Way back in 2006, when the world was throwing around names like Blagojevich, Buckethead, and Bumblefoot (only two of which were in Guns N’ Roses), and Bernie Madoff was stealing from the Mets among others, major leaguers were stealing bases. With Jose Reyes (64) leading the pack, the top 10 steals leaders nabbed 507 bags. Just 10 seasons later, Billy Hamilton (62) took over the reins, but the pack fell short stealing only 412 bases. That’s a difference of 95 stolen bases…Woah (In my best Keanu Reeves voice).
Sure, we can sit here and decipher all the reasons why steals have become significantly unimportant over the past few seasons. But, that’s not going to help you in your upcoming draft, or with your current team that is lacking in steals category. Let’s discuss a few players to consider off the waiver wire.
- Delino DeShields: 12% Owned in Yahoo Leagues
After a dismal 2016 batting a mere .209, this 24-year-old will start the season on the Rangers’ roster and is set for playing time in both left and center. He may also land in the lead-off role. DeShields is having a good Spring batting .316 with 12 steals. Over the past six seasons (not full considering major league playing time) DeShields has taken 262 bags, that’s pretty impressive! DeShields is only owned in 12% of Yahoo leagues, which means he could be available right now on your waiver wire.
- Jarrod Dyson: 38% Owned in Yahoo Leagues
Jarrod Dyson just couldn’t find everyday playing time with the Royals, yet he still managed to steal 30 bags in 299 at-bats. Now, the 32-year-old, finds himself in Seattle and has a chance to be an everyday player in left field for the Mariners. He does struggle a bit against lefties and may share a bit of time with Ben Gamel, but there is also center field to consider. Leonys Martin has not lived up to expectations overall hitting .240 with 15 home runs in 2016. Any drop off for Martin could lead to more time for both Dyson and Gamel. Like DeShields, there’s a chance we might see Dyson in the lead-off role for the Mariners which could send him into a 40+ steals year. He is owned in about 38% of most leagues right now, so check your waiver wire and scoop him up.
- Rajai Davis: 50% Owned in Yahoo Leagues
Everyone will remember Rajai Davis for his two-run homer in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series which tied things up and put Cubs’ fans on the edge of their seats. At age 36, Davis is showing no signs of slowing down on the base paths, stealing 43 bags last season and six in Spring Training alone this year. He is set to start in center for the A’s this season. Davis may be a bit harder to get (owned in 50% of leagues), but I was able to nab him in round 23 of my 10-team Yahoo league.
- Travis Jankowski: 8% Owned in Yahoo Leagues
How many times have you heard the saying, “You can’t steal first base”? With a .245 average last season, OF Travis Jankowski still managed to steal 30 bases for the Padres. With a few adjustments worked on in Spring, Jankowski can surely bring that average up and see more time on the bases in 2017. He is batting .339 this Spring, and has seen a few seasons in the minors with a batting average over .300. Still, even if he gives you a season like 2016, that’s 30+ steals. Pretty solid for a player only owned in 8% of Yahoo leagues.
- Ben Revere: 3% Owned in Yahoo Leagues
How soon we forget that just three seasons ago, Ben Revere batted .306 with 49 stolen bases for the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s bounced around a bit since then, lost his starting role with the Nationals after an oblique injury and now is planning to bounce back with the Angels. He is having a wonderful Spring batting .438 with four steals. But, there is a problem, with Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and Cameron Maybin slated for the outfield, where does the 28-year-old Revere fit? Well, surely the Angels will use Revere strategically when they need another lefty bat in the lineup, and Maybin is batting a miserable .143 this Spring and can’t seem to stay injury-free. If Revere earns his keep, he may be a bargaining chip at the deadline. Personally, for a guy who stole 31 just two seasons ago, taking a chance on Revere as waiver wire pick is worth a shot.
Honorable mentions include Hernan Perez (50% owned), Chris Owings (11% owned), Melvin Upton, Jr. (6% owned) or stashing rookies such as Yoan Moncada (40% owned), and Bradley Zimmer (4% owned). Good luck this season and hopefully you will steal a championship.