This year can be titled as the year “The Year of the Home Run” or simply in fantasy terms, “the year home runs stopped being valuable.” Over 50 players this season have hit 25 or more home runs in 2017. That is an astronomical number. Of those players, 34 have hit over 30 bombs. So where does that leave the home run as a stat on fantasy terms?
Suddenly, in the first round you see speed going. Blackmon, Altuve, Turner, Goldschmidt are all guys who may hit for some power, but the speed is the more valuable aspect of their game. Trea Turner hasn’t played more than 93 games in a season as of this writing, but he could be on his way to being #1 on the fantasy charts in 2018.
You don’t see guys with speed coming up anymore. There isn’t the “next Billy Hamilton” waiting in the minors. What does that mean for fantasy? The real question is, are stolen bases becoming more valuable, (which is an easy yes) or are stolen bases quickly becoming an antiquated stat in a new game?
More leagues are quick to adopt Quality Starts over Wins now a days, because people realized wins weren’t indicative of how a pitcher preforms. I don’t think steals falls into this category. I do however see a game changing, and fantasy owners have to adapt. Punting steals for power simply doesn’t work anymore in a game where everyone can have power on their team. Steals might just be the most important fantasy stat for your team in 2018.
Jose Altuve, according to “Yahoo Rankings”, has been the #1 fantasy player this season, and for good reason. His .350 average leads the American League and he has slugged 24 homers while stealing 32 bases as of 9/29/17. But, is he a better player then Trea Turner? Let’s look at the stats.
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The one thing Altuve easily triumphs over Turner in is batting average, no one in baseball, not even Trout, can match Altuve’s ability to hit the baseball. Turner simply isn’t a .330 hitter. So give a point to Altuve here.
Power is virtually a tie. Trea Turner has only hit 11 home runs this season. The caveat? He’s only had 400 at bats, so it only puts him a little behind Altuve in the power department. Both players play in a good lineup, so runs scored and RBI chances are all but assured for both players.
The real differentiator is stolen bases. Jose Altuve has 32 stolen bases. Trea Turner has 44…in 180 less at bats. As Turner ages, the power should only increase, and Washington certainly isn’t shy in letting Turner run. Turner is a first round player that will be underdrafted in 2018 just because of his injury. Altuve will be drafted in the top 5 almost assuredly next year, but that honor should, and for this writer will, go to Trea Turner. The stats are there, and a full season from Turner would be exciting to watch.
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