The season is nearly upon us, and as Jay put it on Saturday, this is what this series is about in a nutshell: “Lance will then take you on a SAGNOF journey, so special, we’re calling it the SAGNOF Special. For those not initiated, SAGNOF stands for Steals/Saves Ain’t Got No Face… because they don’t. It would be creepy. Like J-FOH. During this series, Lance will go over some attractive and available options for your team if you are in need of steals or saves. If only he could do that for my dating-life.” Remember, they “ain’t” got no face because there is speed and potential saves everywhere, and like Jay said, I’m here to help you find them… (not dates though, those are all for me.)
Here are some speedsters I think you should be aware of before the season starts (I’ll start including some bullpen targets next week.) Draft them or pick them up, the power of the SAGNOF Special is in your hands.
Melvin Upton Jr. is not a player to target. The hack formerly known as B.J. Upton is estimated to be out with a foot injury until at least early May. I owned him once, I think in 2007, which was his breakout year. Looking up his stats I see they were truly splendid, 24 HRs with 22 SBs and he also managed to hit for an extremely lucky .300. Now I’m lucky if a player search for B.J. Upton will even return a result. Amidst Upton’s 2007 hot streak, a certain columnist for ESPN wrote about how the AVG couldn’t hold because of his high K rate. But it held. That was before I knew very much about peripherals. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, unless ignorance led you to pick up Yangervis Solarte last year, then ignorance is more like “meh”.
Anyway, Melvin’s foot predicament leaves Eric Young Jr. as the starting center fielder for the Braves. This makes him worth owning and possibly starting in 12 team leagues right now and worth a pick up in 10 team leagues if you are desperate for steals. Considering that Melvin hasn’t managed an OBP of .300+ for three straight years, Eric Young Jr. (no on-base star himself) may be in your lineups for a whole lot longer. Keep in mind that he is worse in AVG than your typical speedster so you are making that sacrifice in addition to the usual RBI and HR hit you take from a speedster. (Rudy Projection: 235 PA, 22.4/1.4/16.1/16.5 /.239).
Dalton Pompey has perhaps the best playing time situation of any player on this list. His projected stat line, however, looks a lot like Eric Young’s on a per game basis, with Dalton swapping some of that speed for power. Would I rather have Young or Pompey? Great question. It’s such a close call. If you are looking for surefire speed choose Young, but if you can handle a little risk or want a better overall stat line go with Pompey. (Rudy Projection: 410 PA, 44.1/6.9/39.2/20.8/.235).
Rajai Davis is the righty on the wrong side of a platoon with Anthony Gose though it’s also been reported that he will sometimes start against right handers. He will also be the primary beneficiary if any of his teammates in the outfield should become injured so I see his 280 PA Razzball/Steamer projection to be close to his floor and I really think he has a chance for 400+ PAs. Which is not to say he’ll get there, but his path is at least clearer than the following players. Playing time being equal he’s easily the best player on this list. (Rudy Projection: 280 PA, 33.4/4.0/25.3/20.3/.265).
Micah Johnson‘s great spring has him as a player on the rise with a legitimate chance to make the White Sox roster as their primary second baseman. I could see this going either way as far as the over/under on the PAs because the White Sox still have reasons (defense, arbitration clock) to keep him in the minors for at least part of the season. (Rudy Projection: 288 PA, 28.2/3.6/26.3/13.5/.251).
Emilio Bonifacio somehow always finds playing time and always steals bases. Anthony Gose’s projected line is basically the same on a per PA basis as Pompey’s but he’s not an every day player. Jonathan Villar is worthy if he somehow gets the playing time, he has good pop in his bat by shortstop/speedster standards but is an AVG sinkhole. Everth Cabrera is less of a batting average risk than many of these players and he’d be a near every day fantasy starter if he were to get every day playing time.
The commenters requested it. Demanded it. Now “Value has no face: Home runs edition” is a reality. I’ve found some power hitters with projections that suggest they should be going earlier in drafts. I’m comparing the players’ Yahoo and ESPN ADP to their value rank derived from the Steamer/Razzball projections as seen in the player rater provided by Rudy. I think the table mostly speaks for itself, but we seem to have some players here that are either rebound candidates (C. Davis, Trumbo) or relative unknowns (Soler, Arcia, the other Davis).
Next Monday I’ll give an update on some of the players with playing time questions. Hopefully there will be some clarification by then. I’ll also go over some of the methodologies I’ll be using to decide if a given speedster is worth an acquisition (Hint: It’s mostly about playing time but there are some subtleties as well). And I’ll finally get around to mentioning some relievers with Saves potential to keep an eye on as the season gets rolling.