Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season will be underway on Monday and now is the time to start preparing. Adding quality players off the waiver wire isn’t the easiest thing to do in deep leagues, and that’s why we’re here to help.
In this week’s edition of “Deep Impact”, I’ll be discussing a few players who can give you an edge in the stolen bases category – one SAGNOF and two who can provide more than just speed. As per usual, ownership percentages are taken from ESPN.com, but since every league has different settings, I can’t guarantee every player I suggest will be available in each of your individual leagues. Let’s not waste any more time ¡Ándale!
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Royals (0.4% owned): Last year, when the Royals were faced with injuries, Dyson stepped up – or you could say, sped up – big time. But during the offseason, the team went out and signed Alex Rios, reducing Dyson to a bit role. Now that Rios is hurt, though, Dyson is once again relevant in fantasy leagues. He’s still not playing every day, but there’s enough juice in those legs to warrant a roster spot for owners in deeper leagues needing some pure, straight SAGNOF. Until this week, Dyson had failed to tally a single stolen base all season, but he swiped three bags vs. the Indians on Monday. Since his playing time is limited (just five starts over KC’s last 10 games), he’ll have his dry spells, but as evidenced by his May 27th outburst, when he gets going, he can really give a boost to your team’s stolen base totals. Rios is still expected to be out another few weeks, so cash in on Dyson while you can.
Chris Owings, SS/2B, Diamondbacks (9.0% owned): The D-Backs’ third-year middle infielder was a little slow out of the gate, but his performance over the last seven games offers owners hope. Right now, he’s just under the “Deep Impact” threshold for ownership, and that means he’s fair game in this column. During that previously mentioned seven-game stretch, the 23-year-old has hit .276 with a homer, triple, three RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases (he has 4 SB overall). Those aren’t otherworldly numbers, but the speed/power combo is nice, and he’s proven to do so before, swiping 20 bases to go along with 12 homers while at Triple-A Reno in 2013. Judging by the 12 straight starts he’s made at the keystone, Owings has zero competition as the Diamondbacks’ second baseman, so make sure you grab him before other owners take notice.
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Mariners (0.0% owned): The Mariners like to employ a strict platoon with their five outfielders, and Ruggiano, a six-year veteran, was brought in to Seattle to play on the right-handed-hitting side of that platoon. Unfortunately for the 33-year-old, manager Lloyd McClendon decided to go with Rickie Weeks as his third outfielder more often than not in the early going, limiting Ruggiano to 14 at bats over the team’s first 18 games. He did pretty much nothing with those chances too, collecting just one extra-base hit and driving in only a single run. The Mariners have struggled on the offensive end all season though, and to mix things up, McClendon has started Ruggiano three of the last four games, including one vs. righty Yovani Gallardo. In those starts, Ruggiano went 3-for-11 (.273) with three runs scored, a double, two walks and two stolen bases. Weeks has predictably struggled all season, hitting just .205 with two extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts in 39 AB. We’ve seen Ruggiano put together some quality seasons before (13 HR, 14 SB in 2012; 18 HR, 15 SB in 2013), and if you couple his recent solid play along with Weeks’ ineffectiveness, he’ll have some sneaky value in deep leagues going forward.
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