MLB Fantasy Draft Steals

Posted: 03/06/2013 by levcohen in Baseball

Fantasy draft season is underway. We have less than a month before the start of baseball season, so its time to do some fantasy.

First, some draft steals.

Steals among guys going top 50 in ESPN Leagues:
The top 50 is often clear cut, but there are always some guys who are being drafted highly, but not highly enough. Those guys will find their way onto this list.
Hanley Ramirez: Ramirez is the 25th guy coming off the boards in ESPN public leagues, but I’d push him up a few notches. Ramirez has eligibility at shortstop and third base, which adds slightly more to his already substantial value. Hanley’s top three fantasy player days are probably over, and he finished outside the top 50 last year. I think he’ll bounce back this year. Hanley is a four tool player. Hitting in a very good lineup, expect 85+ runs and RBI. He’ll also put up a 20-20 season barring injury. Anything else he gives is gravy. As for the average, this man once hit .300 or better four years in a row, but that number has slipped over the past few years. A 3B/SS with a line around .275/85/25/85/25 is worth a top 20 pick. Of the guys going higher, I’d draft Hanley above Felix Hernandez, David Price, David Wright, and Justin Upton. (He should be going around Beltre, Longoria and Bautista.)

Jay Bruce: Bruce is currently the 39th player selected, and he has more power than all but a select few. Bruce his 34 homers last year, and he could easily boost that number to 40 this year. He is also in a good lineup, so at least 200 combined RBI+Runs should be expected. Bruce even adds a handful of stolen bases. Last year he stole 9, which is more valuable than one might think. Bruce’s average is just that, average, but, when you look into it further, a .250 average isn’t as bad as it used to be. In 2000, the average major league player hit .270. Last year, that number was down to .254. If Bruce hits any higher than that, his counting numbers should vault him into the top 30. I’d draft Bruce over Dustin Pedroia, Jose Reyes, Ian Kinsler, Starlin Castro, Jered Weaver, and Adam Jones.

Troy Tulowitzki: Tulowitzki is already being drafted as the #12 player, but I would have him as a top eight or nine player. In a 10 team mixed league, it’s pretty easy to replace guys when they are hurt, and the injury concerns are the main things that are holding Tulo back. He is the clear cut top shortstop in the MLB, and was in fact a top five pick for many last season. Even if Tulo wasn’t a SS, though, he’d probably be a better pick than Joey Votto. Tulowitzki is a career .292 hitter, and before last year’s injury problems he had back to back .300 seasons. He is a 30 homer hitter who also mixed in 40 steals in the three seasons before last. He also consistently is an elite run and RBI producer. Top to bottom, this is a top 10 pick. The injury problems keep him outside the top five, but they shouldn’t keep him off the top 10. I’d pick him over teammate Carlos Gonzalez to go along with Justin Verlander, Joey Votto, and Prince Fielder.

Other top 50 steals:
Giancarlo Stanton: He’s going #14, but he has the best power in the MLB.
Edwin Encarnacion: Last year he hit .280 with 93 runs, 42 HR, 110 RBI and 13 steals. Expect a little regression, but he will still finish inside the top 25 or so, barring injury. He is being picked outside the top 30.

Steals among guys going between 51 and 100:

Madison Bumgarner: What’s not to like? Bumgarner is a proven 23 year old lefty pitcher. Last year he won 16 games, had a 3.37 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and more than 190 strikeouts. He is 23, so all those numbers could improve. Wins are unpredictable, but a 3.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 200 K guy is worthy of a top 40 pick, and worthy of being a top 10 pitcher. He’s being drafted outside the top 50 and as the 15th pitcher.

Roy Halladay: He is still an elite pitcher. He just isn’t being drafted that way. After being drafted top 10 last year, one subpar season has led to a #61 ADP this year. That number needs to rise.

Carlos Santana: Santana is the #5 catcher drafted right now, and he’s being drafted just inside the top 80. For a catcher, he has elite power, and has 30+ homer potential. He will play this season at 27, so he should just be entering his prime. Based on his R/HR/RBI stats, he would be the #2 catcher. His average is what is holding him back, but as I mentioned earlier, a .250 average isn’t as bad as it used to be. He should be drafted with the likes of Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters and Joe Mauer, and not with Victor Martinez.

Matt Moore, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Asdrubal Cabrera, Martin Prado, Aaron Hill.

Steals among guys outside the top 100:
This isn’t quite “deep sleeper range”, but these are hit and miss guys who can win your team a championship.

David Ortiz: Sure, he only has DH eligibility. But Big Papi can really hit. At this point, barring injury he is a .300 hitter who is a lock for 30 homers, 90 runs and 90 RBI. But an injury is exactly what happened last year, limiting him to 90 games. In 90 games, he hit 23 homers with 60+ RBI and runs, to go along with a .318 average. He was on pace to hit close to 40 home runs with 100 runs and 100 RBI. Even as a DH, those numbers would make him a top 50 hitter, easily. He’s going outside the top 100 overall right now, and I think it’s a near lock he finishes inside that ranking this year.

Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo is ranked outside the top 110, but his 115 ADP might seem a little pricey to some. I think the opposite. In a little over half a season last season, Rizzo slammed 15 home runs and hit .285, mostly in his age 22 season. Now 23, we can expect him to double last season’s stats, as he will play the full season in Chicago. Expect a .270+ average, 25+ home runs, 90 runs and 90 RBI. Draft him if you miss out on the top first basemen, and reap your rewards.

Manny Machado: Machado is being drafted at 181 overall. In his age 19 season, he hit .262 with seven home runs in less than 200 at bats, and his numbers would roughly be: .262 with 60 runs, 70 RBI, 20 home runs, 5 steals. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as in September he was markedly better. If we multiply his September numbers by five, we get: .289 with 80 runs, 20 home runs, 80 RBI and five steals. Those numbers alone should be drafted above 181, not to mention Machado’s massive upside that puts him in a tier above the guys being drafted with him.

Others: Jon Lester, Brett Anderson, Jeremy Hellickson, Pedro Alvarez, Mike Minor, Ichiro, Todd Frazier, Sal Perez, Corey Hart.


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