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10 Players to Draft for Batting Average & OBP (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

10 Players to Draft for Batting Average & OBP (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

Batting average often proves to be a difficult category to solidify during fantasy baseball drafts. When playing in a format that exchanges batting average (AVG) for on-base percentage (OBP), the task can be a bit easier, as there are some additional options on the board. Still, offensive ratio stats just tend to be a little more volatile than the counting ones, making dependable sources more scarce.

On top of that, AVG and OBP simply do not bring with them the same pizzazz as say homers or steals. For example, Ronald Acuna is now widely known as the sole member of the 40-70 club due to his spectacular performance throughout 2023. What is less talked about by the casual fantasy manager is his .337 AVG and .416 OBP. They should not be ignored, however, as all stats in categories-based formats count the same.

The list below, which won’t include Acuna now that he’s already been pointed out, will provide names to target for AVG and/or OBP at various junctures of fantasy drafts based on current ADP trends at the time of writing.

2024 Fantasy Baseball AVG/OBP Targets

Freddie Freeman (1B – LAD): ADP 8

There may not be a better all-around hitter than Freddie Freeman in the game today. Since his age-30 season in 2020, when he won National League MVP honors, the seven-time All-Star has posted an outstanding .321/.410/.540 slash line over nearly 2,400 plate appearances. Despite entering his mid-30s, Freeman remains in incredible shape, having played in 161 regular-season games last year. Oh yeah, he also hit .331 with a career-high 90 extra-base hits. Freeman is a legitimate first-round asset.

Michael Harris II (OF – ATL): ADP 33

From a former Braves star to a current one, Michael Harris pulled off a remarkable feat during his second MLB season. After batting .297 in his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign of 2022, the fleet-footed center fielder was questioned by many fantasy prognosticators due to the combination of a lofty groundball rate (56.2%), low line-drive rate (16.7%) and likely unsustainable batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .361. Those doubts seemed to be well-founded, as Harris dealt with injuries early last season and found himself hitting an ugly .163 through his first 38 games.

Something clicked for Harris in early June, as he completely turned things around. Over his final 100 games from June 7 forward, Harris was fourth among all qualified players with a .335 AVG. He backed that mark up with an 89.1 Z-Contact%, 49.5 Hard-Hit%, and 23.7 LD%. Harris does not walk a ton (4.7%), so his OBP is largely predicated on his AVG remaining high. Still, he’s now a .295 career hitter in over 900 at-bats.

Bo Bichette (SS – TOR): ADP 38

Bo Bichette has played three full big-league seasons. The results in the AVG department are as follows: .298, .290 and .306. That’s impressively consistent for a player entering his age-26 season. Can he keep it rolling or perhaps even improve on his upward trajectory from 2022 to 2023? It’s tough to imagine he can’t given his seven-point surge in line-drive rate (27.4%) and the fact he finished with a contact rate above 80% for the first time. Like Harris, Bichette doesn’t draw an abundance of walks, but the AVG keeps the OBP solid.

Yandy Diaz (1B, 3B – TB): ADP 104

Yandy Diaz has always been an on-base machine. His 10.8 BB% in 2023 was a three-year low. That ended up not being a bad thing, as the first-time All-Star claimed the American League batting title with a .330 AVG. Diaz even ended up in the MVP conversation (6th) after recording a .410 OBP, .522 SLG and 95 runs. He managed to do all that with a sub-20 LD%. That’s not too much to worry about considering his Top-10 EV (93.4 mph) and hard-hit rate (54.0%) along with a top-25 contact rate (83.4%).

Luis Arraez (2B – MIA): ADP 126

From the A.L. batting champ to the N.L. one, Luis Arraez placed himself on a very short list last year, as he’s now one of two players in the “modern era” to win a batting title in both leagues. More impressively, he accomplished it in back-to-back seasons. Arraez is a total throwback to a different time, and it’s fun to watch. He rarely strikes out (7.5% career) and constantly puts the ball in play (92.9%). He doesn’t always hit the ball hard but he sprays line drives (27.5%) all over the field, which keeps his  BABIP sitting regularly in the mid-300 range. Arraez was hitting above .400 in late June last summer and finished with a stellar .354 AVG.

Gabriel Moreno (C – ARI): ADP 156

To say the Diamondbacks were pleased with what they got out of Gabriel Moreno during his first full MLB campaign would be an understatement. The club traded for the young backstop just before Christmas of 2022. He gifted them with Gold Glove-winning defense behind the plate as well as a .284 AVG across 111 games. After last year’s All-Star break, Moreno posted an impressive .313/.383/.512 slash line over 149 plate appearances. That’s great fantasy value, particularly from the catcher spot. Promising batted-ball measures from last year suggest he can maintain it.

Contact Z-Contact LD Hard-Hit
2023 81.7% 90.9% 23.4% 41.8%

Steven Kwan (OF – CLE): ADP 175

There were valid reasons to expect a downturn for Steven Kwan from his strong 2022 rookie season, and it happened. However, metrics point to an overcorrection in Kwan’s output last year and he could well be in store for a nice rebound. Despite a top-20 xBA of .282, the young leadoff man saw his batting average drop from .298 as a rookie to .268 last year. That indicates some seriously poor luck, especially when looking at a 25.3 LD%, 90.3 Contract% and 95.6 Z-Contact%. That last mark led all qualified MLB hitters in 2023. Kwan also replicated his 9.7 BB% from 2022, which has led to a .356 OBP over 305 career games.

Jarren Duran (OF – BOS): ADP 214

Unfortunately, Jarren Duran’s 2023 breakout ended in late August due to a toe injury that required surgery. In 102 games before that, the now 27-year-old speedster hit .295 with a .346 OBP, 44 extra-base hits and 24 steals (26 attempts) over 362 plate appearances. Why should fantasy managers believe in Duran’s progress after he disappointed so many in his previous call-ups? Well, he made substantial strides in every measure that matters as far as getting on base goes, lowering his strikeout rate from 30.7% to 24.9% and raising his line-drive rate from 16.7% to 25.6%, for example.

Edouard Julien (2B – MIN): ADP 226

Edouard Julien may have only hit .263 over 109 games as a rookie last year, but, as advertised, he logged a lofty 15.7 BB% to elevate his OBP up to .381. The batting average may always be volatile for Julien unless he can make notable improvements in his contact rates (81.4% Z-Contact, 73.5% Contact) and cut down on the strikeouts (31.4%). He’s going to be an asset in OBP leagues, regardless. Not only that, his power is legit. Julien swatted 16 homers with a 13.1% barrel rate and 44.9% hard-hit rate in 2023. If he could just make a little more contact, his line-drive swing (25.8%) would lead to a strong AVG as well.

Brendan Donovan (1B, 2B, OF – STL): ADP 269

Like Duran above, Brendan Donovan had a solid season cut short last year. The versatile 27-year-old is expected to be ready to go this spring. While he’ll play all over the field, the expectation is that Donovan will be right back near the top of the Cardinals’ batting order in most games, or at least against right-handed pitchers. After two years in the bigs, Donovan sports a .283 AVG alongside a .381 OBP through over 839 plate appearances. His career 86.4 Contact%, 92.5 Z-Contact%, 23.4 LD% and 39.0 HardHit% combine to suggest those marks should remain consistent. A sub-15.0 K% and 10.0-plus BB% provide even more confidence. Donovan did replace some walks with homers last season but he still got on base at a nice .365 clip.

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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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