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« MLB Prize Trivia: Hits with a Full Count | Main | The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Cheap Power »
Thursday
Jan312013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: I Have the Need for Speed

OK, I know what you’re thinking; that phase is way too easy and is overwrought. I 100% agree with you, but I’m running on 36 hours of no sleep working on my fantasy guide that is inching its way to completion. I wanted to talk about three players who have an average draft position (ADP) of 200 or larger that can provide a lot of cheap steals. With the number of steals in 2012 sustaining the 12-year high set in 2011, many fantasy owners are going to need players who can provide a lot of stolen bases. Please note the format for the “ADP” section reads as follows: ADP: positional draft position (overall draft position). For example, Everth Cabrera is currently the 17th catcher being taken and is going 242th overall. All ADPs are from Mock Draft Central.

Emilio Bonifacio

Bats: B | Age: 28 |Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF | RK: 61 (216)

Last year Bonifacio had a lot of fantasy hype entering drafts because of the 40 steals he put up the year before and he was entering spring training with a starting job in center field. In only 64 games he stole 30 bases. If he played in 150 games he could’ve had 70 stolen bases. Unfortunately, his season was marred with injuries to his thumb and knee, which landed him on the disabled list three times. He enters the 2013 season as the starting second baseman in the suddenly stacked Blue Jays lineup and is poised for a breakout fantasy season. He only played 15 games at second base so he may not be eligible in every league at the start of the year.

Everth Cabrera

Bats: B | Age: 26 |Team: Padres| Position: SS | RK: 17 (242)

Even though he started the year in Triple-A and only received 398 Major League at-bats, Cabrera finished third in the league with 44 stolen bases. He finished the year with a slash line of .246/.324/.324. That may look really low, indicating there’s an opportunity for improvement, but he achieved those statistics with a high .336 BABIP. Last year he struck out 24.5% of the time and for his career, he’s struck out 22.4% of the time, which means he’s destined to hit for a low average if the BABIP regresses. This year he’s expected to be the starting shortstop and is likely to lead off for the Padres, the team who lead the league in stolen base attempts. If he plays a full season he has the opportunity to win you the stolen base category.

Darin Mastroianni

Bats: L | Age: 27 |Team: Twins | Position: OF | RK: ND (ND)

Do I see Mastroianni as super elite player? No. Do I see him as an above average player? No. So what is he? Mastroianni is a speedy center fielder with a great understanding for the strike zone and has little power. Last year in a small 77 game sample, he put up a slash line of .252/.328/.350 with 21 stolen bases. After the Minnesota Twins traded away all their center field options, Mastroianni will get the first opportunity to be the starting center fielder and could be in line for leadoff duties. He struck out 24% of the time in the majors, which limits his batting average ceiling. Like closers, his fantasy value is a function of opportunity, but if he plays a full year he can provide 40+ stolen bases, which is really good for a player whose not getting drafted at all. 

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