Prospect Help: Stolen Bases

As I stated last week, I will be changing the layout of my posts until the start of the season to give you more practical fantasy advice for the upcoming season. I won’t be talking about draft position, ottoneu, or auction prices, rather I’ll breakdown which prospects can help your team in each of the traditional fantasy categories. Each week I’ll give you my No Doubt, Overrated, and Sleeper picks.

Last week we had a great discussion about batting that yielded some interesting feedback. First, remember, I’m not evaluating a player’s prospect status. I’m discussing their ability to affect a single statistical category in 2013 relative to expectations. The multifaceted discussion of Oscar Taveras vs. Wil Myers was interesting too. One topic discussed was public perception. The majoritarian point of view was Myers’s perceived abilities had exceeded actual value due to the trade and Taveras was a good value because he is relatively unknown. Considering several intelligent commenters preferred Taveras for 2013, I find hard to accept he is currently underappreciated. With that said, I have “No Doubt” that he’ll hit or a better than league average, I just doubt he’ll play enough in 2013 to justify paying what appears to be the market rate amongst informed fans.

That leads me to the other topic, playing time. After reading the comments I waivered over how to handle playing time in projecting value. On one hand the less playing time one has, the less valuable he is, especially if you’re counting on that prospect playing. But, you acquire the prospect as an upgrade, playing time may be irrelevant. In this mini-series, however, we’re discussing the entire 2013 so playing time is paramount.

Okay, on to STOLEN BASES.

No Doubt. Billy Hamilton. This was far more difficult than most would assume, but I ultimately decided to go with the prospect who could win this category on his own in a standard rotisserie league. For this reason alone, he beat out Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar. Profar should be recalled early in the year and steal upwards of 25 bases this season. If he was guaranteed to play daily, I would have selected him. Of course, I have major concerns with Hamilton…

Overrated. Billy Hamilton. Frankly, I foresee Hamilton earning minimal playing time in 2013. Recall, he’s learning an entirely new position after the Reds decided to move him from shortstop to centerfield. During his winter stint at the position he crashed into a wall during the Arizona Fall League Championship. Luckily he was fine, but he is raw in center and the switch should ensure he’ll spend significant time at Triple-A Louisville. That, and he is just 213 Double-A plate appearances. Doug Gray and Reds Reporter agreed with this assertion. Reds Reporter recently stated the best case scenario for Hamilton was becoming a full time starter in 2014. If your league’s statistics aren’t counting annually, be wary of over-drafting Hamilton. A major injury may be his only path to consistent playing time. Without one, you may receive no return on your pick. While I’m skeptical, the upside Hamilton offers over what Profar’s projected output is enough to hear him my top spot.

Sleepers. Aaron Hicks, Eury Perez and Gary Brown. Aaron Hicks is unblocked in Minnesota and his passive approach should allow him to get on base despite a potentially low batting average. Similarly, Gary Brown is blocked by the untalented duo of Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres. Brown will never hit for power but he understands his game is speed and its represented in his compact ground ball swing. Perez is a burner can could be who the Nationals go to if an injury in their outfield occurs.

We hoped you liked reading Prospect Help: Stolen Bases by JD Sussman!

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Formerly of Bullpen Banter, JD can be followed on Twitter.

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on jan 4 your colleague brandon warne also picked the Twins 2013 CF as a top SB sleeper. Just… not Hicks.

I don’t doubt that Hicks is a great sleeper in deep leagues, but wonder if he might be overvalued at least in those dynasty leagues where prospect hawks grab up every player on a top-prospects list. In a deep dynasty league I’m in, Hicks was picked up ages ago while Mastroianni was readily available.