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MLB Fantasy Breakdown – At-Bats

Matthew Berry of ESPN recently released an article explaining the importance of player at-bats in relation to fantasy baseball success. You can read the article here. This makes perfect sense to me and I was interested in breaking down the relevance as it pertains throughout this season. At-bats, according to the article, has more importance for total fantasy team at-bats and its relation to success among many stat categories.  That being said, I was interested in breaking it down by individual league leaders and how those players are performing, to evaluate free agents and current players on a roster. Throughout the season this list might expand but for now below is a chart of the top 15 players in terms of plate appearances (range 42-52) and their current fantasy position rank according to ESPN leagues.

Player Team At-Bats Position Rank
Ian Desmond WSH 52 5
Jemile Weeks OAK 46 16
Derek Jeter NYY 45 2
Ichiro Suzuki SEA 45 44
Adam LaRoche WSH 45 2
Matt Holliday STL 45 47
Jayson Werth WSH 44 33
Chone Figgins SEA 44 19
Yunel Escobar TOR 44 14
Ryan Zimmerman WSH 43 14
Cameron Maybin SD 43 23
Chris Johnson HOU 43 8
Justin Smoak SEA 43 18
Jose Reyes MIA 42 12
Dustin Ackley SEA 42 10

Of these players, 7 of them are currently not owned in 100% of ESPN leagues. Some players are more available than others, but Chris Johnson and Adam LaRoche look like early watch list candidates due to their position rank and availability.

Player Team At-Bats % Owned
Chris Johnson HOU 43 1.0
Justin Smoak SEA 43 3.4
Chone Figgins SEA 44 20.9
Adam LaRoche WSH 45 63.5
Ian Desmond WSH 52 85.6
Ichiro Suzuki SEA 45 86.3
Yunel Escobar TOR 44 90.0

In my next blog I will breakdown Batting Average and On-Base Percentage in a similar way to see how these stats relate to individual player success in terms of fantasy baseball. Fantasy baseball is much more than Home Runs and hopefully these stats will highlight some players exceeding in multiple stat categories.

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6 thoughts on “MLB Fantasy Breakdown – At-Bats

  1. Looks like your’e a stats man. I am too but less intense. It would be interesting to see if you conducted this same survey say in 4 weeks or so what kind of results you would find and how many of these same players would make that list…
    Back on April 11th, under our Waiver Wire Pickups & Sleepers, Adam LaRoche, who is on your list above, was 1st on my list for an add in fantasy leagues. At that time he was only owned in 25% of leagues. (here’s the lnk):
    Great article and intriguing stats.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Yeah I like breaking down the numbers in sports, so baseball provides me with a lot of topics. I am going to try and update this list every week, along with any other charts I breakdown. Just to see the movement among the players. I just followed your blog, look forward to talking sports with you.

  3. Good stuff, Gary. As you mentioned, returning to this point later in the year when there’s a bigger sample size makes sense. I went back and looked at the top 10 in plate appearances in the second half of last season to see what they foretold for April.

    The top 10 players with 315 plate appearances or more are:
    1. Ellsbury, 331 — Expected
    2. Bonifacio, 331 — Holding strong in ’12
    3. Kinsler, 322 — Top player this year so far
    4. Pedroia, 322 — Stud
    5. Longoria, 322 — Stud
    6. Bourn, 321 — Starting to put it together in recent days
    7. Suzuki, 319 — Steady
    8. Markakis, 318 — Strong this year again
    9. Fowler, 316 — This one jumps out as a disappointment
    10. Castro, 315 — Top player this year so far

    Obviously, a closer look by position would make much more sense, but this would have had me higher on Bonifacio, Bourn (as is Berry), Markakis and Fowler. We’ll see how this looks in a couple months! Good job though.

  4. Thanks for the comment and blog follow. Awesome follow up research on last years stats. Thanks for highlighting that for my post. I will be sure to follow up on this list and will continue to include the positional rank for a clearer picture. Again thanks for the research from last year!

  5. Larry Bird once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    This outlines that. If a player gets to the plate more often, there will be more opportunity for production. How can a player produce with measly amount of appearances?

  6. After reviewing this year’s current stats and last year’s ending stats the correlation between batting average and on-base percentage is pretty straightforward. There were not that many surprises last year heading into this year’s draft to take advantage of. This year some under the radar standouts are A.J. Pierzynski (Rank 2, 33.6% owned) Josh Thole (Rank 19, 1.9% owned) and Shelly Duncan (Rank 28, 4.1 % owned).

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