Deep fantasy league thoughts -- Francoeur bad, Dyson not so bad

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The Royals just can't play Jeff Francoeur much longer. Might it be time for the super-speedy Jarrod Dyson?

On May 5, 2011, Derek Jeter got a day off, having started the season .250/.308/.269 through 27 games and 106 at bats. It was pretty abysmal, frankly. He got a little better after his break, improved much more in the second half, and ended the year with a wholly respectable .297/.355/.388.

On May 17 last year, Michael Young sat at .269/.294/.372. He played most of the rest of the way, and improved slightly, finishing at .277/.312/.370. It was his worst season, and the Rangers paid the Phillies to take him off their hands in the offseason.

On May 20 last year, Vernon Wells' line was .244/.282/.422. He didn't play again July 28, as Mike Trout Trouted his way around the league.

Right now, Jeff Francoeur sits at .229/.266/.322. He makes the guys above look like super-sluggers. The point is, though, that everyone has a limit, a line below which they cannot fall and remain in the lineup. Wells hit his. Jeter and Young, both having earned significantly more rope, stayed above that invisible line, though in Young's case just barely.

Ultimately, my point is that if Francoeur - through some combination of potential, good-guy-ness and incriminating photos - hasn't fallen below that line quite yet, he can't have much more to go. Though he may already be down there - of the four games this season Francoeur hasn't started, three have come in the last week. If only they had some big right field prospect like Wil Myers to make use of. Sorry, still think that trade was dumb.

Anyway, because Francoeur is a bad baseball player, the Royals really have been left with no choice. Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon will stay in the outfield, but, barring a semi-miraculous Francoeur turnaround, the only other moderately qualified outfielder in the Kansas City system is Jarrod Dyson.

(Unless you count Willy Taveras, in AAA. (Whoa, that Willy Taveras. (Did you know Willy Taveras was still doin' stuff? (Suddenly, I feel old.))) (Is that enough close-parentheses yet? No? Okay.))

No, Dyson isn't a superstar either. He's certainly not Mike Trout. He'll hit for almost no power. But he'll beat Francoeur's contributions, while playing better defense (likely in center field, with Cain sliding to right). While he hasn't taken the full-time play from Francoeur quite yet, something has to give. Dyson has already gotten the starts that Francoeur has lost, and as I said, who the heck else are they going to run out there?

Dyson's main value for fantasy is his speed, with 56 career steals in 64 attempts. A career .316 OBP means he'll be on base often enough that, in 300-400 plate appearances, a 30-steal season shouldn't be hard to come by.

If you're in a deep league, if you're desperate for steals, you could do a lot worse than Dyson. And, in a lineup that should be at least reasonably productive, there will be runs scored for the taking, as well.

Unless it's true that Francoeur has those incriminating photos. Sure would explain their apparent Myers disdain.

Follow me on Twitter @danieltkelley

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