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Top 10 Projected Stolen Base Leaders: 2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

RUN, RUN, RUN!

Predicting the top five or six stolen base leaders is a relatively easy process. Those guys are in situations that breed an abundance of opportunities and they do not have much, if any, depth behind them competing for playing time. They rack up stolen base by the dozens and have a clear advantage over the others.

Outside of those guys, the waters become murky. The second tier of players are more reliant on how their coaches use them and they do not create as many opportunities for themselves as the first tier.

There are also the guys not on this list who have extreme competition for playing time or are not even predicted win a starting role with their teams. They will steal their fair share of bases in limited roles, but are completely reliant on outside factors. My list is derived by combining talent with opportunity.

 

Who Will Lead the Majors in SB

10. Jose Reyes – SS, Toronto Blue Jays

A risky bet to make the top 10, Jose Reyes needs to turn in a full season to come close to making this list. He is a shell of what he was in 2007 when he stole 78 bases, but do not make the mistake of thinking he has completely lost his speed. His 30 stolen bases last year tied Starling Marte, Eric Young Jr., and Jordan Schafer for 12th among stolen base leaders. Furthermore, he was caught stealing only twice! If the Blue Jays keep sending him, he’ll continue to reward them and his fantasy owners.

 

9. Alcides Escobar – SS, Kansas City Royals

Alcides Escobar has two years of batting for over a .254 average. In those years, Escobar has 35 and 31 stolen bases. In three seasons hitting .254 or below, he has 26, 22, and 10 swipes. Therefore, it is simple to say that if Escobar hits like last year, he will be in the top 10 in stolen bases. If he doesn’t, he won’t. His three year decline in ground ball percentage, among other stats, leads me to believe he will repeat his production from last year.

 

8. Leonys Martin – OF, Texas Rangers

Similar to Marte, Leonys Martin increased his batting average in 2014 to .274 from .260 in 2013 and OBP to .325 from .313. He also had 75 more plate appearances last year than in 2013. Despite all this, his stolen bases declined from 36 to 31. Unlike Marte, his decline in steals is completely due to the amount of times he was caught. His SB% lowered to 72% last year from 80% 2013 and only had two less attempts. Only 27 as of a few weeks ago, Martin could see a rebound in 2015. If not, he is at risk of missing out of the top 10 completely.

 

7. Carlos Gomez – OF, Milwaukee Brewers

If it were not for his ability to hit with power, Carlos Gomez might be able to steal a few more bases in a season than his 34 in 2014 and 40 in 2013. His .193 isolated power (ISO) last year limited the amount of opportunities to tally stolen bases. However, he will still have plenty of chances to show off his unique speed if he repeats his .356 OBP.

 

6. Starling Marte – OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Starling Marte improved both his batting average from .280 in 2013 to .291 in 2014 and OBP from .343 to .356. Despite these increases, he did not steal nearly as many bases (30) as he did in 2013 (41). With no discernible difference in his hitting power, we have to simply assume that the Pirates chose not to send Marte as often. That trend could continue in 2015. However, if the Pirates decide to revert back to their ways in 2013, Marte could compete for a top five slot in steals.

 

5. Jacoby Ellsbury – OF, New York Yankees

Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2014 season could be considered a major disappointment. All of his standard scoring statistics decreased with the exception of RBI. That said, his 39 stolen bases were still enough for him to finish fifth in the league. Ellsbury could have a rebound season and bounce back up into the 50 stolen base range. However, the Yankees are limiting his opportunities, and he is turning 32 this year. Don’t expect anything more out of Ellsbury than barely cracking the top five.

 

4. Ben Revere – OF, Philadelphia Phillies

Recording 49 stolen bases last year, Ben Revere will be looking to repeat that same productivity in 2015. At only 26 (turning 27 this season), there should be nothing to obstruct his path into the top five again. His .306 average and .325 on base percentage (OBP) created plenty of stolen base opportunities and will likely repeat again this year. His elite speed will also come at a discount in the draft this year due to subpar numbers in the other standard scoring categories.

 

3. Dee Gordon – 2B, Miami Marlins

The stolen base champion, Dee Gordon had a career year with both an impressive 64 stolen bases and 8.8 Spd. Now in Miami, Gordon looks to continue where he left off last year in Los Angeles. With little competition lurking behind him, Gordon will see plenty of at-bats and take plenty of stolen bases. He has a very good chance of repeating as stolen base champ this year.

 

2. Jose Altuve – 2B, Houston Astros

Similar to Hamilton, Jose Altuve was on a torrid pace in the first half of the season, but he was apparently slowed down in the second half. In 93 games in the first half, Altuve had an astounding 41 stolen bases with only three caught stealings. Those 41 would have ranked him fourth out of all players for the whole year. He finished the year with an additional 15 swipes. His 86% SB% will ensure that he will make the most of the opportunities he gets this year, which could be a lot if he mimics his .377 OBP again.

 

1. Billy Hamilton – OF, Cincinnati Reds

Despite an impressive first half of 38 stolen bases in 86 games, Billy Hamilton finished the final 60 games of his rookie year with only 18 steals. His unexpectedly low 71% stolen base percentage (SB%) is worrisome and might have contributed to the Red’s decision to not send him to second as often. His 7.7 speed score (Spd) last year was good for second out of the players on this list, and his 56 stolen bases were second in all of baseball. Do not expect the Red’s to hamper Hamilton in his sophomore year. He will have every opportunity available to take the crown in 2015.

 




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