Friday, April 9, 2010

Burning Up the Bases - April 9, 2010

I love stolen bases. I think they are incredibly exciting, and I think they are the easiest category in fantasy baseball to win. (It's also the easiest category in which to make up ground.)

This year, I'm here to help you win your league's stolen base crown.

Four That Will Disappoint / Underachieve

Ichiro, OF, Mariners: Just a wild guess here, but I have a feeling Ichiro will make a concerted effort to hit for more power in this weak lineup. This team might set a record for fewest homers in a season.

Willy Taveras, OF, Nationals / Willie Bloomquist, Util, Royals: I hope you weren't too high on these two Will(y)ies to begin with, but just in case you were, let me end those notions. Yes, they stole 25 bags each last year. But, one doesn't start anymore (Taveras) and one won't be starting for much longer.

Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles: If you have him, trade him as soon as possible. His back is balky already. Hard for me to imagine a repeat of last season's 30-bag performance.

Three That Will Surprise / Overachieve

Alex Rios, OF, White Sox: I might be in the minority here, but I'm not ready to forget about Rios, who had a terrible 2009 campaign. He has stolen at least 14 bases in all six of his Major League seasons, and despite last season's struggles, he still stole 24 bags.

Evereth Cabrera, SS, Padres: He will put up better numbers (substantially better in stolen bases) than Stephen Drew, but because he does not have the "big name," he will come much cheaper.

Adam Kennedy, 2B, Nationals: When given playing time, Kennedy has proven to be a capable 20-bag guy. He's cheap and expectations are low. That's my kind of player to target.

Two On The Farm

Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays: Jennings, considered the heir apparent to Carl Crawford has stolen at least 50 bases in each of his last three minor league seasons (50, 52, 52). If your roster allows for a minor leaguer or if you have a deep bench, Jennings certainly warrants a spot.

Eric Young Jr, 2B, Rockies: Devoid of power (27 career homers in six professional seasons), Young might be the fastest man in baseball. He has averaged 67 stolen bases per season over the last four years. He also gets on base at an impressive clip meaning he would slot beautifully into the leadoff spot.

One to Target

Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees: The formula is pretty simple with Gardner - he will play against righties. That means daily-leaguers should slot him into the lineup as a cheap source of stolen bases anytime the Yankees face a right-handed starter. Also, his platoonmate, Marcus Thames, missed a month and a half of the 2009 season due to injury. If injury strikes again, Gardner could have the job to himself.

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