Sorry if you don't like me borrowing a cheesy rap line from Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Sean Combs or whatever he calls himself these days for my headline, but it's a perfect transition into talking about Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar.
While I remain hesitant on backing Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez in Fantasy, I'm a fan of Escobar as a low-end starter in mixed leagues.
Since last season, Royals manager Ned Yost has preached patience with Escobar, who hit just .235 in his first full season in the majors in 2010 with Milwaukee and was inconsistent on his way to hitting .254 in his first full year with the Royals in 2011. Yost kept pointing to Escobar's youth and the fact he was still growing into his 6-1 frame. But we all wanted immediate results after Escobar blossomed as a prospect in the minors.
Well, at least the Royals' patience is finally paying off. Escobar is off to a productive start in 2012 and finally might be looking at a breakout season in the majors.
Some of Escobar's most encouraging numbers are his 24.3 percent line-drive rate, 54.8 percent ground-ball rate, .296 average and .345 BABIP. Escobar's BABIP hasn't been that high in the majors since he hit .304 with a .346 BABIP in 38 games for the Brewers in 2009.
Escobar's OBP (.338), slugging percentage (.415) and OPS (.753) are weak, but he is not a power hitter and he wasn't an OBP guy in the minors either. That's not his game.
Escobar is a contact hitter that can find the gaps and score runs. And if we are lucky with his continued development as a hitter, then he might flash some of that speed we saw from him in the minors. Escobar had at least 20 stolen bases in each of his six seasons in the minors, totaling 76 in his final two years.
Escobar is currently the 14th highest scoring Fantasy shortstop. That's pretty much on par with what to expect. He likely will never reach elite status unless he turns into the base stealer he was in the minors, but he's worth using as a low-end starter in deep mixed leagues.