Rajai Davis Robbing People Again
Do you find yourself looking to bolster your Fantasy Baseball team’s speed? Often that can be easier said than done. There are a number of ways to go about it, though. You can start on the waiver wire or immediately hit the trade market in search of stolen bases. The quickest position to upgrade is going to be the outfield. Alternatively, you can look at your middle infield as a spot where you can afford to have a player with no power and plenty of speed. Let’s look at the top five ways to add more speed to your squad.
[caption id="attachment_108148" align="alignright" width="436"] Rajai Davis is among the league leaders in stolen bases again this season. Photo Credit: Merle Laswell/Icon Sportswire[/caption]
- Pick up Rajai Davis or Melvin Upton Jr. The cheapest option is not always the best option but in this case, it might be. Both Davis and Upton are among the league leaders in stolen bases and can be had in approximately half of all Fantasy leagues. They are fourth and sixth respectively in steals right now. Do you realize that Rajai Davis has at least 29 swipes in every season since 2008, except 2015? Beyond the steals, though, he is seen as a mediocre player. This year he is getting consistent at-bats and having a solid all-around season. He is one HR shy of tying a career-high, and both RBI and Run highs are also a possibility. Davis should surpass 30 SBs by the time the season is through. Upton is enjoying a bit of a Fantasy resurgence this season. Things started to unravel when he left Tampa Bay for much greener pastures in Atlanta. He batted .198 in two seasons before the Braves shipped him to San Diego. He changed his name from Bossman Junior (B.J.) back to Melvin, his not quite as cool given name. He was decent as a part-time player in 2015, but he has re-emerged as a viable starter this season. Do not expect much in the average department but the power / speed combination appears to be back.
- Trade power for a Power/Speed combination. There are plenty of ways you can go here; it just depends on how much you want to part with. Reeling in someone like Starling Marte, Mookie Betts or Mike Trout is going to cost a pretty penny. The next level down presents a few more affordable options in players like Francisco Lindor, Gregory Polanco or Ian Desmond, all of whom should provide double-digit steals the rest of the way. Further down, would be Wil Myers or Jonathan Villar, who leads the league with 24 stolen bags. Then, of course, there is the bargain bin. Why not try a low-cost investment in Brett Gardner, Danny Santana or Ketel Marte. In fact, those last three could possibly be on your waiver wire. Unless you think you can scoop up an elite player that happens to steal double-digit bases, you might want to try someone in the affordable tier first.
- Buy low on Carlos Gomez. This could be a risky proposition given his major struggles dating back to July of last year and spanning his entire tenure in Houston. On a positive note, he has three HRs and two SBs in June thus far. We seem to be far removed from his stretch of three 30-plus stolen base seasons in Milwaukee, but he is just 30 years old and still possesses plenty of upside. It was that elite speed, combined with his 20 HR power, that made him one of the most sought after outfielders in Fantasy. The cost of acquiring Gomez right now is going to vary greatly by league. If you find yourself working with a reasonable, level-headed owner, you should be able to pick him up at somewhat of a discount. Sometimes, though, owners hang onto past performance way too much, and if that is the case, it might not be worthwhile for you. Gomez could not only help your speed, but also add more overall help to your lineup that just about any other option.
- Look at what Mallex Smith has done lately. While he has been caught seven times out of 20, Smith does have seven stolen bases over the last two weeks. He has been a well-known speed merchant in the minors, swiping at least 56 bases in each of the past three seasons on the farm. If he can keep himself in the leadoff spot, it could be very lucrative for Fantasy purposes. He’ll need to start making consistent contact and drawing more walks, which he has so far in June. Power has never been a part of his game, so if he can launch a few more HRs from now until the end of the season, consider it a bonus. One thing you’ll want to do is keep an eye on his splits; in a very small sample size he has just three hits in 43 at-bats versus lefthanders, while batting .311 versus righties. If Smith is unavailable because of his June surge, keep an eye on Byron Buxton. The former phenom is hitting .241 with a homer, two triples, two doubles and two SBs in 15 June games. The light hasn’t gone on all the way, but it is at least getting brighter. He could swipe 15-20 bases in the second half if he gets going.
- Stash Dee Gordon. The Marlins speedster was suspended 80 games for performance enhancing drugs, but he is single-handedly capable of turning your entire team’s speed profile around. He is not due back until July 28th, which means you’ll still have to sit on him for another month-plus. Depending on how cheaply you can acquire him, though, it could very well be worth your while. Gordon has 122 Stolen bases between 2014 and 2015, along with 160 Runs. He can be an absolute game-changer for your team if you are patient. The fact that he is still almost six weeks away from playing could help your chances of acquiring him, but it is still going to take a strong offer. Combining the acquisition of Gordon with say, Brett Gardner, could be a quick way to jump up the standings in stolen bases.
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