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Thursday, February 26, 2015

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ALICIDES ESCOBAR SS KANSAS CITY ROYALS

It goes without saying that shortstop has been and remains an incredibly shallow position for the better part of the last ten years.  That trend continues for 2015 as shortstop once again lacks enough players to adequately fill a standard 12-team league.  Once Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Ian Desmond are off the board, the dropoff is sizable and steep.  That means you as the drafter need to look for value plays or shortstops whose price is lower than it should be based on the numbers they provide.  One such case for the last three seasons has been Kansas City speedster Alicides Escobar who found a home with the Royals whose team mantra of emphasizing speed fits perfectly with his ability.  Now the firm leadoff man for the Royals going into the 2015 season, Escobar is ready to reprise his role as the sparkplug for the American League champions.  So with that said lets revisit Escobar in order to determine what he could provide his owners this season.

As we noted earlier, speed is the clear name of the game here as Escobar has hit a grand total of only 12 home runs over the last three seasons combined.  His high in RBI during that span as well is a very low 52 which means Escobar is not going to move the needle much when it comes to those two categories.  Where he makes his hay however is with the runs and stolen bases, not to mention having the ability for his for average as well.  Once Esocobar finally got his timing down on the basepaths before the 2012 season, he proceeded to unleash his speed of 36 stolen bases in that campaign.  Escobar followed that up with 22 and 31 steals the last two seasons as he settled in as the leadoff guy.  In addition to the steals, Escobar has run for between 57 and 74 runs in that span which is not a tremendous number but one that should rise in 2015 now that he is set to be the clear leadoff guy from the outset which wasn’t totally the case in the past.  With the Royals once again emphasizing small-ball, look for Escobar to approach or even surpass the 30 steals plateau again to go with a career-high in runs that could go past a total of 80.  Finally, Escobar is only a .261 career hitter but he batted .285 last season and .293 in 2012 which shows his improvement there.  At the still young age of 28, Escobar is still in his prime years which means there should be no falloff in any category. 

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