Fantasy baseball owners don’t need top player for stolen bases

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Fantasy baseball owners have been taking a real beating this season. Injuries have been a veritable nightmare across the board, and this Spider Tack scandal seems to be knocking down one elite starter after another.

No team is immune to what we’ve been witnessing. That being the case, it is up to you to find where you can gain an edge in the standings. You could try the saves category, but that seems to be just as ugly. Stolen bases, while still down and at a premium, might be your only salvation.

Before you begin scouting trade targets, you need to keep one thing in mind: You do not need to trade for a marquee name. Of course, you want to boost your steals with the acquisition of Whit Merrifield or Trea Turner, but their owner is going to want a king’s ransom in return. And you don’t want to blow up your team if you don’t have to.

Rangers'' Isiah Kiner-Falefa steals second base during a recent game.
Rangers” Isiah Kiner-Falefa steals second base during a recent game.
AP

Minor trades to tweak things work just as well, if not better than shooting for the moon with your trade targets. There are plenty of unheralded names who won’t cost you a marquee player of your own.

With the Rangers ranking second in steals and in the top five of attempts, Isiah Kiner-Falefa should be high up on your trade-target list. He is hardly a household name, but his 15 stolen bases with just one caught-stealing should stand out strongly in fantasy circles. He hits for a high average, but has mediocre power, which means he can probably be had for a good-but-not-great power guy should his owner have a surplus of steals. The Rangers are going to continue to run, and another 15 steals by the end of the season doesn’t seem far-fetched.

There are plenty of other places around the league to look, and none should cost you a top player. Cedric Mullins has 12 stolen bases and has blossomed into a fantastic leadoff hitter for the Orioles. The versatile Tommy Edman has a dozen steals to his credit, yet gets little to no fanfare as an every-day role player for the Cardinals. And don’t forget about Mariners outfielder Dylan Moore, who just returned from the injured list and has 10 steals to his name.

Find the role players and find ways to acquire them without wrecking your team. Going after marquee names will not only cost you your best players, but also will make trade negotiations that much more difficult. Slow and steady wins this race.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.



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