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2011 Fantasy Sleeper: Royals Shortstop Alcides Escobar

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This offseason, Alcides Escobar was the main piece in the deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Brewers. But looking at his 2010 stats, one has to shake his head and wonder why he was the main piece. Escobar's rookie season was a season to forget. He hit .235-.288-.326 with 4 HRs, 41 RBIs, 57 runs scored and just 10 SBs.

What happened to the speedy shortstop prospect who had solid contact rates in the minors? Well, his contact rates were right around his minor league average of 86-87%. The problem was that his BABIP was just .264, so he was a bit unlucky. His line drive rate increased from 17% to 22% last year, so one would think his BA would be better than .235, right? I wonder if some of those line drives were caught by infielders as his infield fly ball rate was 14.2%, and I am not sure if Fangraphs differentiates between infield fly balls and infield line drives.

And the stolen bases? He only stole 10 bases for one reason. His manager was Ken Macha, who felt that his team shouldn't run into outs when he has so many boppers hitting in the Brewers lineup and turn 2 or 3 run homers into solo or 2 run homers. As a result of that line of thinking, Escobar had a very low 11% stolen base opportunity rate. A guy with his speed should be running at least 30% of the time he is on base, and I think he will in 2011.

He just needs to get on base, and that will start with him having a little more luck than he had in 2010. If he can maintain his LD rate around 20%, and increase his GB rate closer to the 50% rate, I think Escobar could raise his BA to the .280-.290 range. And the move to Kansas City should help him in the SB category as well as KC ran more than the Brewers did on 2010. Its ashame Escobar was traded with new Brewers manager Ron Roenicke already preaching about being more aggressive on the basepaths this year.

I think Escobar could raise his BA to the .280-.290 range and steal 35+ bases in 2011.