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Thursday, February 12, 2015

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: ENDER INCIARTE OUTFIELDER ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

When it comes to the stolen base, that one skill has become more and more abundant to coincide with the explosion of the pitching era as well.  The two go hand-in-hand simply for the fact that more and more MLB teams are having to employ "small" ball" due to the fact the starting pitching is so dominant in this post-steroids period.  Small ball of course is highlighted by doing the little things that can impact a game such as sacrifice bunts, taking walks, and stealing bases.  The stolen base has become a huge weapon in today's game and more and more players are becoming assets in fantasy baseball due to their skill in that area.  Thus there is little reason for anyone drafting this winter/spring to even consider picking a speed demon anywhere other than the late rounds as there is a slew of cheap running assets who can help you make strong gains in that one category.  One such player who could be emerging into such a player is 24-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Ender Inciarte who took advantage of a slew of injuries to the team's outfield last season to make his rookie debut.  Well-regarded as a big-time stolen base weapon, Inciarte stole an extreme 43 bases in 2013 at Double-A which put him on the prospect map.  Inciarte was pretty much a stolen base specialist though as he exhibited almost zero power in a Ben Revere sort of way.  Still once A.J. Pollock went down for the season in 2014, the D-Backs needed speed and promoted Inciarte to be that guy.  Be that guy Inciarte was as he stole 19 bases in only 418 at-bats for the team last season while batting a respectable .278.  Inciarte even threw in 4 home runs which was a nice bonus.  The very good first impression has Inciarte in the running literally to be the team's leadoff hitter for the start of 2015, with Pollock moving down a bit since he has more pop and RBI ability. 

So what could a full season of Inciarte bring?  Well for one a bunch of steals and runs if he does successfully claim the leadoff spot.  Inciarte has terrific acceleration and anticipation when it comes to stealing bases and he will hit the ground running right out of the gate.  30 steals would be a good place to start when forecasting what Inciarte could do as an everyday player and maybe even 40 if all breaks right.  Throw in 70-plus runs hitting near the top of the order and right away Inciarte is a help in two categories.  Of course for now that is where the fun will end for Inciarte as he has little to no power (a high of 5 home runs in any given season in the minors) and he will not do much of anything in the RBI category as well.  As far as the batting average, Inciarte's speed will help him post a decent number and his K rate in the minors was solid.  .280 is possible and even likely if he gets off to a good start.

So when you put it all together Ender Inciarte could be a help in three categories this season (runs, average, steals) for the price of a very late round pick.  These are the kind of kids you want to use your late rounds picks on because if they develop than you get a tremendous amount of value.  Check him out.

2015 PROJECTION:  .275 3 HR 38 RBI 72 R 29 SB

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