If you’re not able to cover all of your stolen base needs by drafting players that can also give you power – and let’s face it, that’s probably the case with most everyone – you’ll need to find some speed merchants to fill out your roster next season.
With that in mind, here’s a list of guys who could provide that needed boost in your steals category in 2013, even if they might be limited elsewhere.
Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
Cabrera failed to make the Padres’ Opening Day roster out of spring training last year, but the 26-year-old speedster took over the shortstop job in mid-May and wound up leading the National League with 44 stolen bases (while being caught just four times) despite playing in only 115 games. He can’t hit, and there’s a chance the Padres at some point will promote Jedd Gyorko and move Logan Forsythe to shortstop, but one thing is for sure: when he’s in the lineup, Cabrera will run.
Jean Segura, SS, Brewers
Segura’s experience in the upper minors and majors is limited, as he has just 109 games under his belt at Double- and Triple-A and 45 in the big leagues. He hit just .258/.315/.325 last season for the Brewers and Angels, and the odds are good that he’s not ready to provide much with the bat at the major league level. Segura can run, though, having swiped seven bases in his limited time last year with the Brew Crew after pilfering 139 bags over 399 minor league games.
Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers
Yes, it appears that the Dodgers will go with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop and Luis Cruz at third base next season, leaving Gordon out of a starting job. That doesn’t mean he should be off the radar of fantasy owners, though. The 24-year-old has swiped 56 bags over just 143 games, so it’s pretty clear he doesn’t need regular playing time to make a difference in the steals category. And, let’s be honest, the Dodgers don’t seem likely to have Cruz starting at the hot corner all year.
Juan Pierre, OF, Marlins
Here’s a blast from the past. Pierre is 35, and we’re all aware of his limitations at this point, but the guy can still run. The veteran outfielder rather quietly batted .307 with 37 thefts last season for the Phillies, and he appears to be in line to start in left field and bat leadoff for the Marlins in 2013. A run at 50 steals isn’t out of the question.
Peter Bourjos, OF, Angels
The trade of Kendrys Morales to the Mariners has allowed the Angels to move Mark Trumbo into the DH spot and Bourjos into center field. He’ll need to hit in order to hold Vernon Wells out of the starting lineup, which is no given considering his career .247/.301/.402 batting line. But, Bourjos is one of the fastest players in baseball and will be running while he’s out there.
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B/OF, Blue Jays
Bonifacio has only had one season where he’s been healthy and a starter all year, and that was in 2011, when he stole 40 bases. Perhaps even more impressively, the speed demon swiped 30 bags over just 64 games this past season, which is especially important since he’s expected to be used as a super utility player in 2013. Given Maicer Izturis’ propensity for injury, Bonifacio could wind up seeing a lot of playing time at second base.
Darin Mastroianni, OF, Twins
Mastroianni’s name is off the beaten path more so than anyone else listed here, but he deserves to be mentioned. The 27-year-old made just 186 trips to the plate for the Twins last season, but he managed to steal 21 bases while being caught on just three occasions. He swiped 35 bases in 2012 between the majors and minors, marking the fifth straight year he’s accumulated at least 30 steals (he had 70 in 2009). Mastroianni will compete for the center field job next season and will be an underrated speed option if he wins it.