Late Round Draft Day Targets: Shortstops

As we’ve discussed before, a late round option is someone who has an ADP after Round 18 (216) according to Mock Draft Central.  Considering how many question marks there are at the top of the shortstop rankings, the idea of nabbing one of these guys as a safety net is probably a very good idea:

Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royals
After he disappointed in his rookie campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers (.235, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 57 R, 10 SB), it is not surprising that fantasy owners are shying away from him.  An ADP of 34.02, though?  That seems to be taking things to an extreme.

Let us not forget that Escobar was regarded as one of the elite prospects in the game not too long ago.  He is the same player who hit .298 with 42 SB in 430 AB at Triple-A in 2009.  I know you want to point to how disappointing his SB total was in ’10, but that is just as much an indication of the old Brewers philosophy as it is Escobar’s ability.  Exactly when is the last time a Brewers’ player put up a big stolen base total?  It just hasn’t happened in recent years.

The rest of Escobar’s struggles can certainly be considered luck related.  It’s not like he appeared overmatched at the plate, with a 13.8% strikeout rate.  Instead, he posted a BABIP of .264.  For a player with his type of speed, that’s almost unthinkable.

I wouldn’t consider him as a starting shortstop, but as a depth option or if you need a middle infielder, he is a great pick late in your draft.  He is just 24-years old and could easily put it all together in 2011.

Yunel Escobar – Toronto Blue Jays
He was awful in Atlanta, hitting .238 with 0 HR in 261 AB.  After he was traded to Toronto in the middle of the year, however, he finally showed life.  In 236 AB he hit .275 with 4 HR.

Those early season struggles certainly help cause people to ignore him on draft day.  In 2008 and 2009 he hit 10 and 14 HR due to HR/FB of 9.1% and 10.1%, respectively.  Are we really to believe his 3.3% mark in ’10?  You couple that with the move to Toronto, which saw most hit for a ton of power in 2010, and there certainly is hope.  Is he going to be a huge source of power?  Of course not, but how many shortstops are, especially that late in the draft?

He should provide a solid average with some power, to go along with the potential of 70+ R and RBI.  There’s not much more that you can ask for.

Cliff Pennington – Oakland Athletics
The 2010 season was his first full year and he delivered a .250 average with 6 HR and 29 SB.  Considering his ADP of 373.83, that’s pretty solid production.  Plus, if you are not a believer in the stolen base total, he had 31 SB in 440 AB between Double & Triple-A in ’08 and 27 SB in 360 AB at Triple-A in ’09.  The guy is certainly a solid source of speed.

He’s not going to bring any type of power, which hurts his value, but he should give a much better average than he did in ’10.  With his speed you would expect a better BABIP, which was at .296 in ’10.

Unfortunately he doesn’t play for a high-powered offense, meaning he’s not likely to pile up the R or RBI.  However, at that stage of the draft, getting an option with speed that should hit for a good average is about as much as anyone can ask.

Jhonny Peralta – Detroit Tigers
Peralta was previously discussed as a late round option among third baseman (click here to view), so make sure to check that article out for more on him.

What are your thoughts of these players?  Which would you target late in your draft?  Is there another shortstop you are eyeing?

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Make sure to check out our previous late round articles:

One comment

  1. Andrew says:

    Really useful stuff here…especially Alcides’ BABIP and Yunel’s HR/FB. Great things to keep in mind, especially at a shallow position. Thanks!

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