The Return of Corey Patterson

The Orioles demoted the struggling Nolan Reimold to Triple-A Norfolk earlier this week, unsatisfied with his .292 wOBA follow-up to last season’s .365 mark. He’ll go down, crush minor league pitching a la Chris Davis, then return to the O’s at some point this summer for a second chance. For now, he’s been replaced in the lineup and in left field by none other than Corey Patterson, who had been playing exceptionally well in Triple-A (.368/.419/.491 with three steals in 14 games). Regular leadoff man Brian Roberts is on the 60-day DL and isn’t expected back for several weeks, so for now Patterson will hold down the top of the order for Dave Trembley.

We all know that giving a guy with a career .290 OBP more plate appearances than anyone else in your lineup is foolish, and at this point adding Patterson to your fantasy team is foolish as well. His past stolen base totals are gaudy and tempting, no doubt about it, but he’s just not running anymore. Well that’s not entirely true. He’s still running, just not as often and without as much success.

Season SB Opps SB Attempts (%) SB SB%
2006 155 54 (34.8%) 45 83
2007 154 46 (29.9%) 37 80
2008 101 23 (22.8%) 14 61

Stolen base opportunity data comes from B-Ref. It’s not even worth mentioning the 2009 season because he was in the big leagues for a grand total of 16 games.

Patterson isn’t young anymore – he’ll be 31 in August – and he isn’t stealing as many bases as he used to either because he knows he’s slowed down and/or because he’s not interested in that part of the game anymore. Who knows, I’m just guessing. He missed 25 days with an ankle sprain at the end of the 2007 season, so maybe that has something to do with it. Regardless, the former speed demon and isn’t doing the one thing that gives him fantasy value anymore.

ZiPS pegs him for a grand total of nine steals the rest of the way, and that’s in 320 plate appearances. Those steals obviously aren’t going to be worth the big hit you’ll take everywhere else. I honestly had no idea that his SB numbers had tailed off so much, and coming into this post I figured he’d be a decent 4th or 5th OF grab to add steals. Shows what I know. Knowing who to keep off your fantasy roster is just as important as knowing who to keep on it.

If you’re that desperate for steals, Juan Pierre (17 SB) and Rajai Davis (12) are still available in most in Yahoo! leagues.

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

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Juan Pierre is less than 50% owned on Yahoo!? Dear golly.