The Saber's Edge: Analzying Dual-Threat Players

The Saber's Edge: Analzying Dual-Threat Players

This article is part of our The Saber's Edge series.

Every fantasy owner loves to have a few players on his team who can provide both power and speed. The problem is that the Mookie Betts and Jose Altuves of the world are already universally owned. This late in the season an owner may have to dig a little harder to find these hidden gems.

This week, I will look at a few of the top dual-threat players and their current and future outlook.

To get the list of possible players, I set two simple criteria to find these dual-threat players.

Minimum of 40 plate appearances in 2016
The ratio of percentage of HR is not to be higher than 75 percent or lower than 25 percent of the total HR and SB. Basically, I didn't want the player to have too much value from one source or another.

Then I ranked the players by the sum of their home runs and stolen bases divided by their plate appearance. I know I am dealing with some small samples, but a fantasy team is going to need to take a chance to own one of these players. Here are the top 30.

PLAYERPAHRSB(HR+SB)/PA
Hernan Perez24282011.6%
Rajai Davis365102810.4%
Aaron Altherr61339.8%
Melvin Upton Jr.41816239.3%
Eduardo Nunez44112289.1%
Wil Myers48022219.0%
Jose Altuve50419268.9%
Michael Taylor2237128.5%
Alex Dickerson
Every fantasy owner loves to have a few players on his team who can provide both power and speed. The problem is that the Mookie Betts and Jose Altuves of the world are already universally owned. This late in the season an owner may have to dig a little harder to find these hidden gems.

This week, I will look at a few of the top dual-threat players and their current and future outlook.

To get the list of possible players, I set two simple criteria to find these dual-threat players.

Minimum of 40 plate appearances in 2016
The ratio of percentage of HR is not to be higher than 75 percent or lower than 25 percent of the total HR and SB. Basically, I didn't want the player to have too much value from one source or another.

Then I ranked the players by the sum of their home runs and stolen bases divided by their plate appearance. I know I am dealing with some small samples, but a fantasy team is going to need to take a chance to own one of these players. Here are the top 30.

PLAYERPAHRSB(HR+SB)/PA
Hernan Perez24282011.6%
Rajai Davis365102810.4%
Aaron Altherr61339.8%
Melvin Upton Jr.41816239.3%
Eduardo Nunez44112289.1%
Wil Myers48022219.0%
Jose Altuve50419268.9%
Michael Taylor2237128.5%
Alex Dickerson119738.4%
Jose Reyes72338.3%
Ryan Braun39519138.1%
Mike Trout48321188.1%
Mookie Betts51623188.0%
Nick Franklin89257.9%
Bryce Harper44920157.8%
Ian Desmond49020177.6%
Shin-Soo Choo176767.4%
Marcus Semien4332397.4%
Jeremy Hazelbaker178857.3%
Rougned Odor45321117.1%
Socrates Brito43217.0%
Trayce Thompson2621356.9%
Kevin Kiermaier2346106.8%
Ian Kinsler50021136.8%
Tyler Saladino193676.7%
Gregory Polanco40416116.7%
Jean Segura48510226.6%
Javier Baez3051196.6%
Brian Dozier4742386.5%
Paul Goldschmidt49518146.5%

Hernan Perez (60 percent Yahoo ownership):
In 351 major league plate appearances before this season, Perez hit one home run and stole six bases. This season, he is destroying those numbers with a passion by hitting eight home runs and stealing 20 bases. He has shown signs of stealing bases in the past with 29 swipes across all levels in 2013 and 21 in 2014.

He has never shown any power in the minors. Here are his combined minor league ISO values by year and his 2016 major league value:

2008: .072
2009: .111
2010: .063
2011: .106
2012: .077
2013: .109
2014: .117
2015: .084
2016 (MLB): 156

I am not sure I buy the 25-year-old's power increase, especially the home runs. He could be having a power breakout, but every sign probably points to him being a 10 homer guy in a full season of plate appearances. I project him for those 10 home runs and 30 stolen bases. I just see him as a nice bench option in a mixed league if the owner has filled out his starting roster.

Rajai Davis (40 percent):
Davis, to me at least, was the late-round pick drafted by a team that ignored stolen bases and hoped Davis could keep it out of the cellar. Davis usually wasn't considered an average real-life hitter, so his job was always in jeopardy. This season, he got his token 400 plate appearances by filling in for the Indians' Michael Brantley. The big surprise this season has been the 10 home runs for the 35-year-old. He showed some signs of power the last two seasons with eight home runs in 2014 and 2015. I think he is the same player with the possibility increasing each season he will not have a job or lose a step and no longer be a stolen-base threat.

Aaron Altherr (12 percent):
Altherr looks to be a great option who might be available to pick up in many leagues. He has always shown the power-speed combination in the minors. Over all levels in 2014, the totals were 14 HR and 13 SB. In 2015, the numbers were 19 HR and 22 SB. He has the possibility to be a 20-20 player if given a full season of plate appearances. The one knock against the 25-year-old's fantasy value is his batting average. He has never run a high BABIP and strikes out around 25 percent of the time, so a .240 AVG should be expected. In OBP leagues, his value increases as he can take a walk as seen by his 10 percent BB% this season. Additionally, playing time isn't an issue now. Since being called up by the Phillies, he has played almost daily.

Melvin Upton Jr. (40 percent):
I don't think anyone saw this season coming from Upton, but he is rewarding fantasy owners who took a chance on him. Upton is back to his old self by being a dual HR/SB threat, which he was in his Tampa days. For the additional power, he is completely selling out to get the home runs. He is walking at a career low 6 percent and his strikeout rate is nearly 30 percent. He is not generating many other base hits with the number of doubles plus triples (13) less than his home runs (16). His wRC+ (a measure of his overall production) of 88 is below league average and less than his 2015 value of 110. While I was a little worried about his playing time after being traded to the Blue Jays, he has gotten 44 plate appearances -- but has done nothing, hitting .146/.182/.146. Like several of these guys, I am not sure how to value him. Playing time is a concern and how far will the rest of his game erode as he continues to sell out for power.

Eduardo Nunez (79 percent):
It has been a nice breakout season of the 29-year-old. His has always been considered a nice option for batting average and stolen bases if given the opportunity. This season the Twins gave him the opportunity and he's thrived. The biggest change with Nunez has been his home-run spike. In 1,244 PA before this season, he hit 18 home runs. This season he is at 12 home runs in 441 PA. There have been some recent signs that his power was on the increase. His HR to FB ratio went from 3.1 to 8.5 to 9.5 to 10.2 percent from 2013 to 2016. It will be interesting to see how he is valued in 2016. Will it be a 40-plus HR and SB threat, or will his expectation be muted a bit? My worry is the lack of stolen bases as he enters his 30s.

Wil Myers (92 percent):
I don't think anyone would have been surprised to see Myers hit 25 to 30 home runs. He's had the potential but has lacked the plate appearances the last few seasons because of injuries. The change no one saw coming was 20-plus stolen bases. In nearly 1,000 plate appearances in the previous three seasons, he only had 16 total. He is not stealing to just run. He is being efficient with a success rate at 88 percent. Are the steals going to continue? I think they will continue next season, or at least the attempts as long as he has the high success rate. I think I will pencil him in for 15 to 20 steals and 20 to 25 home runs. Those numbers should give him decent value.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
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