Visions of 20/20 now 15/15?

Yesterday our Fantasy Assembly team released the Composite Top 60 Dynasty/Keeper Rankings for Outfielders heading into the 2015 season.Something that’s quite evident from our rankings is a favoritism towards outfielders who offer a nice mix of power and speed potential.

At the conclusion of the 2014 season there were five players who reached at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Want to know how much this game has changed since the era of performance enhancing drugs? Look no further than the 14 players who tallied at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases as recently as the 2009 season.

Here’s the amount of 20/20 and 15/15 players per season since 2009:

Year 20/20 Players 15/15 Players Total
2009 14 12 26
2010 7 13 20
2011 10 12 22
2012 10 15 25
2013 9 8 17
2014 5 10 15

I like the strategy of targeting multi-stat contributors who offer a nice mix of power and speed. The more balanced you stay throughout a draft the more flexibility you have to take advantage of value picks that fall to you as the draft progresses. The problem in 2014 was that there just were not a lot of 20/20 types to go around. Seeing as how there was just one more 15+/15+ player in 2014 as there were 20+/20+ players in 2009, it might be time to set our sights a little lower and look more in the 15/15 range as we build our rosters through the draft.

In this exercise I’m going to run through various collections of players that include 20/20 and 15/15 performers from this past season as well as those who may become first time 15/15 power/speed contributors in 2015. I’ll start with key underlying stats we should consider, give a verdict on each player based on those stats, and list the chance we’ll see either a 20/20 or 15/15 season if the player in question were to reach 550+ ABs in 2015.

The 2014 20/20 Club:

Carlos Gomez: 23/24 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: 40.9 FB% in 2014. Four straight years over 11.4% HR/FB rate. 74% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: No reason Carlos Gomez can’t go 20/20 again. He has as good a chance as any player in the game.

20/20 Chance: 65%
15/15 Chance: 85%

Ian Desmond: 24/24 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Three straight 20/20 seasons. Only a 32.1 FB% in 2014 but has an 18+ HR/FB% two of the past three seasons. 83% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: A fourth consecutive 20/20 season should be well within Desmond’s reach.

20/20 Chance: 60%
15/15 Chance: 80%

Michael Brantley: 20/23 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: 28.2 FB% in 2014. Nearly doubled his previous career high HR/FB% in 2014. 96% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: I see Brantley putting up at least 20 SB once again. However, with just a 28.2 FB% it would be more believable to see him finish with between 11-14 HR in 2015.

20/20 Chance: 20%
15/15 Chance: 40%

Todd Frazier: 29/20 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Averaged 39.5 FB% since rookie year of 2011. Averaged 14.5 HR/FB% since rookie year of 2011. 71% SB success rate in 2014. Never reach 20 SB in any professional year prior to 2014.

Verdict: Frazier is likely to go in the opposite direction of Brantley in that his power is certainly believable but his 2014 SB total of 20 is likely to be a career high. It would be more believable to see him settle into the 10-13 SB range in 2015.

20/20 Chance: 20%
15/15 Chance: 40%

Brian Dozier: 23/21 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Career 42.9 FB%. Three year increase of HR/FB rate, up to 11.3% in 2014. Only went 5/5 in the second half of 2014. 75% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: I thought going in that my Dozier verdict would have him falling short of another 20/20 season for sure. Instead, I’m a little flummoxed on this one. The overall numbers suggest that he should come close but his second half performance in 2014 is giving me pause. Of all the names in this group, I’ll just say that I like Carlos Gomez and Ian Desmond to repeat, Michael Brantley and Todd Frazier to fall short, and Brian Dozier falls somewhere in between.

20/20 Chance: 30%
15/15 Chance: 45%

The 2014 15/15 Club:

Andrew McCutchen: 25/18 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Went 20/20 from 2011-2013. 86% SB success rate in 2014. Stable career 38% FB rate and 12.6% HR/FB rate.

Verdict: I’m giving ‘Cutch the Carlos Gomez treatment here. His SB success rate this past season suggests that the Pirates should set him free a tad more frequently in 2015. In his prime physically at age 28, McCutchen should be a solid bet for mid-20s HR totals moving forward.

20/20 Chance: 65%
15/15 Chance: 85%

Mike Trout: 36/16 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Pure Awesomeness! 47.2% FB rate, 26.1% K rate, .377 OBP, and an 89% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: In the three years since Trout announced his presence as an MLB super star, he has really altered his game. Since his rookie year of 2012, Trout has traded contact rate for power. This can be seen in the rise of his FB% from 33% in 2012 to his 47.2% mark from this past season as well as a K rate that has risen from a low of 19% in 2013 up to 26.1% in 2014. His 89% success rate suggests the Angels should set him free on the bases a tad more much as the Pirates should do with McCutchen. The risk of injury on the base paths may be all that’s stopping guys like Trout and ‘Cutch from racking up 20/20 seasons.

20/20 Chance: 60%
15/15 Chance: 80%

Jacoby Ellsbury: 16/39 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: 33.5 FB%, 9.8% HR/FB%, and an 89% SB success rate in 2014. Three year increase of HR/FB% but only two of five full seasons with 15+ HR.

Verdict: Seeing as how Ellsbury is a lock for 20 SB and it would only have taken a 0.7% increase to his HR/FB rate for him to have reached the 20 HR mark in 2015, I actually like his chances for a 20/20 season better than the repeat chances of 2014-20/20-men Todd Frazier and Michael Brantley. Depending on what the Yankees do this off-season, a move back to the top of the order should lead to a slight increase in at bats for Ellsbury, further bettering his chances.

20/20 Chance: 40%
15/15 Chance: 60%

Anthony Rendon: 21/17 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: 39.5% FB rate, 10.4% HR/FB rate, and an 85% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: Rendon’s skill-set translated to the MLB level faster than most could have imagined. Because of his pedigree, I don’t think anything we saw in 2014 was a fluke. Nothing wrong with getting the goods from a player from jump street. Another 15/15 season seems well within reach. I could actually see the most likely scenario being that he falls short of a 20/20 season not because of SBs as was the case in 2014 but because of his HR total next year. With an 85% success rate on the bases, there’s no reason the Nationals should hold Rendon back from running a bit more frequently. To maintain a 20 HR pace, Rendon will need to keep his performance on par with what he showed in 2014. If the FB% dips at all, he’s going to need to up his HR/FB% a tad.

20/20 Chance: 35%
15/15 Chance: 70%

Ian Kinsler: 17/15 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Reached 20/20 three times and 15/15 four other times in his nine-year career. 79% SB success rate in 2014.  HR/FB rate has fallen four years in a row from 12.5% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2014.

Verdict: 20/20 seasons are probably a thing of the past for Kinsler who will be 33 in June, 2015. 15/15 seasons on the other hand are still well within his reach.

20/20 Chance: 20%
15/15 Chance: 50%

Jimmy Rollins: 17/28 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: 37.8% career FB%. FB% has been higher than career rate four straight years. 9.6 HR/FB% and 82% SB success rate in 2014. Turns 36 later this month. In contract year.

Verdict: I think 20 HR is probably out of the question but Rollins is always in the hunt for a 15/15 season. In 13 full season’s worth of at bats in his career, Rollins has achieved the 15/15 mark six times and come within four home runs of making the mark five other times. Since Rollins has reached the 20 SB mark in all 13 of his full seasons, him reaching 20 SBs is as much of a lock as you’re going to get in 2015.

