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Players to Target for AVG/OBP (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Players to Target for AVG/OBP (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

In today’s fantasy-baseball landscape, elite sources of batting average (AVG) and on-base percentage (OBP) are at a premium. The 2022 MLB regular season wrapped up with only 21 players carrying an AVG of .290 or higher among qualifiers – minimum of 502 plate appearances. Just 22 players finished with an OBP of at least .360.

For most, the offensive ratio stats are just not as enticing to chase as the potent power bats or the fleet-footed base stealers. However, ignoring or simply forgetting about AVG and OBP in most standard formats is a mistake. The stats all count the same in category-based leagues.

The trick is deciding which of the limited crop of high-AVG or OBP guys to target and where in the draft to do so. The following half-dozen players, which can be found at various points of drafts based on current ADP at time of writing, are capable of solidifying fantasy rosters in those areas. Their recent track records attest to that.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Players to Target for AVG/OBP (2023)

Paul Goldschmidt (1B – STL): ADP 22

Goldschmidt has hit .290 or better in nine of the last 10 years. That is remarkable. In 2022, after putting up an outstanding .317/.404/.578 slash line over 151 games, he finally claimed the MVP honor that had eluded him throughout his Hall-of-Fame caliber career. Despite turning 35 this past September, Goldy has yet to show the typical signs of decline that often come for players his age.

Xander Bogaerts (SS – SD): ADP 85

Another player with an impressive streak of .290-plus seasons working, Bogaerts has done that each of the last four years. In fact, the four-time All-Star has finished with an AVG between .295 and .309 in that stretch for the Red Sox. He is just plain consistent. Now with the Padres, Bogaerts should keep right on rolling in a much-improved lineup over the one he hit .307 for in Boston last year.

Steven Kwan (OF – CLE): ADP 117

Coming off of a solid rookie campaign, Kwan obviously has far less of an MLB track record than the two players above. Still, the 25-year-old outfielder’s .298 AVG and .373 OBP in his first season against big-league pitching is very promising. Kwan’s selectiveness at the plate is beyond his years, as he actually walked (62 BB) more than he struck out (60 K) in 2022. In addition to his patience at the plate, Cleveland’s leadoff man has nice wheels and put together a hit profile that should make a believer out of anyone.

Contact% Swinging Strike% LD + GB% Pull/Center/Oppo%
2022 91.9 3.1 65.0 30.8 / 35.4 / 33.8

 

Jeff McNeil (2B/OF – NYM): ADP 180

McNeil enjoyed a nice rebound season last year, earning his second All-Star selection and claiming his first NL Batting Title with a .326 AVG. Entering his age-31 season, he has now hit at least .311 in four of his five MLB campaigns. McNeil is not a guy that walks a ton but sustains his lofty AVGs with an all-fields approach and one of the league’s highest line-drive rates.

Luis Arraez (1B/2B – MIA): ADP 200

From the 2022 NL batting champion to the AL batting champ, Arraez saw a career-high 603 plate appearances last year and responded with a .316/.375/.420 line. Still shy of turning 26, the versatile Venezuelan has already established himself as arguably the best contact hitter in baseball. Across his 389 career MLB games, Arraez sports a .314 AVG with a ridiculous 92.6-percent contact rate. The Twins dealt him to Miami back in January. Arraez will now contend with McNeil and the NL field for another batting crown.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B – TB): ADP 278

A late-round darling for those in OBP leagues particularly, Diaz saw a 40-point jump in his batting average from 2021 to 2022. Over 558 plate appearances last year, he turned in a .296 AVG alongside a stellar .401 OBP. The 31-year-old veteran will drive in a few runs and score a few, but his main skill is getting on base. Yandy’s 13.4 BB% over the last two years (9th MLB) suggests he will continue to do so at an elite rate.

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Nate Miller is a featured writer at FantasyPros and a 9-year veteran of the fantasy sports industry. For more from Nate, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad.

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