SleepersMarch 9, 2008

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Sleeper Watch

By Tom Huffman

A throw in to the Matt Morris deal last year, Rajai Davis is an outfielder for the San Fransisco Giants. Why should you care? Because Davis stole 22 bases in only 190 major league at-bats between the Pirates and Giants last year. He also stole 27 for Triple-A Indianapolis, giving him 49 steals between the minors and the big leagues in 2007. And that wasn’t a fluke – he has stolen 45, 45, 57, and 40 bases his previous seasons in the minors.

We know Davis can steal, but will he get at-bats? Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn, and Dave Roberts are set to start with Rajai Davis and Fred Lewis filling in. Neither Lewis or Davis have options left so the minor leagues are out of the question. Roberts has never played more than 130 games in a season. Rowand’s all-out style of defense could always lead to time on the DL. Winn seems to hardly ever miss a start but he does turn 34 this year, so he isn’t exactly a youngster anymore. One advantage Davis has over Lewis is he is has had more success against left handed pitchers. This is important because Roberts has always struggled against lefties. Manager Bruce Bochy has recently suggested that a platoon of Robert and Davis sharing left field and the lead off spot could happen.

According to ESPN’s fantasy site, Davis is owned in less that 16% of leagues, so chances are you can snag him in the last rounds of your draft. In most mocks I have seen, Davis isn’t even being drafted. That late he’s a solid gamble whether you need steals or not. Having a bench player that could steal 50 bases is a very nice luxury to have. Davis doesn’t bring much else to the table, but if you are looking for a late round source of steals, Rajai is your man.

Tom Huffman is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Tom in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Pogotheostrich.
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