If you are like many fantasy baseball owners, you may have a glaring need for stolen bases on your team. The basic problem is that many owners will place a higher value on hitters who deliver power as opposed to speed. Since a home run will technically also contribute in 3 other categories (run scored, RBI and AVG), players who hit for power are often drafted ahead of those that contribute stolen bases. With a dearth of players at the major league level that offer both power and speed together (where have you gone, Grady Sizemore?), players that offer speed on the base paths are often ‘light hitters’ who offer less power and thus are not drafted as high by the majority of owners. The result? Many fantasy baseball owners need speed. The only way to get help in the stolen base department is via the trade route or a look to the waiver wire. Some players to consider:
Jason Bourgeois (HOU) –
With Michael Bourn traded to the Braves, Bourgeois is the premier base-stealing threat on the Astros. He has been used both in the 3 spot in the batting order as well as the lead off position. Although he possesses very little power, hitting in the 3-hole could mean a few more RBI opportunities. However, speed is Bourgeois’ game and he is a good source of speed over the final 2 months of the 2011 season.
Dee Gordon (LAD) –
The trade which sent Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals opened the door for Gordon on the Dodgers. He is a consistent threat to steal on the base paths and has proven he can get on base during his recent call-up to the big league club. He recently suffered a bruise to his right shoulder but it shouldn’t present much of a bother to him and he should be a good source of stolen bases down the stretch.
Coco Crisp (OAK) –
With his fantasy ownership ballooning recently, Crisp may be available only via the trade route in your league. However, if you need stolen bases, you need to make a pitch to acquire him. With a knack for getting on base, Crisp has been able to showcase his blazing speed on the bases (including an impressive 4-steal game on August 6th). The only question is how much it will cost you to acquire him.
Nyjer Morgan (MIL) –
In recent years, if you needed to acquire some cheap stolen bases, Morgan was your man. That is no longer the case. With Carlos Gomez injured, the Brewers badly need to be able to rely on Morgan for his stolen base abilities. However, that has not been the case. He has missed time in bunches this season and when he has played he hasn’t been running. He has only 6 SB on the season (and none since July 10). Look elsewhere.
Austin Jackson (DET) –
The 2010 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up has not reproduced his stellar numbers of last season. Although he has stepped up his offensive game somewhat since the All Star break, he is still hitting below .250 and he continues to strike out much too often for a non-power hitter. Although his stolen base totals are down from a year ago, he continues to hit lead-off for the Tigers and can supply a few steals for your team down the stretch.
Rajai Davis (TOR) –
Davis’ role in the Toronto outfield was in jeopardy even before the Jays acquired Colby Rasmus. He had lost his role as the leadoff hitter in the line up and was often hitting out of the 8th spot. Now he seems relegated to spot starts and pinch-running duty off the bench. Regardless, when Davis is on base, he runs like few others in the major leagues. Even with his reduced role, Davis can be a cheap source of stolen bases over the final 2 months of the season.
If it’s stolen bases you need, these ‘speed demons’ may help to add a few steals to your totals and could just be the difference for the stretch drive of the 2011 season.
..* Jason Bourgeois photo by SBoyd (Jason Bourgeois 2) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Coco Crisp photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Rajai Davis photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons