Steals are about as precious as gold these days in fantasy baseball, if not even more coveted given the fact they are not optional in order to be competitive in the overall in some contests over at The NFBC. Simply put, we need steals. We are picking from a pool of only 16 players who are projected for 20+ Stolen Bases (based on The Bat X projections), however, they will be others who come out of nowhere that will provide that precious speed and they will come at a much more palatable price for investors.

These are the players who are projected for 20+ Stolen Bases. Out of the 16 players, 12 of those players are going in the top 50, making it challenging to load up on them.

Who do I like for steals early on?

Honestly, I am ecstatic to roster and hold Ronald Acuna Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr, Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez or Trevor Story early on. I think these guys are the definition of multiple paths to value players who can and will deliver in 5 categories which will supplement them if they have a down year in power or BA.

Inside the top 50, I am looking to grab any of those mentioned above, Francisco Lindor, Bryce Harper, Luis Robert, Whit Merrifield, or a Starling Marte. I feel pretty confident I will enjoy the 5-cat juice from these guys and they help keep my teams balanced.

Trea Turner & Adalberto Mondesi

These two players are very popular for great reasons, their projections make them elite players and they allow you to put SB’s on the back-burner unless a tremendous value appears. I usually don’t look to draft Turner despite his incredible projections due to him being my main stolen base getter makes my SB outlook a little fragile if he were to go down with an injury. I prefer to spread out my steals around through the roster so I can get some SB goodness all over my roster. Drafting Turner takes care of the bulk of steals theoretically in one fall swoop, but one twisted ankle could decimate your chances of winning since you are so reliant on one player rather than spreading out your SB outlook across the roster.

On a similar note to Turner, Mondesi is looked at as a guy who can absolutely carry you in steals but I am concerned about how I can replace his services if he were to get hurt or vastly under-perform (very possible given the fact he is not a good hitter). Based on roster construction, I am fading these players at their costs since I prefer to spread the SB’s around and not rely on one or two guys on my clubs.

My targets:

In the first 6 to 7 rounds of my draft, I am looking to add either stud pitching or some stolen bases with each pick. If a value appears from a non-speed source I will consider it, but it’s not my plan A.

Some of my favorite targets to provide me potentially 15+ steals are below (I am expecting 15+ from them):

Sprinklers:

Some of my favorite targets to provide me a sprinkling of steals are below (I am expecting 10+ from them):

Under The Radar Gems:

One of the more fun aspects of fantasy baseball is knowing that although there are only 16 players projected to steals 20+ bases, there will be plenty that surpasses that total. Every year we have an Oscar Mercado, a Dylan Moore or a Trent Grisham emerge.

Some of the guys I could see doing that this year are Amed Rosario, Myles Straw, Kolten Wong, or Jarred Kelenic. All different types of players, Rosario is a guy who’s proven usefulness in roto and appears to have a starting job in Cleveland at SS. Andres Gimenez could qualify for this Under The Radar gem as well, but I have reservations given his relatively expensive cost and PT uncertainty.

Myles Straw is a great target at his cost, he has very little if no power but he appears penciled into the CF role for Houston, has sported elite OBP’s in the minors, and is ready to run if he plays. The cheap cost makes him a bench bat with an opportunity to be a truly elite steals source if he plays.

Kolten Wong is a guy whose steals totals were suppressed by Mike Matheny but he ran wild under Mike Shildt in 2019, stealing 24 bags while smacking double-digit HR’s and getting on base at a 36% clip. Add the park shift from STL to Milwaukee and I am salivating.

Jarred Kelenic is self-explanatory. This is an elite talent who brings 5-tools to the table. Think Miami Christian Yelich potentially if he hits the ground running. Sign me up.

Deep Cuts :

These guys are more for the Draft and Hold Setups but could emerge later on in the year:

Jarren Duran, Khalil Lee, Vidal Brujan, Monte Harrison, Anthony Alford, Taylor Walls, Sam Haggerty, Josh Lowe

Best of luck in 2021 and thank you for reading!