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.
Brad Miller, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Despite having only 438 at-bats, Miller still managed 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases last year with the Mariners. Now with the Rays, Miller should look forward to a full season’s compliment of at-bats as their everyday shortstop. Fantasy owners, surprisingly, do not seem impressed given his ADP of 266.
With a realistic shot at punching his membership card into the 15/15 club, Miller provides multi category production along with position flexibility at both second base and outfield in addition to shortstop. Miller has always been a power/speed threat, including his time in the minors.
In 2012, he split his time between Single-A and Double-A where he hit 15 bombs and swiped 23 bags. In 2013, he smashed 20 long balls and stole 11 bases as he spent time at Double-A, Triple-A, and then with the big club in Seattle.
With a new lease on life in Tampa Bay, Miller should reward both Rays fans and Fantasy owners with quality production in all facets of the game.
Steven Souza, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
There is no doubt that Souza has some holes in his game, namely his ugly strikeout rate (33.8-percent). However, his ability to hit the long ball coupled with his speed on the base paths should not go unnoticed. With an ADP of 244, Souza is going outside of the first 20 rounds in 12-team leagues.
Last year, Souza belted 16 home runs and stole 12 bases despite only registering 373 at-bats due to injuries. He also was a constant power/speed threat in the minors as he averaged 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases per year from 2012 through 2014. Most impressive was the fact that he did this while only averaging 331 at-bats per season. During that time period he also managed a batting average north of .300 while his strikeout rate was close 20-percent.
With the a great deal of upside, especially in terms of his batting average, Souza looks to be an extremely undervalued power-speed threat heading into 2016.
Gerardo Parra, OF, Colorado Rockies
Parra just missed joining the 15/15 club in 2015 as he fell one short in each category. We all know that Coors Field should support his home run total, but it should also be mentioned that the Rockies should be a plus for his stolen base total. Last year, the Rockies finished sixth in baseball in terms of stolen base attempts, while the two teams that Parra played for finished 16th and 30th.
I am still surprised at the lack of attention that Parra is getting, especially with his everyday role in Colorado. Over the past few years, he has perennially been a power/speed threat and he will still only be 28-years-old when the season kicks off. With an ADP right around the 200 mark, you will not have to spend an early round pick to secure his services.
While he won’t knock your socks off in any one category, his five-cat ability provides a great late round addition to any Fantasy roster.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Last year at the plate, Kiermaier proved that he is more than just a great defensive center fielder as he hit 10 home runs and added 18 stolen bases. For his brief career, which spans just over 800 at-bats, Kiermaier has amassed 20 big flies and 23 stolen bases. That works out to a 550 at-bat pace of roughly 13 home runs and 15 stolen bases, very close to our coveted threshold.
Kiermaier’s power has developed since entering the big leagues, as he only hit a total of 15 home runs over 1,448 minor league at-bats. Fantasy owners clearly seem to be fading his continued development since his ADP is 273.
What is it with the Rays? The five undervalued power/speed hitters listed has three from the Sunshine State. Anyway, Kiermaier fits the mold and he should continue to provide patient Fantasy owners with balanced production.
Power and speed is a match made in heaven for Fantasy owners. Both are good on their own, but together they are spectacular. The depth of your team is greatly improved when you are able to polish off your roster with these undervalued power-speed hitters.
- 2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: Mispriced Pairs; Pitcher Edition - March 13, 2018
- 2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: 5 Mispriced Pairs; Infielder Edition - March 5, 2018
- The Fantasy Lookout: A Look Towards 2018; Sleeper And Bust Edition - September 20, 2017