As I have continually preached through the years, the end of your fantasy baseball drafts should transform your mind into thinking only about potential and I am referring to selecting players who are considered deep sleepers. The players who are widely available during the last few rounds of your drafts who are not really on the radars of fellow owners and who have shown a small glimpse into their potential to help you. Today we take a look at a speedster in Pittsburgh by the name of Jose Tabata who made his debut in the outfield for the Pirates last season. Tabata certainly qualifies as a deep sleeper and so lets take a look at what I think he has in store for owners in 2011 and what kind of numbers we are looking at.
The first thing I want to take note of is the fact that I have continually argued against drafting speedsters whose primary value in fantasy baseball is in the stolen base department due to the fact there is always steals available late in drafts at a very cheap rate. I am looking right at guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Michael Bourn as two such guys that get drafted way earlier than they should due to their ability to pilfer bases. Those who got burned by Ellsbury’s no-show last season no doubt will think twice about loading up on these specialists early in drafts going forward and thats where Tabata comes in. For starters, Tabata is known for his steals above all else. Blessed with blazing wheels, Tabata stole a crazy amount of bases in the minors and proceeded to swipe 19 bags in the majors after he was promoted last season in 405 at-bats. Since Tabata was caught seven times, he does have to work on his timing a bit but once he gets that figured out, a climb into the 40 range is almost a given. Along with the steals and hitting at the top of the lineup comes the runs which Tabata will also make a nice dent in. He scored a very high 61 runs in those 405 a-bats and so a full season of plate appearances would have him closing in on 100. So right now we got a guy who could steal 40 bases and score 90-100 runs. Sounds very good so far. Now onto the rest of the stat line.
One of the biggest drawbacks in stolen base specialists is the fact that most have little to no power at all. One only has to look at Juan Pierre and the 1 home run he hit all of last season along with anti-pop guys such as Rajai Davis, Scott Podsednki, and Nyjer Morgan as other guys who offer nothing in this category. Tabata however has a chance to buck that stereotype though as he his 4 home runs last season and profiles as a guy who can possibly threaten the 15 home run mark in a few years when his body fills out. Tabata can possibly go yard ten times this season which elevates his value above those names mentioned above and anything beyond that would be gravy. Tabata also hit .299 last season and has posted very solid numbers in that category since going pro. RBI wont be a part of the equation but the rest of the package is very attractive.
All in all I think Jose Tabata makes a very nice late round addition in 2011 fantasy baseball drafts due to the already present runs, average, and steals with the possibility of sneaky power is very enticing indeed. Ignore the Ellsbury’s and Bourn’s of the world and save a roster spot late for Tabata. He easily could outproduce both guys this season at a much more palatable price.