Late Round Targets: Five Sources Of Speed

Is speed something that you look for late in your draft?  Here are five guys who are generally available after Round 18 (meaning they have an ADP of 216 or above according to Mock Draft Central) and I currently have projected to steal at least 25 bases. 

If you have the need for speed, these are certainly names worth targeting:

Jose Tabata – Pittsburgh Pirates
I discussed him briefly as part of a wild prediction (click here to view) and there certainly is reason for fantasy owners to take notice.  With an ADP of 271.02, he has the potential to be a bargain.

In his first taste in the Major Leagues (405 AB), Tabata hit .299 with 61 R and 19 SB.  That doesn’t mention the 25 SB he had at Triple-A in 224 AB prior to his recall, so no one should be doubting his speed.  Throw in the fact that there has been talk that the Pirates are going to be more aggressive on the base paths and there is even more to like.

I know people are going to point to his lack of SB prior to 2010, but remember he just turned 21-years old in ’10.  He was young and inexperienced and still learning the nuances of the game.

I also believe that there’s a good chance Tabata ultimately settles into the leadoff spot (if he doesn’t open the year there), with Andrew McCutchen moving down to the third spot.  That would provide Tabata even more opportunities to run.  Is he going to be one of these guys who steals 60-70 bases?  Of course not, but how many guys are?  He could easily steal over 25 bases, with the potential for significantly more.

Rajai Davis – Toronto Blue Jays
Before the addition of Scott Podsednik we may have felt a little bit more comfortable with Davis’ use as a late round steal option (current ADP of 289.92).  There is now a chance that he loses a few at bats, so keep that in mind in comparison to the other options listed.

Over the past two seasons Davis has stolen 91 bases for the Oakland Athletics, though the team seemed to prefer Coco Crisp (who we will talk about shortly) as the leadoff option when he was healthy.  Why?  Well, Davis is not the best OBP option, something that teams obviously look for at the top of the order.

I know he had a .360 mark in 2009, but he was at just .320 last season.  He has a career walk rate of just 5.9% and was at 4.6% in ’10.  He needs to improve those marks so he can make the most of his speed (though he showed that he can still steal bases even if he doesn’t have an elite OBP).  As long as he maintains regular playing time he is going to be a solid late round option, but there is a bit of risk.

Angel Pagan – New York Mets
You would think that people would believe in Pagan after he broke out in 2010, wouldn’t you?  Alas, owners seem to be a bit skeptical after he hit .290 with 11 HR, 69 RBI, 80 R and 37 SB.  Maybe it is his injury prone history?  Or is it the return of Carlos Beltran that has owners concerned?  Regardless, it would appear like Pagan is a bargain at his current ADP of 297.10.

Do not get me wrong, as I think there is little chance that he improves on his ’10 success and very well could see a bit of a regression.  However, that is a story for another day.  What we are looking for here are players who can provide plenty of speed late in your draft and Pagan fits the bill.

Over the past two seasons he has 51 stolen bases in 67 attempts.  There is no reason to think that the Mets are going to put the brakes on, even with a change in leadership.  Pagan should get the green light hitting second in the Mets order, meaning 30+ should be realistic for a second consecutive season. 

Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays
Sooner or later he is going to be looked at as the replacement to Carl Crawford, it is just a matter of when.  The signings of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez may have delayed his arrival slightly, but that doesn’t change his potential outlook, it only drives down the asking price (306.59 current ADP).

Over his minor league career he has stolen 171 bases in 204 attempts.  Last season he had 37 SB in 399 AB at Triple-A.  In ’09 he had 52 SB in 497 AB between Double and Triple-A.  The guy can run and, if he’s given an opportunity, he is going to show it.

Obviously he may not have much value early on, especially for those in shallower formats, because he could easily open the year at Triple-A.  However, for those in deeper formats, stashing him for usage later on is certainly appealing.

Coco Crisp – Oakland Athletics
Can he stay healthy?  That really is the question.  He had just 290 AB in ’10 yet he managed to steal 32 bases in 35 attempts.

Of course you can call that a bit of an aberration, considering he had never stolen more than 28 bases in a season since his Major League debut back in 2002.  Or maybe it was just the A’s finally gave him the green light and let him run wild?  With an ADP of 334.76 it certainly is worth rolling the dice to find out if you find yourself lacking in speed late.

What are your thoughts of these options?  Which would you target late in your draft if you were in need of speed?  Is there another option that you would consider?

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Make sure to check out our previous late round articles:


  1. Sun says:

    Professor,I want to ask one question thx.

    Some news say Tabata age now is 25 not 21.

    How do Professor think about it?

    Does Professor think Tabata still have a lots
    potential to growth?? (if Tabata is 21 he absolutely have lots to expect )

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    Sun, that speculation was about a year ago and that is what it was, speculation. I haven’t seen anything come out to say that he is actually in his mid-20s, not 21.

    Would it make a difference? Maybe a little bit, but it doesn’t change the idea of him being a good late round option for speed. If he’s 21 or 25, there’s no reason to think that he can’t repeat his increase in SB that he showed last season.

    • Sun says:

      I agree with your point professor.

      What I expect is that if Tabata is 21(not 25), I think his orank have lots opportunity to enter the top 100 in future, and Tabata’s will have much value in keeper league.

  3. SimonJ says:

    As you can see from my article, I think Pagan is way underrated this year. I think he should be drafted in pretty much every league this year.

    I drafted Crisp in all my deep leagues last year and it was painful to watch his injuries deprive him of half his ABs – almost as painful as his pain. I do see the setup in Oakland as perfect for him though. The A’s will have to manufacture runs so he will get the green light a lot, his success rate was superb, and I don’t think he’ll have problems getting ABs if, and I man IF, he stays fit. I reckon if he gets more than 500 ABs then he’ll lead the league in SB – how’s that for a wild prediction?

    I like Jennings but I can’t see him getting more than 200 ABs this year. In a keeper I’d grab him, but even in my deep leagues I just can’t see a great chance of him making an impact this year.

    I think the acquisition of Podsednik really impacts the value of Davis. Before, there was little depth to the OF and you could easily see scenarios of 550-600 ABs. Now I wouldn’t project more than 500 ABs and there is a definite chance that Podsednik could take a significant number of lead-off ABs too. Projecting at 35-40SB rather than 45-50SB really hurts his value.

    Tabata is the wild card. The youth together with the unknown surrounding his lineup spot and the guys hitting around him make him seriously hard to project. Possibly a guy with one of the widest spreads of realistic outcomes. Just as likely to be a great sleeper or a horrible bust.

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