Home runs and stolen bases will always get the attention of any Fantasy Baseball owner. With both in decline, finding the undervalued power-speed hitters becomes even more valuable. Last year, the total amount of stolen bases, across all of MLB, was the lowest total since 1994. The aggregate home run total has been in decline since 2000, and last year was the sixth consecutive year that MLB players failed to hit 5,000 long balls. This comes after surpassing the 5K mark 10 of the previous 12 seasons.
Now, if you can find a hitter that has the undervalued power-speed tag, you can kill two birds with one stone. Typically, these generalist type hitters that can do a little bit of everything, yet don’t excel at any one thing, are undervalued on draft day.
Speed specialists usually come at a premium and they may only help you in one category. Even worse, they may even hurt you in some of the other major roto categories. I prefer to build my Fantasy teams with balance. By diversifying, you decrease the reliance on one player. This provides a little bit of a safety net in case of an injury or off year.
Let’s use 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases as the line in the sand for a hitter to be considered a power and speed threat. Last year, only 15 players managed to reach the 15/15 threshold. According to NFBC ADP data, all will be off the board by pick 200 come draft day.
Today, we are going to look at some candidates for the 15/15 club that have an ADP outside of the Top 200 or in other words, undervalued power-speed hitters.
Marcus Semien, SS, Oakland Athletics
Semien had a decent power/speed year in his first season as an everyday player at the major league level as he hit 15 home runs and added 11 stolen bases. Despite a Fantasy-irrelevant major league leading 35 errors in the field, Semien showed signs of improvement at the plate. He cut down on his strikeout rate, raised his batting average, and made a great deal more of solid contact than his half season in 2014 with the White Sox.
With shortstop being a Fantasy wasteland in 2016, Semien makes a great target for those waiting until the later rounds to fill the position given his ADP of 247. In 2013, across three levels, including a 21 game cup of coffee with the White Sox, Semien recorded 21 home runs and 26 stolen bases. He then followed that up with 21 home runs and 10 stolen bases between Triple-A and the majors in 2014.
As Semien matures at the plate, we should see an increase in his OBP and stolen base attempts as his BB/K improves. For what it is worth, over his last two years in the minors, Semien walked 156 times while only striking out 149 times.
Expect continued improvement across the board for Semien in 2016, including both his power and speed statistics.
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