by Will Overton
I’ve been writing this article for RotoProfessor for a few years now and there is one theme that I bring up year after year, the importance of knowing what you need when you hit the wire. To many fantasy baseball owners don’t pay enough attention to the standings in establishing their plans.
If you’re looking to replace that injured or struggling second baseman take a minute and check out your standings to see what kind of replacement you could use. Are you short on power or speed? Can you take on a batting average dead weight? Don’t add a guy to add a guy, make the best move for your team.
Today we are going to be focusing on players you can grab if you need to boost your team stolen base totals. Let’s take a look:
Mallex Smith – OF, Tampa Bay Rays: If you want top end speed you aren’t likely to find anyone better than Smith who is owned in less than a quarter of leagues right now. He is 9-for-13 on stolen base attempts this season and has a history of elite level speed in the minors including a season with 84 SB. He is currently third in the AL in steals and has the ability to keep up this pace with no real risk of losing his starting job. Smith won’t do anything for your power, but his batting average is .309 and even if that drops he has an above average walk rate to keep him on base and keep the steals coming.
Delino DeShields – OF, Texas Rangers: Here is another elite stolen base option to consider, though time is running out to grab him as DeShields is now owned in half of all ESPN leagues. He has entrenched himself as the Rangers every day center fielder and leadoff hitter, as he’s hitting .326 in May with four stolen bases. On the season he has seven steals on nine attempts , but that’s only in 22 games played. If he is available you need to jump on him.
Alen Hanson – 2B/OF, San Francisco Giants: This is one you need to keep an eye on the injury report. Hanson didn’t get the start yesterday due to a sore hamstring, which can be really unpredictable as far as timetable of injury. Assuming he doesn’t go to the DL he’s probably one of the best stolen base options you can get for the middle infield. He has three steals on three attempts and a history of strong stolen base numbers throughout his minor league career. He has locked himself into an every game starting gig in San Francisco and you get a little boost with his power, 4 HR so far, though I think the steals are more sustainable than the homers. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go on the DL.
Niko Goodrum – 2B, Detroit Tigers: This is a deep league play for those out there in 14 team and deeper leagues. Goodrum has been Detroit’s utility man plugging in at a multitude of positions, but never getting regular AB, but he could be working his way into more AB over the next couple weeks. Miguel Cabrera is already on the DL and now both Nick Castellanos and Jaimer Candelario are dinged up and one or both of them could be headed to the DL. If that happens Goodrum could play nearly every day and he’s already shown a knack for the stolen base. He has four steals in his limited playing time and Ron Gardenhire has brought a much more steal friendly philosophy to the Tigers after years of them never taking bases. Goodrum is hitting the ball well right now and has a chance for a big couple weeks coming up.
Hernan Perez – 3B/2B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers: This one isn’t going to produce as many steals as some of the others on this list, but Perez is getting more playing time with injuries and poor play in the middle infield. He has started three of the last four games and was 7–14 in those games. If he can keep his bat hot he’ll keep getting AB and should start getting more steals. He has only two steals on the season, but is just two years removed from a season in which he swiped 34 bases. Perez may not be the obvious choice, but grabbing could pay dividends for your fantasy team.
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