Rotoprofessor’s Five Late Round Options for Runs

Mar 13, 2009

Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

We’ve already talked about five speed threats that may be available late in your draft, but what about runs?  Granted, a lot of times they are one in the same, but that’s not necessarily the case.  Let’s take a look at a few options that you may be able to snag late if you are a little bit light in the run department.

Elijah Dukes – Washington Nationals
He’s got tremendous upside, we all know that.  With rumors of the Nationals getting into the mix for Adam Dunn if his price drops significantly, his already questionable playing time could get harder to project.  The Nationals seem to collect OF’ers, with Duke paired with Lastings Milledge, Wily Mo Pena, Josh Willingham and Austin Kearns.  Yes, they may slide someone over to 1B, but it’s a crowded group nonetheless.  I’d expect him to get the bulk of the playing time, but you just never know in Washington, they always seem to make some questionable decisions.

Health is also a huge concern for Dukes, who only managed 276 AB last season.  In that limited time he managed to hit 13 HR, steal 13 bases and score 48 runs.  Yep, if he stays healthy he has the potential to be at least 20/20 and a Top 40 performer.  With that type of production comes plenty of runs scored as well, making him worth the flyer in the later rounds.

There’s a lot more that could be said about Dukes, so I’ll speak about him in more detail shortly.  For now, consider him as having 20/20 upside, as well as 80-90 run potential.

Rickie Weeks – Milwaukee Brewers
I know, I know.  We’ve talked about him a lot, but there just is no denying his potential talent.  If he is hitting atop a potent Brewers line-up, there’s every chance he could surpass the 100 R plateau for the first time in his career.  Of course, that’s assuming that he hits (in 3 of his 4 seasons, he’s hit .239 or below).  It’s also assuming that he keeps his job, as last season the Brewers imported Ray Durham to share the duties.  This season, as we’ve noted in the past, it could be Alcides Escobar pushing him to the bench.

Still, even with all those questions, the guy can run.  In just 475 AB last season he scored 89 runs, thanks to having Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder waiting to drive him in.  All he needs to do is hit.  I know, that’s a huge if.

This is a player that you are either dead set against drafting, due to him burning you in the past, or are willing to overlook those struggles one more time, buying into the potential hype.  No matter which side you fall on, the talent and situation are there for him to score plenty of runs.  It’s just a matter of him getting himself on base.

Placido Polanco – Detroit Tigers
He’s scored 195 runs over the past two seasons, so the idea of him scoring runs and helping your team there should not be in question.  He hits towards the top of a line-up that has Miguel Cabrera in it, an enviable position for any player.  He has a career OBP of .350, and as long as he can continue at that type of clip (it was right at that mark last season), he’s going to continue to score.

Of course, Polanco brings other concerns, as he doesn’t offer double-digit HR or SB potential, limiting his value.  If you are just looking for someone who can hit for a good average and score some runs, then he is the perfect player for you.  Yes, you need to be in a perfect situation to have use for him, but it’s certainly a possible option.

Coco Crisp – Kansas City Royals
He went from Cleveland to Boston in hopes of becoming a vital part of the Red Sox machine, the replacement to Johnny Damon atop the line-up.  That didn’t happen, with him being ultimately banished to the bench and a role as a fourth OF’er.  Now in Kansas City, the hope fantasy owners once had for Crisp has been revitalized, at least to a degree.

In KC he’s going to get the chance to play everyday and hit leadoff, which quickly puts him in a better position.  Is the line-up going to be conducive to scoring?  Well, that lies with young hitters like Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, who are going to be asked to take the next step in their progression this season.  I do see that occurring myself, as I’ve said before, so I’m looking to Crisp as a solid late round option.

We’ve discussed him before, as I put him on the Late Round Speed Options list, so let’s just leave it at that.

Fred Lewis – San Francisco Giants
Drafted in the second round in 2002, Lewis never impressed, well until last season that is.  In 468 AB he scored 81 runs hitting primarily in the leadoff spot of a low-powered Giants line-up.  If Manny Ramirez somehow does get signed by the Giants, his value could go threw the roof as a sleeper option late in your draft, but that’s a long shot and we need to proceed like that’s not going to happen.

With Pablo Sandoval, Bengie Molina and Aaron Rowand waiting to drive him in, things don’t look all that imposing.  Still, they each are going to get some RBI, so someone has to benefit from it.  If you project out his number from last season to a 550 AB season, he’d be at about 95 runs.

He’s a long shot, there’s no doubt about that, but one that may be worth taking.  He’ll hit for a decent average, while also tossing in 20-25 SB.  If Manny does sign, then he’s a risk I’d definitely take.  At this point, he’s just one I’d consider if I was in need of some runs and stolen bases.

So, there you have it.  Which of these players would you gamble on first?  Who else are you looking at as a source of runs late in your draft?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

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