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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