Two of the smaller pieces that stand to gain value after Thursday’s massive trade deadline are Tiger center fielders Ezequiel Carrera and Rajai Davis. The two will see all of the starts in center now that Austin Jackson has been traded. Davis should see the majority of playing time between the two speedsters, but Carrera could still be good for SAGNOF in some deep leagues or AL-only leagues. The 27-year-old had stolen 43 bases in the minors prior to his call up and while he only played a handful of games with the Indians last season, he stole 43 bags in the minors in 2013 as well. Meanwhile Davis started in center and led off both Friday and Saturday. The Jackson trade was really a big boost to Davis owners, since playing time had been his biggest concern and now he’ll get a shot to play every day in center.
For those looking to gamble on Carrera it’s worth mentioning that he bats left-handed while Davis bats from the right side. This could shift Davis’s value in the wrong direction should he begin to yield starts with right-handers on the mound. I don’t think it happens, but it’s worth keeping an eye on if Davis slumps. Carrera could also see a few starts for defensive reasons, as Davis posted a -3.8 UZR in left prior to the trade and center field isn’t exactly easier to play. However, Davis came up in the minors playing center field so expecting Carrera to play over him for defense is still a bit of a stretch. All in all, it’s just a situation worth monitoring if you’re a Davis owner or play in a deep league (15-team+) where Carrera is readily available. Here are some other steals options for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…
Sam Fuld, OF and Billy Burns, OF – TB, MIN
How quickly things change. Billy Burns was optioned to the minors while Fuld takes over as the A’s leadoff man. Obviously this kills Burns’s value but it boosts Fuld’s. Fuld was mentioned here last week when he was still with the Twins. The 32-year-old outfielder had 13 steals in 232 plate appearances entering Saturday’s games. With both Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry battling injuries, look for Fuld to assume the majority of center field starts and bat from the leadoff spot in the order in the near future. The Twins have allowed 66 stolen bases on the year (13th most), making them a decent target in leagues with daily roster moves.
Jake Marisnick, OF – @PHI, TEX
I love that the trade deadline gives me some fresh names to talk about and I really loved this trade for the Astros personally. Marisnick is a really nice option in fantasy thanks to his combination of pop and speed. The 23-year-old had ten homers and 24 stolen bases in Triple-A prior to the trade and should get regular at bats for the Astros this season. He’s a great scoop in keeper leagues as well. He may struggle out of the gate, but I’d imagine he’s got more upside than most of what is sitting on the free agent wires at this point in the fantasy season. He’ll face the Phillies and Rangers this week. The Phils have allowed 72 steals this season, tied for the 5th most in baseball.
Danny Santana, MI/OF – SD, OAK
With Fuld out of the picture, Santana should have a firm hold on the leadoff spot in the Twins lineup. Yesterday’s two swipes could be a sign of things to come as he’s getting farther away from the knee injury that forced him to the disabled list. He has hit well since being activated and makes a great bench bat even in shallower leagues thanks to his dual eligibility. He’ll draw the Padres and Athletics this week. The Padres have allowed the third most stolen bases in baseball with 77 steals allowed this season.
Emilio Bonifacio, MI/OF – @SEA, WAS
The trade to Atlanta shouldn’t kill Bonifacio’s fantasy value, as I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take some playing time away from B.J. Upton. Like Santana, Bonifacio has good speed and can play in your middle infield or outfield slots. He’s an easy pickup if you’re desperate for steals and need some flexibility in your lineup. The Braves take on the Mariners and Nationals this week. Neither team is easy to run on as they are both in the bottom third of the league for steals allowed. In fact, only the Cardinals have allowed fewer stolen bases than the Nationals entering Saturday’s games.