With just about 2 weeks left, this is your final chance to pick up some standings points and make strategic start/bench decisions based on your position in each category. If you need speed, these are your guys.
Adam Eaton | ARZ OF | CBS 11% Owned
Eaton has been playing regularly for the D-Backs while Chris Young has been mending, and now that Young has aggravated his quad injury and could be out for the rest of the year, Eaton’s playing time looks safe. Though he doesn’t have a whole lot of power, he brings speed and the potential for an excellent batting average. He has routinely posted Spd scores of at least 6.3 and stole a combined 44 bases at Double-A in Triple-A this year. He stole 42 bases last year as well, so running is clearly part of his game. He has already attempted 3 steals over just 48 plate appearances with the big league club, but has been caught in 2 of those. At least he’s running, which is a good sign.
Aside from the speed, Eaton has posted impressive BABIP marks in the minors. He never BABIP’d less than .345 at any stop and amazingly managed to BABIP .432 over nearly a full season of Triple-A at-bats. While minor league BABIP marks are higher than in the Majors, typically hitter BABIP ability does translate. Since he makes pretty good contact as well, he could be a batting average contributor immediately. With a strong walk rate to go along with a solid average, he looks like the D-Backs lead-off hitter of the future.
Jason Bourgeois | KC OF | 2% Owned
With Lorenzo Cain’s injury-plagued season ending early, Bourgeois was recalled for some outfield depth. At the moment, he is battling David Lough for playing time in center field, but although Lough is the lefty, it doesn’t seem like Ned Yost is playing them using a strict platoon. Lough is a 26-year old non-prospect, so it’s not like the Royals should feel obligated to play him. Bourgeois is the one with fantasy appeal as he runs like the wind and could make up a stolen base gap in a hurry.
The one concern is that he is 30 years old and stole just 7 bases in 12 attempts while at Triple-A this year in 247 plate appearances. In just about the same number of appearances last year with the Astros, he stole 31 bases. That could be an early warning sign that his speed is waning, or just a small sample fluke not to get hung up on. Considering he’s already attempted 8 steals, and been successful on 5 of them, with the Royals over just 44 plate appearances, it’s probably safe to say he’s fine. With an excellent contact rate, he could also contribute positively to your batting average.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.