MiLB: The need for Speed

Written by: Paul Auber

Hello everyone and welcome to my little corner of the Fantasy Assembly website. This week we’re going to look at four minor leaguer players who possess very good stolen base instincts and tools. You all have to remember that stolen bases account for one scoring category in fantasy baseball. However, if you look at it closer you will find that a successful stolen base thief could well help your team in the batting average and runs scored categories.

When I look at a possible player to draft for stolen bases I look for a few things. First I look to see if the player has a decent batting average (I like .270 or better). There are some excellent stolen base players in the majors who have lousy batting averages. Billy Hamilton can’t hit his way out of a paper bag (In my humble opinion), but when he gets on base it’s usually a guarantee he’ll steal second base, third base and maybe even home. Another sign I look for is if the player has a decent strikeout to walk ratio. I prefer a player to have less than a 3 – 1 strikeout to walk ratio (translation for every 3 times a player strikes out he will also have 1 walk to compensate). Finally if a player demonstrates some power (extra base hits), well then that’s an added bonus.

Two players who demonstrate a track record of all three traits are Ronald Acuna (OF Atlanta) and Scott Kingery (2B Philadelphia).

In 2017 over three levels (A+,AA and AAA) Acuna, who turns 21 in December, hit a combined .325 with 21 Home Runs and 44 stolen bases, but he was caught stealing 20 times. Acuna also had a strike out to walk ration just under 3.4 – 1. The Atlanta outfielder is ranked by as the second best overall prospect and the best outfield prospect this year. He should be the left fielder for the Braves for years to come starting in late April.

Kingery,23, is rated by as the number 35 prospect and the best second base prospect. The Phillies second baseman had a comparable year to Acuna in 2017 with a .304 batting average. Kingery also clubbed 26 home rune while stealing 29 bases and only being caught 5 times between AA and AAA. He also put up an excellent 2.65 strikeout to walk ratio. Kingery will probably serve a super utility role for Philadelphia once he’s called up unless Cesar Hernandez is moved.

The next two players show up with two of the three traits I look for. Garrett Hampson (2B Colorado) and Taylor Trammel (OF Cincinnati).

Both of these players can run like the wind and have strikeout to walk ratios of less than 2 – 1. Hampson, 23, was a little old to be playing High-A, but he hit .326 with 51 stolen bases and was caught only 14 times. What’s really impressive is the fact he walked 56 times and struck out 77 times. Folks that’s a phenomenal 1.375 strike out to walk ratio. The 19 year old Trammel on the other hand wasn’t too shabby himself. He hit .281 in Class-A with 41 stolen bases in 53 attempts. His strikeout to walk ratio was a very impressive 1.73.

Hampson has a shot claim the second base job in Colorado next year with the pending free agency of D.J. LeMahieu while Trammel will be running his way to the Reds outfield in a couple of years.


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