by Will Overton
You know what the key to winning your fantasy baseball league is? It’s finding value in your draft. And there is always value to be had if you look hard enough. So when do you start looking for this value? Well, it’s never too early.
Obviously were less than a week away from the end of the baseball season right now so we can’t really say where anyone is going to get drafted, but rankings are already starting to formulate and I think we can get a pretty basic idea how the baseball world feels about a guy.
Looking for value there was one guy who stood out for me in the hunt. Let’s take a look at a couple of stat lines from two different players last season and compare value:
Player A: 624 AB, .274 BA, 96 R, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 42 SB
Player B: 511 AB, .294 BA, 70 R, 0 HR, 32 RBI, 40 SB
I think it’s pretty safe to say that if I told you that you could have one of these two guys you’d probably choose player A, I would too. But how close is it? I’d say it’s not too far off, especially considering the disparity in at-bats. Player A is unanimous top 25 outfielder, sometimes considered top 20, Michael Bourn. Player B is Ben Revere, who wasn’t even owned in every league by the end of the season despite those numbers.
Really the biggest difference between the two is that Bourn has a little bit of pop and Revere has absolutely zero. Last season Bourn had 45 extra-base hits and Revere had just 19 of them. If you’re league counts OPS this might matter, but otherwise it’s not that significant of a stat. Nine HR’s can make a difference, but Bourn is 29 and has played six seasons, those nine HR’s were almost double his career total. Revere is 24 and a bit more power could come in time.
Bourn’s value and Revere’s value come from the same things, speed and runs. Both guys are leadoff hitters and are supposed to get on base, steal bases and score runs. Bourn has a fair amount more runs scored last season, but had Revere played the same amount of games he would’ve been on track to reach 85.
Ultimately hitting in the Braves lineup with is going to considerably more effective than hitting at the top of the Twins lineup, but the difference isn’t what you’d think. The Twins don’t score many runs, but they manufacture runs pretty well and if Revere gets on base consistently like last season for a full year, he’s going to score plenty of runs.
The other big thing is stolen bases. For a few years now Michael Bourn has been the king of stolen bases in fantasy baseball. He’s got some competition now though. Is there any doubt that with another 100 AB’s that Revere would’ve had more stolen bases? With the speed Revere has, his ability to get base hits and the Twins love for stealing bases I could see Revere stealing 60 bases next season. And I don’t think I’m that far out on the ledge, just a little bit maybe.
Ultimately the question is not is Ben Revere better than Michael Bourn, but is Michael Bourn five rounds (at least) better than Revere? I think the answer is no. Not when Revere is five years younger and just starting what should be a promising career. Bourn is more proven, and has more power, but Revere may have more speed and he had the better average last season and may again. It’s not a matter of who is better, but where the value lies. I like Bourn, but Revere is a solid player and should provide solid value this coming season, though it may be the last time if he has the breakout I think he could.