Currently, I am playing in seven different roto leagues and if there is a common thread to be found in each one, it’s that just a handful of stolen bases can vault a number of teams up in the standings by an average of five points. Unless you’re sitting at the top of the stolen base category or sitting in last by a ridiculously large margin, a boost in steals could mean the difference between languishing in the bottom third of your league standings and competing for the championship. Here are a pair of outfielders who just might be able to help…
Scott Podsednik, BOS |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 1.1% Yahoo -1.0%
Hard to find a cheaper option than Pods here, and under normal circumstances, he’s not really someone that I’d recommend. But these aren’t normal circumstances right now. As Eno Sarris wrote a few weeks ago, the Red Sox outfield is in complete shambles. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crwford are still a reasonably long way off from returning, Cody Ross was hoping to start baseball activities yesterday, and Che-Hsuan Lin is back in the minors. That leaves a hodge-podge group consisting of Marlon Byrd, Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, Pods, and an occasional splash of Adrian Gonzalez. Not very appealing, is it?
While Podsednik won’t play everyday, he’s getting a fair amount of work and with his stolen base ability, will have value in roto leagues even as a part-time player. Since being called up on May 22, Podsednik has started eight of the Sox 12 games and made appearances in two others. He’s hit safely in each of the eight games he’s started and is currently batting .400 with three stolen bases. A look back at his previous two major league seasons , Pods has shown that he doesn’t strikeout out too often and has a strong ability to get on-base despite a walk rate below 7%. And with that comes 30-plus stolen bases in a season. Now he won’t see that kind of playing time again nor will he continue to hit at this torrid pace, but for atleast the next month, he’ll be seeing enough action to generate plenty of stolen base chances. If you are in a moveable spot in the category, then watch how easily he can help lift you in just a short time.
Ben Revere, MIN |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 1.4% Yahoo – 4.0%
Revere is another guy you can get on the cheap due to the fact that he doesn’t play every day. But with his speed, he too has decent value in roto leagues. He’s actually started 13 of the Twins 18 games since being recalled from Triple-A and made appearances in two others. In that span, he has gone 20-for-65 (.308) with six stolen bases. He’s got six multi-hit games and, similarly to Podsednik, has a low strikeout rate and a decent OBP supported by strong contact rather than a high walk rate. Obviously, you’d like for that walk rate to climb a little higher than the 3.3% is sits at now, but so long as he keeps getting on-base, do you really care how he does it? He could pull a Rudy Stein and lean into every pitch for all I care.
The Twins will throw in Trevor Plouffe and Darin Mastroianni every so often and we’ll see the occasional Ryan Doumit appearance out there, but Revere gives the team an added boost in speed that can only help them further along. Sure, the addition of Josh Willingham gives them some added power in the middle, but overall this team is built more for small ball and that suits Revere’s style just fine. You’re not going to find a 50-base burner here, but if Revere can steal you another 20-25 bases over the next few months, then you’ll leapfrog plenty of teams in your standings and find yourself in a much more competitive spot.