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.

  1. Brad Boxberger TB (current closer for injured Jake McGee) 9/5
  2. Wade Davis KC (current closer for injured Greg Holland) 9/5
  3. Tony Watson PIT (Mark Melancon) 7/5
  4. Rafael Soriano FA 5/7
  5. Danny Farquhar SEA (Fernando Rodney) 7/5
  6. Dellin Betances NYA (Andrew Miller) 8/4
  7. Ken Giles PHI (Jonathan Papelbon) 7/4
  8. Jordan Walden STL (Trevor Rosenthal) 6/5
  9. Joaquin Benoit SD (Craig Kimbrel) 7/4
  10. Joe Smith LAA (Huston Street) 5/6
  11. Joel Peralta LAD (current closer for injured Kenley Jansen) 6/4
  12. Brett Cecil TOR (Miguel Castro) 5/5
  13. Sergio Romo SF (Santiago Casilla) 6/4
  14. Shawn Tolleson TEX (Neftali Feliz) 4/5
  15. Pedro Strop CHC (Hector Rondon) 5/4
  16. Darren O’Day BAL (Zach Britton) 6/3
  17. Carlos Torres NYM (Jeurys Familia) 6/3
  18. Kelvin Herrera KC (Wade Davis) 7/2
  19. Junichi Tazawa BOS (Koji Euhara) 6/2
  20. Will Smith MIL (Francisco Rodriguez) 5/2
  21. Casey Fien MIN (Glen Perkins) 4/3
  22. Jumbo Diaz CIN (Aroldis Chapman) 4/3
  23. JJ Hoover CIN (Aroldis Chapman) 6/1
  24. AJ Ramos MIA (Steve Cishek) 4/2
  25. Bryan Shaw CLE (Cody Allen) 2/4
  26. Al Alburquerque DET (Joakim Soria) 3/3
  27. David Carpenter NYY (Andrew Miller) 4/2
  28. Aaron Barrett WAS (Drew Storen) 3/2
  29. Brad Ziegler ARI (Addison Reed) 2/3
  30. Zach Duke CHI (David Robertson) 3/2
  31. Pat Neshek HOU (Luke Gregorson) 4/1
  32. Fernando Abad OAK (Tyler Clippard) 3/2
  33. John Axford COL (Adam Ottavino) 2/2
  34. Rafael Betancourt COL (Adam Ottavino) 2/2
  35. Chad Qualls HOU (Luke Gregorson) 1/2
  36. Edward Mujica BOS (Koji Uehara) 1/2
  37. 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.

 
  1. Ray says:
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    Drop Devon Travis, Headley or Belt for Reddick?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Ray: I know Reddick’s been hitting but I don’t see that as an upgrade.

    • scooter jacobson says:
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      Why in the frick would you contemplate dropping D.Travis right now?

  2. JAL says:
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    No love for Jepsen?

    • Scott says:
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      @JAL: Yeah, I’d have expected at least a mention.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @JAL: Bottom line is some guys miss the cut. Usually if I’m including the guy after the next in line it’s either because the situation is muddled or he’s very good a la Kelvin Herrera. Kevin Jepsen’s projections are good but not outstanding.

      Now you reminded me of somebody else I did forget and I can’t remember his name.. Oh it’s the Dodger’s reliever who’s been tearing it up right now. I was thinking of mentioning him.

      • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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        @RotoLance: joba too.

  3. Jack says:
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    Drop D. Santana for Kipnis, a no brainer, right?

    Rusney is a FA in our league. I think he’ll continue to be one until he is called up. I don’t have any room on my bench for him, so if I pick him up, I’ll have to start him. So my questions are:

    Once he’s called up what % of time do you think he’ll be starting?

    Where in the order will he be hitting?

    If he’s going to start 90% of the time, would you drop Avisail Garcia, Souza or L. Martin for him?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Jack: I do think you’d have to drop Santana for Kipnis, yes. Rusney’s spot in the batting order? If Mookie continues to struggle, which I doubt, then Mookie could be dropped in the order and Rusney could be at the top, otherwise 7th or later. I’ll take a wild guess that he starts 80% of the time. Rusney is a tough call given your depth in the OF already. I guess it’d have to be Avisail if any of them. And certainly you’re right that you’d have to wait. I think in your case you pass altogether.

  4. Zeus says:
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    Start Gose over Heyward this week? Heyward and rajai are both hurt.

    Danke

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Zeus: Are they both out of their lineups today? If so I’d have to say yes, it’s Gose for the week.

