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).

Player Yahoo ESPN Value HR
Jorge Soler 82 125 60 24.9
Chris Davis 97 74 62 30.1
Oswaldo Arcia 232 197 70 25.7
Mark Trumbo 119 100 72 27.8
Khris Davis 224 221 112 24

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.

 
  1. Clint says:
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    I like the power ain’t got no face portion. I snatched Khris Davis in my draft and a guy just dropped Oswaldo Arcia in the same roto league so I think I can grab some cheap. Only worry I have for KD’s whether The Crew will go forward w/the plan of platooning him w/Geraldo Parra or if he could rise above it to become a complete player & a big time fantasy stud.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Clint: Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    Micah Johnson update, via Rotowire:

    “Manager Robin Ventura has still not named a starting second baseman for the 2015 season, but he called Johnson the “leader” for the role Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
    Spin:
    Johnson had two hits and a stolen base in Sunday’s game against the A’s, to give him a .347/.396/.490 line with three steals on the spring. There is little time left in camp for Johnson to lose the role to Carlos Sanchez, who may still make the club as a utility player. If the current status holds, then Johnson should provide fantasy owners with good speed, even if he does bat ninth in the White Sox’s order.”

  3. longbeachyo says:
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    Uh oh. Storen just got pulled from the game with an apparent injury. Who do you like in Washington to take over the closer role if it’s serious?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @longbeachyo: I can only speculate. When there are multiple unproven options available, however, teams often go with a closer by committee approach.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @longbeachyo: Nationals Twitter feed has reported it’s a blister on his foot.

  4. Dave says:
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    While I wait for Javier Baez to return to the majors, I need to pick up a SS in my Yahoo 16-team H2H league with 7 offense categories (including OBP, TB, and net-SB). Right now, I’m going with Marcus Semien (after the first week, when he qualifies). I’m also considering Odubel Herrera or Jose Ramirez. Also available: Andrelton Simmons and Jung-Ho Kang. Suggestions? Thanks!

    • Dave says:
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      @Dave: Nick Franklin is available too, by the way.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Dave: I kinda like Jose Ramirez but my concern is with his playing time. Simmons is a sure thing for playing time, so there’s that. Kang could be sent down so probably not him.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Dave: By the way, don’t assume Baez will be up right away. Could be May, June…. September even. Maybe the Cubs will be looking for him to increase his contact rate while he’s down there?

  5. jacque jones says:
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    Love the cheap steals thanks for writing looking to add one mi got stuck with asscab at mi. You like micah j or jace peterson(ATL) for sb? Other mi options are alcantera ,hardy, Owings semien boneface Flores and the usual suspects. … infield is [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @jacque jones: Asdrubal is probably going to end up being more valuable than most of those players. I would have to say Semien has a bit more upside at this point, plus he’s got the added bonus of 3B eligibility. Micah is definitely the guy to go with if you really need the steals. He could go 5/25 with a full season but he’ll probably only bat .255 or so. Asdrubal’s safe but if you find him too boring I’d pick one of those two.

      • jacque jones says:
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        @RotoLance: thanks. I’m not counting on tampa scoring often that’s why I’m looking to upgrade. Semien will have 2b/3b/ss elig in yahoo which I like. It’s only a 10tm so I can hold off on grabbing anybody right away.

  6. Gabriel Gonzalez says:
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    Billy Burns ! Sagnof said!

  7. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    nice work,thanks

  8. Who do you like better for the season between: e young jr, Jordan Schafer, or Michael bourn? Thanks.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Ichigo kurosaki: Young. Bourn could rebound and still not put up the SB numbers that Young is likely to put up.

  9. rissdom says:
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    If Jace Peterson has indeed locked up the 2B job, he could be a SAGNOF beast.
    He demonstrated excellent OBP skills in MiLB (.381) with a .287 AVG and had 148 SBs in 389 games, which prorates to about 62 SBs per 162 games.
    The clincher is that the Braves are batting him second. It’s a weakened lineup but he is still batting in front of markakis & freeman.
    If he does get 80% of the starts, he should prove to be a great pickup.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @rissdom: Thanks for your input. He’s certainly a guy I’ll be talking about in a future post, possibly next week. I would like to point out that various projections seem to think he’s pretty mediocre, even if you assume he gets playing time.
      Steamer 600: 600PA 5HR 47R 46RBI 21SB .230 AVG .291 OBP
      ZiPS: 121G 507 PA 3 HR 63R 41 RBI 24 SB .228 AVG .299 OBP

      I would guess a fair amount of prospects out perform their projections immediately, however.

      • rissdom says:
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        wow. those projections are pessimistically sobering. thanks for bringing them to light. I hope that people will look at those and avoid, so that I can keep gobbling him up. He’s going for a song, with no known ADP in ESPN, CBS & Yahoo!, so is certainly worth grabbing with your last pick in deeper leagues and monitoring in shallower leagues, in the event that the minor league skill set he demonstrated, translate. Look forward to reading your deeper dive, down the line, since that will hopefully mean he has moved the needle in a positive direction.

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