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Sleepers for AVG/OBP (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 7, 2023
Brendan Donovan

For fantasy managers that find themselves searching for a late-round lift in AVG and/or OBP in drafts this year, the list of players included in this article are ones to target. All four of them combine a skillset and track record that suggests they could be stat-specific assets this season. They are not all-around contributors, nor do any of them possess a great deal of upside, but based on current ADP trends around the industry, each comes at a bargain price.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Sleepers for AVG/OBP (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Batting Average

Consider targeting these four players when looking for batting average in the late rounds of drafts.

Michael Brantley (OF – HOU)

Brantley is about as reliable as it gets in the AVG and OBP departments. Unfortunately, over the course of his great career, the five-time All-Star also often spends time on the shelf. That was the case again in 2022, as he managed to play just 64 games and none after June 26.

Despite the missed time, Brantley turned in a solid .288 AVG and .370 OBP across 277 plate appearances last year after hitting at least .300 in each of the previous four seasons. He maintained his typically strong line-drive rate (24.3%) and even increased his hard-hit rate (45.1%) over 2021. Brantley is a seasoned, patient hitter that could still contend for a batting title as he approaches his 36th birthday.

Brendan Donovan (1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF – STL)

From a long-time veteran to an MLB sophomore, Donovan finished third in N.L. Rookie of the Year balloting in 2022 after posting a .281 AVG and .394 OBP over 126 games. Donovan is selective beyond his years, as he drew walks at a 12.8-percent clip during his first season in the bigs. That placed him in the top 20 of all players with a minimum of 400 plate appearances.

To go with his discipline in the box, Donovan has an all-fields approach at the plate and a quick, line-drive swing that he utilizes to make a ton of contact (92.9 Z-Contact%). His versatility in the field should translate to plenty of time in the Cardinals’ lineup as it did last year. His skills with the bat should translate to continued success in the AVG and OBP columns.

Christian Arroyo (1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF – BOS)

Arroyo is another player that brings bonus fantasy value via extreme position versatility. He compiled a career-high 300 plate appearances in 2022, finishing with a .286/.322/.414 slash line. Arroyo does not have the same OBP upside as Brantley or Donovan due to his aggressiveness, but his ability to put the bat on the ball and hit it on a line should keep his batting average up.

Arroyo’s underlying batted-ball stats showed encouraging improvement last year. According to Statcast, he raised his average exit velocity to 88.9 from 86.3 in 2021 and his line-drive rate from 20.0 percent to 25.3 percent. Of all MLB players with at least 300 plate appearances last season, Arroyo placed sixth in expected AVG at .292.

Yonathan Daza (OF – COL)

Coors Field regularly elevates batting averages year after year. It has done just that for Daza over the last two seasons, as he has hit .320 across 114 games in his home stadium since the start of 2021. In 2022, Daza showed the ability to get it done on the road, too, hitting .289 away from Colorado and finishing with a .301 AVG in 408 plate appearances overall.

Daza can use all fields, and his line-drive rate came in just shy of 24 percent last year. More importantly, the Venezuelan-born outfielder lowered his strikeout rate from 18.1 to 14.2 percent between 2021 and 2022. With the steady batting average he can provide, if Daza can settle in atop the Rockies lineup, he should be crossing home plate quite a bit too.

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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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