking to take the extra base right now. Next on the schedule are a couple of teams that are not very good at throwing potential base-stealers out in Minnesota (23.5%) and Kansas City (24.7%). With Joe Mauer‘s arm itching to throw him out, though, owners would be forgiven for instead turning to Everth Cabrera, who ZiPS RoS tags as a less sure thing going forward but is also facing San Francisco (28.7%) and Colorado (21.8%) this month. The catchers trying to stop Cabrera will certainly not be sporting arms that measure up to Mauer’s.

16-team leagues
Drew Stubbs
If the Cabrera is not available in your 16-team league, Stubbs is a good consolation prize. The young Red outfielder doesn’t have as much power as he’s showing right now – he’s more of a speed guy – but he can get on base (minor league walk rate over 10%). He has some guys behind him that can bring him home, a favorable schedule with four games at Florida (23%), and he’s playing every day at the top of a lineup for a team that likes to steal (7th in the NL). It’s not a perfect mix – Stubbs went a little cold after a great start – but he’s still getting on base, and Florida has given up the most stolen bases in the National League.

20-team leagues
Cory Sullivan
In deeper leagues, you have to take any guy with that has shown speed in the past. Sullivan is playing every day right now and this month his team has six games against one of the worst teams in the major leagues against the steal (Florida, with a 23% success rate at catching thieves). Atlanta (31%) isn’t so great either. Sullivan is walking more than he ever has (12%) and he’s also getting playing time because Gary Sheffield is probably out for the rest of the season. Sullivan should run into some stolen bases over the final month.