Tag: Rajai Davis

MLB Power Rankings: Identifying the 10 Best Late-Round Fantasy Draft Steals

This article will identify the 10 best late-round fantasy draft steals.

When I identify these players, I will make reference to the draft I participated in with Yahoo! in terms of when these players were drafted.  I will also examine where Yahoo! has ranked said players overall and how that affects where they are taken in the draft.  I will also examine why these players would pay huge dividends for any fantasy team.

However, you should note that I am not trying to find you the next Jose Bautista, I am merely giving you elite players that you can wait until later to grab in the draft and be considered a genius.  So, without further ado…Let us begin!

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Oakland Athletics Commercials: "Hustle Meets Humor"

Not a whole lot of insight to this posting, just thought it would be fun to post some of the A’s funnier commercials from past seasons.

The A’s put together several commercials each year. These are the ones I was able to find on YouTube. Starting with 1981 and Billy Ball, then skipping all the way to 2005 and finishing up with the full play-list of 2010 commercials.

The A’s filmed their 2011 commercials in the very beginning of spring training, and they promise to be of their usual comedic quality.

If you have links to any commercials that I did not include, please attach a link in a comment for me to add them in.

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Fantasy Baseball Late-Round Targets: Five Sources of Speed

Is speed something you look for late in your draft? 

Here are five guys who are generally available after Round 18 (meaning they have an ADP of 216 or above, according to Mock Draft Central), and I currently have them projected to steal at least 25 bases each. 

If you have the need for speed, these are certainly names worth targeting:


Jose Tabata – Pittsburgh Pirates

I discussed him briefly as part of a wild prediction (click here to view) and there certainly is reason for fantasy owners to take notice.  With an ADP of 271.02, he has the potential to be a bargain.

In his first taste in the Major Leagues (405 AB), Tabata hit .299 with 61 R and 19 SB. That doesn’t mention the 25 SB he had at Triple-A in 224 AB prior to his recall, so no one should be doubting his speed. 

Throw in the fact that there has been talk that the Pirates are going to be more aggressive on the base paths, and there is even more to like.

I know people are going to point to his lack of SB prior to 2010, but remember he just turned 21 years old in ’10.  He was young and inexperienced and still learning the nuances of the game.

I also believe that there’s a good chance Tabata ultimately settles into the leadoff spot (if he doesn’t open the year there), with Andrew McCutchen moving down to the third spot.  That would provide Tabata even more opportunities to run.

Is he going to be one of these guys who steals 60-70 bases?  Of course not, but how many guys are?  He could easily steal over 25 bases, with the potential for significantly more.


Rajai Davis – Toronto Blue Jays

Before the addition of Scott Podsednik, we may have felt a little bit more comfortable with Davis’ use as a late-round steal option (current ADP of 289.92). 

There is now a chance that he loses a few at bats, so keep that in mind in comparison to the other options listed.

Over the past two seasons, Davis has stolen 91 bases for the Oakland Athletics, though the team seemed to prefer Coco Crisp (who we will talk about shortly) as the leadoff option when he was healthy. 

Why?  Well, Davis is not the best OBP option, something that teams obviously look for at the top of the order.

I know he had a .360 mark in 2009, but he was at just .320 last season.  He has a career walk rate of just 5.9% and was at 4.6% in ’10.  He needs to improve those marks so he can make the most of his speed (though he showed that he can still steal bases even if he doesn’t have an elite OBP). 

As long as he maintains regular playing time, he is going to be a solid late-round option, but there is a bit of risk.


Angel Pagan – New York Mets

You would think that people would believe in Pagan after he broke out in 2010, wouldn’t you?  Alas, owners seem to be a bit skeptical after he hit .290 with 11 HR, 69 RBI, 80 R and 37 SB. 

Maybe it is his injury-prone history?  Or is it the return of Carlos Beltran that has owners concerned?  Regardless, it would appear like Pagan is a bargain at his current ADP of 297.10.

Do not get me wrong, as I think there is little chance that he improves on his ’10 success and very well could see a bit of a regression.  However, that is a story for another day. 

What we are looking for here are players who can provide plenty of speed late in your draft, and Pagan fits the bill.

Over the past two seasons, he has 51 stolen bases in 67 attempts.  There is no reason to think that the Mets are going to put the brakes on, even with a change in leadership. 

Pagan should get the green light hitting second in the Mets order, meaning 30+ should be realistic for a second consecutive season. 


Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays

Sooner or later, he is going to be looked at as the replacement to Carl Crawford, it is just a matter of when. 

The signings of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez may have delayed his arrival slightly, but that doesn’t change his potential outlook, it only drives down the asking price (306.59 current ADP).

