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Alcides Escobar stole 42 bases in 52 attempts in only 109 games in Triple-A in 2009, so what the effin’ eff in the eff hole happened last year?  How did he only steal 10 bases in 145 games?  Did he mind-meld with Prince Fielder and think he had a four-hundred pound torso?  For those of you who have Google, you can see Alcides was a fantasy baseball sleeper last year and he’s going to be one again this year.  Alcides had a Speed Score of 6.4.  For qualifying players, that’s the highest Speed Score with the lowest stolen base total.  The Speed Score of 6.4 sits right between The Dread Pirate at 6.5 (33 steals) and Scott Podsednik at 6.2 (35 steals).  In Triple-A, his Speed Score was 8.4.  Carl Crawford led the majors last year with a 8.5, Brett Gardner was 2nd with 8.1.  Escobar also has no fear of losing playing time because he’s excellent with his glove and he’s now on the peasant Royals.  If Web Gems were a category, Alcides would be a two category performer.  Right now, SAGNOF!  If Alcides Escobar doesn’t steal at least 25 bases next year, my name isn’t Grey “Is This Thing On?” Albright.  In 2011, I’m sticking my neck out with a line of 70/3/40/.275/30.

Ian Desmond is a totally different animal but I’m grouping them together because I want them at my MI (stutterer!) slot.  (Plus, there’s not enough to say about either to warrant a full post for either.  Or eye-thurr, if you’re Chingy.)  You might also notice that sleeper MIs outnumber sleeper corner infidels by two to one (no actual math done for 2 to 1; I’m guessing.  Cut me some slack.).  This is because if you go wrong at MI, you can recover a whole lot more gracefully than if you drop a turd nugget at your corner slot.  Really, what’s the difference between Ian Desmond and Jeter last year?  Some runs?  Address that to “Who Cares” with the return address of “Big Whoop,” don’t put a stamp on it and watch it go around in an endless circle of “Don’t Matter.”  I’ve pretty much convinced myself that Desmond can get to 15 homers this year.  15/20 guy at shortstop?  Like that on Facebook, you social media dork.  In 2011, I see a line of 80/15/70/.280/20.  That, friends, is a 2011 fantasy baseball sleeper.  Or sleepurr, if Chingy is still reading.

  1. mic says:
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    does anyone know how the speed score is calculated?

  2. Ben says:
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    I think Reid Brignac will be a fantasy sleeper at SS as well this year. Now that he has a full time job he should put up some nice numbers. Something like 75/20/75/.260/10

  3. Al Swedgin says:
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    @Ben: That’s a pretty outrageous line, imo. You realize if he has put those numbers up last year he would have been the 5ht or 6th best SS, right?

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mic: A quick Google search yields results.

    @Ben: I mentioned a few weeks ago that Brignac would be a sleeper but I agree with Al that that line is optimistic.

  5. Tony says:
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    @Ben: @Al Swedgin: @Grey: wow 20/10 and a .260 average with mediocre rbi’s and runs is the 5th or 6th best SS, grab tulo or hanley or wait til the end…..

  6. zombie says:
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    Hey there December Grey. Consider Bill Brewer Hall as a decent 2B option, or just a turd nugget safety valve? I’m thinkin’ there’s potential sneaky value there. Merely NL only, or perhaps mixed?

  7. Eddy says:
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    My mind will be cleared up drastically once your rankings come out, but I’m still debating whether to draft a strong MI (Uggla/Andrus type) or to draft strong OF and then go after the MI sleepers simply because Of is so shallow this year.

    Which do you value more Grey?

  8. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @Grey: With the second highest speed score in the majors last year, I and some of my compatriots were more then a bit puzzled on how you managed to pick up Gardner so low in your mock draft. Speed kills in fantasy; do you see a serious regression in Brett’s future?

  9. I think Alcides stole so few bases because the Brewers don’t run much. On the other hand the Royals run like crazy so I agree w/ you that he could steal 25 bases. Good call!

  10. sean says:
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    @Grey: I’m with you on Desmond. The offense has improved around him. He completely disappeared in June and September and still put up a respectable line of 59/10/65/.269/17. Makes you wonder what those position scarcity monsters who drafted JRoll and Reyes in the 2nd round were thinking…

  11. joe says:
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    Does this make Ian Desmond a top 10 SS option heading into 2011? Other sites are putting him around 10/11′ish…I’m hoping to trade him for a draft pick/3B in my keeper league…

  12. Eddy says:
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    There is one final spot left in the 2nd Razzball mock draft!

    Go to mockdraftcentral[dot]com and sign up.

    Password is “moobs”

  13. sean says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: With a guy like Gardner, his value can only be decreased by his opportunities — ie: ABs and OBP. Last season, he was an OBP stud (.383 — best on the Yanks and 19th in MLB) and recorded 477 ABs (150 GP). Will either of those numbers fall off? In terms of OBP, it was awfully close to his career minor league number of .387, so I’m inclined to say that he’s going to be in the same neighborhood now that he’s shown he can do it over about 700 major-league ABs. In terms of ABs, I can only see this number going up as he’ll hopefully be healthier and has inspired some trust in his teammates and manager to move up in the order. As a Yankee fan, I would love to see Gardner leading off, but I’m not sure how soon is too soon to give Jeter a push down the order, especially after his renaissance ’09.

  14. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Frank Kim: Yeah, hope so.

    @sean: Yeah, he wasn’t bad.

    @joe: He was a top ten option last year so it’s not like that’s a huge stretch.

