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Monday, July 4, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: RAJAI DAVIS OUTFIELDER CLEVELAND INDIANS

One of the centeral themes of the 2016 fantasy baseball season has been the incredible production from the "senior citizen" tier of hitters around the league, as David Ortiz is leading the batting title race in the AL to go with his customary monster power, Ian Kinsler has turned back the clock to his five category production past, and a Cleveland Indians outfielder named Rajai Davis is acting like he is a younger Andrew McCutchen.  It is the latter who perhaps is the biggest surprise of all as Davis has spent the majority of his career tweening between being a third outfielder or a bench guy.  This has been the storylines for Davis at almost all of his Major League stops (Pirates, Blue Jays, A's, Tigers, Indians) as almost all of these locales had him penicled in for that duty.  Despite the obstacles, almost every time Davis came into the season and hit and ran at a level that made it impossible to keep him on the bench.  Stolen bases were the major calling card here as Davis has stolen 40 or more bases four times in his career, most recently in 2013 when he had 45.  With a career average of just .269 and a career high in home runs of just 8, it was imperative for Davis to keep on running in order to secure his spot both in a major legaue lineup and in fantasy baseball.  It certainly looked like Davis' days of being a regular in both environments was over entering into 2016 as he was slated to be part of a platoon in the Indians outfield at the advanced age of 35 but the shoulder injury that has knocked out All-Star position-mate Michael Brantley once again gave him regular playing time.  Finding himself right at the top of the order again, what we have seen out of Davis this season has been beyond shocking.  After swiping only 18 bags in 2015 when it looked like age finally was taking its toll there, Davis already has taken 22 bases thus far and we are not even att he All-Star Break.  Even more shocking, Davis has already set a career-high in home runs with 9.  Throw in a .271 average, 31 RBI, and 42 runs scored and Davis is helping across the board agian at the advanced age of 35.  His number are actually close to outfielder 1 numbers which is a tier Davis has never been at before in his underrated career and it shows you what a major value play he once again has been.  While we can question the outlier power a bit, it is also true that veteran guys tend to add strength as they age at the expense of speed.  Davis has the look of a guy who has added some pop but amazingly held his speed.  Put it all together and you get one of the best value plays in 2016 fantasy baseball.  What a surprise. 


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