The best draft day steals
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It was 80 years ago today, on May 23, 1934, that the infamous bank-robbing duo of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.

In honor of that day, we show you which 12 major-league players were the biggest "steals" on draft day this year

Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati (Yahoo Preseason ADP 145, Current ADP 2) - Cueto has always been extremely talented, but he's had trouble staying healthy. Coming off an 11-start season in 2013, fantasy owners weren't ready to commit to the right-hander. Those who did are seeing huge rewards. Although he's just 4-3, it comes with a stunning 1.86 ERA, and he leads the league in three categories: shutouts (two), strikeouts (82) and a WHIP (0.737).

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado (304, 4) - Blackmon is lighting it up at home, batting .389 with a 1.117 OPS, while hitting just .265 on the road. He's a career .302 hitter, but the home/away split makes him more of a platoon option than an everyday start. However, he's been so good at Coors Field, that he's a must start for at least 81 days a year.

Brian Dozier (218, 6) - Based on last season - his first as a full-time starter - you could not have anticipated that Dozier would rank No. 6 overall on Memorial Day 2014, but there he sits. Despite a relatively low batting average, he's done everything a fantasy owner could ask for by contributing both power and speed to a lineup. He's scored a league-leading 41 runs, slammed 11 home runs, knocked in 25 and stolen 12 bases. As long as you can deal with a batting average that hovers around the .250 mark, he should continue to pile up the stats.

Nelson Cruz, Baltimore (139, 8) - Many fantasy owners stayed away because of his PED suspension in 2013. Those who were willing to overlook his lapse in judgment have been rewarded with the same power numbers we saw in Texas. He's bashed 14 homers and leads the AL in RBI with 42. With the return of injured Manny Machado and Chris Davis in front of him, he should be leading the league in RBI come October as well.

Michael Brantley, Cleveland (179, 11) - Heading into the Memorial Day holiday weekend, he's one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Batting .444 this week, he has raised his average to .303 with nine homers, 37 RBI, 28 runs and six steals. He's been a great 15th-round selection.

Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox (191, 12) - I'll bet many fantasy owners were ready to give up on Ramirez after watching his numbers sink year after year. In 2014, he's putting up the best statistics of his career, batting .316 with an .829 OPS.

Melky Cabrera, Toronto (293, 16) - As with Cruz, many fantasy owners shied away from Cabrera in March because his 2013 totals didn't hold up to what he had done before his 50-game PED suspension. In 2014, however, he's proving he can still produce, batting .320 with a league-leading 64 hits and 104 total bases.

Victor Martinez, Detroit (156, 19) - Martinez had big shoes to fill, replacing Prince Fielder as Miguel Cabrera's protection in the lineup. In March, I was skeptical ... not now. Martinez is hitting for a high average and with enough power to force pitchers to throw strikes to Cabrera. He's batting .327 with 12 homers and a .986 OPS. He certainly has the ability to continue at this pace.

Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers (268, 23) - In February, there were questions as to whether Gordon would even make the Dodgers' roster. But Gordon beat out highly touted prospect Alex Guerrero for the second base job and has put his running shoes on. He leads the NL with 25 steals, is batting .296 and has posted a respectable .730 OPS, so doesn't hurt fantasy owners too badly in the power categories.

Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee (302, 27) - Rodriguez was supposed to be limited to a set-up role, but when closer Jim Henderson stunk up the joint, K-Rod took over and has been incredible. He went 19 games without yielding an earned run to start the season and leads the league with 17 saves. Rodriguez owns a 1.50 ERA and 0.792 WHIP. Henderson probably can't get his ninth-inning job back.

Tim Hudson, San Francisco (300, 33) - If it seems like Hudson has been around for a long time, that's because he has. The veteran is in his 16th season and it's started out as one of his best. He's 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.884 WHIP. He'll be 39 in July, so fantasy owners should be ready to jump ship if he appears to tire.

Justin Morneau, Colorado (233, 35) - Morneau has been a non-factor to fantasy owners for the last four seasons, but the move from pitcher-friendly Minnesota to hitter-friendly Colorado has been just the elixir for Morneau's production. Batting .323 with nine homers and 32 RBI, Morneau has become relevant once again, particularly in the light air of Coors Field, where he's batting .345 with a 1.005 OPS.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.