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Finding Speed (H2H/Roto)

While owners may not find Vince Coleman, circa 1985, or Ricky Henderson, circa 1982, we will all hunt for stolen bases to win our 5x5 leagues. In 2009, Jacoby Ellsbury was the last player to steal 70 bases or more. How much speed is needed, and how can we diversify to spread the risk?

Drafting several players with 15-20 SB's will protect owners against one injury that could take away 1/3 of a team's total stolen bases. Having several SB contributors will help H2H owners that are looking to win the SB category for the week. Roto owners should target 190-200 total SB for the year, but the total depends on the league's parameters. An owner in a 14-team H2H league could aim for 150 SB in the starting lineup to inch towards the top of the category.

The Leaders

NFBC owners are drafting Dee Gordon at #19, which would help Roto owners meet more than a quarter of their SB goal with 55-60 SB's. While Dee may not steal 110 bases like Vince Coleman in 1985, which was 3% of total MLB SB's at the time, he will b#73e worth a second-round pick in a 5x5  Roto league. He will gain 5.95 Standings Gained Points in 2016 using a 9.4 SB league rate. In a 14-team H2H league, Gordon would gain 9.55 SGP with over 2 bases a week, but the totals could come in large chunks.

H2H owners that question Gordon's 44% weekly dominance rate, which will lead to a few losses in the SB category, should look to Jose Altuve's 67% dominance rate. NFBC owners are drafting Altuve at #12, but his ability to make contact 90% of the time should lead to more stolen base chances. Altuve should steal 35-40 bases in 2016, and he should gain 6.26 SGP for his SB's in a 14-team H2H league.

While Altuve earned a .353 OBP in 2015, Billy Hamilton struggled to reach base with a lowly .274 OBP. Hamilton's .264 BABIP hurt him, but he needs to stop hitting 38% of his balls in the air, even though he makes contact 82% of the time. Hamilton raised his stolen base success rate to 88% in 2015, but dropping to the ninth spot in the batting order hurt his runs scored. Hamilton only dominated 23% of the weeks in 2015, but he hurt H2H owners in 55% of the weeks. NFBC owners are grabbing Billy Hamilton at #73 in 2016, but a 9.88 SGP may fool H2H owners. If Hamilton can reach base more often, he could reward roto owners with more total bases in 2016.

Speed Later

Those owners that are wiling to wait a few more rounds can turn to Ben Revere at #99. Revere could steal 40 SB's in Toronto, especially if he keeps his SB success rate above 80%. Revere doesn't hurt H2H owners with only 15% of his weeks as busts, but he only dominates 30% of his weeks. Roto owners will gladly take his 40 bags, which will lead to 4.25 SGP.

Fantasy Baseball Stolen Bases
Keith Allison Flickr
Another pick that could provide value is Billy Burns at #150. He will steal at least 30 bases in 2016, and he could steal more if the A's give him more opportunities to improve his 74% SB success rate. He helped H2H in 30% of the weeks, but he hurt H2H owners in 35% of the weeks. More roto owners should target Burns for the 3.19 SGP and hope for more in 2016.

Even though owners want to target young players for speed, Jarrod Dyson provides excellent value at pick #327. Dyson succeeded on 90% of his SB attempts in 2015, and he logged 26 steals in only 200 AB's. H2H owners could start Dyson on days when he starts, which helped Dyson dominate 42% of the H2H weeks in 2015. Dyson's 3.08 SGP will help roto owners that want to spend less on speed at the end of the draft.

Ender Inciarte will cost more than Dyson at pick #158, but he could help H2H keeper-league owners, especially if he dominates 57% of his weeks again. He only succeeded on 68% of his SB attempts in 2015, but he hopes to see more opportunity for stolen bases in Atlanta. Inciarte should swipe 25 bags in 2016, which will help roto owners with 2.76 SGP. If he can learn to hit lefties, .227 in 2015, then he will reward owners with more SB in 2016.

Delino DeShields, Jr. at #147 will offer another 27-33 SB's for Roto owners in 2016, but his 73% contact rate will hurt his ability to steal more bases. If he can continue to take more walks, 10% in 2015, then he can raise his SB total. He needs to raise his BA to fully help more H2H owners, especially since he only dominated 32% of the weeks, and he hurt H2H owners 48% of the weeks. 

Fill Rosters with 15-20 SB Players

Some owners will avoid placing all of the pressure on one or two SB guys, and they will diversify their rosters with players that can steal 5-20 SB's per year. NFBC owners can draft Kevin Kiermaier at #259. He successfully stole 78% of his attempts in 2015, and he dominated 50% of the weeks for H2H owners. He will not win any batting awards, but his 81% contact rate and his glove will keep him in Tampa Bay's lineup. Pencil him in for 15-20 SB's in 2016.

Cameron Maybin at pick #206 is another option that falls into the 15-20 SB category. While his stellar 2015 first-half mirage was supported by a .350 BABIP, he successfully stole 79% of his stolen base attempts for the Braves. His 15-20 SB will help roto owners this year, but H2H owners will note his 58% disaster rate in weekly play during the second-half of 2015.

In some deeper leagues, Trea Turner is already kept. His raw speed helped him steal 76% of his SB attempts last year, and his steals are valuable at SS. NFBC owners are selecting Turner at pick #229, but keeper-league owners will want to move Turner into their top 175. He stole 52 bases in the minors, and if the Nationals give him the AB's in 2016, he will surpass 20 SB this year.