2022 Pod vs Steamer — SB Downside

Yesterday, I continued my Pod Projections vs Steamer battle by pitting our stolen base projections against each other, and identifying those I forecasted for a higher total. Let’s now review the players I am projecting for fewer steals per 650 PA than Steamer.

SB Downside
Name Pod PA/SB Steamer PA/SB Pod SB – 650 PA Steamer SB – 650 PA Diff
Oneil Cruz 68.2 32.6 9.5 19.9 -10.4
Gleyber Torres 106.4 45.1 6.1 14.4 -8.3
Cam Gallagher #DIV/0! 90.0 0.0 7.2 -7.2
Luis Rengifo 68.7 40.0 9.5 16.3 -6.8
Jonah Heim 289.9 73.5 2.2 8.8 -6.6
Colton Welker 4946.4 102.0 0.1 6.4 -6.2
Cal Raleigh 399.5 82.7 1.6 7.9 -6.2
Julio Rodríguez 56.2 36.6 11.6 17.8 -6.2
Nick Pratto 103.4 54.3 6.3 12.0 -5.7

Oh boy, there’s Oneil Cruz again who also appeared atop my HR downside list! I really had no idea my projections were so much more bearish than Steamer’s, as I figured he would be a decent late round sleeper. But as mention in the HR downside post, my strikeout rate projection is significantly worse than Steamer’s and at the top end, just worse than THE BAT and THE BAT X. That has resulted in one of the largest projected OBP gaps I have seen between my projection and Steamer’s. Obviously, less times on base means fewer opportunities to steal. He’ll be an interesting one to follow this year given the projection differences across systems.

After stealing just 12 bases in his first three seasons comprising 1,056 PAs, Gleyber Torres surprisingly swiped 14 bases last season in about half the number of PAs. I have no idea why he suddenly decided to run significantly more often, but with just average Sprint Speed, which was an improvement over below average marks in 2019 and 2020, it’s hard to imagine him repeating. With a 72% career success rate, it’s not like he’s been so good that it’s adding to the team’s run expectations. Maybe he felt like he needed to contribute something as his wOBA dropped for a second straight season to well below league average. Oh, and I should also mention that Steamer is far and away the highest projected OBP, whereas I sit at the bottom around THE BAT, THE BAT X, and ZiPS.

Between Cam Gallagher, Jonah Heim, and Cal Raleigh, there are a bunch of low playing time catchers that Steamer fancies the speed of for some reason. Gallagher is odd considering he has only even attempted one steal throughout his MLB career spanning 422 PAs. Steamer loves Heim’s running potential too and is the only one to project more than even 3 steals for him over their projected playing time, while every other system is at one or two steals. Odd to say the least. Finally, Raleigh has shown some stolen base willingness in the minors, but Steamer does remain most bullish on his steals versus all the other systems. Clearly though, the steals here are just a bonus, as you’re hoping for all the power coming from a high FB%.

Well that’s unexpected — I keep touting Luis Rengifo as a sleeper to earn shortstop playing time for the Angels, but Steamer actually has me beat on the stolen base potential! This time, we are projecting an identical OBP, so it’s not a matter of getting on base more often. Rengifo attempted just one steal last year, so everyone is forecasting a rebound there. I’m actually above his career average attempt rate, so it surprises me to see Steamer even more optimistic, when I thought I was already being optimistic. The key here, of course, is earning the playing time or his stolen base upside won’t matter much.

Colton Welker is an interesting speculation this year as anyone calling Coors Field home is intriguing for fantasy owners. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Steamer is once again projecting a higher stolen base rate than all the rest. Welker did show some stolen base willingness back in 2016 to 2018. But his attempt rate dipped in 2019 at Double-A and he didn’t even attempt one steal in all of 2021.

Julio Rodríguez is our fourth ranked overall prospect and figures to eventually earn significantly playing time with the Mariners this year. He still has yet to play above Double-A and it’s always a question how well a player’s minor league stolen base willingness carries over to the Majors. Some continue running, while others cut down on their attempts significantly. I’m projecting a slightly lower OBP than Steamer, though just above THE BAT and THE BAT X. That likely explains a small portion of the stolen base projection difference. The rest is just expecting Rodríguez to hold more of his minor league attempt rate, which is anyone’s guess.

After a major power breakout last year, Nick Pratto is an interesting speculation to eventually take over the Royals starting first base job. You’re buying him for the potential potential, while his value skyrockets in OBP leagues as well. But he also steals bases! He stole as many as 22 bases at single-A in 2018 and swiped 12 in 17 attempts during his power binge in 2021. It’s rare to see a first baseman with such a power/speed combo. A lot of the stolen base discrepancy here is once again a large difference in OBP projections with mine being more pessimistic. I also question how often a power hitter is going to run in the Majors.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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8 months ago

If there was only one team where the power hitting 1B runs, it would be Kansas City.