Scrounging for Speed

There are now less than two weeks left of the regular season! If you have been hesitant to sit your high priced bat that contributes in categories you don’t need in order to play the free agent pickup, don’t be. It’s totally okay to bench Khris Davis if you’re set in homers and RBI in order to try gaining a point or two in steals. Here are some lesser owned names who could chip in a couple of steals the rest of the way, which might be enough to gain you a point or two in the category.

Stolen Base Attempts Over Last 30 Days
Name SB CS SBA
Delino DeShields 7 3 10
Tim Anderson 7 0 7
Cameron Maybin 6 1 7
Michael Taylor 4 2 6
Freddy Galvis 3 2 5
Ben Revere 3 1 4
Alen Hanson 3 1 4

Delino DeShields has been the Rangers’ everyday leadoff hitter for a little over a month now, yet is owned in just 32% of CBS leagues. He has attempted the third most steals in all of baseball over the past 30 days, while scoring runs at a high clip, and even contributing positive value in batting average thanks to an improved strikeout rate and elevated BABIP. He’s an obvious target and a perfectly acceptable choice to replace Davis in your lineup if the category standings dictate such a move.

All of Tim Anderson’s stolen base attempts over the last 30 days have actually come since September 5th. Amazingly, he attempted that same number during the entire season up until that point! So he has literally doubled his stolen base attempt total in just about the last two weeks. Who knows why he suddenly decided to run quickly toward the next base before the catcher throws him out, but he clearly has the speed, so he may very well continue. And because the White Sox haven’t yet discovered the value of getting on base, Anderson often finds himself hitting leadoff. Bad for the Sox, good for Anderson owners.

Cameron Maybin hit the jackpot moving to a top tier team in Houston, though he did lose a starting job. That said, there are at-bats available in left field and designated hitter as the Astros rotate around their strong depth of hitters. Maybin has already attempted three steals in just 37 plate appearances with his new team, so clearly he hasn’t been afraid to run despite the fact that the Astros lead baseball in runs scored. He owns some pop too and don’t be too discouraged by the low batting average, as his BABIP sits at the lowest in any season with a reasonable sample of at-bats.

Bryce Harper’s injury opened up a starting job for Michael Taylor, who is once again showcasing his blend of speed and power. The BABIP won’t stay that high, but in two weeks, anything could happen, so it’s silly to worry about his batting average moving forward.

Speed hasn’t typically been a big part of Freddy Galvis’ game, though he did swipe 17 bases last year. This year, it’s been just 13 in 17 attempts, but three of those steals and five attempts have come in the last month. He, too, possesses some power, so you don’t necessarily have to decide between speed and power when giving Galvis a starting job on your team.

Ben Revere is still around! While starts will be hard to come by, he still finds ways to contribute in stolen bases, whether it’s as a pinch runner or pinch hitter.

As the White Sox rotate between a slew of terrible hitters, Alen Hanson gets his shot every couple of days with no standout choice. The former Pirate infielder now plays outfield, has a bit of power, and above average speed. At his current pace, a full season’s worth of plate appearances would yield 30 steals. He’ll likely hit at the bottom of the order when he does draw the start, so don’t expect much else than a steal here and there, but that’s maybe all you need.



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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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szstein
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szstein

Mikie Mahtook, anyone?