Over his minor-league career, he has stolen 171 bases in 204 attempts.  Last season he had 37 SB in 399 AB at Triple-A. 

In ’09 he had 52 SB in 497 AB between Double-A and Triple-A.  The guy can run and, if he’s given an opportunity, he is going to show it.

Obviously he may not have much value early on, especially for those in shallower formats, because he could easily open the year at Triple-A. 

However, for those in deeper formats, stashing him for usage later on is certainly appealing.


Coco Crisp – Oakland Athletics

Can he stay healthy?  That really is the question.  He had just 290 AB in ’10, yet he managed to steal 32 bases in 35 attempts.

Of course you can call that a bit of an aberration, considering he had never stolen more than 28 bases in a season since his Major League debut back in 2002.  Or maybe it was just the A’s finally gave him the green light and let him run wild? 

With an ADP of 334.76, it certainly is worth rolling the dice to find out if you find yourself lacking in speed late in the draft.

What are your thoughts of these options?  Which would you target late in your draft if you were in need of speed?  Is there another option you would consider?


**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out our previous late round articles:


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Power Rankings: Rating the Speed of All 30 Major League Teams

This article will rank the teams based on how much speed each team possesses beginning with the slowest team.  I will take a look at last years overall team ranking in terms of the stolen base and compare it to how I believe they will rank this year.  I will also take a look at who lead the team last year in stolen bases and look at the other base stealers on the team as well.  

Then, I will predict who will lead their respective teams in stolen bases and will also identify the other players who can potentially contribute in terms of speed, in 2011.

So, without further ado, let us start!

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Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Preview: Are They a Better Team Than Last Year?

At first glance, it would appear as if the Toronto Blue Jays have had a quiet offseason.

There were no big contracts, no major deals, no guys named Greinke or Ramirez. 

In fact, they seemed to lose more players than they acquired: Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Kevin Gregg, All-Star catcher John Buck and first baseman Lyle Overbay have all signed elsewhere. 

Oh, and they traded Shaun Marcum, their Opening Day starter, for prospect Brett Lawrie.

Some have suggested that the Jays will actually field a weaker team than they did in 2010, one that’ll be unable to capitalize on the Crawford-less Rays and an aging New York Yankees. 

But in reality, GM Alex Anthopoulos has been flying under the radar, bolstering the club’s already impressive farm system with several low-risk acquisitions, such as outfielder Corey Patterson and reliever Wil Ledezma. The Jays will have a competitive spring training in which many players will be competing for few jobs, particularly in the bullpen. 

They signed former closers Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Chad Cordero, who will battle it out with Jason Frasor to be the everyday closer. The fifth spot in the rotation is also up for grabs, with Marc Rzepczynski, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills and newcomer Zach Stewart all vying for the position. And if Dustin McGowan somehow manages to get healthy, you can throw his name into the mix, too. 

Whether the Jays brass will admit it publicly or not, the club is not realistically looking to contend for the AL East title until 2012. Having said that, there’s plenty to be excited about in 2011. Let’s take a closer look at the changes made over the offseason.

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Toronto Blue Jays Depth Chart: Outfield For 2011 Features More Speed

Right Field

Travis Snider, in his third year in the majors, is looking for more consistency and a clean bill of health; 2011 could be the year that he achieves both.  Snider hasn’t had a smooth path to the majors, but has shown at different times that he is more than capable of excelling at the highest level.  

Snider should take over starting duties in right field, with the occasional start by Jose Bautista to give him a day off.  Bautista will get most of his starts at third base unless the Jays acquire another player between now and spring training, and will back up Snider in right.

Snider batted .378 in May with a .711 Slugging Percentage before the injury that took him out for all of June and July, then rebounded with a .304 average in September and October.  A full year of at-bats should see an impressive increase in production with a batting average likely around .290.


Center Field

The longest serving member of the Blue Jays, Vernon Wells, will again return to his position in center field.  The veteran outfielder will work to unite the young Snider and new Rajai Davis into a defensive unit with his responsible play and experience.  Wells has had over 500 at-bats over the last eight seasons, remaining relatively injury free, despite struggles with his wrist last year.  His resurgence in power saw him post his best home run and RBI totals since 2006, at 31 and 88 respectively.

Davis will cover for him on his off days, creating a chain effect that will see Snider move to left field and Bautista to right, or Corey Patterson filling in where needed.


Left field 

The speedy new acquisition Rajai Davis will be taking over left field for the Toronto Blue Jays.  They will try to have him in the line-up as much as possible so they have a legitimate base stealing threat in the leadoff position.  Davis has stolen 142 bases over the last four seasons, including 50 last season alone—far more than even the next closest Jay.

Corey Patterson is slotted to be the fourth outfielder right now, another base stealing threat with 21 last season.

