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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Jose Constanza analysis

What if I told you that on Nov. 23, 2010, when the Braves signed former Indians prospect Jose Constanza to a minor-league contract, you would A.) Think the Tribe was crazy to let him go; B.) Be tempted to acquire Constanza in fantasy baseball less than nine months later?

In his first 55 at-bats as a big-leaguer, Constanza is batting .382 with 13 runs scored, two home runs, eight RBI, five stolen bases and a .959 OPS. He's been so productive outfielder Jason Heyward -- who drove in 72 runs as a rookie last season and was believed to be one of the best young players in the major leagues -- hasn't been playing every day.

As of Sunday night, Constanza was owned in 13.4 percent of the leagues on

If you need help in steals and runs scored, he's an intriguing choice, even as a 27-year-old who seemed destined to be a career minor-leaguer.

Constanza batted .290 in his career down on the farm. In 2,782 at-bats, he scored 454 runs and stole 433 bases. At Triple-A Columbus in 2010 (his last season with the Indians organization before he became a free agent), he batted .319 with 34 steals and 69 runs in 404 at-bats.

(If you're a Lake County Captains fans, you probably know Constanza played in Eastlake in 2005 and '06. In a combined 67 games, he batted only .264, but had 40 runs and 21 steals in 231 at-bats.)

Aside from the obvious question about Constanza (what if he had one fewer consonant in his last name? Baseball needs a Jose Costanza), another key issue is whether he can be trusted to be anything close to the player he has been in his first 15 games with Atlanta.

The guess here is he will hit for a quality average, steal a lot of bases and score quite a few runs. Don't expect any power -- his two homers already seem to be two too many for a player who had all of six in the minor leagues -- but you can get away with that from your No. 3 outfielder if Constanza excels in the other three categories.

Stranger things have happened. This is, after all, a player, who does this.

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