Should Fantasy Owners Draft Alcides Escobar And Pass On Jose Reyes?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

No one is going to argue that Alcides Escobar is a better fantasy option than Jose Reyes.  However does it make sense to bypass Reyes (ADP of 45.3) and select Escobar (ADP of 189.8)?  The health concerns surrounding Reyes alone would be a strike against Reyes, and the alternatives you can get in the fourth round make it that much more alluring:

  • Corey Dickerson – 44.8
  • George Springer – 45.2
  • Todd Frazier – 49.7

That said, would it be surprising to find out that Escobar’s stats could actually come close to Reyes’?  Let’s take a look:

 

Average
Reyes is a career .291 hitter whose lowest average since 2006 has been .279 (2009).  Sure Escobar is just a .263 hitter, but look at his marks the past three seasons:

  • 2012 – .293
  • 2013 – .234
  • 2014 – .285

Which one of the three doesn’t appear to belong?  Now take into account that his line drive rates over the past three seasons has been 23.0%, 23.0% and 24.2% and he owns a career strikeout rate of 13.4%.  In other words Escobar should be in the same .285-.295 range that Reyes falls into, with the upside of a .300 hitter.

 

Stolen Bases
Sure there was a time that Reyes was a lock to steal 60+ bases, but that was a long time ago.  He’s now 31-years old and is coming off a season where he stole just 30 bases.  Escobar, meanwhile, is 28-years old and coming off a 31 SB campaign.  There was a notable split, helping to think that there’s a chance he pushes 40 with a little bit of consistency:

  • First Half – 22
  • Second Half – 9

Throw in the likelihood that he hits at the top of the lineup, meaning more opportunities to run, and the advantage could ultimately be his.

 

Runs
Reyes plays in a much more high-powered offense, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him eclipse 100 runs.  Escobar isn’t likely to get there, but he scored 74 last season and hitting in the leadoff spot could lead to 90+ (certainly at least 85).  Reyes has the advantage, but Escobar could be closer than we think (especially with Reyes’ injury history).

 

Conclusion
Yes Reyes has a little bit more power, but Escobar has the chance to be in the neighborhood in the three categories we’d be drafting either one for:

  • Average – Even
  • Stolen Bases – Escobar could have a slight edge
  • Runs – Reyes has the edge (though injuries could change that)

With a 12 round difference, as well as the potential bat you can add instead of Reyes in the fourth round, it’s an absolute no-brainer.  Pass on Reyes and select Escobar without a second thought.

Sources – Fangraphs, Fantasy Pros

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One comment

  1. Andrewp says:

    Please stop posting these great articles, someone in my league may finally get wise to my strategy! I like name brand guys myself but this is indeed a no brainier.

    Escobar has posted numbers competitive to Reyes batting low in the order, so should be interesting to see what leading can do to help and hopefully not hurt his performance.

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