by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Are you a fantasy owner searching the waiver wire for speed? Here’s a look at a few of the names that may be available (owned in less than 50% of CBS formats) that have been swiping some bases recently to determine if the trend can continue or not:
Gregor Blanco – San Francisco Giants – Outfielder
Blanco has been hitting atop the order thanks to Angel Pagan being on the sidelines, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to play even with Pagan returning to the lineup. With Brandon Belt on the DL, Mike Morse has shifted to first base leaving a hole in the team’s outfield.
Blanco has stolen as many as 26 bases in the Majors (in 393 AB in 2012) and stole 30+ three times in the minor leagues. At 30-years old he may not be a threat to swipe 40+ at this point, but there’s no reason to think that he can’t continue to contribute (he did have a 3 SB on 5/14 alone).
Obviously his .148 average is a major turn off, as he’s simply been putting the ball in the air too much (50.0% through Tuesday). Given his track record it’s something we would think could be corrected, so if you are desperate for some speed he could be a sneaky pickup with the potential opportunity there.
Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals – Outfielder
He appears to have staked his claim on the centerfield job, at least for now, and is performing by hitting .314 with 1 HR and 5 SB in 86 AB. Last season he stole 14 bases and has stolen 20+ bases four times in the minor leagues. He simply doesn’t have the speed upside of someone like Blanco, but he could kick a few in. Consider him a secondary target, since the ceiling is a little bit lower.
Carl Crawford – Los Angeles Dodgers – Outfielder
The biggest name on this list, the issues with Crawford are always going to be:
- Playing Time
Thus far the first on hasn’t been an issue in 2014 and he’s actually started the last four games for the Dodgers. That’s a good sign, but it’s hardly a guarantee it’s going to continue (they would be paying Andre Ethier an awful lot to be a fourth outfielder). Crawford has been hitting sixth in the lineup, which isn’t ideal but is far enough from the pitchers spot that it shouldn’t completely hinder his ability to run.
With 8 SB on the season, he would be on pace for around 30. Obviously if he’s going to play every day he’s going to be worth using (he’s hitting the ball extremely well, with a 25.9% line drive rate), but those questions are always going to be hanging over him. Just keep your eyes open, that’s all.
Pedro Ciriaco – Kansas City Royals – Middle Infielder
Ciriaco was recalled when Omar Infante was placed on the DL and has swiped a pair of bases. However, he’s sharing the position with Johnny Giavotella and, when he does play he is buried in the ninth spot of the order. There’s no value here at all.
Sources – CBS Sports, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference