Stolen Base Value on Fantasy Draft Day
I mentioned a couple of reasons to be wary of his 65.99 Average Draft Position, none smaller than the troublesome idea that Bourn could become a one-tool fantasy asset if his batting average drops in 2010, something I believe will happen. What I didn't mention were a couple of options for fantasy owners to find stolen bases at a good value, later in the draft. I'm going to share with you three players who can be taken in the middle to late rounds of most mixed-league fantasy drafts. These guys might not put up the huge stolen base totals that Bourn will, but they'll give you a valuable source of steals at a fraction of the price.
Denard Span, Twins - Getting full-time at-bats for the first time in his career over a full season -- like Bourn -- was Span. He made the most of those at-bats hitting .311 and stealing 23 bases. Span had an inflated hit rate of 35.8%, so expect some regression in his batting average in 2010, but he should still put up an average of around .285. He'll also steal 25-plus bases this season. The good thing about Span is that you won't have to think about selecting him until the 10th, maybe 11th round of drafts. His current ADP is 126.59 which is a much safer place to grab a stolen base specialist who brings along a high batting average. If you're looking for another reason or two to wait on Span instead of grabbing Bourn, look at Span's power output. Span hit eight home runs last season compared to Bourn's three. He also drove in 68 runs while Bourn only had 35 RBI.
Elvis Andrus, Rangers - Andrus had a rather fantastic rookie campaign, batting .267 and stealing 33 bases in 480 at-bats. There aren't any reasons to believe that Andrus can't continue to grow as a hitter, and you know in that power packed Rangers lineup, he's going to have a lot of opportunities to score and even create runs. A batting average of .275 and 35 to 40 stolen bases aren't out the question for young shortstop who will turn 22 this season. His ADP is 174.95, which places him in the 15th round of mixed-league drafts.
Juan Pierre, White Sox - Finally getting what he wanted, Pierre was traded to the White Sox this off-season and will have an opportunity to amass full-time at-bats. He's expected to lead off and play left field and could incredibly increase his numbers, and fantasy value, if he stays healthy and can make it to 600 at-bats. In 380 at-bats last year he swiped 30 bases and hit .308. I wouldn't expect his batting average to stay north of .300, but .280 isn't out of the question. He could also steal 35 to 40 bases rather easily. The thing that makes these numbers so exciting is that Pierre's ADP is currently 247.26. That means a patient fantasy owner can get similar numbers to Bourn in the 21st round of mixed-league drafts.