Often overlooked among the more glamorous prop bets on baseball is the leader in stolen bases. Smarter bettors of all experience levels tend to focus on MVPs, Cy Young winners, and home run leaders.
Lost in the shuffle is the stolen base leader. This year’s crop of favorites and longshots offer up the opportunity for bettors to cash in.
If not for a shoulder injury in 2019, Kansas City’s Adalberto Mondesi just might have surpassed eventual stolen base leader Mallex Smith of Seattle. Mondesi, a +200 favorite to capture the title in 2020, finished with 43 stolen bases last year but played just 102 games.
The problem for Mondesi is his sub-par on-base percentage (.293 last year). If he can clean that up and get on base more, the Royals shortstop has a great chance of winning the title this year.
Smith, who stole 46 bases to lead the majors last season, is very similar to Mondesi. He is not a strong hitter (.227) and his on-base percentage is a rather ho-hum .300. His speed is unquestioned and that is why he checks in at +400 this season. With the shortened schedule, Smith could get hot and have more steal attempts.
At +600, Washington’s Trea Turner is still a favorite. Turner led the National League in 2018 with 43 stolen bases and has the most stolen bases of any MLB player over the past three seasons (124).
Turner missed 40 games last season but still finished among the stolen base leaders with 35. His speed and savvy on-base skills make Turner a strong value bet in the stolen base category.
Minnesota’s Byron Buxton rarely makes it through a whole 162-game schedule in one piece. In his last 162 games combined, Buxton has gone to the injured list nine times.
If Buxton could stay healthy and keep it together for just 60 games, he’ll have a shot at the stolen base title. He’s got great speed and a stolen base success rate of 88.2 percent. That’s what makes him an interesting wager at +2800.
Pittsburgh’s Jarred Dyson had 30 stolen bases last year in Arizona. He was only caught four times. This year, handicappers making expert picks know he will likely have the green light at all times playing on a team projected to finish at or near the bottom of the NL Central.
Dyson’s total last year was done in 130 games. At +3300 and with an on-base percentage of just .319, Dyson is a serious longshot.
The one longshot that might make the most sense is up-and-coming prospect Luis Robert. The White Sox phenom hit 32 home runs and stole 36 bases in the minor leagues last season.
Robert can hit for power and has great speed on the bases. Hitting in front of Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal may limit the need to run Robert, but if the White Sox do use his speed he will have a chance at becoming the first Chicago stolen base leader since Luis Aparicio in the late 1960s.
Robert is priced at +6600 to lead MLB in stolen bases.