Inexpensive Homers and Steals: Darin Ruf and Eric Young

The two following players are more well-known than the average guy being spoken about in a fantasy context these days, but they are still owned in fewer than 30% of Yahoo leagues and could help you as specialists down the stretch.

Darin Ruf has been on a homer binge the past 14 days, crushing four of his 12 home runs on the season in the past two weeks. While doing so he has hit just .220 with a .286 OBP, both marks which are lower than his season averages, but you are owning Ruf for his power and hoping he doesn’t kill you too much in average or OBP (depending on which category your league uses).

The power he has displayed in his 203 plate appearances has been pretty tremendous. That’s a 36 home run pace over 60 plate appearances, and while this game isn’t as simple as extrapolating stats across a full season of play, it does show that he probably has at least mid-20’s to 30 home run power, which any fantasy owner would take especially from a player eligible at two positions.

Do I absolutely love Darin Ruf? No, but I do love the power and he is interesting to me in keeper leagues. As an FA acquisition he will not come with a heavy tag on him, and the power he has displayed should earn him the right to get regular playing time. He is an absolute butcher in the outfield but they have been running him out there in the corners every day of late, so I expect he gets a chance at an every day role next season as well. Take the good with the bad with Ruf, but as long as he is playing regularly he should be supplying ample power to your lineup.

Eric Young Jr.

Over the past two weeks only Emilio Bonifacio has stolen more bases than the seven Eric Young has stolen. During that span he has hit .341/.396/.477 with nine runs scored. Young has performed well in his time with the Mets, combining his speed with solid plate discipline. He has been worth two wins for the Mets this year, much of which comes from his defense and base running, but his 96 wRC+ is a solid attribute for a guy normally looked at as a very light hitter.

Stealing 27 bases in 31 opportunities with New York, he is a great candidate to be allowed to run at will for the remainder of the year and if he continues to get on base at a .337 clip as he has with New York, he should be receiving more opportunities usual.

These guys are not available in every league, but with Ruf being available in 20% of Yahoo leagues and Young being available in 27%, some of which I participate in and like to think of as very competitive, these guys look like reliable options to help in much needed categories like homers and steals.

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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.

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Tom B
Tom B

Learn to like it Ruf, Ben.