Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Predicting the Top 10 Finishers in Stolen Bases in 2019


Predicting the leaders in steals for the upcoming season may sound like a straightforward task, but it’s not as easy as it seems.

There is quite a bit of variance involved, and the league as a whole has seen a sharp decline in stolen base attempts since the 2012 season (about 700 fewer attempts). Past production, sprint and speed score metrics, and 2019 projections all factor into this Top 10 stolen base leader list.

Opportunity is also key, as some players get the green light more often and certain teams simply don't like to take risks on the basepaths. All told, we will do our best to use all these means to forecast the top base stealers in the league for the 2019 MLB season as it gets underway.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Adalberto Mondesi (2B/SS, KC)

Adalberto Mondesi is just 23-years-old and hasn’t even registered a full season of games played at the MLB level. He has shown poor plate discipline and holds a career .250 on-base percentage in his brief taste of the majors. However, Mondesi showcased the astronomical stolen base potential he possesses in just 291 plate appearances last year, stealing 32 bases in 39 attempts and registering the highest Fangraph Speed Score (8.6) in the league. It is also worth noting that he had a 92.3% stolen base percentage in Triple-A over the last three seasons. Projection site Steamer has him pegged for a .253/.293/.437 slash line and 41 steals.

Prediction: 47 steals

 

Trea Turner (SS, WAS)

Trea Turner had 33 steals in 2016 despite registering just 324 plate appearances, and his 46 steals in 2017 and 43 steals in 2018 give him the second-highest three-year-average (40.7) and three-year-total (122) behind Royals outfielder Billy Hamilton. Turner also finished second in the MLB in wSB, which is a Fangraph stat that estimates the number of runs a player contributes to his team by stealing bases (compared to a league-average player). He has always been a high-average and on-base percentage player, which makes his stolen base variance a little less risky than, say, Mondesi and Hamilton.

Prediction: 45 steals

 

Billy Hamilton (OF, KC)

Speed demon Billy Hamilton seemingly threatens the stolen base crown on a yearly basis, and this season will not be different. He signed with the Kansas City Royals over the off-season and holds a career .245/.298/.333 slash line. Hamilton is the epitome of a stolen-base specialist, and he does it really well. He has the most total steals (151) and the highest yearly average (40.7) over the last three seasons, and he also had the highest Speed Score among qualified hitters in 2018. Expect more of the same this upcoming season with the run-happy Royals.

Prediction: 45 steals

 

Mallex Smith (OF, SEA)

Speaking of players with new squads, enter outfielder Mallex Smith. Smith finally got a full allotment of at-bats in 2018 and he put up a very useful 40 steals in 52 attempts while exhibiting the second highest Speed Score (7.7) among qualified hitters. He will most likely hit leadoff for the Mariners, and Steamer projects a .263/.331/.366 slash line with 39 steals.

Prediction: 42 steals

 

Jonathan Villar (2B/SS, BAL)

Jonathan Villar came over to the Orioles in a trade last season and will be entering his first full season with the team. He had the highest wSB in 2018 and the second-highest stolen base percentage (88%). He also ranks third in total steals (120) and yearly average (40) over the last three seasons.

Prediction: 41 steals

 

Whit Merrifield (2B, KC)

The third and final Kansas City Royals player on this list, Merrifield likely comes with the smallest chance of hurting your fantasy team. While Mondesi and Hamilton will probably put a dent in your batting average and on-base percentage categories, Merrifield has never hit below a .280 batting average or had an on-base percentage worse than .323 in his three major league seasons. Steamer projects a .276/.330/.411 slash line with 30 steals, though that seems a bit on the light side when considering he’s coming off a 45-for-55 stolen base campaign in 2018.

Prediction: 40 steals

 

Dee Gordon (2B, SEA)

Though Dee Gordon “only” stole 30 bases in 2018, this can partly be attributed to his .288 on-base percentage (compared to his career .300 on-base percentage) and the fact that he had less than a full year of plate appearances. Though his Sprint Speed has declined in recent years, he stole a whopping 60 bases with the Marlins in 2017 and is clearly still a threat whenever he reaches base. Projecting him to raise his on-base percentage and plate appearances just slightly puts him on track for another season of swiping a hefty amount of bags.

