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Don’t pay for steals. Why? Because they can be found on the wire during the season. As an example, the leaders in stolen bases, from 2009-2011:

Michael Bourn – 174
Carl Crawford – 125
Juan Pierre – 125
Mystery Man – 125
Brett Gardner – 122

Brett Gardner hasn’t played since April 17, isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break, and is owned in nearly 81% of ESPN leagues and 68% of Yahoo leagues; Mystery Man is owned in just over 7% of ESPN leagues, 9% of Yahoo leagues. For another comparison, let’s look at the two, using the same 2009-2011 time frame:

Gardner: 1441 PA, .268 AVG, 15 HR, 232 R, 106 RBI, 122 SB, ADP: 97
Mystery: 1331 PA, .279 AVG, 9 HR, 175 R, 129 RBI, 125 SB, ADP: undrafted

Cutting to the chase, Mystery Man is week 11′s Creeper, Rajai Davis. Since Eric Thames’ demotion to AAA on 5/29, Davis has received regular playing time in LF, and he hasn’t disappointed: in a mere 25 plate appearances, he’s swiped 6 bags without being caught. Add in his 40 PA from May, and in his last 65 PA Davis has amassed 11 SB, 4 HR, 12 R, and 9 RBI to go with a .262 AVG. His production has been good for a Razzball Player Rater ranking of 19th and 36th in the last 7 and 20 days, respectively, for 12 team ESPN leagues.

While you can’t count on Davis’ HR output to continue at that pace — his HR/FB rate is 15.4%, more than double his previous career high of 6% — he should still be a solid source of counting stats while batting at the bottom of a potent Jays lineup. To give an idea of what batting 9th for the Blue Jays can do for your counting stats, if you extrapolate Davis’ numbers into a full 600 PA season, he’d end up with 120 R, 84 RBI, and 84 SB. Unsustainable, in all likelihood, yes, but a bump from his current .253 AVG could allow him to continue to produce in multiple categories. Our BABIP v AVG chart pegs Davis for an expected AVG of .296, and there is reason to be optimistic when it comes to such an increase: Davis’ BABIP is at a career low .275, and his batted ball profile suggests it should be in for an upward adjustment. Line drive, groundball, and fly ball rates are all in line with Davis’ MLB averages, and his infield flyball rate, the bane of BABIPs everywhere, is 7.7%, better than in any other season and vastly better than his 14.3% career clip. He should see his BABIP move towards his career .318 total, and if he falls into a small amount of fortune, he could push beyond it.

He’ll get 6 games at home this week, and since becoming a member of the Blue Jays, Davis has hit .268 and chipped in 22 SB, 37 R and 25 RBI in 209 AB at the Rogers Centre. Of his three toughest opponents this week, he stands the best chance to do damage against Cliff Lee, as Davis has hit lefties to the tune of a .286/.346/.416 triple slash in 580 career AB. Stephen Strasburg will prove to be Rajai’s biggest challenge, as St. Rasburg possesses a 1.89 FIP in 87.1 career IP against RHH. None of Kyle Kendrick (7.8% swinging strike rate in 2012; 5.1% career), Chien-Ming Wang (5.3%; 6.5%), or Vance Worley (6.4%; 5.8%) owns swing-and-miss stuff, and since our Creeper likes to swing the bat often, making contact and utilizing his speed should prove to be to Davis’ benefit.

Those looking for some SAGNOF action out of their 5th OF/U slot should do well with picking up and plugging in Rajai Davis this week. For owners decimated with injuries or a bunch of cold bats, week 8′s Creeper, Will Venable, will be playing all 6 of his games on the road this week. Depending on how the Mariners configure their rotation, Venable will be facing 4 or 5 RHP during this stretch. He’s owned in 2% of ESPN and 4% of Yahoo leagues.

15 Responses

  1. harkrider says:
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    Looking at adding Davis, I need some speed until Boneface returns. However I am not sure who to drop.

    Youk or an SP (Daniel Hudson, McDonald, Marcum, Morrow, Moore, Hanson)

    Youk fills my 2 UTIL spots sometimes and the others in that slot are Rios, Allen Craig, or Jason Heyward

    We have a 150 starts limit, so I try to carry between 5-6 SP’s

    • YoMommaSoUggla says:
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      @harkrider, Youk. I’m sure you can find something better. Sounds like a shallow league if you’re considering dripping one of those pitchers.

  2. Jangles says:
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    drop Maybin for Davis? I’m strictly keeping Maybin at this point for SBs cause he sucks

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Jangles, If you’re looking for SB, Davis

  3. yeah! says:
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    How does Rajai stack up to similar SAGNOF candidates?

    Q Berry, W Venable, E Herrara, T Campana, J Pierre?

    • yeah! says:
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      Add Maybin to that list.

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @yeah!, When he’s getting regular playing time, like he is now, only Campana can rack up steals at the same rate, but Davis is superior elsewhere and plays in a great lineup. Venable is great if you can sit him at home, same with Maybin.

  4. El Guey says:
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    drop viciedo, plouffe or davis? need to add an sp with morrow going down…

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @El Guey, Depends on needs. I’d lean towards Plouffe, but if you’re okay in steals, it’s Davis

  5. TheNewGuy says:
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    Revere or Davis? I’ve always found Revere to be an available source of steals when he’s playing and he’s playing right now.

    Also talking about speedsters, Mike Trout is gonna be the next elite speedster without much doubt. Awesome pick up for me in one of my leagues, where do you see him being drafted next year and what is his value right now?

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @TheNewGuy, I like Davis for steals, Revere if you want a higher average.

      I can’t see Trout going any lower than round 5 next year, and in a keeper league I wouldn’t trade him for anyone. If he ends up with something like a .310-15-40 line for this year, I could see him going at around pick 15.

      As for his value as of right now, I’d rate him just below McCutchen.

  6. TheNewGuy says:
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    Also talking of speedsters, what the heck is wrong with Jemile Weeks? Has he caught Rickie’s crapness disease or something, 30 steals with a .300 AVG last year, and ok 10 steals this year but most were before I even picked him up.

    Have him in a deep 16 teamer so there is shizz all on the wire, not sure any of these guys are better options:
    Casilla, Greene (don’t know which, hardly matters), I guess the only possible guy is Herrera who’s just been dropped. Roll with him over Weeks?

    • TheNewGuy says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Or dare I say it, Brian Roberts? *hides*

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @TheNewGuy, I’d stay with Jemile. Unlike Rickie, Jemile’s batted ball profile is about the same as it was last season, when his BABIP was .354. Once that corrects, his improved walk rate will have him on first base pretty frequently.

      • Feeding the Abscess

        Feeding the Abscess says:
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        @Feeding the Abscess, Should mention that Jemile’s BABIP is .250 this season

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