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Last week, we discussed prioritizing power hitters when constructing your roster. In order to compete, most leagues require an average of roughly 25 home runs per active roster spot. Hitting that target requires a plan. However, power alone will not win a championship.

Roster too many Joey Gallo types and you'll be left with a minimum score in batting average. Category management is always a careful balancing act.

It's wise not to ignore those hitters that provide a steady stream of base hits, even if they don't stand out in the highlight-worthy stat categories such as home runs or steals. In fact, you may want to make it a focal point of your strategy for the upcoming 2018 fantasy baseball season.

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The Case To Prioritize Batting Average

Personally, I've always found that if I manage home runs and stolen bases, the other categories naturally follow without any special effort. I've been doing this for years with plenty of success. Some of my colleagues have espoused the opposite viewpoint. They focus on locking down batting average and run production.

There is a certain logic to this approach - home runs are readily available on the waiver wire. In fact, I wrote five columns a week pointing out where to find power and speed for free. Even if you're just occasionally streaming a power bat on Mondays and Thursdays, it's pretty easy to pick up some no-cost category juice. All but the deepest dynasty leagues have these opportunities (weekly lineup leagues miss out on the fun).

Batting average is much more difficult to strategically target on the waiver wire, especially for streaming. For one, it takes a ton of volume to produce a positive effect on your seasonal average. Here's a scenario to demonstrate just how little a single individual affects the category.

Imagine you have DJ LeMahieu and 13 other players with a combined .270 average. LeMahieu had a .310 average - the 12th best total among qualified hitters. His near-elite production in the category would have boosted your team average a whopping 2.9 points. In a shallower league, you would have gained only four points of batting average.

Now consider trying to accomplish similar gains with waiver wire bats. You're left with hitters considerably worse than LeMahieu, making it an uphill battle to clear a .300 average. Moreover, you're working with a lighter volume of plate appearances, diluting any benefit you happen to gain. While scrounging 25 home runs over a full season is child's play, earning just one point of batting average is a fraught and dangerous endeavor. It's very easy to actually lose ground in the category - especially in deeper formats.

 

Power or Average?

It's exceedingly difficult to win a fantasy league without strong numbers in every category. Ultimately, you need to focus on building power, batting average, and stolen bases in your lineup. Oh, and don't skimp on run production either. However, it helps to set a focus when designing your roster.

For me, that means ensuring I have a strong backbone of power hitters with speed. The types of players I prefer tend to have a solid batting average and run production - hence why I don't need to put much effort into managing those categories. I've optimized for my personal strengths and weaknesses.

You probably have different strengths and weaknesses. If you're somebody who likes to gamble with risky, massive ceiling players like Gallo or Keon Broxton, then you'll need to pay careful attention to batting average on draft day. Similarly, if you league is shallow enough to frequently stream useful power hitters, there is added benefit to securing a few extra points in batting average.

 

More 2018 Dynasty Baseball Strategy





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