Prediction: 38 steals

 

Starling Marte (OF, PIT)

Starling Marte had the lowest stolen base percentage of anyone on this list in 2018, stealing 33 bases in 47 attempts (70%). His Sprint Speed has declined for three straight seasons and he’s now 30-years-old. However, he has logged four seasons of 30 steals or more since 2013 and he had just 339 plate appearances in the season he fell short (21 steals in 2017). Steamer projects his slash line at .282/.335/.442 for 2019, and that high batting average and on-base percentage means there will continue to be plenty of stolen base opportunities for the Bucs outfielder.

Prediction: 36 steals

 

Mookie Betts (OF, BOS)

Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts offers a ridiculous amount of fantasy production, there’s no doubt about that. One possibly underrated aspect of his game is the value he brings via stolen bases - he has 21 or more steals in each of his four full major league seasons. Last year, he was 30-for-36 (83%), and it would be foolish to assume that his high average and on-base percentage would translate to less stolen base opportunities this season. He also put up the ninth-highest Speed Score in 2018.

Prediction: 33 steals

 

Victor Robles (OF, WAS)

This one is a bit of a wild card. Though Victor Robles projects to be a very solid player, he has just 66 plate appearances and three stolen bases in the MLB to his name. He had 14 steals in 182 plate appearances in Triple-A last year, but it is largely unknown if and how his stolen base production will translate to the majors. It seems safe to project at least 25 steals (every projection site is on the same page), but there’s a chance that his high on-base percentage could help him reach the 30-steal mark.

Prediction: 30 steals

 

Just Missed The Cut:

Mike Trout, Lorenzo Cain, Ronald Acuna

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice




More Recent Articles

 

Waiver Wire Express - Week 16 Lightning Round

After injuries destroyed many a playoff hope in Week 14, we saw some heroes rise from the ashes to guide us through Week 15. Still, injuries to Dalvin Cook, Chris Godwin and others would keep the medical industry afloat as the season winds down. There's no shortage of waiver action heading into the traditional FF... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 15 David Njoku is a surprise inactive for Week 15. Chris Godwin has been ruled out with a hamstring... Read More


Fantasy Football Mailbag - Q&A for Week 15

This article's content may vary week-to-week, but generally, it will be answering questions fielded from either the @RotoBallerNFL twitter account or my personal one (@RotoSurgeon). This week, the focus is on start/sit questions, and there were plenty. Every week, many of us struggle with which quarterback to start, or who to flex, and I am... Read More


Week 15 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 15... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Updated Week 15 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 15 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 15 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: David Njoku is a surprise inactive for Week 15. Bo Scarbrough has officially been ruled out. Josh Jacobs (shoulder) is expected to suit up and should be... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 15

Welcome to our Week 15 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Wide Receiver Matchups To Target In Week 15

In Week 14, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas were the high-end options that came through with solid performances, both finishing in the top-five even though they had fairly tough matchups. A.J. Brown finished as the No. 1 receiver on the week, scoring two touchdowns off of just seven targets, while Darius Slayton and Emmanuel Sanders... Read More


Week 15 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Kenny Golladay, Kenyan Drake, James White

If there was ever a week to have more booms than busts in your fantasy football lineup, it’s this week. The playoffs are either underway or about to start in fantasy football leagues across the nation and around the world. If you are lucky enough to be the proud owner of a playoff team, then... Read More


Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 15

Welcome to Week 15, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football playoffs. These player selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 15) - Targets and Avoids

Week 13 was a pretty chalky one with just three underdogs winning outright. The biggest upset was the Broncos absolutely annihilating the Houston Texans who were still celebrating their "Super Bowl" win against the Patriots the week prior. Three weeks remain and I'd be a fool to think there are hundreds who are reading this... Read More


Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 15 Lineups

The trend of fresh faces being among the tops of the fantasy scoring leaderboard continued in Week 14. Across the skill positions, we saw players that took advantage of plus matchups and excelled for fantasy owners during the first week of the playoffs. Mitchell Trubisky and Drew Lock came out of nowhere to finish inside... Read More


Week 15-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Still doing things a little differently this week--for those of you who are still alive. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More


Week 15 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the playoffs are in full swing in most leagues and the final march for a championship has begun, streaming becomes a  necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions could easily be the difference in winning... Read More


Week 15 Panic Room: Outlooks for Slumping and Injured Players

As you set your Week 15 fantasy football playoff lineups, there may be some players who make you feel very uncomfortable about starting them. Based on recent lackluster performances, injuries, or just an intangible bad vibe, it's a struggle to insert them into your lineup in a do-or-die week. But you may also nervous be... Read More