At this point in the season, your needs are sharply defined. There’s no time to grab a well-rounded player off the wire — if those were ever on the wire in your league in the first place. Now it’s time for all of those one-dimensional dudes to come to the fore and play their roles. In an effort to best help you find these role players, we’ll group today’s discussion about National League outfielders by stats.
Stolen bases are not highly correlated with winning unless the player steals them with a high success rate. But stolen bases are highly correlated with runs on a player-by-player level. In other words, fast guys play at the top of the lineup and therefore steal bases and score runs.
Well, the biggest deal is that your speedster acquisition actually play. Eric Young, Jr. leads all sorts of stolen-bases-per-PA leaderboards, but he’s not getting the playing time yet in Colorado. The ‘other junior,’ Tony Gwynn Jr, has stolen fewer bases over the past two weeks, but has come to the plate more than twice as often. Who knows what his kind of player (no power or patience but lots of glove) is doing in left field and atop the lineup, but that’s where Thin Gwynn finds himself. He’s probably the best readily-available National League outfield speedster, although Cameron Maybin might be on your wire (49% owned in Yahoo) and he’s got just as much speed with more power to boot. And if you can handle platooning, there’s always Tony Plush, aka Nyjer Morgan (18% owned in Yahoo).
A buffer between the speed and the power, batting average is tricky on a seasonal level. Meaning it’s impossible on a weekly or daily level. You’re also probably locked into your batting average in roto leagues, but if you’ve noticed a weakness in this category in your head-to-head league, it’s probably best you play the matchups rather than look for one specific player. Jason Bay is hot (not like that) and likes lefties (not like that). He’s facing Ross Detwiler today and John Lannan on Thursday, most likely, and those are two mediocre lefties that he might enjoy (not like that). That kind of free-wheeling work might net you a few extra base hits this week.
You know what’s kind of fun? Sorting the fantasy leaderboard for RBI in an effort to find power by proxy. Do it and you’ll see the traditional power guys float to the top (Jose Bautista and Ryan Howard in the top five over the past two weeks), but you’ll also see some guys that are driving the ball in key batting spots in the lineup, like Jason Bay and Michael Morse (who, amazingly, is only owned in 87% of Yahoo leagues).
But you’ll also see some interesting and readily available players. Like Juan Rivera, who’s owned in 4% of Yahoo leagues and is a lock to play against all lefties (career .834 OPS v LHP) from here on out. He’s even getting a little extra burn with Andre Ethier done for the year. Our friend Lucas Duda (21%) is still mostly available and still driving men in. If you don’t want to deal with daily lineup decisions, he’s probably your best plug-and-play pickup, but Raul Ibanez has been percolating if you an stay on top of the lineups daily and he’s available in your league.