As Major League Baseball continues to prepare for an abbreviated 60-game season – Opening Day is right around the corner. With that, the futures market is open for business.
Using DraftKings Sportsbook odds, let’s examine the favorites to lead the MLB in stolen bases this year.
Adalberto Mondesi (KC) +200
The short price on Mondesi may not be worth taking but it would be irresponsible to not highlight him. He finished second in this category last season with 43 stolen bases – despite only playing 102 games due to a shoulder injury. Over the past two years, his stolen base percentage is a stellar 84.3%. Mondesi lacks patience at the plate, registering a 22% swinging-strike rate that doesn’t translate to getting on base. In fact, Mondesi’s On-Base Percentage (OBP) was a horrific .293 last season. If Adalberto can hone his contact skills and develop plate discipline, he is very capable of stealing 60-plus bases.
Mallex Smith (SEA) +400
Smith led the majors last season in steals with 46. Much like Mondesi, he has terrible contact and OBP skills. He registered a .227 average and an even .300 OBP. He has world-class speed but otherwise is not a great baseball player. I wouldn’t count on him repeating in a normal year, but with a small 60-game slate, he could put himself back in the conversation.
Trea Turner (WSH) +600
Regarding sprint speed – Statcast has graded Turner top-six in each of his first five big league seasons. His skill set has allowed him to steal the most bases league-wide in the last three years with 124. He is adept at getting on base after registering a .353 OBP last season. Despite missing nearly 40 games in 2019, he still amassed 35 swipes. Between his world-class speed and on-base skills, Turner is the most talented of this bunch and possesses the tools needed to win the stolen base crown.
Byron Buxton (MIN) +2800
If Buxton’s body wasn’t held together by string cheese and popsicle sticks, he would be a perennial contender for the stolen base lead. However, in his last 162 games combined, he has made six trips to the IL – not exactly a recipe for on-field success. The good news is that he owns a career 88.2% stolen base success rate. If Buxton can stay healthy for just 60 games, he possesses the speed to dominate this category. At 30-1 odds, he’s worth a speculative bet, for sure.
Billy Hamilton (SF) +5000
This is a risky proposition but at 50-1, we don’t have much to lose. After breaking camp with the Royals last season, he was released in August after hitting a pathetic .211 to go along with a .275 OBP – brutal. However, after latching on with the Braves, he showed signs of life within a small sample size by posting a .375 OBP. With no minor league season, Hamilton may force his hand with the Giants, who won’t be contending for anything as they’re in a rebuild. If he plays every day during this odd season, he can absolutely lead the league.
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