You might have noticed Evans taking a page from the Republican playbook today.
Frankly, nobody should be surprised. Evans is tenacious. A fighter. After years of divisive fantasy analysis, he continues to use steals as a wedge and saves as a bludgeon. The Speed-O-Meter is brazen fear mongering, nothing more.
No, actually Brad makes excellent points, not the least of which is that there were lots of players who stole at least 20 bases last season. In fact, 19 players stole 30 or more bases. Steals are out there. Don't get panicky if you can't draft 50 of them in the first round.
But you don't need me to reinforce Brad's well-made argument. Instead, I'll just caution you not to wait too long, or for the wrong players.
This gets us to a term that Brad didn't use at all, but one that's often mentioned in the fantasy community: "Cheap steals."
The concept is that you can find players capable of 30-plus steals very late in drafts. Therefore, when you consider the draft position of these players relative to the brand-name base stealers, they're cheap.
And then you actually start them, and they kill you.
There's a simple reason that guys like Dave Roberts are cheap in terms of ADP and auction value: they're bad in four of five categories.
In 2960 career plate appearances, Roberts has 23 home runs and he's hit .268. His career high in RBI is 44, and his career high in runs scored is 80. None of those numbers are useful. He can't hit left-handers at all (unless they're Doug Davis), so he needs to be platooned.
Basically, he's a high-maintenance player for fantasy owners, and he's a massive liability in every category except stolen bases.
If you're starting a player like that, he's not cheap, no matter what you paid. In public leagues, you need to think of cheap steals as those that arrive without an overwhelming cost in R, HR, RBI and AVG.
(Nothing cheap about this steal, of course).