Yesterday, I posted an article addressing whether we, as fantasy owners, should pay up for speed in our 2016 drafts. The reason being that MLB teams are de-emphasizing the stolen base and the reality is, we can't count on players to continually steal 20-30 bases every year, for a variety of reasons which I discussed in that article.
One of our loyal readers, myrke, had the following comment and follow-up request:
Some of those names in that big list are getting to the point where it would be risky to think there’s a lot of guaranteed 20+ base stealers throughout the draft. Phillips, Ellsbury, Reyes, Braun, … maybe I missed a few, but I agree that one can’t sleep on stolen bases like one has been able to in the past five years. Good article, Ray. Maybe a follow up article could be guys in the minors that might be able to fill in some of the ranks for the future, guys like Mallex Smith.
Before I get to the guys in the minors, here is a look at the top base stealers in the second half of the 2015 season. In the table below, in addition to the stolen bases and caught stealing stats, I included how often the player made it to first base (SBO), how often each player attempted a stolen base when they did reach first base (SBO%), along with their stolen base success rate.
Most of these players are well know, but a few may not be so well known and could be available later in drafts:
A couple guys who could be available in the later rounds of drafts are:
Francisco Lindor, Indians - he had a very successful debut and should steal 20-30 bases in 2016.
Adam Eaton, White Sox - struggled in the first half, and will be looking to build on a strong second half in 2016.
Ketel Marte, Mariners - should be the Mariners starter at shortstop in 2016.
Michael Taylor, Nationals - is a burner but has trouble getting on base, making contact and may be just a 4th outfielder.
Prospects who could help in 2016
Mallex Smith, Braves - he figures to be called up sometime in the summer of 2016, and will play either center field or left field, depending on whether the Braves deal Ender Inciarte or not.
Tim Anderson, White Sox - Tyler Saladino will probably start the season at shortstop for the White Sox, but Anderson will be knocking on the door come mid-season. He stole 49 bases in 62 attempts last season.
Alen Hanson, Pirates - I am not sure what the Pirates will do at second base now that Neil Walker has been traded, but one has to think they will give Hanson a shot to be their every day second baseman in 2016. He has stolen 20+ bases at every level in the minors.
Jose Peraza, Reds - Peraza was the main guy in the three team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox, so he figures to be the Reds second baseman of the future. He stole 36 bases last season, but stole 60+ bases in 2013 and 2014.
J.P. Crawford, Phillies - he is the Phillies shortstop of the future and should get a call up sometime in June 2016. He knows how to work a walk, so he could be a legitimate 30 base stealer by 2017.
Orlando Arcia, Brewers - like Crawford, he could be up sometime in June or July, but the Brewers may slow-play his call up till September.
Trea Turner, Nationals - It appears the Nationals want to giver Turner a few more months of AAA seasoning to start the 2016 season, but he is their shortstop of the future, and is a legitimate 30 stolen base threat in a full-time role.
Other prospects who could help in the stolen base category include Tyler Goeddel (Phillies), Socrates Brito (Diamondbacks), and Darnell Sweeney (Phillies).