I suck at finding value on base-stealers. I think stolen bases are probably pretty undervalued as a whole, but I find them difficult to model. Whereas power is easier to quantify, stolen bases really need to be taken on a case-by-case basis.

What ends up happening is I need to manually adjust for stolen base probability when selecting players from my model. I think this is an important point to understand; however you rate players, you need to be aware of your weaknesses, leaks, or other ways in which your process isn’t perfect.

When I’m undecided between two players, I’ll typically side with the one who has a higher stolen base probability (if it’s an obvious difference) because I know I’m not properly accounting for that in my model. Ideally, I’ll work to better quantify steals, but there will always be “blind spots” in any model. If you aren’t thinking about ways in which your process might be imperfect, you could potentially be losing a lot of value.

 

The Teams

Los Angeles Dodgers (vs Jerome Williams)

The lefty-dominant Dodgers might not normally see reduced ownership playing at Citizens Bank against a weak right-hander, but there are a ton of options tonight. There are currently nine teams projected at 4.2 implied runs or more, including the Mariners and Rockies both at over 5.4 runs playing at Coors Field. With that sort of competition, I don’t think it’s necessary to be super-contrarian tonight to get lowered player usage.

The ball should be carrying out of Philly tonight with high temperatures and a steady wind moving toward right field. Pretty much every LA bat is underpriced, in my opinion, so this might be the most upside per dollar you’re going to find.

 

Seattle Mariners/Colorado Rockies (vs Jon Gray/Vidal Nuno)

There’s not really any way around the fact that Seattle and Colorado are the top offenses tonight. I normally like to fade the Coors game and benefit when half of the field does poorly (or just lose all my money when the teams go off), but this seems like a perfect time to stack the game with lefty Seattle bats and righty Colorado ones.

I specifically like Cruz (not a lefty obviously), Cano, and Smith for Seattle, paired with Reyes, Arenado, and Hundley for the Rockies.

 

The Players

1B Mitch Moreland, Texas (vs Dan Straily) – $4200

It is so hot in Dallas right now that a ball that would normally travel 150 feet is carrying well over 400 feet and out of the park. That’s not even close to being true, but it is definitely hot with hitter-friendly conditions in Texas.

I’m pretty much going to keep listing Moreland and other batters like him here—Adam LaRoche is one—when they’re in good spots. The “other batters like him” are guys who play the same position as a “better” player on their offense—in this case Prince Fielder. Even Texas stacks often exclude Moreland, so he pretty much never sees high ownership.

 

2B/3B Luis Valbuena, Houston (vs Yovani Gollardo) – $3400

I love the idea of stacking both teams for this game together just because I think it has such a high probability of seeing a ton of runs scored. There are enough options at both second and third base (Altuve, Odor, Cano, Rodriguez, Seager, Arenado) that I don’t think you need to worry too much about Valbuena’s GPP ownership. He’s a horrible cash game option because he pretty much strikes out or hits a home run, but his .210 ISO split over the past 12 months is high for someone who costs $3400. He moves around a lot in the order, which has the potential to really change his value.

 

SS Brad Miller, Seattle (vs Jon Gray) – $3300

I suggested Reyes as part of a game stack, but I really like the idea of using Brad Miller. Like Moreland, he has a player on his team with the same position eligibility (Ketel Marte). He’s coming off a 0-for-4 performance, but he should still be in more lineups if he’s leading off.

There’s definitely a possibility that Miller moves up in the order, in which case his ownership will soar and you could argue he’s actually a worse tournament play.

 

P Alex Wood, LA Dodgers (vs Phillies) – $7400

Chris Sale and Max Scherzer are such obvious option that I didn’t even want to list them. Sale in particular is a favorite of mine with a K/9 of 11.9 and a notorious pitcher’s umpire behind the plate. You’ll need to save some money somewhere, though, and Wood versus an offense that can struggle versus lefties is a good spot to do it. The Braves are currently -194 to win the game and the Phils are projected at only 3.4 implied runs, making Wood a fairly safe option given the price.