While stolen base stalwarts such as Juan Pierre and Carlos Beltran stumble out of the gate, plenty of others are getting it done on the basepaths, including a couple of fresh faces in Houston.
the Astros, who had an NL-best 15 steals as a team through Tuesday. Taveras isn't a huge surprise he had 55 steals in Double-A last season but Lane is a power prospect who had only two steals in 169 major league games before the 2005 season. His .352 average and .704 slugging percentage won't hurt you, either.
Elsewhere, Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo has six steals in as many attempts, Omar Vizquel who turns 38 this weekend has five and the Angels' Chone Figgins is three-for-four.
Other options that could come cheap Craig Counsel (3), Mark Loretta (3), Luis Matos (3), Jason Repko (2), Alex Cora (2), Royce Clayton (2) and Angel Berroa (2).
The O's lead the majors with a .295 team batting average, but not everyone in the Orioles lineup has gotten into a groove. Veteran Rafael Palmeiro, a lifetime .289 hitter, continues to struggle at the plate. He entered Wednesday's game with a .208 average and had just two extra-base hits in 48 at-bats. Palmeiro has been better of late, driving the ball to right field on occasion, and he picked up his first homer of the season Tuesday night against Detroit. He'll get better, maybe hit .260, but his 30-HR days are clearly behind him.
On the pitching front, deep AL leaguers should want to take a hard look at Todd Williams, who hasn't given up an earned run this calendar year, and who has gained the confidence of manager Lee Mazzilli. If you're into useful middle relievers, Williams' 0.55 WHIP and 0.82 K/IP should be to your liking.
This weekend's matchups
Baltimore at Toronto
Boston at Tampa Bay
Texas at New York Yankees
Minnesota at Detroit
Chicago White Sox at Kansas City
Cleveland at Seattle
Oakland at Los Angeles Angels
Washington at New York Mets
Philadelphia at Atlanta
Cincinnati at Florida
Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs
Houston at St. Louis
Milwaukee at San Francisco
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado
San Diego at Arizona
Eric, Nashville, Tenn.: I'm in a 10-team, AL only Rotisserie keeper league which is relatively deep. Since I am in eighth place, I will have one of the first picks of guys to pick up. Currently Scott Spieizio is my DH - he was the only guy left for $.10 on auction day. Recently both Reed Johnson and David Newhan have become available. Who is the best pick of Spiezio, Johnson and Newhan if I am looking purely at who would be the most productive player this year? It's a 5x5 league where average, HR, RBI, runs, and stolen bases count.
Send your fantasy baseball questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your league format and the city /state where you live. Then check the mailbag section, where each week I'll respond to questions submitted by baltimoresun.com readers.