We continue our “Waiver Wire Efficiency” series with some guys who could help you with steals.
Unlike with a lot of the home run guys, you will need to take a serious hit in the other four categories with most of the base thieves. Most are fast but don’t have a lot of other skills, so their respective teams don’t give them a whole lot of playing time.
This has both positives and negatives for you. If the player can’t hit for a very high average, you will be able to increase your stolen base points while your batting average points remain relatively the same. Of course, if you are lacking in several categories, you’ll be getting very little help out of whatever spot you choose to play one of these guys in.
If this is the case, you’re probably better off trying to improve the other categories, unless you can get one of the guys who can help with more than just steals.
Dave Roberts | SF | OF | 7.3% – Not a fantastic contact hitter, very little power, but Roberts can steal a base. With his speed and 9% walk rate he could also score a few runs, although being a Giant will compress his totals. Still, you’re looking for steals and Roberts might be your best option.
Chris B. Young | ARZ | OF | 22.4% – Batting average is terrible, but his walk and line drive rates have been good over the past few weeks (around 11% and 19%, respectively), so he should do better than his current .231 average. Has pretty good power and hits atop a good lineup, so if you have little room for vertical movement in the batting average category, Young would make a great pickup.
Reggie Willits | LAA | OF | 21.4% – One of the better options, Willits can run and will help in other categories. Batting average will come down a little but won’t be terrible, and he can score runs.
Jason Bartlett | MIN | SS | 2.2% – Will be placed on the Disabled List shortly, but he’s someone to keep in mind for September. 21 SBs so far, and when his batting average increases — as it should — and you add in his 8% walk rate, Bartlett should steal even more bases. Will hurt in HR and RBI, but he should be solid otherwise.
Michael Bourn | PHI | OF | 0.0% – On the DL, but in just 109 at-bats and 40 1B+2B+BB, Bourn has stolen 18 bases. If he ever falls into a full-time role, he would be an absolute stolen base machine. Still, he’s proven he doesn’t need regular playing time to steal bases. If your team can afford it, take Bourn and his limited at-bats (and the limited impact in R, RBI, HR, and BA that come with it) and reap the benefits of his steals.
Ryan Freel | CIN | 2B/3B/OF | 10.6% – Also on the DL, and when he returns he’ll have some hurdles to overcome. His manager didn’t even play him everyday when Josh Hamilton was injured (opting for Norris Hopper), so he will have to battle for at-bats. Still, if you need a middle infield option, Freel could be a good one. Can hit for a pretty good average, score runs, and steal bases with a little bit of pop.
Jerry Owens | CHW | OF | 0.2% – Not very good power, not very good on-base skills, but when he does get on he can run. Will be a hindrance in the other four categories, but he will get some steals and has been getting at-bats lately.
Nook Logan | WAS | OF | 1.2% – Same deal as Owens. Don’t be fooled by the .275 batting average… it comes along with a .374 BABIP.
Alex Gordon | KC | 3B | 15.6% – Not the best base stealer, but if you’re looking for a boost in the category out of your third base spot, Gordon is a good choice. He’s also got a little pop and should see his batting average come up a little.
Akinori Iwamura | TB | 3B | 9.8% – Power hasn’t been what I thought it would be, but he does have 8 stolen bases and plays third base. He has pretty good on-base skills and should have plenty of opportunities for more. Won’t help much in HR and RBI, but BA and R should be alright.
Coco Crisp | BOS | OF | 11% – Won’t hurt the other categories much (HR and RBI a little) and can steal bases. One of the better options if you’re looking for steals without taking a hit in the other categories.