You remember Matt Stairs. You drafted him for your fantasy team back in 1999, and enjoyed his 38 home runs, the second of his two 100-RBI seasons.
Perhaps when you saw the name Stairs in a Toronto box score back in April, you wondered if he had a son, or maybe a nephew.
No, it was Stairsy, the same professional hitter who came into the league in 1992 with the Expos. Even before the injury to first baseman Lyle Overbay, the 39-year-old was enjoying a nice renaissance, hitting over .300 with seven home runs in 92 at-bats. Now, Stairs has the starting first base job in Toronto; he hasn't had a regular starting gig in quite a while. Fantasy owners are thrilled to find such a recognizable name on the waiver wire, a known power hitter aiming for his first 400 at-bat season since 2004 in Kansas City.
That's a rare phenomenon, a veteran who essentially disappeared coming back to fantasy relevance. More typical, in the beginning of June, is the ascension of players few average fans know.
Do the names Rajai Davis and Josh Fields mean anything to you? Unless you are a true baseball geek, or a rabid fan in Chicago or Pittsburgh, probably not.
That's why we're here:
Victor Diaz, RF, Rangers
If this guy is still available in your league, or you think he is, stop reading this and go pick him up. Then come back and finish reading. If any relatively unknown player is going to hit 20-25 home runs this year, it's Diaz, who appears to be playing himself into the starting right-field job in Texas. The ball really jumps off Diaz's bat, and he can run a bit, too. Through Tuesday, Diaz was hitting .294 with eight homers in 68 at-bats. The RF job belonged to Nelson Cruz, who has been demoted. That leaves Diaz battling Marlon Byrd and Sammy Sosa (usually the DH) for the starting job. It's as good as his, and he could be the sleeper of the summer.
Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox
yer because he'll play immediately.
Rajai Davis, CF, Pirates
Chris Duffy was supposed to be the Pirates' center fielder of the present and future, which makes the timing of Davis' callup a little strange. Duffy started the year slowly but has hit nearly .300 since being dropped from the leadoff spot to second in the lineup. But Davis had a 21-game hitting streak at Triple-A Indianapolis, and has similar skills and speed to Duffy - 27 steals and a .318 average in the minors this season. Davis isn't inheriting a starting job, but manager Jim Tracy said he'll give both players a shot to show their skills. If you're hungry for steals, Davis could be good, but he's a long shot to have real value in a standard mixed league.
Joey Gathright, OF, Royals
Fantasy mavens will recognize Gathright's name because he stole 22 bases with the Devil Rays last year. On Wednesday, he got the call to join the Royals from Triple-A Omaha, and that means cheap steals for some desperate owner. It could be you. He will steal bases, possibly lots of them. Gathright is a good athlete who has Juan Pierre-type upside. He won't hit for power, but he can fly. He was hitting .328 with 21 steals in the minors and joins a crowded outfield, with Emil Brown, David DeJesus and Mark Teahen the usual starters. Still, if Gathright hits, the Royals will find ways to get him at-bats. In deeper leagues, he's worth a look. Otherwise, not so much.
QUICK HITS: We love what we see from Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, who seems to get better as the season goes on. Through Tuesday, he was hitting .424 since May 1. While he doesn't have great power or speed, he could be a Placido Polanco-type, always good to round out your fantasy team. ... Who has the best home run percentage and has the second-most home runs among major league catchers? Royals C John Buck is the guy. He has 10 homers in 128 at-bats through Tuesday. Only Victor Martinez (12) had more home runs and he had more than 60 additional at-bats. ... His numbers haven't been exciting many in the fantasy world, but OF Delmon Young easily leads rookies with 30 RBIs.

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