By Ian Kay
With eight weeks of regular season remaining, I think we can officially declare it CRUNCH TIME 2010.
You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are some widely-available dudes (listed in the order I’d claim them) who can help with the latter and won’t cost much more than a roster spot.
We looked at power sources yesterday and will cover pitching later in the week. Today is the speed demon edition.
- Desmond DeChone Figgins is on the wire in nearly one fifth of Yahoo! leagues (81 percent owned), but you’ll probably need to trade for him in competitive groups. That would be a good move right now. The dual-eligible (2B, 3B) infielder has a .384/.430/.493 line with six steals over his last 19 games and has trended better in the second half throughout this career.
- Ryan Kalish (3 percent) profiles as more of a 15-20 steal player than a true burner, but he has enough power to compensate. Baseball America’s No. 5 Red Sox prospect before the season went 10-for-29 with a homer and a steal in his first nine big league games and should should enjoy starting duties in hitter-friendly Fenway Park at least until Mike Cameron is healthy.
- In a league where everyone hits, Peter Bourjos (1 percent) hit the most. The speedy outfielder, who forced Torii Hunter to right field, set Pacific Coast League records with 56 hits and 37 runs in July. He’s also stolen 27 bases in 32 tries this season after swiping 32 in Double-A last year and 50 at Class A in ’08. Playing time over Juan Rivera is assured and a future move to the leadoff spot could pay big time dividends.
- Only four Major League teams have stolen more bases than the A’s this year. Coco Crisp (7 percent) and Cliff Pennington (11 percent) won’t provide power, but they should each hit between .255 and .265 with 8-10 swipes the rest of the way.
- Lorenzo Cain (1 percent) is just a flyer at this point. The outfielder showed speed, contact ability and a decent eye in the Minors, but it’s unclear how much he’ll play once Carlos Gomez returns from the DL. An 8-for-16 start is encouraging, though.
- Manny Acta continues to bat Michael Brantley (7 percent) leadoff most days despite a .167 average and two steals in 128 at-bats this season. A turn in luck (.180 BABIP) could reward that faith in a guy with a .303 career Minor League average and 59 thefts in 183 Triple-A games.