      • Zeus says:
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        @RotoLance: yeah both out

  5. Five-On-One says:
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    I play in a weekly league, and so the guys who don’t start every day are difficult tp manage. That said, I do have Alex Guerrero (and his 5 HR) sitting on my bench. Is he worth holding on to (i.e. will he start getting regular playing time)? Or, if I need a 2B (and I do), should I try flipping him for a Wong or a Travis or someone of that ilk? Thanks in advance.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Five-On-One: I’d definitely try to flip him. Even if he were to somehow get regular playing time there’s no guarantee he’d out perform Travis and especially not Wong. I think his HR/FB ratio right now at close to 50% right now. A normal good number there is 20%. He also hasn’t really struck out but last year in a tiny sample size he sure did. So basically I’m trying to say everything is breaking his way right now, which I suppose is obvious.

      If he were playing full time I’d probably have to rank him ahead of Travis but I’m not sure if I’d rank him ahead of Wong.. probably. But that a massive IF right now. It’s hard to see him playing more than 4-5 times a week unless Kendrick or Uribe is hurt then _maybe_. While Puig is out I think maybe he’ll get 3-4 starts per week. What do you think?

      • Five-On-One says:
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        @RotoLance: I think he *should* be playing nearly every day at 3B, but then again, I am thinking with my fantasy hat on, and totally disregarding defense, clubhouse chemistry, etc. Hard to argue he should regularly start over Puig, Pederson or Kendrick. Maybe some starts at third, some over Crawford, and while Puig is hurt, facing lefties instead of Ethier.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Five-On-One: Guerrero not in the lineup tonight.

  6. Eng says:
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    Why so low with the ratings on Ziegler?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Eng: Because I try to no be biased by any small sample size happenings I’m just using the Steamer/Razzball projections and they think he’s mediocre. He’s not a strikeout guy, eventually he’ll get hit. Thanks for reading.

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Eng: also, if not for marshall falling completely on his face so far this year the 8th (and reed’s spot when he gets bad enough) was starting to look like it might’ve been his. At the very least till recently Ziegler was being used out of leverage innings. He’s back now though.

  7. Eric says:
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    9 team AL only 5×5 league. Debating offering D.Travis, J.Soria, and M.Castro for Springer. Am I giving away too much? Already loaded @ closer (Britton, Perkins, Boxberger) and have Mookie @ 2b.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Eric: It all depends on if Springer can bat .240 with 30 home runs or if it will be more like .220 with 25. Unless I somehow missed an update Boxberger is expected to lose his job to Jake McGee soon, so I’m not sure you are as deep at closer a you say. It’s a close call. Who would you be able to pick up with the extra roster spots the trade creates?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Eric: Whoops, that is a lot of closers for AL only. My bad.

  8. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    Apparently I think Luke Gregerson’s name is spelled Gregorson.

  9. Hooker says:
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    Yimi Garcia and Chris Hatcher need to be on the reliever list with Peralta to the DL — the former due to raw talent, the latter due to assuming next-in-line.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Hooker: I agree. Yimi was perhaps a candidate due to talent alone and when it came down to it I ended up simply forgetting. Thanks for reading.

  10. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    good work putting in both vacuum and jumbo at CIN town. pretty soon might have to add cingrani.

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: interesting take on DET, you’re in minority there (i don’t like joba) as everybody else seems to like joba better. al al i thought would be better by now, he’s been likely one of worst 7th/8th inning guys in league that haven’t been demoted yet.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: I actually think I referenced other sources when making that call. His projections are not that bad, perhaps he’ll rebound.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: I’ve seen Cingrani listed as the next in line in at least one other list like this. I’ll try to update all of the most volatile situations next week.

  11. Alex says:
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    Cishek just got dropped in one of my leagues. I am currently rostering Addison Reed…I just put in a waiver claim for Cishek (would drop Reed).

    I blame Cishek’s early hiccups on the fact that he hasn’t thrown enough in save situations. Thoughts on the move? Cishek over Reed?

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @Alex: yes, cishek going into yesterday had 4 straight innings with NO ONE on base. that doesn’t look like somebody with problems that are that bad. also he had clean inning tonight, so 5/6 of last appearances went well.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: Thanks for your valuable input. The only thing I see as slightly concerning are the walks but he’s worked around an undesirable walk rate in the past. So I guess what I mean is that’s the only thing close to a red flag but it’s certainly not much of one if it is one at all.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Alex: I’m fine with it. Sorry for the late reply, I was out of town for the day to see Sleater Kinney in ABQ.

  12. Blevin says:
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    Drop Ottavino for Giles, Farquhar, or Ramos?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Blevin: I do think he is drop-able if there is no DL slot to place him. Obviously I did rank Farquhar and Giles high but they have been shaky early. Still Farquhar has a solid track record, go with him. Cecil just became closer for TOR again, depending on your league he could be available.

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