Don’t reach on fantasy stolen bases

Of the thousand-plus athletes who contributed to fantasy baseball 5 x 5 roto leagues last season, 400 managed to swipe at least one base. Included were such luminaries as the Indians’ Luke Carlin, Brewers’ Eric Farris and Padres’ Blake Tekotte. Each of those speedsters swiped one base without being caught in 15 or fewer at bats.

After adding up the thievery, from Mike Trout’s league-leading 49 to Brandon Barnes’ lone lift, 3,218 bases were stolen last season. That averaged out to, roughly, eight stolen bases per player. Now due to extremes on both ends of the spectrum, I doubled that average to 16 stolen bases, plus/minus two steals, to create a range I believe fantasy baseball owners should target (not necessarily obtain) in drafts without sacrificing runs, home runs, RBI and average in 5 x 5 roto scoring leagues.

Take a look at this 10-pack of players, all of which finished outside the Top 50 in stolen bases:

2013 Fantasy Baseball: Stolen Bases Study

 

Pos. 2012 SB Rank Player Team R HR RBI SB CS AVG 2012 ADP 2013 ADP
OF 53 Bryce Harper WSH 98 22 59 18 6 0.270 22nd 4th/5th
1B 54 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 82 20 82 18 3 0.286 20th 4th/5th
3B 58 Chase Headley SD 95 31 115 17 6 0.286 22nd 5th/6th
2B 60 Rickie Weeks MIL 85 21 63 16 3 0.23 6th 6th/7th
OF 61 Adam Jones BAL 103 32 82 16 7 0.287 13th 2nd
OF 65 Yoenis Cespedes OAK 70 23 82 16 4 0.292 20th 7th/8th
2B 66 Brandon Phillips CIN 86 18 77 15 2 0.281 6th 6th7th
3B 67 David Wright NYM 91 21 93 15 10 0.306 3rd 2nd/3rd
2B 73 Aaron Hill ARI 93 26 85 14 5 0.302 21th 9th/10th
SS/2B/OF 76 Ben Zobrist TB 88 20 74 14 9 0.270 5th 5th/6th
2012 Totals       891 234 812 159 55 0.281    

 

The group averaged 89 runs scored, 23 home runs, 81 RBI, nearly 16 stolen bases, while carrying a .281 batting average. Only two of the 23 players who finished the season with 30-or-more stolen bases managed to reach those 5 x 5 statistical plateaus: Mike Trout and Ryan Braun, both assumed first-round fantasy picks.

2012 Public 5 x 5 Roto League Champion Averages

 


Runs Home Runs Runs Batted In Stolen Bases Batting Average
785 212 751 126 0.277

 

Note: league champion averages of 1,483 public 5 x 5 roto  leagues

Just for a second, imagine a 2012 roster of:

1B – Paul Goldschmidt (4th round)
2B – Brandon Phillips (7th round)
3B – Chase Headley (5th round)
SS – Ben Zobrist (6th round)
OF – Ryan Braun (1st round)
OF – Yoenis Cespedes (8th round)
OF – Adam Jones (2nd round)

The above group’s 2012 average draft position averaged out to between the 13th and 14th rounds, a trend unlikely to continue in 2013. The final column indicates the assumed round each fantasy player should be selected (plus/minus one round). Once 2013 fantasy baseball mock drafts are up and running on FOXSports.com (coming in February), I’ll update this piece with each player’s 2013 mock draft ADP.

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