McKitish: Uncommon Thievery

Updated: April 5, 2007, 7:58 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com
Kudos to Ron Washington for getting the season started off on the right foot. Sure, the Rangers lost the battle, but Washington had the opportunity to do something he didn't get to do much in 11 years in Oakland: send a baserunner. And send a runner he did, almost immediately. When Kenny Lofton took off for second base in the first inning, he didn't just steal his 600th base, he showed us that he has the green light. Green means go, and in this business, green lights are gold.

I love the idea of Ron Washington sending his guys in Texas, but the reality is that they don't really have the tools to take the small-ball angle. Who's going to run on this team, Mark Teixeira and Sammy Sosa? Other than Lofton, there's Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Jerry Hairston Jr. and possibly Nelson Cruz. None of those guys are real burners, either. Still, the strategy should pay off, albeit marginally, for anyone with speed in the Texas lineup. And if Freddy Guzman ever gets called up, you'll want to grab him immediately.

Lofton seems to be the only one with the green light at this point. The wheels aren't what they used to be, but Lofton has mastered the art of the stolen base. He knows how to read pitchers, get good jumps and, most importantly, he knows when to pick his spots. As long as he can stay healthy, he's a lock for 30-plus stolen bases.


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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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