20/20 Chance: 25%
15/15 Chance: 45%

Charlie Blackmon: 19/28 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Never had more than 14 HR in any profession season prior to 2014. 37% FB rate, 10.4% HR/FB rate, and a 74% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: Michael Cuddyer is gone to the Mets and the Rockies are rumored to have Carlos Gonzalez on the block as well. For now Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, and Drew Stubbs are still in the mix for playing time in the Rockies’ outfield but I have to believe there will be a pretty nice chunk of playing time carved out for Blackmon after his 2014 performance. The Colorado factor is pretty strong but it’s a little puzzling that Blackmon has discovered this sudden power surge. Even in a full season’s worth of at bats, I don’t like his 20/20 chances. 20 SB would probably happen again in a full season’s worth of ABs but the 63% SB success rate in the second half is reason enough to think he might fall short.

20/20 Chance: 15%
15/15 Chance: 40%

Alexei Ramirez: 15/21 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: 33% FB rate, 8.4% HR/FB rate, and an 84% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: For Alexei Ramirez to pull off his 15/15 season in 2014 just about everything had to break right. He’s probably more of a 10/15 guy moving forward and a 15/15 season might be out of the question depending on his landing spot if the White Sox decide to deal him this off-season.

20/20 Chance: 5%
15/15 Chance: 20%

Brett Gardner: 17/21 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Never tallied more than 8 HR in any professional season before 2014. Nearly doubled his 2013 5.7% HR/FB rate with an 11% mark in 2014. 81% SB success rate in 2014.

Verdict: I’m not saying Gardner’s game is not changing as he ages but it’s hard to get behind the power surge given his prior professional data. From here forward, I think something in the neighborhood of 10/25 is about as good as it’s going to get for Gardner.

20/20 Chance: 5%
15/15 Chance: 20%

Drew Stubbs: 15/20 in 2014

Key Underlying Stats: Insane .404 BABIP, 32.1% K rate, and an 87% SB success rate in 2014. Career 35.3% FB rate and a 13.9% HR/FB rate.

Verdict: Colorado has certainly done wonders for a course correction in his career. If he were to somehow land 550+ ABs in 2015 his career numbers and the Colorado factor would make him almost as much of a lock for a 20/20 season as Ian Desmond. However, Stubbs is likely more platoon/part-time starter material for the time being. What you should take from all this is that for daily leagues, Drew Stubbs is a stud to plug and play for home games where he finds his name on the lineup card. In case you skipped the intro, this is a good chance to remind you that the numbers you’re about to see below are based on a full season’s worth of ABs in the 550+ range.

20/20 Chance: 50%
15/15 Chance: 75%

Power/Speed Club Applicants: Ten first-time 15/15 candidates for the 2015 season

Starling Marte – Of all the players who have yet to achieve a 15/15 season, Marte is the one I see having the greatest chance of pulling off the feat in a full season’s worth of at bats in 2015. In two 135 game seasons Marte has already produced power/speed outputs of 12/41 and 13/30. He doesn’t hit a ton of fly balls but his FB rate has risen three consecutive years from 24.6% in 2011 to 29.2% in 2014. Another small gain in his FB rate combined with 10-12 additional games played will go nicely with an HR/FB rate that has been above 12% each year of his young career.

15/15 Chance: 50%

George Springer – With a 37/45 power speed season already on his resume from his AA and AAA time in 2013 it’s only a matter of time before Springer explodes as perhaps the best power/speed combo player in the game. Since a quad injury shut Springer down in 2014, leg health may play a key role in deciding if 2015 will be the first of several seasons to exceed the 15/15 marks and beyond.

15/15 Chance: 50%

Kolten Wong – The most exciting thing about Wong’s chance at achieving at least a 15/15 season is that he plays such a talent void position. St. Louis has brought Wong along slowly and is likely on the verge of entrusting a full-time keystone gig to him as soon as 2015. Given that he produced a 12/20 power/speed season in just 433 plate appearances in 2014 he’ll certainly be a 15/15 candidate this coming year. The 83% SB success rate means he’ll continue running. Like Rendon above, Wong’s power potential seems like it might translate ahead of schedule at the MLB level as well.

