Your regular Creeper columnist, Sky, is taking the week off as things start to heat up over on the football side of Razzball. I know, I miss him too. Turn that frown upside down, though, because I’ve got a nice Creeper for you this week in Will Venable. When I went to write this post, I looked for four things: nice matchup(s), a player who is widely available, somebody who’s actually hitting right now, and a player who can contribute in multiple categories for your fantasy baseball team. Venable fits the bill. He’s always been the poor man’s power/speed combo player, but he’s been frustrating to own long term due to a crowded San Diego outfield cutting into his playing time and an inability to really hit for average. Even so, I think he’s a good bet this week for some pop and speed. As an added bonus, he’s one of a handful of players that wasn’t accused of taking PED’s by Jack Clark…so there’s that.
Back to those four things I mentioned. In terms of match-ups, Venable has 7 games slated for this week, and three of them will be at Coors Field against the Rockies. If you haven’t noticed already, Coors Field gives Hitter-Tron dirty sexy robot thoughts. In other words, I like Venable at Coors. The Rox have the 6th-worst team ERA in baseball and hitters are slugging about 30 points higher against them (.416) than the National League average. Next, he’ll get four games against the Mets at home. Venable has hit 10 of his 15 homers at home this year, and 9 of those 10 have come against right-handed pitching. Three righties are on the schedule for that series and none of them are named Matt Harvey.
Venable is widely available. At this point in the season, ESPN’s ownership numbers are about as useful as my kid’s school lunches. But if you’re into that sort of thing, he’s only at 8% in ESPN leagues. A better tell is RCL leagues, where he is still only at 25% owned. He’s likely out there for the taking either way.
As far as his recent performance and his ability to provide stats in multiple categories, Venable has been more than helpful. He has a seven-game hitting streak entering today’s games, hitting nearly .400 over that span with 3 homers and 4 stolen bases. I’ll take a 3-homer week with those steals numbers from my fringe outfielder any day. Even in the games when he didn’t start, he got at least 1 at-bat as a pinch hitter. In fact, one of his homers came against the Yankees last week as a pinch-hitter. For the season, Venable is now sitting at 15 homers and 13 stolen bases. While he’s hitting a pedestrian .250 overall, this might be a nice week to give him a look.
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