Running on Empty: Cheap Stolen Bases in Fantasy Baseball

Drafting power in fantasy baseball is always a good option. After all, a home run results in an increase in batting average, a run scored and an RBI (or possibly several). Drafting speed on the other hand often helps in only one category (stolen bases). With reliable power and speed guys hard to come by (where have you gone, Grady Sizemore?), most fantasy owners draft for power and find themselves in need of stolen bases once the season begins. However, when picking over the waiver wire, there are several options for cheap steals available. Unlike with other stat categories, playing time is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to getting speed into your fantasy line up. After all, if a player comes on as a pinch-runner in the later innings and steals a base, you have received the stat you needed even though he isn’t a starting position player. Here are some options for cheap steals from the waiver wire:


Juan Pierre (PHI) –

The Phillies have a crowded outfield with Shane Victorino, John Mayberry and Hunter Pence (not to mention the presence of Laynce Nix and Domonic Brown). However, Pierre should get his fair share of opportunities to pinch run in addition to the odd spot start. Throw in the fact that the Phillies lack a truly effective lead-off hitter (no offence to the 33-year old Jimmy Rollins) and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Pierre ends up the season with 20+ stolen bases. Sure Pierre was only successful in 61% of his stolen base attempts last year. However, he is only 2 seasons removed from a major league best 68 swiped bags.

Ben Revere (MIN) –

Chances are, the Twins’ outfielder will be available in your fantasy league. The fact that he will most likely be used as a fourth outfielder will scare off your fellow fantasy owners. However, Revere has fantasy value to bring to the table. His defense alone should help ensure he gets his fair share of ABs and the uncertain situation in right field could have Revere in the line up more often than not. 30+ stolen bases wouldn’t be a surprise.

Jason Bourgeois (KC) –

Even a trade to the Royals may not mean a starting outfield job is guaranteed for Bourgeois. However, he can play at second base and may find some time there in Kansas City this year. With Johnny Giavotella demoted and Chris Getz’ limited skill set, the speedy Bourgeois may get into the line up enough to nab 30 SB. That could be a magic number for those fantasy squads in need of late round speed.

Alcides Escobar (KC) –

Escobar offered speed and little else in 2011 and his decent minor league batting average may yet carry over into the majors. In the meantime he should get regular playing time at shortstop this year (albeit most likely out of the #9 spot in the Royals line up). Regardless, he showed some speed last year and could put up 20-25 SB.

Rajai Davis (TOR) –

Before his season ended with a torn hamstring, Davis was seeing sporadic playing time with the Blue Jays in 2011. However, when he did play, he ran. In fact, he delivered 34 SB (and had 45 attempts). Considering that fact that he only had 49 singles, it’s pretty clear that when Davis is on base, he runs. Even though he will see limited playing time, he should spell Eric Thames in left field against lefties and may see time off the bench as a pinch runner in the later innings. Don’t rule out 30 SB for this crafty base stealer.

So go ahead and load up on power in your fantasy drafts. If you need some cheap speed in the later rounds or on the waiver wire, there should be a few options for stolen bases in your fantasy league.
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