Rajai Davis is, once again, a SAGNOF-ian legend. Again, again, again, was exactly what he did on Saturday when the 34-year-old outfielder stole 3 bases. This year he might just be the best fantasy player of all those playing only part time (the other player fighting for this honor, in my opinion, is Alex Guerrero). He has 6 stolen bases despite starting in only 9 of 18 games through Saturday for the Tigers. Digging up some career stats I see that he’s never needed much playing time to rack up the SBs. Since he broke out with 41 stolen bases in 2009 he’s averaged 42 steals per season while at the same time averaging only 124.5 games played. And many of those games weren’t starts.
Last week when I said “Davis is ok to keep around because when he plays he steals. If we want to look at it in that light, Davis has the best production on a per game basis (of the gentleman in discussion).” in reply to one of the commenters, I didn’t even realize how spot on that was. Imagine if, on the flip side I had told him to axe Davis because he’s not playing everyday? It wouldn’t have been an outrageous thing to say. The point is, he’s a player you can keep on your roster in 12 team leagues with daily lineup changes and bench hitters. You just have to be patient enough to deal with the fact that he doesn’t play nearly every day. Every time he starts you can start him. I’d definitely go so far as to say he’s own-able in shallower leagues with deep benches as well.
To be fair, if this were an election I’d be in trouble because I have flip flopped on Davis, having said 2 weeks ago “Rajai Davis has not been playing enough and that’s all Anthony Gose‘s fault. Gose is, of course, a bit of a speedster himself and between the two you would almost have to own Gose at this point because he’s starting twice as often.” Well, shame on me for changing my mind from my original thought that Davis was a prime candidate to exceed his Steamer/Razzball playing time projection. Things changed quickly and now Davis is back to making plenty of starts against right handed pitchers. (Update: Davis just left Sunday’s game due to an apparent injury). If you are looking for other (not necessarily speedy) players to own that aren’t everyday players I would recommend Davis’ platoon mate Anthony Gose, Alex Guerrero, Eric Young Jr., Adam Lind and Andre Ethier (while Puig is out). Ethier is worthy of a start every time a righty is on the mound, he’s a career .304 hitter against them while Lind has managed a .293 for that career split. Young has actually been playing a lot recently though he hasn’t been hitting. I’m worried more about his low career batting average than his current cold streak but if you are desperate for speed he’s an option.
It also should probably be noted that Rajai’s stolen bases came in only 3 different games, I’m not going to dig through the details, but it seems to me he knows how to take advantage of a good matchup. We have a free tool to help you do the same thing, it shows base stealer rates vs. different pitchers.
A player I am extremely worried about right now is Danny Santana. Last year he was as BABIP dependent as they come, needing a .405 BABIP to manage a .319 AVG. Everyone knew the AVG would come down this year because of that unsustainable BABIP and a 22.8 K%. It’s early, but so far this year he has managed a strikeout rate of Adam Dunn (or Mark Reynolds, if you prefer) like proportions: 30.8%. Now his AVG is only .210 despite his approximately league average BABIP (.310) so I’m not yet sure if he’s a .270 or a .240 hitter and if he’s the latter we’ve got ourselves a big problem. Even if he improves somewhat it might not be enough to maintain his leadoff spot for the Twins and if he were bumped down to 9th that would make him a lesser Jose Ramirez because Ramirez actually has slightly more speed. Which is not the worst thing, but it’s not what you paid for. (Update he was in fact bumped down to 9th for Sunday’s game, after being given Saturday off).
Jose Iglesias is a player I haven’t written about yet, which seems odd because he’s already up to 5 stolen bases. I suspect he’s been snatched up in just about every league already. That’s ok with me because I’m not a big believer. I was thinking of him more as a 12-15 SB per year player but maybe it’s more like 20? In that case I’ll be proven wrong. But to put things in perspective, even not so speedy players can sneak up on you: Anthony Rizzo has 4 steals already.
Rusney Castillo is one to stash as he could be a very solid multi category performer (some power, a little bit more speed and he can hit), however at this point I don’t think he’s widely available. He’s the number one prospect on Mike’s recently updated rankings and Big Magoo also profiled him last week.
