Thursday, January 21, 2010

NL King - Where have you gone Vince Coleman our lonely hearts turn to you

Great to be back with my first article for 2010 so here we go.....

I don't know if all the readers are old enough to remember Vince 
Coleman but this guy was stealing between 100 & 110 bases a year going 
back to the mid to late 80's.

Today, especially in an NL Only league, that kind of production by one 
player wins you the category all by himself. Obviously the game has 
changed but if a Rickey Henderson or Vince Coleman kind of stolen base 
player came up with that kind of potential it would be interesting to 
see how teams today would handle that kind of player.

This discussion is about the effect the decline of the stolen base 
has on fantasy baseball, in particular, in the National League. Here are some quick 
interesting points to consider....

1. Only 5 players in the NL last year had 30 or more stolen bases: 
(Michael Bourn - 61, Nyjer Morgan - 42, Matt Kemp - 34, Jimmy Rollins - 31 & Juan Pierre - 30) and one of those players is now in the American League!
2. Only 2 NL players broke 40 and only 1 player broke 50
3. There were 7 NL players who had between 25 and 29 steals
4. There were 10 NL players who had between 20 and 24 steals
5. There were 5 NL players who had between 15 and 19 steals

So how does one handle this category in NL Only fantasy leagues? Some quick tip...
1.  Unless you are fortunate enough to already have a Michael Bourn or a 
Nyjer Morgan on your roster for decent dollars you are going to have 
to have depth in this category to compete.
2. When you spend big money in an auction draft or even if your league 
does a traditional snake draft whenever you get a high impact player, make 
sure he gives you at least 15 steals. So I will take Chase Utley over 
Prince Fielder
3. Find the quiet speed guys. What I mean by this is if you can add 3 
or 4 hitters who give you 7 or 8 steals versus the guys who only do 1 
or 2 steals, those numbers add up. Value those quiet steals guys much more.
4. Be wary of the one dimensional players (i.e. steals only). Willy Taveras stole 
nearly 70 bases one year but all is his other years finished in the 
mid 30's and last year he finished with just 25. Don't over spend on guys like this.
5. Be wary of guys who jump up in steals for one year, you just cannot count on 
them. Albert Pujols was always a quiet steal guy, he got his 7 or 8 every year 
but last year he stole 16. Count on 8 steals not 16 for 2010!  And, be 
wary of Mark Reynolds stealing that many bases again. It's possible, 
but you shouldn't count on it.
6. The Jose Reyes Factor - Reyes was injured for most of the season last 
year and had very little steals. A healthy Reyes is a player who is 
around 60. Be conservative and assume 40.
7. Always keep an eye on the free agency and or waiver wire on guys who 
can give you some cheap steals be it the Angel Pagan's of the world or 
the youngsters such as a Drew Stubbs or Alcides Escobar.
8. Finally, the more guys you can count on the better even if it's in 
the low double digits. The numbers add up. Ideally, if you can be in 
the middle of this category and striking distance towards the top then 
you can make a trade 2/3 through the season for steals with someone 
looking towards next season.

Hope these tid bits help.

NL King - C.Lizza

No comments: