Spring Cliche: Rajai Davis’ Speed

When a Hall of Famer and the best stolen base artist in Major League history speaks, we all listen, right?  I know I am a believer of everything that comes from Ricky Henderson…  No?  Anyone?

I know, Rickey’s Rickey, and he continues to be himself as he works as a base running instructor for the Oakland Athletics.  According to Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle (click here for the article) he “declared that Davis could steal 75-80 bases this season.”   The Davis he is speaking of is Rajai Davis, who stole 41 bases in just 390 at bats last season.

Normally I would disregard statements such as this, but this one may have a little bit of merit.  Do I actually think Davis could reach that level?  It’s not likely, but thanks to some time under Henderson, it would certainly be believable that he reaches 50 or more this season.

Slusser says that “Henderson said, Davis’ balance could be better, because he’s been flat-footed. Henderson got him up on his toes, and that will help. Davis said his work with Henderson will help him get a more explosive start off the bag.”

Ricky is going to say some outrageous things, and this is out there.  Still, there is something to be taken from it for fantasy owners.  I wouldn’t necessarily grab him at his current ADP (about 167), if he slides a little bit he’s certainly worth taking.

What about you?  Do you put any stock into Henderson’s claims?  What do you expect from Davis in 2010?

8 comments

  1. Eddy says:

    Let’s not forget that Henderson also correctly predicted Steve Balboni’s only SB of his career before the start of the 1984 season!

  2. Yummy says:

    Remember when Ricky told Jon Olerud he used to play with a guy who wore an batting helmet in the field like Olerud did. Then Olerude said “yes Ricky that was me too.”

  3. MRT says:

    Not to turn this into a Rickey article/discussion, but there are too many things that he did that were just too funny – one of my favorites – “In the early 1980s, the Oakland A’s accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.”

  4. Dave says:

    This really is not about Rickey Henderson, it is about the number of SB Davis will get, and that comes down to 1 thing – playing time. Will Davis get 400 AB or 650 AB. That makes a huge difference. The Oakland outfield will be Davis, Crisp, Sweeney, Cust, Fox, and who knows who else will pop up during spring training.

    I realize that Cust and Fox will also play 1B and DH, but I still think that his AB will be closer to 400. If Davis was a player that stole 10 bases, no one would even be thinking about drafting him, and stolen bases are far more important in fantasy than in real baseball. More important to the A’s is how good of a defensive player he is, and I don’t know the answer to that.

    If anyone thinks that he will really steal 80 bases, then he should be taken ahead of Ellsbury and Crawford, and I can’t see that happening. My guess is 425 AB, 275 ave, 3HR, 40 RBI, 80 Runs and 38 steals. The runs and average don’t hurt you, but the Hr & RBI’s certainly do. It is not worth it to REACH for him, which is what you will have to do in order to get him.

  5. Quintilian B. Nasty says:

    I don’t think 50 bags this year is out of the question. 75-80 is outlandish.

  6. michael k says:

    Before Shane Victorino broke out into a 40SB guy, we had rumblings like this…..about his base coach Davey Lopes who was a great SB threat in his day.

    The question isnt whether Rajai can run, because he can…its whether Ricky Henderson can truly pass on the methods he used to steal sick #s of bases. I am skeptical. Rajai gets 40 and no more.

  7. Ringwraiths says:

    Rickey can help Davis with his baserunning all he wants. What he really needs to help him with is his OBP. If that goes up, then sure, Davis could steal 70+ bases.

  8. Doc says:

    Let’s not forget the last player Rickey worked with… A young shortstop for the NY Mets – Jose Reyes. Reyes went from a .273 hitter to a .300 hitter that year (and steadily increased his SB numbers from 60 to 64 to 78). Reyes hasn’t reached those numbers since Rickey left, coincidence?

    I’m buying into the hype. I don’t think that he will approach 75-80 but he’s not going to be that far off.

    I see a .300 AVG/.375 OBP, 100 R, 60+ SBs. line this year

    That’s Ellsbury, Crawford, Bourne numbers without the high price tag. Why would you take Ellsbury or Crawford in Round 2/3 when you can get similar production in Round 10/11 (I don’t consider a potential 60+ SB in Round 10 or 11 “reaching”)??

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