2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2018 Fantasy Baseball On-Base Percentage Targets: Walk This Way

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A lot of leagues are starting to move away from batting average and over to using on-base percentage or OBP instead.

There is a huge reason for this. Fantasy Baseball players are starting to realize that batting average is not a true reflection of a hitter’s value. I for one completely agree with this and think all leagues should switch to OBP.

Batting average has one major flaw and it is the fact that it does not take into account walks. OBP does this and therefore is my preference, along with many who play Fantasy Baseball.

What should you know when you are drafting in OBP leagues? Well, a few of things.

  1. Your best average hitters are still going to be your best OBP players.
  2. However, walks matter… a lot.
  3. You will see good average players not be as valuable.
  4. You will see low average hitters gain a ton of value,
  5. Both No. 3 and No. 4 are true due to the player’s ability to draw a walk.

Below I will be pointing out some of the players who gain a ton of value in OBP leagues. This means you will not see a Joey Votto who yes draws an insane amount walks, but he is already a second-round pick in batting average leagues, so him moving up one round is not drastic enough. Besides, I think anybody playing this game knows Votto is the OBP king.

2018 Fantasy Baseball On-Base Percentage Targets

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Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Cleveland Indians

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E5 is still a fifth-round pick in most leagues, so he is not cheap. However, if it was not for his .258 batting average in 2017 and some inconsistency he would be a top three round pick. Even with that inconsistency, he still smashed 38 home runs and hit for 107 RBI. (By the way that is three straight years over 100 RBI.)

In OBP leagues, you could argue he would be a second-round pick thanks to a 12-plus percent walk rate. Oh, and that walk rate – 15 percent last season.

Just to put things into perspective here. Anthony Rizzo hit 32 home runs and 101 RBI and had a batting average of .273. His OBP is .392. Yes, both ratios are better than Encarnacion’s, but Rizzo’s ADP is three rounds higher. Don’t let that happen in your OBP leagues.

Matt Carpenter, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

Carpenter is the perfect target in OBP leagues. His lowest OBP over the last six seasons is .365. Over the last two seasons, that number has been at or above .380.

His batting average took a hit last season from its normal .270 range to .241. This is the primary reason his draft position is dropping.

In OBP leagues though, don’t forget about him. He is still capable of hitting 25 home runs and score near 100 runs. That is quite valuable, especially when you combine it with his above league average OBP. It warrants a multiple round jump in draft value from his current 13th round ADP.

Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas Rangers

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Choo had a big bounce-back season in 2017, primarily due to staying healthy.

He really has very similar numbers to Carpenter and yet is going on average in round 22. That is completely absurd even in batting average leagues when you consider he has a career .278 average. Even if he hits at his projection of .258, it isn’t that bad anymore.

In OBP leagues though, he should get a massive boost. Choo has a career walk rate of 12 percent, taking his career OBP to .378. Factor in age with declining skills and maybe his OBP is closer to what it was last season at .357. That is still above league average. To get somebody in the late teens of your draft who can boost your OBP that much is a steal.

Carlos Santana, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

A lot of people are discounting Santana thanks to a drop in power last season. I understand this, but in OBP leagues his value should not drop nearly as much.

Two facts:

  1. Santana’s OBP has been over .360 every season since 2012, that is a pretty incredible feat.
  2. His current ADP is in the 13th round – same as Matt Carpenter’s.

Santana’s OBP might not be as high, but he should have more power than Carp, making him yet another fantastic value in OBP leagues.


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About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the up-and-coming FantasySixPack.net website. He has been spreading his love and addiction of fantasy sports there and many other sites including SoCalledFantasyExperts.com, FantasyPros.com, and FanDuel.com. Joe has finished as the No. 5 Fantasy Football Draft Ranker on Fantasy Pros in 2014, while being the No. 1 QB ranker for in-season during 2016. He has also finished in the top-15 twice for Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings. You can find him on Twitter, @fantasysixpack, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

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