By this point in the Fantasy Baseball season, most people are relatively informed on the big name “sleepers”. Players such as Aaron Nola, James Paxton, Jose Peraza, or Javier Baez. I want to examine one popular sleeper that I am a fan of and one player that i’m more cautious about. This is just the first part of a series that I examine some of the more popular sleepers heading into 2017.
First off, Kiermaier outside of fantasy baseball circles is known for his elite defense which comes with injury risks attached such as his broken hand in 2016 while attempting to make a diving catch. The injury risks can be attributed to the discounted price you can obtain Kiermaier this season, his aggregate ADP according to FantasyPros is around 200. But when healthy in 2016 he was able to accumulate 414 at bats. In those at bats he managed some respectable counting stats, with 12 home runs and 21 stolen bases.Those numbers extrapolated to 600 AB’s will give you a 20 homer/ 30 steal guy. On top of those solid counting stats, we saw a lot of progression in Kiermaier’s approach. He raised his B% by 5.2 percent which saw an increase in his OBP by .33. Another stat that may jump when you gloss over his stats is Kiermaier saw an increase in his Hard Hit Percentage from 24.6% in 2015 to 31.4% in 2016 and his pull percentage rise from 41.3% to 49.5%. With the increase Hard Hit % and Pull % you can see a cause to why his power output increased. Kiermaier is intriguing this upcoming season is worth the price in the back-end of your draft to see what he is made of. You could be looking back at the end of the season at a 20/20 player that won’t kill you in other categories.
Okay, hate is a strong word in this instance, I would say I am more tepid compared to most regarding Jose Peraza in 2017. With the trade of Brandon Phillips to Atlanta, the fantasy world was buzzing about Jose Peraza. While, I look over his stats I see more of Billy Burns like player in 2016. In NFBC and CBS drafts Peraza ADP falls around 10th round in 12 team leagues. Which is rather expensive for a guy who may rely on steals to stay relevant. Let’s gloss over some alarming stats that pop out at me about Peraza. Firstly, the low BB% in his 256 at bats last year, Peraza was only able to walk 2.7 % of the time, which isn’t out of line with some of his other minor league seasons. In Double-A and Triple-A Peraza maintained a BB% of under 4. Another stat that jumps out at me is his BABIP is due for regression in 2017, ZiPS, Depth Charters and Steamer all project for a BABIP regression to around the tune of .315. The BABIP regression will hurt one of the better stats he showed in his 2016 season to around a .280 level, with his low walk rate combined with a lower average will give you an underwhelming OBP. Lastly, if you are drafting Peraza you want the speed that he comes with. He was able to steal 21 bags in his 241 at bats last year which looks promising on the surface but when you dig a little deeper you will see he attempted 31 steals or he was caught 10 times. Using *Weighted Stolen Base Runs (wSB) via FanGraphs Peraza actually ranked on the negative spectrum at -.01. For example some of the top base stealers in 2016, such as Billy Hamilton (8.1) , Rajai Davis (5.9) Jonathan Villar (4.6), Starling Marte (4.2), and Trea Turner (4) were top 5 in wSB and graded over 4.0. If Peraza can’t improve his efficiency while stealing bases, I would be concerned that Bryan Price may limit his opportunities.
*Weighted Stolen Base Runs (wSB) estimates the number of runs a player contributes to his team by stealing bases, as compared to the average player.