Fantasy Baseball 2014: Under the Radar Stolen Base Targets

Jason Arnold

Ray takes a look at some hitters who could surprise fantasy owners with a bump in stolen bases in 2014.

Saturday was a quiet day for trades and free agent signings, so my mind started thinking about 2014 fantasy drafts, specifically guys who could be late round stolen base candidates. Predicting stolen bases is easy to a certain extent, as you know from year to year who the main stolen base targets will be. But, who are the guys who can surprise in the stolen base category.

So, I headed over the FanGraphs and exported data for all hitters with more than 200 plate appearances in 2013.

I added some data points I wanted to look at including stolen base attempts, stolen base efficiency percentage (stolen bases/stolen base attempts), and OBP.  I then parsed this list for only those hitters who had a stolen base efficiency of 75% or higher, and an OBP of .325 or higher. Why so low? The MLB average OBP was just .318 in 2013, so these hitters are better than league average at getting on base. I also added a column indicating GREEN light or RED light for hitters who met this criteria. Here is the list that resulted:

Name

Team

SB

CS

Total SB Attempts

SB Eff.

OBP

Green Light/Red Light

Christian Yelich

Marlins

10

0

10

100.0%

0.374

GREEN

Jonathan Lucroy

Brewers

9

1

10

90.0%

0.343

GREEN

Chris Denorfia

Padres

11

0

11

100.0%

0.340

GREEN

Jayson Werth

Nationals

10

1

11

90.9%

0.404

GREEN

Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers

10

2

12

83.3%

0.411

GREEN

Kyle Seager

Mariners

9

3

12

75.0%

0.340

GREEN

Michael Cuddyer

Rockies

10

3

13

76.9%

0.398

GREEN

Ben Zobrist

Rays

11

3

14

78.6%

0.360

GREEN

Alex Gordon

Royals

11

3

14

78.6%

0.337

GREEN

Carl Crawford

Dodgers

15

4

19

78.9%

0.333

GREEN

David Wright

Mets

17

3

20

85.0%

0.400

GREEN

Michael Brantley

Indians

17

4

21

81.0%

0.332

GREEN

Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox

17

5

22

77.3%

0.377

GREEN

Carlos Gonzalez

Rockies

21

3

24

87.5%

0.372

GREEN

Shane Victorino

Red Sox

21

3

24

87.5%

0.344

GREEN

Hunter Pence

Giants

22

3

25

88.0%

0.344

GREEN

Coco Crisp

Athletics

21

5

26

80.8%

0.339

GREEN

Craig Gentry

Rangers

24

3

27

88.9%

0.376

GREEN

Ian Desmond

Nationals

21

6

27

77.8%

0.334

GREEN

Jordan Schafer

Braves

22

6

28

78.6%

0.332

GREEN

Jimmy Rollins

Phillies

22

6

28

78.6%

0.326

GREEN

Brett Gardner

Yankees

24

8

32

75.0%

0.342

GREEN

Nate McLouth

Orioles

30

7

37

81.1%

0.329

GREEN

Jason Kipnis

Indians

30

7

37

81.1%

0.368

GREEN

Jarrod Dyson

Royals

34

6

40

85.0%

0.326

GREEN

Mike Trout

Angels

33

7

40

82.5%

0.446

GREEN

Carlos Gomez

Brewers

40

7

47

85.1%

0.341

GREEN

Everth Cabrera

Padres

37

12

49

75.5%

0.347

GREEN

Alex Rios

- - -

42

7

49

85.7%

0.326

GREEN

Jacoby Ellsbury

Red Sox

52

4

56

92.9%

0.357

GREEN

Jean Segura

Brewers

44

13

57

77.2%

0.329

GREEN

From this list, I looked at only those hitters who had less than 20 stolen base attempts in 2013, and here are the results:

Name

Team

SB

CS

Total SB    Attempts

SB Eff.

OBP

Green    Light/Red     Light

Christian Yelich

Marlins

10

0

10

100.0%

0.374

GREEN

Jonathan Lucroy

Brewers

9

1

10

90.0%

0.343

GREEN

Chris Denorfia

Padres

11

0

11

100.0%

0.340

GREEN

Jayson Werth

Nationals

10

1

11

90.9%

0.404

GREEN

Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers

10

2

12

83.3%

0.411

GREEN

Kyle Seager

Mariners

9

3

12

75.0%

0.340

GREEN

Michael Cuddyer

Rockies

10

3

13

76.9%

0.398

GREEN

Ben Zobrist

Rays

11

3

14

78.6%

0.360

GREEN

Alex Gordon

Royals

11

3

14

78.6%

0.337

GREEN

Carl Crawford

Dodgers

15

4

19

78.9%

0.333

GREEN

I have never used this analysis in my preseason draft prep before, so it is new. I want to see if we can predict hitters who can exceed expectations in stolen bases in the coming year. It may prove to be futile, but I had to give it a shot.

The results of the above analysis is based on the idea that hitters who get on base at an above league average rate, who are efficient base stealers, and for some reason or another did not attempt many stolen bases in the prior year, and could outperform expectations in the following year.

Some of the hitters above aren't what you call real speed threats. It is pretty obvious guys like Jonathan Lucroy, Michael Cuddyer, and Chris Denorfia won't be running more in 2014. I can see Christian Yelich, Jayson Werth, and Carl Crawford doubling their stolen base totals from 2013, assuming all stay healthy. There is a health risk with Werth and Crawford, so that is something to consider on draft day as well.

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