by Will Overton
Last week I talked about the importance of knowing your standings and your team needs when you hit the waiver wire to find a player to pickup. I won’t go through all of that again, but it’s a principle you need to know if you want to succeed in fantasy baseball. Unlike fantasy football, the best overall player isn’t always the player you need.
In light of the discussion last week I looked at some strikeout aces to grab off the wire. This week I am going to look at the offensive side of things and help you track down some speedsters to potentially acquire if you have a need for speed. Especially if you happened to have lost Dee Gordon yesterday.
As usual I am going to try and cover some standard league, deep league and very deep league options. But if all of these guys are owned please feel free to get some discussion going about who is available in your league in the comments section:
Ben Revere – OF, Minnesota Twins: I’ve talked about him multiple times already this season, but Revere remains available in a decent amount of standard leagues and he just keeps on hitting the ball. Revere isn’t overly aggressive on the base paths to where he’ll steal five in a week or anything, but as long he’s getting on base he’s going to get his here and there. Over the last month Revere has swiped ten bags and that’s about what you should expect going forward. That’s pretty good considering the average and runs scored he’s bringing too.
Danny Espinosa – 2B, Washington Nationals: This one is an interesting name on this list because like so many of the others he’s not just a one stat contributor, he also has decent power, possessing 20/30 potential if he gets it together. He’s also interesting cause he can go through some pretty rough stretches where he kills your team’s average. Still the potential upside is hard to pass up at middle infield and he’s starting to heat up with a hit in each of his last seven games started. He’s added three more steals in the last two games and has 14 on the season now.
Gregor Blanco – OF, San Francisco Giants: At one point this season Gregor Blanco was owned in a lot standard leagues, now he’s been relegated to a deep league pickup after hitting a bit of a slump in June. Yet despite his struggles in June Blanco still swiped eight bags and was only caught once all month. Blanco has a knack for getting on base even when his bat isn’t getting it done as he has already taken 30 walks this season. He may lose some playing time because he can’t hit righties well, but at the moment there’s no one that can take it from him.
Andres Torres – OF, New York Mets: In the last two weeks guess who has stolen more bases than anyone in baseball not named Dee Gordon? It’d be more suprising if you didn’t already know who I was talking about, but yeah, Andres Torres. He has seven stolen bases in his last 10 games and he didn’t even start two of those. You need to know going into adding Torres that his average is awful, but he’s still stealing bases because of the amount of walks he draws. If you play in an OBP league you’re set with Torres, if not you have to consider it more carefully, but he’s certainly the hottest guy on the base paths right now.
Elliot Johnson – SS, Tampa Bay Rays: Thanks to ineptitude and injuries Elliot Johnson has earned himself a job as the Rays everyday shortstop. And while he doesn’t bring a ton to the table he has a little power and some sneaky good speed. In the last two weeks Johnson has stolen five bases and he’s up to 15 total steals on the season. And he’s actually doing pretty well over all too. In the month of June Johnson hit .295 and had 11 R and 11 RBI to go with his speed. He might not be the fastest guy on the team, but he’s quick and knows how to take a base, and on a run happy Tampa team that’s a nice combination to have. All deep leagues should consider Johnson for a roster spot, especially if speed is a need.
Even Deeper Legaues
Darin Mastroianni – OF, Minnesota Twins: He might not be quite so under the radar after stealing three bases yesterday against the Tigers, but Mastroianni is the latest in a long line of Twins speedy outfielders who get on base and wreak havoc. In the last four games he has started Mastroianni is 6 – 14 with 3 BB and he has stolen six bases. He already has eight for the season despite having just 63 AB’s. And a guy playing well on a bad team stands a good chance of earning himself more playing time. He’s just a platoon guy right now, but Mastroianni could emerge as more and even if not he’s stealing enough bases in the role he’s in to be useful to a team needing speed.
Maicer Izturis – 2B/3B, Los Angeles Angels: When you’re in a deep league you sometimes have to roster guys who don’t play everyday, if you’re going to do that than you might as well do it with someone like Izturis who can be a category specialist. When Izturis is in the lineup he is a threat to steal. So far this season he is 11 for 11 on steal attempts. The fact that Alberto Callaspo is swinging such a strong bat right now doesn’t bode well for him, but he’s still getting into the lineup for a start once per series and if you just need a fill in with some speed Izturis could make a nice addition. It’s not ideal, but it’s a source of speed when it’s not easy to come by.