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When I went hunting for players to write about this week, I had trouble finding somebody for the lede. Most of the tried and true speedsters are owned everywhere, and I wasn’t liking the match-ups I saw for the borderline guys. Then, as the fantasy writer gods often do, they dropped a pair of rookies in my lap. A couple of fresh faces have arrived on the scene in Junior Lake and Jonathan Villar. Lake, a speedy infielder turned outfielder, was called up by the Cubs. While I was mildly interested in his solid debut performance Friday night, I became even more interested when I started to look into his minor league numbers. Like “cyclops with a monocle” interested as they say here in Razzball land. Even more exciting was the Villar call-up that was announced yesterday. The young Houston shortstop also showed above average speed in the minor leagues.  We’ll take a closer look at both and set the mood for a little ‘rookie nookie’. Meanwhile, at the adult table, Eric Young continues to rack up the steals and should do some major damage against the Nationals later this week.

Junior Lake - (This week: @ARI, @SF)

While questions about his playing time will certainly arise when David DeJesus gets healthy, the fact is Junior Lake can run. Across two levels of the minor leagues in 2011, Lake stole almost 40 bags in 116 games. In 2012 at Double-A he stole 21 in 103 games. His 3 for 4 performance on Friday night (with a steal) was fun to watch. If he can continue to hit and force his way into playing time with the Cubs, he could be a sneaky source of speed in the second half. It’s also worth noting that he can play pretty much wherever the Cubs need him to, and with Chicago looking to make some trades, younger guys like Lake could get an extended look. He’s got a nice match-up this week against the Giants, who aren’t so hot against the run.

Jonathan Villar - (This week: OAK, @TOR)

The Astros announced yesterday that Villar would be called up to be the team’s starting shortstop. Unlike Lake, there should be no questions about his playing time and he’s got just as much, if not more, base stealing potential. In just 86 games with Double -A Corpus Christi last year (Go Hooks!) he racked up a whopping 39 stolen bases. Through 90 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year (Go RedHawks!) he’s swiped 31 bags and has been caught only 7 times, for a solid 82% success rate. Even if his bat doesn’t immediately translate at the major league level, his speed alone could carry fantasy value at the shortstop position. He’s an exciting call-up and should be monitored closely if you’re in need of a middle infielder with steals upside.

**GREEN LIGHT SPECIAL**

Eric Young - (This week: ATL, @WAS)

By now you certainly don’t need me to tell you to grab Eric Young Jr (he’s owned in 100% of Razzball leagues) , but he’s still out there in some ESPN and Yahoo leagues and he really shouldn’t be. He’s stolen a whopping 9 bases since July 4th and has found new life with the Mets as their leadoff hitter. I have gotten a couple questions in the comments about whether he will gain 2B eligibility. While it’s probably not likely that he’ll get there anytime soon, he still has a ton of value for your fantasy team as a fourth or fifth outfielder or bench bat, and if he so happens to make the cut for 2B in the meantime, it’s all gravy. If you are slotting EY2 in and out of your lineup, make sure to get him in there as a starter against the Nationals later this week. Stealing bases against the Nats is like shooting fish in a barrel (MLB worst 12% CS%). EY2 will see them four times, which includes a doubleheader on Thursday Friday. Hence the ‘Green Light Special’ tag.

 

Teams highlighted in green are in the top ten in most stolen bases allowed.

Teams highlighted in red are in the top ten in least stolen bases allowed.

 

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From Around The Web

  1. KB says:
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    More likely to get a SB tonight: EY or Rajai?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @KB: Tonight? I’d go EY2.
      3 reasons:
      1- Braves not as strong against the run as the Dodgers
      2- Ryu is a lefty and has allowed only 1 SB against
      3-If I had to bet on who was more likely to get a start, it would be EY2

      That’s my educated guess…

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @KB: just to follow up…Young leading off tonight, Davis not in lineup

  2. Rudacious says:
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    if you had to pick one outfielder for the rest of season who would you take?

    alfonso soriano or jason werth?

  3. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    I agree that Villar is someone to watch, but I’d be surprised if he contributed to fantasy teams this year. He’s notoriously slow to adjust when promoted, so he’s not someone I’d run out to add until he shows he can play in the majors.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @RandomItalicizedVoice: truth, Random Italicized Voice, but where’s the fun in cold hard logic? ;) thanks for reading!

  4. Jack Full of Hate says:
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    Villar or Lake? I need an MI and not sure which way to go

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Jack Full of Hate: Villar, he’s got the starting gig…Brad Miller is a nice pickup right now too but might not be as speedy…

      • Jack Full of Hate says:
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        @Mike: I’ve owned Miller since his call up, need a Beckham replacement and grabbed Villar, then Lake and am now stuck in roster limbo, oh so Lake won’t play everyday?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Jack Full of Hate: gotcha, yeah, I could see Lake yielding some time once DeJesus gets back, whereas the Stros are probably going to ride Villar everyday at short. Sucks about Beckham, he was playing well…

          • Jack Full of Hate says:
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            @Mike: I just can’t catch a break this year at SS and MI on one of my teams, drafted Alcides and holding out as long as I did killed me. Oh well, that’s why I play in multiple leagues

  5. Anthony says:
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    So I have EYJ in one league where I’m completely in rebuilding mode and shipping away any piece that I see as not going to help next year. I’ve always had a man crush on EYJ and in a deep 12 teamer with 16 keepers..could keep him for a buck. My question is do you see Young as more of an asset for next year or just a flash of fame right now? Wise to keep him or try flipping him while the value is there? Thanks for any insight as always!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Anthony: I’d look to flip while his value is so high, especially if you can get a better keeper/piece for him. Just the nature of SAGNOF, a guy that has some speed just like him will most likely surface again next year…thanks for reading!

  6. BucLover says:
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    Hey Mike,
    I’ve got a trade offer of Allen Craig, Strasburg, and Brad Ziegler for Manny Machado.
    It’s Yahoo 12 team 7×6 (H OPS QS), 6 player keeper with no penalty. I could use a bump in my Ks, ERA, WHIP, but I also need more SBs, which I’ve addressed by adding Martin and Dyson. Machado might well have been one of my 6 keepers, but that could also be Craig and/or Strasburg. What do you think…should I take the trade?
    my team-
    Posey, E5, Phillips, Machado (Carpenter), Aybar (Hardy), McCutchen, Bruce, Aoki, Martin, Dyson
    Minor, Moore, Latos, Cole, Milone, Gallardo, Betancourt, Gregg, KRod, Strop, Gregerson
    Thanks!!!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @BucLover: That’s a nice offer, but I would rather hold onto Machado man. Maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of his, but I think he’s a great bat at a position that’s not easy to fill, and as talented as Strasburg is, I’d rather put my faith in a bat. Machado is starting to cool off a little, but his doubles power could eventually develop into homers power and I think he’s a smart enough hitter to make the adjustments and go on another tear. Just my two cents…

  7. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Just a heads up, the Mets doubleheader with Washington is Friday…I wrote Thursday in my post by accident…

  8. TheGoods says:
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    Any idea if Sonny Gray will be coming back up as a starter?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @TheGoods: My guess is they want him to stay stretched out in AAA, so short answer yes, but probably only in an emergency/spot-start type of situation

  9. Yager says:
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    Just made a trade. Got Cespedes and Sale. Gave Choo, Frazier, and JoFer. Did I give up too much? I am really lagging in HR’s and I am in 5th place in a twenty team redraft. I stand to gain huge points in HRs, and I couldn’t resist teaming Cespedes with Giancarlo for the second half.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Yager: I don’t think you gave up too much…nice job. J Fer is pitching great but on an IP limit, and while Choo is great, you get pop from Cespedes and an upgrade at starter with Sale

      • Yager says:
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        @Mike:
        Thanks for the input! Always appreciate the article because I need steals wherever I can get them. SAGNOF!
        From a pure value standpoint-ROS: Jeter or Villar?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Yager: Anytime, thanks for reading! Go with the young blood IMO…

  10. Yager says:
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    Just made a trade. Got Cespedes and Sale. Gave Choo, Frazier, and JoFer. Did I give up too much? I am really lagging in HR’s and I am in 5th place in a twenty team redraft. I stand to gain huge points in HRs, and I couldn’t resist teaming Cespedes with Giancarlo for the second half.

  11. Mike says:
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    Should I drop Eaton for Yelich?,

    • ROLFAMLO says:
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      @Mike: mmmhmmm

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Mike: yup, that sounds right.

  12. Phillip says:
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    Looking for a potential rookie keeper in a league with pretty deep minor league rosters, so they’re a bit hard to come by. Between Lake and Villar, who do you think has the best potential going into next year? I’d more than likely just be stashing them.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Phillip: of those two I like Villar. IMO the shortstop gig is his until we see Correa, which won’t be for a while. Plus there’s a chance Lake winds up in the outfield, and I would rather keep the guy at the premium position.

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