Draft Day Sleepers: Identifying Three Potential Late Round Stolen Base Targets

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Stolen bases have become harder and harder to find, especially late in your draft. If you don’t have one of the elite (think Trea Turner), you could be left scrambling to find a boost in the category. If you find yourself in that position, here are three names to consider in the final rounds of your draft who could help (albeit with significant questions):

Sam Hilliard (Average NFBC ADP – 304.55)

The Colorado Rockies have consistently failed to give their young players an opportunity, which puts Hilliard’s outlook for 2020 in doubt. Will he be able to carve out a role, or will he face what has become the typical fate and ultimately come off the bench or land back at Triple-A?

The Rockies do have options in the outfield, but they all have questions regarding their health/ability (outside of Charlie Blackmon):

  • Charlie Blackmon
  • David Dahl
  • Garrett Hampson
  • Ian Desmond
  • Raimel Tapia

The left-handed hitting Hilliard could be part of a platoon, but he’s stolen at least 23 bases each of the past four years (including 37 SB in ’17 at High-A). He went 24-for-29 between Triple-A and the Majors last season, so if he’s in the lineup 20+ SB is a real possibility (with the potential for a little bit more).

Brett Phillips (Average NFBC ADP – 735.29)

There is no questioning the potential power/speed Phillips brings, and playing for the Royals you would think he would get an opportunity (even with Alex Gordon being resigned). He’s routinely shown 20/20 potential coming up through the minors, so what’s not to like?

His inability to make consistent contact is going to ultimately limit his upside. Over 324 PA in the Majors he owns a 12.9% SwStr% and a 36.4% strikeout rate. It’s interesting, and he’s consistently had that issue in the minor league, but he actually does a good job staying within the strike zone (22.8% O-Swing%) and has shown he can take a walk (9.3% in the Majors).

Can you steal bases if you are striking out and not getting on base? Even at a 25% strikeout rate he’d be an intriguing option, and at 25-years old it’s not impossible that an adjustment comes. Phillips is a significant gamble, but worth monitoring if you are desperate.

Victor Reyes (Average NFBC ADP – 399.99)

He may not have blazing speed, but Reyes did steal 19 bases last season split between Triple-A (10) and the Majors (9) for the Tigers. You can argue that he’s the safest bet for playing time on this list, and could even hit atop Detroit’s lineup (though even as a “second leadoff hitter”, batting ninth, would also work).

Opportunity is key, and while we’d like to see him learn to draw a few more walks (4.8% in ’19) he could provide essentially a free 15 SB along with a little bit of power (he could be a 10/15 type player).

Source – Fangraphs

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