With Byron Buxton and Francisco Lindor now called up that basically leaves Jose Peraza as the most intriguing speedster prospect as of now. His path to playing time is muddled even though they have recently moved him to center field because Cameron Maybin has played extremely well there. It is my (unfortunate) opinion that due to his situation Peraza doesn’t matter for 10 or 12 team leagues yet. Onto the recently called up speedster prospects let’s consider their current fantasy value. Mike has done numerous writeups of these players in various places and he most recently wrote that he considers Buxton to be “Leonys Martin with upside”. Steamer/Razzball projects Buxton for 31-6-30-15 .241 in 78 games. Realistically his AVG will likely fall anywhere from .235 to .270 depending mostly on K rate and BABIP. In the minors he was hitting a very mediocre .283 with a 19.0 K% and .332 BABIP. Sure I think he has plenty of upside but don’t expect too much out of Buxton. I would rather hold on to a red hot and perhaps genuinely improved Cameron Maybin than pick up Buxton. Anyway, depending on your league format Buxton has likely been picked up already. I’d say he’s worth a 15% FAAB bid depending on what else you have for SBs and outfielders.
In case I’m not being enough of a wet blanket already, let’s move on to Francisco Lindor. Speaking frankly, he’s nothing special for 2015. Offensively he’s less of everything than Byron Buxton. Lindor’s ROS projections sit at 32-4-30-11-.235 in 83 games. As Mike points out, that makes him comparable to Alcides Escobar, projections-wise. So I’d say he’s only interesting for teams weak at SS/MI. Generally the projections for minor league players are going to look somewhat weak unless the player in question has tore up the minors for at least 1+ years. What’s important to note is that for young players like this they could have very easily made an improvement this year that hasn’t necessarily shown itself either in stats so far and certainly not in the projections. But I’m not optimistic that either Buxton or Lindor has made that leap yet, unlike Carlos Correa who I think may have.
Here’s a quick look at some older fellows who might be able to help you with steals. Alex Rios is a player that’s now out there in some leagues, having been dropped in some and he stole over 40 bases as recently as 2013 but his year by year stolen bases totals are all over the place. Steamer ROS projections are 88 games 31-6-33-10 .261 or to put it another way the 373rd player on the ROS rater, but also only 20 spots behind Byron Buxton on the same rater. Depending on who’s out there, I would probably be included in the people dropping Rios, rather than picking him up. Broken record alert: I’d rather own ‘playing only part time Rajai Davis’, that is if speed is your primary interest. For overall value I think Rios could be fine, but bear in mind he’s 34 so there is a legit possibility for a decline.
Everth Cabrera is without a team after being released from the Orioles. He’s probably more valuable with no team than he was with the Orioles because maybe he’ll actually play at his next landing spot. He might be worth consideration because after all he stole 44 bases in 115 games in 2012 and 37 in 95 games played in 2013. For leagues deeper than 12 team he might even be a stash before he’s signed with a team.
This week’s SAGNOF recommendations for stolen bases: Byron Buxton and for those desperate Francisco Lindor, Alex Rios and Everth Cabrera. Previous recommendations that I’m still high on include Rajai Davis, Ender Inciarte and Kevin Pillar.
Just a few Saves Ain’t Got No Face tidbits this week. Brad Ziegler is riding a sub .200 BABIP as far as it will take him. That plus limited walks and oh, by the way, the closer role are about all he has going for him. The last time he struck out a batter was back on May 22nd and he’s made 9 appearances since then. I think at some point Enrique Burgos will be worth our attention again. And at the other end of the Brad Ziegler (aka not so good) spectrum Jake McGee is a good example of why I favor skilled players. His skill earned him back the closer role. We didn’t get much clarity this week in the Cubs bullpen but Pedro Strop is still by far my favorite for Saves.
Time to speculate on which players might be traded. Jonathan Papelbon? Francisco Rodriguez? Tyler Clippard? If Clippard were traded it would probably be as a setup man, something that Smokey warned us about recently. His potential vacancy would likely leave the closing duties to Evan Scribner (assuming no Doolittle by then) who’s been very solid and has a nice 37:3 K:BB in 33.2 innings so far this year. I think Jonathan Papelbon is the one most likely to be traded to fill a team’s 9th inning role. So who might lose their closing job as a result of a newcomer’s arrival? Total speculation here, but I’ll say the Jays might acquire an experienced closer making Brett Cecil a candidate to be moved to the 8th inning. I’ll definitely be revisiting my trade speculation, possibly for the All-Star week post.