One of the most intriguing categories for fantasy baseball leagues a year ago was for stolen bases as there were so few players outside of Billy Hamilton that consistently delivered in that area. While it would be nice to have Hamilton on your roster, the reality is that only one GM will land him for 2017 and that means you might want to consider the following players based on their potential to add some steals to your lineup. Here is a look at four players that could fly under the radar as potential sleepers to deliver in the steals category for 2017.
OF: Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
The former No. 1 prospect in all of baseball has looked overmatched at the plate throughout his first two seasons in the major leagues but he showed some considerable improvement late last season when he hit .287 with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 29 games last September. Buxton only swiped one stolen base in September but the athleticism and ability are there if he can become a more consistent hitter and get on base more often. Buxton had 17 stolen bases between the majors and Triple-A last season and he is worth taking a long look at as a potential breakout player for 2017. Buxton could provide strong sleeper vale in the stolen bases category so keep that in mind as you prepare for your fantasy baseball league draft.
OF: Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres
The fact that the Padres are in a clear rebuilding mode means that they will give their prospects plenty of opportunities to make their mark in 2017 and that means Margot will be somebody to keep an eye on. It’s hard to believe that this team was one of the biggest winners in free agency just one year ago, but now they’re once again in full-on rebuilding mode. Go figure.
The top center field prospect got a taste of the majors last season and he could stick with San Diego this year. Margot hit .304 with 30 steals in 124 games at Triple-A El Paso last season and has reached the 30-steal mark in three straight seasons in the minors. Margot should get his chance to make an impact in 2017 and if he can earn a prime role in the Padres outfield he should emerge as a legitimate fantasy sleeper option.
OF: Roman Quinn, Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia is another team in a rebuild mode and their lack of options in the outfield could lead to Quinn securing a more consistent role. Quinn hit .263 with a .373 OBP and five steals in 15 games for the Phillies late last season after registering 31 steals in 322 plate appearances at Double-A before that. Quinn’s athleticism should translate in the majors and he could make a significant impact if he secures a bigger role for Philadelphia in spring training. The Phillies won just 71 games last season and are a team that is in full-on rebuilding mode. They should have plenty of space for players like Quinn to step into the lineup and get a chance to shine.
OF: Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians
The Indians signed Edwin Encarnacion as the big-name free agent that they hope will put them over the top this season but he isn’t the only intriguing addition to their lineup for 2017. Management in Cleveland is excited about what their top prospect can bring to the lineup with Zimmer poised to secure a full-time job with the big club this season. Zimmer hit .250 with 15 home runs and 38 steals between Double and Triple-A last season and if he can maintain his batting average in the majors then he could be in for a big rookie season. Zimmer is an intriguing sleeper pick for his power and athleticism and he is worth keeping a close eye on for his potential to swipe bags as well this season. The Indians went to the World Series last year and their roster is mostly set for the most part. However, they do have room for utility guys and roleplayers, which means that Zimmer could get into the mix.
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