For most of his career, Jordan Schafer has been one of those single-skill players. A one-trick pony, but it's a pretty good trick. He steals a bushel of bases (usable in very deep fantasy leagues) and that's about it.
Maybe the script is about to change. Perhaps Schafer is ready for his mixed-league closeup for the final month of the year.
Schafer, 27, has become a regular since his move to Minnesota four weeks ago, and he's making good on the opportunity. He's on a 21-for-64 binge over 21 games, with 10 steals in 11 attempts. He has a whopping 25 swipes (on 28 chances) this year, a ton of bags when you consider it's against a modest 144 at-bats. He had three hits, four RBIs and another steal in Thursday's win over the Royals. (Boom, Yosted.)
The Twins keep Schafer locked at the bottom of the lineup, but they've essentially given him a full-time outfield job. He's started 20 of the last 23 games, taking an occasional break against a left-handed opponent. Ron Gardenhire is letting his new outfielder run liberally, that's for sure. No one has more steals in the majors this month.
The offensive production could go away at any time, sure. Schafer had a .222/.307/.304 line during his National League days (over 1093 at-bats), and he doesn't offer much power. The Braves cut him for a reason. But maybe Schafer can be a .250 hitter or so down the stretch, with a ton of bags mixed in. The mental security of a full-time job can't be completely discounted.
The speedy Twin is ready to go in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues, if you find yourself lagging in that one specific column. I'm kicking the tires here and there, too. Rabbit, run.
• If you're in a shallower league where Schafer isn't quite rosterable, perhaps Emilio Bonifacio is more your speed. The well-traveled Bonifacio has settled into a job with the Braves, in part because they've soured on B.J. Upton. No one blames them for that.
Bonifacio usually gets a call in the first or second spot in the order, and he's batting .300 (with five steals) since joining the contenders (including a box-stuffing jamboree Thursday). He's a perfect Swiss Army Knife on a short day, carrying eligibility at second, third and the outfield, and the claim is free in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• The Steve Pearce story took a dip in July, when he met his first extended slump and the Orioles started messing with playing time. But it looks like he's safe to use for the balance of the year.
Pearce has five homers and a .621 slugging percentage this month, and PT is secure wiith Manny Machado out for the year (Pearce won't play third, but it's a wheel play - a spot opens up). He's on a 10-game hitting streak as we go to press, marking his No. 2 slot in the order. Make sure Pearce wasn't dropped in your pool - he's owned in just 24 percent of Yahoo leagues, a low number given what he's done in 2014. You'll get two positions of eligibility, too. Wiggys, forever.
• It's puzzling to see Tsuyoshi Wada bouncing around the waiver wire, owned in mere 30 percent of Yahoo leagues. Seven of his eights starts have been fantasy-useful, for one thing. He's striking out eight batters per nine innings, hardly walking anyone (2.17/9). He's on the road against the Cardinals for Saturday - the 29th-ranked offense in the majors. Some of these fly-ball pitchers don't get their due respect.