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Has The Time Come To Write Off Alcides Escobar For 2017 & Beyond?

Saturday, November 19, 2016 5:42
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was a time that Alcides Escobar was viewed as a potentially must use asset at shortstop.  Now 29-years old (he’ll turn 30 before Opening Day) and after a rather pedestrian 2016 campaign, is there any reason to believe that he can once again deliver on the promise?  Or has the time come that he can officially be taken off the fantasy map?  Before we can answer that, let’s take a look at the numbers he posted last season:

637 At Bats
.261 Batting Average (166 Hits)
7 Home Runs
55 RBI
57 Runs
17 Stolen Bases
.292 On Base Percentage
.350 Slugging Percentage
.295 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Let’s just take a second to let those sink in and realize that the best thing we can say about him is that he at least plays every day…  Yes, it really is that bad.

We all know that he’s not going to be a source of power (in fact his 7 HR represented a career high), but he’s supposed to help you in average, stolen bases and runs scored.  Unfortunately his inability to get on base has cost him a spot atop the batting order, and in a lineup that’s not absolutely “loaded” that’s a bad thing.

He had the chances to entrench himself in the leadoff spot, and in fact had 343 AB there in ’16, but slashed .242/.269/.289.  He’s never been a player to draw many walks (4.1% walk rate for his career) and it’s hard to envision him suddenly developing a better approach at the plate (39.1% O-Swing%).  In other words he’s not likely to be given another shot leading off, which will take runs scored off the table.

Throw in that he’s stolen 17 bases in each of the past two seasons, not a bad number but hardly an elite one, and his age and it’s fair to assume that the speed is starting to dissipate (he’s stolen as many as 35 bases in a season before).  Could he get back to 20+?  Perhaps, as he did steal 12 bases in the first half, but it’s hardly enough.

As far as the average goes, why should we expect anything to suddenly change?  Last year’s marks were right around what he’s always done:

  • Strikeouts – 14.1% (13.2% for his career)
  • Line Drives – 20.1% (21.6% for his career)
  • Pop Ups – 9.3% (10.3% for his career)
  • BABIP – .295 (.297 for his career)

Without power those numbers don’t translate, nor have they (.262 for his career).  There’s obviously a long enough sample size to draw the conclusion that nothing is going to change.

So we have a shortstop without an obvious carrying tool, little upside overall and appears to be locked in to hitting towards the bottom of the order?  Is anyone buying?  Outside of deeper formats he’s better left as waiver wire fodder.

Sources – Fangraphs, CBS Sports

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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

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