It’s crunch time in Fantasy baseball. Many active Fantasy players are focusing on football draft preparation, but this is the time of year when a savvy move can determine a a baseball championship. In roto-style leagues, one of the easiest categories in which to gain points quickly is steals. One hot player can dramatically improve your place in the standings. You’ll have a hard time adjusting a WHIP or batting average at this point, but climbing up the SB category can be done with the right moves.
The following players can be acquired either via trade, or picked up off waivers, for a surge in the stolen base category.
Lorenzo Cain: Cain has 16 stolen bases on the season and nine of them have come in his last 23 games. He hasn’t been caught over that time and it appears he’s been given a green light lately. He won’t help much in homers or RBI but should provide Fantasy owners with a nice boost in the steals department going forward.
Sam Fuld: The A’s new center fielder has three stolen bases in five games since being dealt to Oakland. Fuld should be more aggressive in his new home and is available in a ton of standard Fantasy leagues. He has 16 steals on the season and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he finishes with 30-plus.
Denard Span: Span is hitting .434 with a .508 OBP and seven steals over his last 14 games. While he’s owned in the majority of leagues, he shouldn’t be too expensive to acquire if his owner needs something other than stolen bases. He should be aggressive down the stretch with the Nationals competing for a spot in the postseason.
Kolten Wong: The Cardinals’ second baseman only has 19 stolen bases in his young career, but he’s only played in 101 games. His 162-game average would translate to 30 steals per season if he can maintain his current pace. He’s stolen seven bases in 24 games since being recalled and has added six homers over the same span. He’s available in about a third of Fantasy leagues but is performing like a must-start option. Wong has struck out 22 times in his last 89 ABs, and while this is an alarming rate, its more of a concern for the Cardinals than it is for Fantasy owners.
Alexi Amarista: Want someone who is readily available and qualifies all over the field? Amarista is your guy. Just don’t expect too much production. He’s a great emergency fill-in option for desperate owners, as he qualifies at 2B, 3B, SS and OF in most leagues. He doesn’t do much to fill the box score but has managed three steals over his last 13 games. If he maintained that pace over a 162-game schedule, he’d be on pace to steal 38 bases in a season. You can do worse if you need extremely cheap steals.
Anthony Gose: In full disclosure, Gose has burned me numerous times. I had high hopes for the once-top prospect. In a move I regret to this day, I acquired him for Mark Trumbo in an industry dynasty league. Trumbo has hit over 100 home runs since I traded him, while Gose has been a complete disappointment. That said, it appears that Gose is finally relevant in standard Fantasy leagues. He has seven stolen bases over his last 14 games and should continue to run because injuries in Toronto have created some extra playing time.
Jarrod Dyson: Its rare that a player with 100-plus career stolen bases, coming off back-to-back 30-steal seasons, would be available in so many leagues. But Dyson doesn’t receive regular ABs and doesn’t offer much in terms of power. In fact, he only has four homers and 49 RBI through 793 career ABs. Dyson, who turns 30 next week, has stolen three bases in his last five games and should be able to finagle a handful of steals going forward for desperate owners.
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood.