With guys like Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury coming off the board in the first couple of rounds, fantasy baseball owners feel the need to grab a speedster early.
However, there are plenty of base-stealers being drafted way below their values.
So without further ado, here are three undervalued base-stealers that you should grab and never look back (all ADP according to ESPN).
Michael Bourn, OF—ADP: 121.5
Guys like Ellsbury and Crawford are coming off the board in the first few rounds primarily for the stolen bases they bring. Bourn stole 61 last year, one more than Crawford, and just nine fewer than Ellsbury.
Yet he is the 35th outfielder off the board on average in ESPN leagues, while Crawford and Ellsbury are the third and fifth outfielders to go. The fact that Bourn shows great plate discipline is just the icing on the cake.
Happily take Bourn after the likes of Johnny Damon and Alex Rios, and never look back.
Rajai Davis, OF—ADP: 162.6
Rajai Davis comes into this year under the radar.
My question is, why?
After the All-Star break last season, Davis hit .325 with 30 stolen bases. While he will most likely not duplicate the average, there is no reason to believe he can't finish this year with 60 steals. Assuming Davis continues to improve on his OBP (which was .360 last year), he could be a huge sleeper in Round 16.
Brett Gardner, OF—ADP: 230.2
From the deep sleeper department comes Brett Gardner. Gardner may be the fastest player in baseball, and it looks like he will be a full-time starter this season.
Gardner seems to fall so much in drafts because he has trouble getting on base. However, this should not concern you.
Last season, of players with at least 100 steal opportunities, Gardner ranked fifth in steal attempts. He is also 42 for 48 in his career stealing bases, an extremely efficient rate.
The Yankees will give him the green light often, and I think 40 to 50 steals are not unreasonable, considering he stole 26 last season in just 284 plate appearances.
Another category where Gardner can definitely help is runs scored. In a lineup as stacked as the Yankees', it would be hard not to score 100 runs hitting in front of Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez.