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DraftKings Diamond Digest: Stolen Bases Swiping the Spotlight in MLB

Steve Buchanan shares his thoughts about the influx of stolen bases as the MLB season begins.

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago White Sox Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve always wanted an outlet to just blab about things I observe during the baseball season. I mean, I follow the league closely every damn day and find myself mumbling to myself about things. “Maybe people want to hear it”, I said to myself gleefully. “Maybe they don’t!” said my lady from across the room. Ultimately, the views on these articles will be the deciding factor, so what the hell, let’s give it a shot.

This article is not going to have a lot of rhyme or reason, so hopefully, that’s something you can get behind.

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Stolen Bases are back in style

I remember back in high school when girls started rocking bell bottoms again. I was puzzled. Who allowed this to happen and why? To be fair, I shouldn’t have judged. I absolutely rocked the JNCO jeans at one point in time, which is so cringeworthy to look back on. My parents probably talked so much crap about me to themselves and I don’t blame them.

But, as we see in baseball, what’s old can be new again. Stolen bases are no longer on the endangered species list. As I write this on April 5th, we’ve already seen 98 (!!!!!!) stolen bases. Just to show how much this is, The Athletic reported that stolen bases are up 443% since this time last season. That is absolutely bonkers. We have legitimate players in MLB that could not only be 30/30 guys, but potentially 40/40. Would it surprise you at some point if someone like Ronald Acuna Jr, Julio Rodriguez, or Fernando Tatis Jr (if he can stay off his motorcycle) hit this mark? Not at all.

Oddly enough, at least in the early going, some teams don’t seem to give a shit. The Twins, Nationals, and Tigers have yet to record a stolen base. The Twins haven’t even ATTEMPTED a stolen base. There’s always that one guy on Twitter who has to tweet something to go AGAINST the masses, right? Well, that’s the Twins.

The Tigers I’m not surprised about. They have the lowest on-base percentage in the league currently at .250. It’s hard to steal when you don’t have base runners. The Nationals....I honestly can’t even name half of their starting lineup, so more research will be needed. But it’ll be interesting to see if the Twins will really be a team that won’t run much, even with the changes. Last season, they didn’t have anyone that swiped more than six bases. Willi Castro, who was on the Tigers last year but is now a Twin, would had lead the team with nine in ‘22. Maybe this is a team that simply won’t run. The way the roster is built, I don’t expect that notion to change much.

So you may ask, who are some of the best pitchers to target against when I’m looking to bet stolen base props? Well, my friend, I have compiled a list of pitchers who have allowed the most stolen bases over the last two seasons (including their start(s) this year). Hopefully, this can provide a jumping-off point :

  • Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners, 44
  • Sandy Alcantara, Mimai Marlins, 38
  • Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox, 33
  • Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox, 31
  • Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres, 30

I would also always try to limit your stolen base bets to less than a full unit (the measurement of the size of your bet). You’ll be getting some nice plus money odds to begin with, so a half or even a quarter of your normal betting amount should be considered. For example, Ronald Acuna Jr is +425 to steal a base today, April 5th. If I put a .25 of a unit on it and I hit, I’m winning 1.06. Not a bad ROI%. Don’t be greedy, relax.

In all, stolen bases are back and here to stay. Now is our opportunity to take advantage, unless they have a Twins uniform on. Until next time.....

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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.