Remember on Breaking Bad when Jesse Pinkman said, “When the going gets tough, you don’t want a criminal lawyer; you want a ‘criminal’ lawyer,” while selling Walter White on Saul?
The batting average category is kind of like that, minus the illegal stuff. You don’t want an average guy; you want an “average” guy. If you need to find an injury replacement, shake things up, or just want to make a jump in the batting average category, certain players can come in handy.
Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting a remarkable .387 over 165 at-bats. Even before Monday’s three-homer game he was at .365. He won’t maintain a .380-plus average, but his pedigree suggests he’s a legitimate .300 hitter.
In deep Roto leagues, you can’t afford to own a player that gets a ton of at-bats but has a low batting average unless they absolutely dominate another category or two. The points-league guys and casual fans would look at Eric Hosmer and think he’s a productive, if not average, player.
Roto players need to examine the numbers a tad further and take notice that Hosmer is sixth in all of baseball with 263 ABs. That means he’s on pace for over 100 more ABs than Chisenhall. What I’m getting at, is Hosmer’s .259 average is killing you. He’s hurting your long-term position in the standings significantly more than some mediocre, part-time player. With only three homers and 29 RBI, Hosmer is an average Fantasy player, but he’s clearly not an average guy.
Ryan Howard is hurting you in batting average with his .237 average over 236 ABs. His 11 homers and 41 RBI are worth using him regularly, but you better have a .300 hitter somewhere to balance things out. For every Ryan Howard, you need a Michael Brantley just to stay mediocre in the batting average category.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why power hitters who also hit for average are so coveted on Draft Day.
Average guys and their outlook going forward
Yangervis Solarte – He’s not going to lose ABs if he slumps, as the Yankees don’t have any alternatives. Solarte appears to be a guy who will help you in the batting average category with ample ABs.
Daniel Murphy – The Mets have somehow managed to develop Murphy into a pretty good hitter, and a lot of Fantasy owners don’t give him the respect he deserves. He’s a legit .300 hitter.
J.J. Hardy – A zero in the home run department has made him available in many leagues. Take advantage and pair him with a 40-HR, .240 hitter.
Matt Adams – There is still a chance you could acquire Adams on the cheap, as he is currently on a rehab stint in the minors. But he’ll be back soon and he owns a .325/.337/.474 line with three home runs and 17 RBI in 194 at-bats.
Angel Pagan – Anyone batting .318 over 223 ABs needs to be taken seriously. With a .284 career average he could regress, but he should still be considered a player that helps in the batting average category.
Casey McGehee – McGehee is batting .462 over his last six games and .306 over his 245 ABs on the season. His career numbers indicate that he should regress, but don’t forget he once hit .301 over 355 ABs as a Brewer. It appears McGehee has found a home in Miami, and he’s available in many leagues.
Adam LaRoche – He’s batting .311 over 164 ABs, but only batted .236 over 511 ABs last season. LaRoche has been hot lately and should be starting in all formats until he starts to regress. He’s a candidate to sell high if you already own him.
Alexei Ramirez – The seven-year veteran with a .279 career average is suddenly batting .310 over 248 Abs, which makes Ramirez another candidate to sell high.
Seth Smith – He’s available in a ton of leagues and batting .299 over 177 ABs this season after batting .252 over 368 ABs last season. A correction is probably coming, but it’s probably too late to sell high. He’s only batting .240 in June after putting up a .354 average in May.
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood