Second-half Speedsters

With guys like Grady Sizemore, Rajai Davis, Julio Borbon and
Jacoby Ellsbury not exactly having the dynamic first three months everyone
expected, many fantasy owners have been left searching for some cheap sources
of speed.  With that in mind, here’s some guys who could be available that should help you out on the basepaths, provide a solid average and score a bunch of
runs over the season’s second half:

Angel Pagan:  .315, 19 steals, 46 runs, six homers, 40 RBIs in first half


There cannot possibly be a more productive fantasy player
thus far who has gotten less respect than Pagan.  In 154 games since taking over as the Mets everyday
center fielder on July 10 of 2009, the 29-year-old has hit .309 with 12 homers,
29 steals, and 93 runs scored.  And even though he’s batting .419 with 14 RBIs and seven
swipes over his last 18 starts, he’s still owned in just 46 percent of Yahoo! leagues.  This could be because of the uncertainty
about Pagan’s playing time in a soon-to-be crowded outfield when Carlos Beltran
returns, but get one thing straight: 
Jeff Francoeur might be the coolest guy around, inspiring everyone to hold hands and sing in the clubhouse, but that won’t be enough to keep his weak
.253 average in a struggling lineup over a
proven .300 hitter with legit speed and power. 
Pick up Pagan.

Corey Patterson: .289, 16 steals, 28 runs, five homers, 21 RBIs in first half

Come on, people — please stop ignoring Corey Patterson.  The retread veteran
widely considered as a busted prospect has been playing every day in the Orioles
outfield and quietly doing his own Carl Crawford impression over the last
month.  In 111 at-bats since June 11, the
30-year-old (not lying, he’s only 30) is batting .333 with 10 steals, two
homers, nine doubles, 15 runs scored and 15 RBIs.  He’s always had the talent, so who knows,
maybe he’s a guy who just needed 10 years to develop it.   One thing’s for sure is that even if
Patterson’s bat cools off the speed will be there, as he’s averaged 50 steals
per 162 games in roughly 2 seasons with the O’s.

Erick Aybar:  .283, 14 steals, 52 runs, three homers, 16 RBIs in first half

After being touted as a solid fantasy shortstop option heading
into 2010, Erick Aybar batted just .238 over the first 54 games and became an
afterthought in most formats.  Then
something clicked, and in 28 contests since June 3 Aybar is batting .365 with seven
steals and 22 runs scored.  Don’t let that
extra ‘K’ in his name give you the wrong impression, as the quick-swinging switch-hitter
has impressively struck out just once in 45 July at-bats.  This 26-year-old is available in 46 percent of
Yahoo! leagues, and looks primed for a productive second half.

Cliff Pennington:  .264, 13 steals, 38 runs, three homers, 27 RBIs in first half


As far as sexy fantasy pickups go, the A’s Cliff Pennington might
as well be your sister.  But since
batting an even .200 after the team’s first 61 games, the 26-year-old shortstop
has done wonders to his attractiveness over the last month.  In 88 at-bats since June 10, Pennington is
batting an incredible .409 with six steals and 19 runs scored.  Putting up a 1.047 OPS in July, he’s bound to
move up from ninth in the order real soon, which should enable him to score enough
runs to offset his lack of power.  With
the shortstop position looking pretty thin so far in 2010, Pennington is definitely a guy to
consider grabbing in AL-only leagues at the very least.   

Denard Span:  .273, 16 steals, 54 runs, three homers, 37 RBIs in first half

Denard Span had it in for fantasy players early on.  Not only did he drive his owners nuts in the first half after
getting a ton of preseason hype, he managed to take down this season’s second-most formidable
Beat the Streak challenger at 41 games.   The fleet-footed center fielder has been given up on in
a surprising number of leagues after batting just .247 with three steals since
June 1. But before you cut bait keep in mind that Span is a second-half performer by nature, as he turned it on last season by batting .331 with a .402 on-base percentage after
the All-Star break, which included a .375 clip in August while swiping
four bags.  A similar post-break hot streak
seems likely as he gets that .273 average up to his .296 career clip, and
continues the march towards 30 stolen bases. 
You can probably get him for a bag of balls right now from a frustrated

Coming soon:  Post-break Power

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