Stolen bases are a big topic in Fantasy Baseball. In 2014, there were 2,764 stolen bases in baseball. The last three seasons it was 2,505, 2,537 and 2,527 last season. Only six players stole at least 30 bases causing many to take Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton early. If you miss out on elite speed early, here are five late-round targets that can help in the category.
Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks): Marte is slated to play shortstop every day. Marte makes good contact, draws walks and has speed. It hasn’t surfaced in the majors the last two seasons with 18 stolen bases over 192 games in the majors the last two seasons, but he showed the prowess to steal bases in the minors and is only 24. Marte needs consistent playing time, and he will get it.
Leonys Martin (Detroit Tigers): There’s a good chance Martin hits leadoff for a rebuilding Tigers’ team. The outfielder struggled in 49 games last season, batting .172 with a .232 on-base percentage. Just two years ago, Martin stole 24 bases in 30 attempts with 14 home runs for the Mariners. He stole 25 bases at Triple-A last season for the Mariners in 88 games. Martin had 67 stolen bases between 2013-14 for the Rangers. He will be 30 when the season starts and can still have success stealing bases.
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Cameron Maybin (Miami Marlins): Maybin recently found a home, and he will get the playing time. Maybin’s biggest question is health. While Maybin only batted .228 last season, he improved his plate discipline with an 11.3 percent walk rate and swung at pitches out of the strike zone five percent less than the year before. A .274 BABIP was below his career average of .316, so there should be a rebound in batting average. Maybin stole 33 bases in 41 attempts in 114 games.
Chris Owings (Arizona Diamondbacks): Owings is slated to start at second base and offers eligibility at second, shortstop and outfield in many leagues. Owings broke his finger in July and didn’t return. He had 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 362 at-bats. Two years ago, he stole 21 bases in 23 attempts in 437 at-bats. He has 59 stolen bases in 68 attempts.
Mallex Smith (Tampa Bay Rays): With the Rays rebuilding and trading off several players, Smith will benefit. He’s going to get more playing time and will steal bases. He doesn’t offer much else, so keep that in mind. He stole 16 bases in 72 games with the Braves in 2016 and went 16-for-21 in 81 games with the Rays last season. He batted .270 with 33 runs, two home runs, and 12 RBIs.