Jarrod Dyson gets a nice short-term spike in value with the injury to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain. Dyson had been placed on the bereavement list heading into the weekend, but he is expected to rejoin the team today. So while he missed the Twins series to sit in awkward silence with his mee-maw and step-peppers, he’ll be deployed in the Royals outfield from today forward until Cain returns.
This means a great opportunity for SAGNOF. I mentioned Dyson in my 2013 wrap-up because he was really one of the most productive base-stealers in baseball last season. Dyson stole 34 bags in just 239 plate appearances. That’s roughly a steal every 7 plate appearances and was the best rate in baseball outside of billy Hamilton. Dyson is your best bet right now for free steals. I say free because I doubt he was drafted in most standard leagues and his ownership percentage at ESPN right now is a whopping 0.0%. He’ll draw the Indians and Orioles this week for seven games. The Orioles have been tough to run against, but the Indians are in the middle of the pack in terms of steals allowed.
Early Season Panic Attacks…
Both of these players had me doing double takes when I saw how much their ownership percentages had dropped.
Jonathan Villar – (@SEA, OAK) | -22%
Villar can be frustrating to own when you consider his low batting average, but if you thought you were getting a .300 hitter in Villar when you drafted him, that’s on you. He’s already tallied three homers and four steals on the year. The Astros were one of the more aggressive teams on the basepaths last year and 35-40 stolen bases is still in the cards for the young shortstop. Early season drops always baffle me, but especially when the rationale is something like a low batting average. I would grab Villar if he was dropped in your league.
Norichika Aoki – (@CLE, @BAL) | -24%
Here is another guy who plays for an aggressive base running team in the Royals. Aoki won’t net you as many steals as Villar (think 25ish), but he’ll contribute a much higher batting average as well as 8-10 homers. He hits atop a good Royals lineup and should really be owned in all leagues, even if it’s as a fourth or fifth outfielder. His 59% ownership really surprised me, but then I remembered this is fantasy baseball and people panic all the time in April.
Eric Young – (STL, MIA)
10 steals already. That’s the most among outfielders and tied with Dee Gordon for the most in baseball. His ownership jumped 35%, but he’s still owned in just a little over half of ESPN leagues. Tehol would call that a #DISGRACE. Give me your password and I will pick him up for you. Only Jacoby Ellsbury stole more bags than EY2 last year.
It looks like Gordon Beckham is targeting a return to the White Sox for the weekend series against the Rays, but until he does both Semien and Garcia are interesting steals plays for the series against Detroit. The Tigers have allowed 18 stolen bases this year (2nd most in MLB). Both players have two steals on the season, although Garcia has done it with much less playing time. It will be interesting to see what happens to Semien once Beckham returns, but for this week I like these guys to net a steal or two against the Tigers.
Mike’s on Twitter @643ball