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When Dee Gordon was recently suspended for 80 games, fantasy owners who drafted him with the prospect that he could win them the stolen bases category every week were suddenly left trying to rebuild their strategy with waiver wire spare parts.
Gordon led all of MLB last year with 58 SBs, so finding a replacement that productive is unlikely, but there are a handful of widely available players off to unexpectedly strong starts in the SB category:
Jonathan Villar, 3B/SS, MIL: Available in 57% of Yahoo! leagues.
A once promising prospect for the Astros who ultimately fizzled out in the shadow of Carlos Correa, Villar suddenly has found new life leading off for the Brewers.
An OBP above .370 has helped him get into position to steal an NL-leading nine bases.
I'm guessing he's still widely available because a lot people are thinking he can't keep it up, but he's playing every day right now and his combined hits and walks of 44 in 30 games this year is more than he had in 53 games last year. He's doing something right.
Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN: Available in 39% of Yahoo! leagues.
Despite 57 SBs last year, he was left on the shelf in many drafts due to his low batting average and OBP.
He's only hitting .208 so far this year, but has managed 10 hits in his last 10 games, including a pair of three-hit games.
It doesn't take much for him to pile up SBs - he has seven so far, and could easily go on a binge if the Reds continue playing him every day, which as one of the bottom feeders of the NL they have every reason to do.
Billy Burns, OF, OAK: Available in 41% of Yahoo! leagues.
His 26 SBs a year ago made him a nice waiver-wire pick-up.
He was also fairly streaky last year, and didn't do much beside steal bases and run out an abundance of triples (nine). He has eight so far this year.
Alcides Escobar, SS, KC: Available in 50% of Yahoo! leagues.
He had 17 SBs a year ago in 148 games, but already has seven this year in 30 games.
He leads off, though with a .289 OBP this year and .293 last year for a championship team he is not particularly good at it, so he just seems to be doing more with his chances.
Disco Danny O'Shea is our fantasy fixer. He welcomes your comments.
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