Alcides Escobar: Waiver Wire

Today’s look at the Waiver Wire is young and quick, but ultimately a little disappointing.

Alcides Escobar | 14% Owned (Y!) | 36% Owned (ESPN)
Once the Brewers dealt J.J. Hardy to make room for Escobar at the big league level, Alcides might have been one of the most hyped players heading into 2010 drafts. His 2010 season ended up being a major disappointment, as he hit for a low batting average and the Brewers relegated him to the bottom of the batting order, effectively taking away his chances to steal bases and make things happen. An offseason trade to the Royals gave owners new hope — the general consensus was the he’d get more base-stealing opportunities — but many still showed great caution, and for good reason.

Prior to a couple of weeks ago, Escobar really hadn’t done much in KC. Through Wednesday’s action, Escobar was hitting over .350 during the month of June, buoyed by a high BABIP, but also a very low strikeout rate. During his little run, Escobar has stolen five bases, including a steal in each of his last three games (through Wednesday).

While his batting average certainly won’t stay above the .350 mark, is there any chance that the shortstop could hit .300 the rest of the way? Probably not, as his BABIP will drop and his strikeout rate will likely rise closer to his norm, but I think there’s a very good chance he could finally hit .270 or .280 for a while.

Alcides has played every game for the Royals, so it’s not like playing time is going to be a problem. What he does with all those ABs is what concerns us all. If he can manage to hit .270 and stay aggressive on the base paths, he can be a great little fantasy asset who should be available in almost any standard league.

Joaquin Benoit | 6% | 1%
Benoit’s ERA and WHIP may not look pretty, but those numbers are weighed down by an unfortunate April and May, but the Tigers reliever has been very good recently. His outings on the 12th and 13th may not have gone according to plan, but other than those two trips to the mound, Benoit’s last three weeks have been inspiring. If Benoit keeps getting strikeouts like he is right now and keeps his walks to a minimum, he’s worth having around in standard leagues as he should grab a save every once and awhile and provide enough all-around value to hold on to a roster spot.

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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Ok, maybe a stupid question – why would Escobar’s batting order affect his base stealing? Wouldn’t it make even more sense to steal bases in the bottom of the order? Since generally bottom 3 are hitters with lowest SLG (and obviously a pitcher in the NL), it would make sense to try to steal second, so that even a single scores a run.