Fantasy Baseball Category Killers: Steals

Fantasy Baseball Category Killers: Steals

By Rob Steingall
CSNChicago.com

Leonys Martin, Rangers: With Mitch Moreland landing on the disabled list, an opportunity presents itself to Martin to gain regular at-bats in the short term. He was fantastic on Sunday night (3-for-4, 2 XBH, a run and three RBI), and showed very similar skills during his time in the minors this season. The knock on Martin is his poor success rate on the bases (7-for-14 in Triple-A), but he's worth a flier due to his willingness to run.

Norichika Aoki, Brewers: The Japanese import hasn't been a burner by any stretch this season, but he did steal four bases in one game against the White Sox on Saturday, placing him on our  radar. With nine steals on the season, he's worth the gamble, especially since he's hitting atop the Brewers lineup. Look for plenty of runs hitting ahead of Ryan Braun, too.

Michael Saunders, Mariners: Saunders made some swing adjustments during the winter, and they really seem to be paying off in '12, as he's cut his strikeout rate significantly. Saunders is driving the ball with authority this year, and his increased on-base percentage is leading to more chances on the bases, where he is 12-for-15 on the season. He could be a 25-steal man this year, and may even have enough juice in his bat for 20 homers.

Ben Revere, Twins: We've covered Revere before, so if you've missed the boat on him, this may be your last chance to enjoy the ride. His 12 steals during the last month is among the major league leaders, and a cool .349 average only adds to his appeal. While you'll be getting no power from him, he'll balance out a low average slugger for you quite nicely.

Quintin Berry, Tigers: Berry has stolen two bases in each of the past two weeks, and has a total of 10 during the past month. His .309 batting average on the season with one home run fits the typical rabbit profile, but he's a good one to own while he's hitting on all cylinders.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Saturday: 

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

White Sox courting of Luis Robert leads to 'Christmas in May'

Cubs blanked again by Dodgers

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

After getting shut down by Buck Farmer, White Sox ninth-inning rally falls short

Scott Boras fires back at Jake Arrieta’s critics and makes another Max Scherzer comparison

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Luis Robert will start journey through White Sox organization in Dominican Summer League

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base