  15. Brede says:
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    Grey,

    My pick is coming up in a draft. I know it’s early, but who would be your top 2 choices out of these: Car-Go, Wright, Hamilton, Utley and Tex. Thanks!

  16. joe says:
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    wright….3B is awful…

  17. Mike from Jersey says:
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    While looking at Gallardo’s fip and babip, it seems like if luck even’s out he can be looking at a 3.10ish era, to go along with 200k’s or so. and if he can work on his walks, his numbers can really take off.
    Grienke can be looking at a big spike because of the switch in leagues.

    So how would you rank them fantasy wise? Which one is better and do you think they are both top 15, mixed league starters?

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mike from Jersey: They’re both top 20. Rankings come out in January.

  19. Mike from Jersey says:
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    @Grey:

    Can’t wait! my fantasy football team is actually in the finals, yet id still rather spend my time reading your articles. keep up the great work!

  20. cws05nuts says:
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    I’m pretty bleh on Escobar. I mean maybe it was the sample size and opposing talent that caused him to regress. He will never walk a ton leaving the OBP pretty miserable. He definitely looked over matched more often than not against some good but not great NL Central arms like Dempster and even sloth when I got to watch.

    Probably an average offensive SS when it is all said and done. Plate discipline numbers are all pretty much within a deviation of the league average. Meaning his eye will probably stay constant. Saw the big dip in BABIP last year bolstered from a spike in ground balls. Looks like quite a few more infield flies and less infield hits as well.

    But as he gets stronger and better at hitting line drives off of fastballs instead of ground balls the average and BABIP should return. Maybe Kauffman will help too. If that happens 30 sb plus should be the upside there. And definitely a different philosophy than Milwaukee where it was just get on base and wait to trot home.

  21. @Eddy:

    uggg…still one more open spot, I had to back out because I’ll be driving to or from the Philly airport at that time…sorry guys, hopefully I can’t jump on the next one.

  22. barker says:
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    I’m in the draft for tomorrow @ pick 11

    anyway can we get a draft together for thursday at sometime after 11pm eastern

    i know its Christmas eve eve but ill be stuck at work till 6 am on fri
    (boss wouldnt give me off — he’s a d*ckhead but i digress)

    grey i know you got experty drafts and other obligations but it would be great if we could be graced by your presence in one of these mocks

  23. big o says:
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    um ,
    were you serious in your response (#19) ?

    if so , it says quite a bit about your level of professionalism (and ethics) .

    to discard (?) your long-standing intimate relationship with mr. utley ,
    for the sake of guiding your followers down the path towards righteousness and fantasy baseball victory , must have been a difficult and soul-searching decision for you …. (like that climber who cut off his arm to save his life) .

    still , i must wonder …. how is chase taking all of this ?
    has he issued a response ? has he said anything at all ??
    will this break-up send him plummeting into an emotional abyss that might
    affect his on-field performance ?

    OR , is this just one big pile of mind-gaming crap that a fickle December Grey has thrown out there to see if chase “really” cares ?

    it’s a good thing you have February Grey to clean up your messes for you .
    i , for one , wouldn’t put up with your antics .
    the holidays are tough enough , as it is .

    let’s just all have a peaceful and safe holiday season .

    maybe January Grey can make some sense out of all of this .

  24. Steve says:
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    @big o: I’ll go along with that.

    And the bit about the safe and peaceful holidays too.

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mike from Jersey: Cool, nice to have you.

    @cws05nuts: He’s cheap SAGNOF, I’m not expecting a whole lot more.

    @GopherDay: Cool, will read later.

    @barker: I’ll try to one of these mocks.

    @big o: Ha… Yeah, it’s motivation for Chase. Have a good one!

  26. Terrence Mann says:
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    @Eddy: Damn. Missed out on the mock. I wanna see the results. Also, when is the next one? I have to go back to work beginning of January so I wanna do as many mocks with dudes that know what they’re doing as possible.

  27. Terrence Mann says:
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    @Grey: Do you think the Royals got enough for Greinke? I don’t know much about the pitchers. Seems to me that Drabek, Snider, and another prospect would have been better. The Royals have NO power and Drabek seems close to a sure thing.

    I’m sure Alcides will be a nice sleeper. He has to bat leadoff, right? It’s him or Crapablanco.

  28. Eddy says:
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    @Terrence Mann:

    I’ll be sure to post the results here. And I gotta check my schedule to see when I can set up the next one.

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Terrence Mann: Hard to get more when you’re going around telling everyone you want to trade Greinke.

  30. Terrence Mann says:
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    @Grey: No kidding. Greinke wanted out because the team lied to him about trying to compete. That’s no secret. But wouldn’t it have made more sense to hold on to him until they had a chance to get something nice? You know there will be a team or two down the stretch that will overpay for a Greinke before the trade deadline. The Royals had him for two more years. There was no reason to dump him. What a mess.

  31. GopherDay says:
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    Ugh…Got home from work much later than I thought. Sorry I missed the draft guys.

  32. big o says:
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    @GopherDay:

    yep .
    a night owl mock would be nice .

  33. GopherDay says:
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    @GopherDay: Okay, got half the draft in…Nothing quite like drafting Aubrey Huff as my staring 1B! Lol

  34. big o says:
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    so , i pilfered this off the internet :

    “If Martinez starts the game as a DH, the only way for him to move behind the plate would be for the Tigers to give up the DH spot.”

    if Aviles gets hurt in the 1st inning , the Tigers would either have to send their pitchers up to hit , or watch their bull-pen and bench deplete ,
    simultaneously .

  35. big o says:
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    edit :
    * avila

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