Fantasy Baseball Cheap Average

by Michael Seng

Batting average is an oft-overlooked category in fantasy baseball. You will hardly ever draft a player based solely on their average. Jose Altuve is being drafted in the first round of a standard 12-team league because he scores a lot of runs and steals a lot of bases, as well as his incredible average. Buster Posey is being drafted at the end of the second round because he has power numbers and hits for a great average. But these players are not being drafted for just hitting for a high average, they do so many other things well and also hit for a great average, it is what takes them off the board so early in the draft. Average is not an exciting category. Steals, wins, strikeouts, home runs, those are all exciting categories and categories that people tend to fixate on. In a deep league sometimes you will draft players based solely off of the power upside they offer or the speed upside they offer, but there are several players who might not rack up the stats in other categories, but will hit for a nice .280-.310 average that will help your team out tremendously. They will give you balance to the Chris Davis’ and Mike Napoli’s of your team.

Three Hitters to Draft Late for Cheap Average

Adam Eaton (CF – CHW) With an ADP of 222 Eaton is being take about midway through the 18th round of your draft. With 538 plate appearances last year he hit for an average of exactly .300. He will also help you get some runs but he will hit for average on a consistent basis. He did miss 35 games last year due to different issues but nothing too serious.

He would make an excellent lower-tier outfielder option if you have somebody like Mark Trumbo who has an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. Eaton would balance someone like that out tremendously by accruing hits. It is also nice to have a stable presence in your lineup. Your outfielders could spend days going 0-for-3, 0-for-4, 1-for-4, and so on. Those days it is nice to see someone hitting for average, even if it isn’t for a whole lot of power.

Credit: Al Case

Credit: Al Case

Justin Morneau (1B – COL) Long gone are the days of Morneau’s fantasy stud status, but that does not mean he cannot contribute to your fantasy team. He won the National League batting title last year after hitting .315 in 502 at-bats. Right now he is currently being drafted in the middle 15th round alongside strikeout prone hitters like Javier Baez and Wil Myers. You might not need a first baseman at that point (at least I hope you haven’t waited until the 15th round to draft your first baseman) but Morneau would be an excellent pick up at this incredible value.

How many times in the past few years has the batting champ of a league gone fallen the way until the 15th round? Considering the last few NL Batting champions before him contain the names Posey, José Reyes, and Carlos Gonzaléz, not many. He comes with an injury risk because of his age but Morneau is an incredibly consistent hitter, averaging a .281 mark for his career and will continue to hit for average on your team at a relatively cheap cost.

Casey McGehee (3B – SF) McGehee hit for an absolute solid .287 last year in Miami with a massive amount of 616 at-bats in 160 games. Average is all he is really going to get you and bring to the table. He’ll hit for a high-60’s to mid-70’s in RBI’s but nothing too crazy which is why he is being take in the 29th round. He will more than likely be on your waiver wire to start your season so if you find yourself really hurting for average a couple of weeks into the season you can grab him. Also he is the only one around his ADP of 356 that will hit for average so he would be an excellent, late-to-last round grab to boost your team’s average if you already have your other categories settled.

Are any of these guys flashy options? No, but these are types of players that can make the difference over the course of a long season. Fine-tuning your team’s strengths and weaknesses from week to week is the key to success. By late in the draft you should have a great idea what categories you have plenty of and which you do not and adjust accordingly. Average is often overlooked throughout the draft so keep these guys in mind when nobody else will.

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