New targets for this week: Rusney Castillo. And for those that don’t mind part time speedsters, Davis (especially if his health checks out ok), Gose and Young Jr. Targets from last week, in order: Denard Span, Angel Pagan, Nori Aoki, Odubel Herrera, Jake Marisnick, Ender Inciarte, Kevin Pillar (See, what I did here is generally put the ones that bat near the top of the order at the top of the list and the ones that generally bat near the bottom of the order at the end of the list).
Last week I went over the value of many middle relievers without consideration of their role. Now here’s this weeks updated “next in line for saves” rankings. I’ve included the interim closers that won’t have the closing job for much longer because some are very much worth owning after the incumbent returns and I’ve also included some players that aren’t exactly next in line but might be worth owning in deeper leagues. The number before the slash represents the player’s (heavily projections based) skill level and the number after the slash represents the player’s situation. I take into account the quality and durability of the closer, and the amount of competition for the closer job, for example, when applying the situation rating. Or just simply view the situation rating as the likelihood of getting future saves. For the temporary closers I’ve ranked them as if they no longer have the job. Think of it as how valuable they’ll be once the closer returns.
- Brad Boxberger TB (current closer for injured Jake McGee) 9/5
- Wade Davis KC (current closer for injured Greg Holland) 9/5
- Tony Watson PIT (Mark Melancon) 7/5
- Rafael Soriano FA 5/7
- Danny Farquhar SEA (Fernando Rodney) 7/5
- Dellin Betances NYA (Andrew Miller) 8/4
- Ken Giles PHI (Jonathan Papelbon) 7/4
- Jordan Walden STL (Trevor Rosenthal) 6/5
- Joaquin Benoit SD (Craig Kimbrel) 7/4
- Joe Smith LAA (Huston Street) 5/6
- Joel Peralta LAD (current closer for injured Kenley Jansen) 6/4
- Brett Cecil TOR (Miguel Castro) 5/5
- Sergio Romo SF (Santiago Casilla) 6/4
- Shawn Tolleson TEX (Neftali Feliz) 4/5
- Pedro Strop CHC (Hector Rondon) 5/4
- Darren O’Day BAL (Zach Britton) 6/3
- Carlos Torres NYM (Jeurys Familia) 6/3
- Kelvin Herrera KC (Wade Davis) 7/2
- Junichi Tazawa BOS (Koji Euhara) 6/2
- Will Smith MIL (Francisco Rodriguez) 5/2
- Casey Fien MIN (Glen Perkins) 4/3
- Jumbo Diaz CIN (Aroldis Chapman) 4/3
- JJ Hoover CIN (Aroldis Chapman) 6/1
- AJ Ramos MIA (Steve Cishek) 4/2
- Bryan Shaw CLE (Cody Allen) 2/4
- Al Alburquerque DET (Joakim Soria) 3/3
- David Carpenter NYY (Andrew Miller) 4/2
- Aaron Barrett WAS (Drew Storen) 3/2
- Brad Ziegler ARI (Addison Reed) 2/3
- Zach Duke CHI (David Robertson) 3/2
- Pat Neshek HOU (Luke Gregorson) 4/1
- Fernando Abad OAK (Tyler Clippard) 3/2
- John Axford COL (Adam Ottavino) 2/2
- Rafael Betancourt COL (Adam Ottavino) 2/2
- Chad Qualls HOU (Luke Gregorson) 1/2
- Edward Mujica BOS (Koji Uehara) 1/2
- Jim Johnson ATL (Jason Grilli) 1/2
I’d like you to take note that some of these are merely my best educated guesses based off of Smokey’s closer report and usage patterns. One name you don’t see here is Bobby Parnell and it’s because he appears to be injured again. I like Rafael Soriano’s chance for 15+ saves as much as anybody else’s on this list. He has no team now so he’s more of a “stash for later” type or a “be very quick on the trigger once signing speculation begins” type.
Next week (or in the near future) I’ll attempt to find some speedsters that are under really people’s radar and as always, I’ll go over the ever changing bullpen situations.