McKitish: Uncommon Thievery

Updated: March 30, 2007, 10:33 AM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com
Underrated Speed Sources

Willy Taveras, OF, COL -- Okay, he's a big name for an underrated source of speed, I know, but have you seen his average draft position? It's at 143.5 as of this writing. That's a good eight rounds after Juan Pierre (58.9). And the thing is, I'm not so sure that he won't out-produce the Dodgers outfielder. If spring-training action is any guide, we're going to be seeing a plethora of stolen bases out of the Rockies center fielder this season; Taveras is hitting a smooth .395 and has gone 8-of-9 in stolen base attempts. It's pretty clear that he has the green light from manager Clint Hurdle. I don't know about you, but I get pretty excited when I hear the words "green light" and "Taveras" mentioned in the same sentence.

Chris Burke, 2B/OF, HOU -- I mention Burke despite his horrendous spring-training slump. Burke may actually weigh more than his spring batting average. Luckily, we're in the preseason, and Burke has a pretty strong hold on the starting spot in center field for the Astros. I'm also much more interested in the four times he's attempted a theft this spring. Since he hasn't been on base much, four attempts is actually a pretty good sign. It means he'll be aggressive on the bases once he starts hitting again, and I'm projecting around 25 stolen bases for the year.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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