Value Play: Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar was one of the Brewer’s top prospects, but hasn’t lived up to the hype since making the jump to the big leagues. Alcides-san basically crane kicked J.J. Hardy out of Milwaukee, but left a sour taste in the mouths of managers who tried to cash in on the potential. An awful BABIP and Ken Macha (the Brewer’s coach last season and alleged owner of a Cobra Kai dojo) ruined everything, but that was 2010 and this is now. Alcides Escobar is my 12th ranked Shortstop as he enters a new season with a new coach.

Batting Average Escobar’s .235 Batting Average from 2010 was a fluke. Escobar is a player who doesn’t strike out much, hits his fare share of line drives, keeps the ball on the ground and has a lot of speed. All this helped him hit for an above .300 Batting Average throughout AA and AAA. His skill set reminds me of Jacoby Ellsbury or a Brett Gardner with better contact skills. In 2010, Escobar was robbed by a .264 BABIP despite having a 21.5% LD% and 44.3% GB%. Escobar’s BABIP should have been near .320, at least. His BABIP numbers in the minors were sitting between .330 and .370. His Batting Average will be much better in 2011.

Power Escobar has little power and doesn’t hit many Fly Balls, don’t expect more than five Home Runs.

Speed In 2008 (AA), Escobar stole 34 bases in 131 games. In 2009 (AAA), Escobar stole 42 bases in 109 games. Alcides Escobar has speed to burn. So why did he only steal 10 bases in 2010? Ken Macha didn’t give his players the green light. Everyone from Corey Hart to Rickie Weeks to Ryan Braun experienced a drop from their 2009 SB totals. Some players were scared to run because of Ken Macha. Now that Mr Miagi whooped his ass he is gone and Ron Roenicke has expressed his desire to be aggressive on the base paths, even if players are getting thrown out, we can go wild with the projections.

2011 Projection .281 Batting Average, 5 HR, 75 Runs, 46 RBI and 26 SB

The Runs are adjustable with the lineup order. I felt I went conservative with the Stolen Bases, 35 is feasible. I have him ranked 12th between Ian Desmond and Erick Aybar, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him outproduce Desmond (who doesn’t hit a lot of Line Drives). Because Alcides hit .235 with 10 SB last season, his price should remain very low. I see him as a starter in mixed standard leagues, which makes him a nice value play with upside.