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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: MYLES STRAW OUTFIELDER HOUSTON ASTROS

In the fantasy baseball world, such no-name players like a Jarrod Dyson or a Drew Stubbs or a Scott Podsednik have garnered so much more attention or hype than they did in the real world game based almost exclusively on their skill at swiping bases.  Given that most standard fantasy baseball leagues using a 5 x 5 component in scoring have steals as one of the five hitting categories, these players are often in high demand on draft day and can go for some exorbitant prices.  That brings us to Houston Astros outfielder Myles Straw who very well could end up becoming the next speed specialist that makes an impact in fantasy baseball based on just his ability to swipe bags and he began to show off that skill by taking one off New York Mets catcher James McCann on Tuesday.  

In terms of Straw and his history, he originally was a 12th round pick of the team back in 2015 and took his time reaching the major leagues.  Throughout his minor league tenure however, Straw put up some nice stolen bases numbers and leadoff skills that included high walk rates.  He would debut with the Astros for 9 games in 2018 when he batted .333 and follow it up with 56 more contests in 2019 when the average was still a decent .269.  Altogether Straw swiped 10 bases and posted BB/9 rates in double digits but it still was not enough to secure an everyday spot for 2020.  

During the shortened 2020 season, Straw struggled in the 33 games he did get from the Astros as he batted just .207 and struck out at an ugly 25.6 K/9 rate but he deserves somewhat of a mulligan as all players do given the COVID challenges the entire season presented.  Fast forward to present day and it appears Houston management is ready to fully unleash Straw as the team's everyday centerfielder and leadoff batter and that my friends is a very intriguing proposition when it comes to the speed side of things.  While Straw still has to prove he can hit, the fact he walks a lot is a bonus to his batting average prospects and with OBP marks that have been every good at every stop he has made along the way, there should be plenty of chances to run.  Already multiple statistical predictor companies have Straw stealing between 25 and 35 bases and that alone should have him nestled as a very interesting speculative late round pick.  

As of now there is not much chatter when it comes to Straw but that will change if he keeps swiping bases this spring like he did on Tuesday.  While there are questions about the batting average and that there is pretty much no power to speak of, Straw has the chance for 30 steals and 75 runs which puts him in solid OF 3 territory.


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