15/15 Chance: 40%

Josh Harrison – Harrison is a great real baseball player and proved to be quite a fantasy commodity in 2014. Without much pedigree to back him up though, I find it hard to envision Harrison having a better season than what he produced this past season. His HR/FB rate of 7.7% is reasonable to repeat and his FB rate is fairly stable at around 38%. As for the speed, he had a fairly neutral 72% SB success rate in 2014 which will likely lead to a chance of slightly exceeding 15 SBs once again in 2015. I don’t see a 20/20 season being possible but 15/15 is certainly in play.

15/15 Chance: 35%

Christian Yelich – Where Rendon and Wong’s power has translated quickly to the MLB level, Yelich’s is taking a more traditional path for a young player. He’ll be just 23 in December, so there is plenty of reason to believe Yelich has more power in store for his owners. What’s really lagging is that he simply doesn’t hit the ball in the air too often. His 2014 FB rate finished the year at 17.8%. Believe it or not, that’s a considerable improvement over the 13.8% mark he entered the league with in 2013. When he does hit fly balls though, his 11.5% HR/FB rate plays well. If he can carry that over to next season and mix it with another reasonable FB rate gain to the 20% mark, Yelich will get into the 12-15 HR range. With a neutral 75% SB success rate in 2014, Yelich has a chance to get to a 15/15 season as soon as 2015.

15/15 Chance: 30%

Gregory Polanco – Polanco is a fantasy star in the making. He clearly has some polishing left before he’s ready for a full launch but there’s reason to believe that 2015 could be the beginning of fantasy greatness for this Pirate. With a 74% SB success rate in 2014, he should be able to reach the 15 SB mark with relative ease. It really comes down to how the power will translate in the early going. 550+ at bats and slight gains in his FB% and HR/FB% should give him a solid chance at a 15/15 season as soon as 2015.

15/15 Chance: 30%

Joc Pederson – Pederson just polished off a 33/30 year in AAA the was preceded by a 22/31 year at AA in 2013. The power speed potential is alive and well with Pederson and it’s only a matter of playing time standing between a string of 15/15 campaigns. It’s hard to envision the Dodgers not clearing out some space for him to begin giving it a try in 2015. 15/15 Chance: 30%

A.J. Pollock – Of all the players on this list of 15/15 applicants, Pollock is the one I could see bringing the greatest return on his 2015 ADP. Injuries might have been all that slowed him down from achieving the feat in 2014. In just 287 plate appearances, Pollock racked up 7 HRs and 14 SBs. He’ll be 27 in December and right in his physical prime. The 82% SB success rate suggests he will continue wreaking havoc on the base paths. By the end of 2015, he might be someone who falls more in the 10-12 HR range with 20-25 SBs in a full season’s worth of at bats.

15/15 Chance: 25%

Avisail Garcia – Garcia is my fallback choice for the hitter who will produce the greatest return on his ADP for 2015 draft purposes. In just 190 plate appearances this past year he produced a 7/4 power/speed combination. The 7 HRs is impressive considering Garcia was coming off a serious shoulder injury that kept him out most of the season. In a full season’s worth of ABs, exceeding the 15 HR mark likely won’t be an issue. Garcia has exceeded 15 SBs in two minor league seasons and tallied 14 SBs in another year on the farm. He was only caught stealing one time in five 2014 attempts.

15/15 Chance: 25%

Yasiel Puig – There’s little doubt in my mind that his power will carry him north of 20 HRs in the very near future. With just a 59% SB success rate the past two seasons, there’s no reason Puig should be allowed to run at all. With the Dodgers recent front office upgrades, they’re going to get deep into analytics and I have no doubt they’re going to put the shackles on Puig.

15/15 Chance: 20%

Another Angle To Consider:

Since finding 20/20 players has become so difficult, perhaps now more than ever is a time we should consider player pairings to get close to the equivalency of a couple 20/20 players. It wouldn’t be too difficult to pair a power bat in the form of Jay Bruce, Mark Trumbo, Nelson Cruz, David Ortiz, or Lucas Duda with a speed contributor such as Denard Span, Alcides Escobar, Leonys Martin, or Lorenzo Cain.