Pod vs Steamer Projections — Stolen Base Upside by Mike Podhorzer March 1, 2017 Today, I continue the comparison of my Pod Projections to Steamer in various fantasy categories, this time identifying players I believe have stolen base upside. My stolen base projections are calculated using a proprietary metric I developed that is revealed in Projecting X 2.0. Essentially, it’s a stolen base attempts per opportunities ratio and I use historical rates to guide my projected rate. To ensure we’re comparing apples to apples, I extrapolated Steamer’s stolen base projections to the same number of plate appearances I’m forecasting for each player. What I find very interesting is that if I sum the stolen base projections for the 304 players both systems have projected, Steamer is forecasting 256 more stolen bases than I am assuming the same number of plate appearances! Using Steamer’s actual plate appearance and stolen base projections, they are projecting 113 more than I am. I have never compared my stolen base totals to Steamer, so I am curious if this is a random one season fluke or has been a historical trend. Because Steamer on the whole is more bullish, I am projecting just six hitters to steal more than two bases over their Steamer extrapolated SB forecast. Pod SB > Steamer Extrapolated SB Name Pod PA Pod SB Steamer Extrapolated SB Diff Jose Peraza 539 37 29 8 Billy Hamilton 527 60 52 8 Keon Broxton 527 33 29 4 Dee Gordon 638 51 47 4 Travis Jankowski 624 40 36 4 A.J. Pollock 675 29 26 3 **Whenever I talk about the Steamer projections below, it’s always going to be the extrapolated ones over the same number of plate appearances I’m projecting Well this was not the table I was hoping to share. I’m pretty shocked that for the most part, our projections are in relative agreement. Of those 304 projections, a crazy 206 hitters are projected to settle within one stolen base of each other! And rather than uncover sleepery type hitters in the 10-25 steal range, my more bullish projections are simply the top tier guys that I just happen to pick a ratio a bit higher than Steamer. However, the man that tops the list, Jose Peraza, is an excellent name to discuss first. Peraza’s draft stock skyrocketed after the trade of Brandon Phillips, which opened the door for a potential full-time job at second base. Peraza has been a speed demon during his time in the minors, stealing 64 bases in 2013, 60 in 2014, and then 36 in 2015, split between the minors and a short stint with the Dodgers. He’s not going to post a .354 OBP again, which is going to reduce his stolen base opportunities, but Steamer is projecting him to swipe just eight more bases this year in 283 plate appearances! Some of that certainly has to do with the OBP decline, which is also factored into my projection, but it still seems like far too much regression. There’s also a real chance he flip-flops in the order with Billy Hamilton at some point, ascending to the top of the lineup and pushing the latter to the bottom. Speaking of Hamilton, he’s tied with his teammate atop the list. Steamer is actually projecting more plate appearances than I am, so I had to reduce its stolen base forecast. Hamilton’s case might be crazier than Peraza’s, as Steamer is forecasting a decline of six steals, but in 67 additional plate appearances! Even if you’re concerned that he gets dropped in the order, which might hamper his willingness to run, he has actually attempted steals at a higher rate from the 9th spot than the lead-off slot. Keon Broxton was one of last season’s biggest surprises, tantalizing with an intriguing blend of power and speed. He struck out way too much, but offset those whiffs with a fantastic walk rate, ensuring his OBP remained well above average. A lot of the difference here is BABIP-related, which feeds directly into OBP, something I’m forecasting a much higher rate than Steamer. In fact, if we both forecasted the same OBP, Steamer might actually project an extra couple of steals, rather than be below me by four. Steamer is oddly low on Dee Gordon, as the only projection system forecasting a total below 50. While speed is a skill of the young, Gordon has shown no evidence whatsoever of slowing down, maintaining a Spd score above 8.0, succeeding on 81% of his swipe attempts, and sustaining his rates on every other speed-related metric. It’s certainly not the OBP, as I just realized that my Gordon OBP projection is well below everyone else…which makes me think there might be even more upside here if he exceeds my OBP projection. Travis Jankowski has seemingly been ignored as a potentially elite source of steals. Sure, he posted just a .293 wOBA last year and is likely to sit against lefties. But, his strikeout rate in the minors was significantly better, providing optimism that his batting average, OBP, and overall offensive production could improve dramatically this season. That he played spectacular defense as well only helps his cause to stay in the lineup. A.J. Pollock missed nearly all of last season and now opens 2017 at age 29. It was a tiny sample size, obviously, but that he attempted four steals in just 46 plate appearances upon his return from injury last year suggests that he’s still a fan of running. His Spd score remained at least 7.0 as well. It’s always difficult to project a player after a lost year, but there’s nothing here that suggests major regression in stolen base attempt rate.