Fantasy Baseball Draft Alert: Rajai Davis and Brett Gardner to Lead Off?

Mar 22, 2011

suggested that Brett Garnder, who has been leading off recently in spring training games for the New York Yankees, could start the season off in that slot. Gardner, who scored 97 runs in 569 plate appearances could challenge for the league lead in runs scored if he is hitting out of that slot. For starter, he sports a solid .383 on-base percentage. With his ability to get on base, along with his excellent base stealing ability, in the powerful Yankees lineup, 100+ runs seems like a certainty.
Furthermore, Gardner hit .344 with nobody on and nobody out. He hit .295 with the bases empty and just .255 with runners on. Brett lead off in 25 games last year, batting .290 with a .412 OBP.  Jeter stuggled hitting second last year (.157 average), but has spent the bulk of his career hitting second. The similarity of his numbers leading off and hitting second is staggering. Leading off Jeter is hitting .313 with a .385  OBP, .454 slugging percentage, and a .839 OPS. Out of the two-hole he’s hitting .314 with a .384 OBP, a .456 slugging percentage, and a .840 OPS.
Gardner spent the bulk of his ABs in the eighth and ninth slots. If he were to lead off he would see an increase in plate appearances, which would have a positive effect on his counting numbers. He would certainly be a great value with his current ADP of 180. Garnder is batting .270 this spring with four stolen bases.
The  Toronto Blue Jays are considering using speedster Rajai Davis at the top of their lineup as well. Davis stole 50 bases in 561 plate appearances last year. Like Gardner, Davis excelled with the bases empty hitting .302. Davis hit .291 leading off and .277 in the other spots in the batting order. If he leads off for the Blue Jays, Davis will be an extreme fantasy value according to his 237 ADP.
When you are getting ready for your fantasy baseball drafts keep in mind that we could be experiencing a stolen base renaissance with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Rajai Davis all looking to steal 60+ bases.

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