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Searching for 20/20: Candidates

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Who could be the newest player to enter the 20/20 club?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past week, we've seen what players were capable of joining the 20 SB club and 20 HR club.  Today we search for the potential overlap.  The 20/20 club is an elite group for fantasy purposes.  This year there were 4 players who accomplished this feat, along with their ESPN player rater position for standard 5x5 scoring:

  • A.J. Pollock, 5th
  • Ryan Braun, 26th
  • Paul Goldschmidt, 6th
  • Manny Machado, 13th

It takes a unique skill set that very few players have to do it, but when it is done, 20/20 is fantasy gold.   Next season, if you are going to try and guess that one specific player will accomplish 20/20, those 4 should be your guess.

But beyond those four, we are grasping for straws trying to find the next member of the club.  Good players become truly elite options with those few extra homers or steals.   So now I will blend the two lists I created in the previous two articles.  First lets look at the homer totals of the players I found who I thought were a good bet to be members of the 20 SB fraternity in 2016.

Speed

HR

Mookie Betts

18

Adam Eaton

14

Christian Yelich

14

Justin Upton

26

Kevin Keirmaier

10

Alcides Escobar

3

Michael A. Taylor

14

Chris Owings

4

Michael Brantley

15

Gerardo Parra

14

Marcus Semien

15

Brian Dozier

28

Chris Coghlan

16

David Peralta

17

Matt Duffy

12

Brock Holt

2

Rajai Davis

8

Jose Peraza

0

Aaron Altherr

5

Jackie Bradley Jr.

10

Jonathan Villar

2

Melvin Upton

5

Alejando de Aza

7

Byron Buxton

2

Dalton Pompey

2

Carlos Correa

22

The bolded names met both my speed criteria of a SPD score greater than 5.5 and greater than .1635 steal attempts per game.  The other names were personal selections of mine who had smaller samples who have shown off tools, but didn't make the cut.

From the list above my guys to potentially jump to 20/20 are Mookie Betts, Justin Upton, Michael Brantley, Brian Dozier, David Peralta, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Carlos Correa.  These hitters all lacked the playing time, or narrowly missed joining the club this year.

From the power side the list didn't have nearly as many dual threats.  The players who had average homerun and fly ball distances over 290 ft and hard hit rates over 35% basically all had minute steal totals.  See the list below.

Power

SB

David Peralta

9

Randal Grichuk

4

Seth Smith

0

Jorge Soler

3

Stephen Piscotty

2

Welington Castillo

0

Freddie Freeman

3

Brandon Belt

9

Kyle Schwarber

3

Miguel Cabrera

1

Miguel Sano

1

Danny Valencia

2

Jonathon Schoop

2

Michael Conforto

0

Maikel Franco

1

Preston Tucker

0

Jackie Bradley Jr.

3

Miguel Montero

1

Brandon Moss

0

George Springer

16

Jedd Gyorko

0

Derek Deitrich

0

Will Middlebrooks

2

Jung-ho Kang

5

Robinson Cano

2

The bolded players accomplished both power criteria, and the unbolded were very close in one and made the cut in the other.  From the above list, the only players I believe have the skills to achieve 20 steals are George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Now after reviewing the previous two lists, the only player to have a 35% hard hit rate, a 290 ft home run and fly ball distance, a speed score greater than 5.5, and a steal rate of .1635 is David Peralta.  While it would be tough to jump from 9 steals to 20, its not completely out of the question, and he definitely has the skills.   If you are going to ask me how Arizona keeps finding these players who break out in such huge ways and manage to consistently be such a bad team, I wouldn't be able to give you an answer.  I am prepared to really buy in on Peralta after this season he just had.

The only player to achieve 3 of 4 was Jackie Bradley Jr.  I'm not a fan of his at all, but I must say, his turn around from what he's shown in previous terrible MLB appearances, was a dramatic change from what I'm used to.

Lastly, I want to cover five outfielders that I was rather surprised to find excluded from previous lists, but I view as potential threats for 20/20 next season.  All of these players stole over 20 bases so they were ignored in the speed article, and most of them came up short of my baselines for inclusion in the power department.

Starling Marte, OF, PIT

Marte has reached 30SB in the past 3 seasons, so the speed is not a question.  Next year, in his age 27 season, he's a very safe bet to have over 20 steals again.  His Steamer projection has him at 16 homers and 26 steals in 127 games.  After a 153 game, 19 homer performance in 2015, I think a higher game total is safe to expect, and as he enters his power peak, he should be slightly more efficient at hitting homers.  20 wouldn't take a large improvement.  His homerun and fly ball distance was 10th best in all of baseball, so a power surge seems like a mechanical adjustment, and not an offseason of pumping iron to drastically change his body type.

Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL

Blackmon just finished a massive fantasy season with 17 homers and 43 steals.  His high contact rates will yield good results at Coors Field, but his low average distance might limit his power output.  If he does achieve 20 homers, it'll be by following the methods of A.J. Pollock and consistently hitting the ball hard and having his average distance jump up as well.  I'm less confident in Blackmon making this change considering the success he just had with his present methods, but its not inconceivable.

Lorenzo Cain, OF, KC

After experiencing a big jump in production this year, the tools that many drooled over in the past may now be showing up.  Cain has the speed to eclipse the 20 SB mark, but his power is perplexing.  He has the body to be a power hitter.   He consistently makes hard contact, but his ground ball first approach to take advantage of his speed is going to make tacking on 4 more homers next season, harder than many would think.  I think a change in approach would hurt his real baseball production and would likely result in him reverting to what made him successful this year.

Dexter Fowler, OF, CHC

Dexter Fowler is fresh off a 17 homer, 20 steal campaign, and I felt obligated to throw him in.  As a first time free agent, if he signs with a team with a good home park, 20 homers is plausible, but that may be his ceiling.  He doesn't hit the ball hard or put the ball in the air often.  Fowler played a career high game total, 156, and had 100 more ABs than in any previous season.  Despite that he was still 3 homers short while playing in the friendly confines, along with the other power boosting parks of the NL Central.  Fowler does a fantasy team a lot of good with his balanced attack and high walk approach, but 20HR would be tough.

Brett Gardner, OF, NYY

I love Brett Gardner.  He started as the speedy pest, and developed his all around game as he gained experience.  His defense is meaningless in this, but it has always been very good, and will guarantee him playing time.   With that said, I have no idea where the last two seasons power surge has came from with Gardner.  Most of his homers are line drives to the short porch in RF, but that's tough to do 16 & 17 times in the past two years.  He's posted an identical HR/FB rate in 2014 and 2015 (11%), and is a player with very few health concerns.  He was 231st out of 282 players with enough balls in play to make the baseball heat maps leader boards, but with the way he has learned to abuse RF in Yankee Stadium, I think he takes the next step forward and hits 20 next season.  Sometimes you read about athletes wanting to accomplish certain statistical feats, I can see Gardner being a guy who guns for something that has been so close to his grasp the past two seasons.