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MLB Trades: 15 Important Minor Trades You May Have Missed This Offseason

Blockbuster trades, like the one that sent slugger Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox, get all of the attention from fans and analysts. But they are no more or less important than any other trade a general manager might make this offseason.

These under-the-radar trades are a valuable way to fill up a final roster spot, or to acquire some depth for the big league team or to bring in prospects as part of a rebuilding effort. No team can be built entirely from major trades and big free agent signings, and these deals show that winning in baseball is harder than it looks.

This offseason has been one of the busiest in recent memory, and dozens of players are now with new teams. Here is a look at the 15 most important minor trades made so far.

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Blue Jays Aquire Versatile Outfielder Rajai Davis From Oakland

Yesterday, the Toronto Blue Jays made a minor deal with the Oakland As by acquiring outfielder, Rajai Davis. In return the Jays sent a pair of minor league relievers, Trystan Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar, to Oakland. Both players spent all of 2010 with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Although he’ll be thirty next season, Davis still has three years of arbitration remaining. That should keep his salary down while providing the Jays with help in some key areas.

The first thing to jump out about Davis is his speed on the basepaths.  In 2010, he swiped 50 bases in 61 attempts, an excellent 81.9 percent success rate. On his career, spanning back to 2006, Davis has stolen 143 bases against just 38 failed attempts. Davis nearly stole as many bases as the Blue Jays did as a whole last season. The Jays swiped just 54 bags last season.

Now, stealing lots of bases does not equate to winning games, one only need and look at the one team that stole less bases than the Jays. That would be the World Champion San Francisco Giants. But having someone with this level of base stealing ability is never a bad occurrence. That speed is also a key factor for Davis at the plate. He is not a power hitter, he doesn’t even have average power, with a career isolated power of just .102. To help paint that picture a little better, Davis has just a dozen homers in 1455 trips to the plate.

Without the power, Davis has routinely hit plenty of groundballs and used his speed to dig out base hits. Davis’ BABIP has been better than the league average in three of the last four seasons, including 2010 when he had a career low 15.5 percent line drive rate. Keeping your BABIP high with a low line drive rate is awfully tough but he was able to do it successfully with his speed a key culprit for why.

In his career Davis has hit .281 with a .326 BABIP. Davis doesn’t walk or strikeout much making his ability to keep his average up paramount to being a productive hitter. Davis drew a walk in just 4.6 percent of his at-bats last season, well below the league average and well off his 6.7 percent mark in 2009. If he walked more he’d be a prototypical lead-off hitter but as it stands he’s probably better suited to hitting lower down the line-up. Maybe not so much with the Jays though as they don’t have a clear cut choice for a lead-off hitter in 2011.

Finding a spot for Davis in the line-up is jumping ahead a bit with incumbents Vernon Wells, Fred Lewis, and Travis Snider lined up as the ideal outfield trio. The defensively challenged Adam Lind and third baseman/right fielder/home run king Jose Bautista might also be looking for outfield playing time next season. That being said, Davis is considered an above average defensive outfielder capable of handling all three outfield spots. Right away he’s probably the best centerfield option for the Jays, from a purely defensive standpoint.

Davis has played 342 games in center, 57 in left and 35 in right during his career. With Lewis, Snider, and Lind all hitting left-handed there should be plenty of opportunities to get the right-handed hitting Davis into the line-up against left handed pitching. Davis has a career .331 wOBA against lefties, compared to a .308 wOBA against righties. That difference comes mostly from hitting .292 against lefties to .277 versus right-handers and walking 2.7 percent more against lefites than righties. His isolated power and BABIP are essentially even against either type of pitcher.

How much playing time he gets will determine the end value of this trade. But for a pair of minor league relievers the Jays added a proven base stealer who can effectively play three outfield positions and hit lefties, all at a reasonable cost. A small move sure, but it’s good to see Alex Anthopoulos go out and address a need without appearing to give up too much in the process.

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Fantasy Baseball Transaction Analysis: Rajai Davis, John Buck And More

There was a flurry of activity yesterday, as the General Managers Meetings were in full swing.  Let’s take a look at the fantasy fallout from the various moves:


The Oakland A’s Traded Rajai Davis to Toronto

After the acquisition of David DeJesus, we all knew that the A’s had excess in the outfield that they needed to do something about. 

This was the first strike as Oakland acquired Double-A relief pitchers Trystan Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar in exchange for the center fielder.

Magnuson, who stands at 6′7″, posted a 2.58 ERA and struck out 63 batters in 73.1 innings.  Farquhar posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 76.2 innings.  Neither possess fantasy appeal.

Davis has a ton of speed, with 91 stolen bases over the past two seasons.  He hits for a decent average (.284 in ‘10, but there is room for improvement after a .322 BABIP), but he doesn’t walk nearly enough for a leadoff type (4.6% in ‘10).  The A’s clearly preferred Coco Crisp as their leadoff hitter, making Davis expendable.

With Edwin Encarnacion gone, it would appear that Jose Bautista will move to 3B.  That would free up a spot in their outfield for Davis, who also provides their best option in the leadoff spot (despite the lack of walks) given his speed. 

He should be given plenty of opportunities to score runs atop the Blue Jays lineup, which must intrigue owners. 

That makes him a good option late in your drafts if you are in need of speed (though it is a risk, one we will look at later in the offseason).


Joaquin Benoit Signs with the Detroit Tigers

According to ESPN’s Enrique Rojas (via Twitter), the deal is for three years and $16.5 million.  That just seems like an excessive amount of money, unless they view him as a potential closer at some point down the line. 

The Tigers’ closer, Jose Valverde, is signed for $7 million in 2011 with a $9 million option for 2012, so that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Benoit posted impressive numbers in 2010 with a 1.34 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 over 60.1 innings for the Rays.  However, he benefited from a .201 BABIP and 95.1% strand rate, two numbers that are extremely unlikely to be repeated. 

His BB/9 of 1.6 is also doubtful, considering his career 3.3 mark and having only once before being under 3.1 (in 2004, when he was still spending time as a starting pitcher).

He also is two years removed from a 5.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP for the Rangers (he did not pitch in the Majors in 2009 due to rotator cuff surgery).

A regression is coming and, as a middle reliever, he’s got no value for fantasy owners in 2011.


John Buck Signs with the Florida Marlins

Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) reported that Buck agreed to a three year, $18 million deal with the Marlins.  Buck, like many of the Blue Jays hitters, enjoyed a big year in 2010.  He hit .281 with 20 HR, 66 RBI and 53 R in 409 AB.

He benefited from a .335 BABIP and with a 27.1% strikeout rate (right along the lines of his 27.0% career mark), and the chances of him maintaining that type of average is unlikely. 

That’s the big concern, as the power should remain.  He actually hit more home runs on the road (11) then he did at home (9).  We all figured that his average was going to regress anyways (he’s a career .248 hitter), so the way we value him should remain unchanged.

The big winner is J.P. Arencibia, who made a splash in his Major League debut and now figures to get the everyday job in Toronto (barring another move). 

He hit .301 with 32 HR and 85 RBI in 412 AB at Triple-A (it was in the Pacific Coast League) and you have to figure he’ll be able to maintain that power in the Major Leagues.

Baseball America currently has him ranked as the Blue Jays’ seventh-best prospect saying, “Arencibia’s carrying tool is his power to all fields, which is at least above-average and draws 70 grades on the 20-80 scale from some scouts.” 

There are questions about his defense and we will look into him in much more detail later in the offseason.

What are your thoughts on these moves?  Who is the big winner?  Who is the big loser?

Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings:


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Toronto Blue Jays Breaking News: Jays Acquire Outfielder Rajai Davis

According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports, the Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of acquiring speed demon outfielder Rajai Davis in exchange for relief pitching prospects Tryston Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar.

Last season, Davis enjoyed a breakout season with the Athletics, batting a cool .284 with five home runs and 52 RBI’s to go along with 51 stolen bases. Davis’ arrival likely means the end of Fred Lewis’ time in Toronto.

Davis was deemed expendable by the Athletics after the club traded prospect pitcher Vin Mazzaro for outfielder David DeJesus in an early offseason deal with the Kansas City Royals.

When Davis arrives in Toronto, you should expect him to man the outfield and, possibly, see Jose Bautista move from right field to third base. Although Davis is a speed demon, his low on-base percentage does not scream leadoff hitter to me (.320).

The offseason is still in its early stages, but it’s apparent GM Alex Anthopolous and new manager John Farrell want to bring an element of speed to the Jays lineup.

The Blue Jays ended up trading relief pitching prospect Tryston Magnuson in the rumored deal. Magnuson, who hails from Vancouver British Columbia, was one of Toronto’s best relievers last season in all levels of the minors.

In 73.1 IP, Magnuson went 3-0 and collect 63 strikeouts to go along with only 10 walks.

Magnuson, originally drafted by J.P. Ricciardi 56th overall in 2007, would have come into spring training as a long shot to make the Jays bullpen this year, but the future still looks very bright for this Canadian.

Farquhar went 4-3 last season to go along with 17 saves with the New Hampshire Fishercats. In 76.2 IP, Farquhar only gave up 50 hits and struckout 79 batters, however, he battled control issues all season and walked 42 batters.

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