X
Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

X

Receive free daily analysis

NFL
NBA
NHL
NASCAR
CFB
MLB
MMA
PGA
ESPORTS
BETTING

Already have an account? Log In

X

Forgot Password


POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Expert Advice
Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

MiLB Stats: Using Sabermetrics For 2024 Fantasy Baseball

James Outman - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Prospects News

Once you've grown accustomed to having advanced tools to help make fantasy decisions, it can feel disorientating to be without them. Prospects are increasingly becoming a focal point in both real and fantasy baseball, but the minors simply don't have all of the data available for MLB players. For example, advanced plate discipline stats, Pitch Info, and anything Statcast-related are all currently unavailable for minor league campaigns.

Does this mean we go back to looking at ERA and batting average as the only indicators of future performance? Of course not! Instead, we do our best to work with what we have. The process begins by looking at the environment. Higher levels of competition result in more accurate data, so you should start by excluding anything lower than Double-A if a player's track record allows it.

Since there was no minor league baseball in 2020, the year will be a blind spot for fantasy managers for the foreseeable future. That said, most current prospects have some MiLB data even if a year is missing from their ledger. Here's how to effectively use MiLB data to give you an edge in your fantasy baseball league throughout the season.

Featured Promo: Get any MLB Premium Pass FREE ($119 value) AND up to a $200 deposit match when you sign up with Rival Fantasy. Rival offers 6 and 12-team Best Ball, weekly and daily contests, for as little as $3 per entry. No roster management, just draft and Rival sets your best lineup automatically. Playing fantasy baseball has never been easier! Sign Up Today!

 

In Leagues Of Their Own

The first point to remember is that the baseline for certain predictive metrics is different on the farm. Mike Podhorzer of FanGraphs.com had an excellent article detailing the specifics in 2017. For example, Double-A hitters collectively posted a .306 BABIP that year, while their Triple-A counterparts managed a .317 figure. Both marks are significantly higher than the MLB standard, making a performance that looks fluky league-average.

Another common sticking point is IFFB%. Double-A batters posted a ludicrous 21.6% IFFB% on their fly balls in 2017, while their Triple-A counterparts were only slightly better (20.8%). This leads many fantasy managers to conclude that every minor league prospect has a massive pop-up problem, but this is not the case. The stat is calculated differently on the farm, and you need to halve it to get something approaching an MLB projection.

Like the MLB, each minor league and ballpark has its own unique quirks and tendencies. For example, the Pacific Coast League is notorious for inflating offensive statistics. If you want minor league ballpark factors, Baseball America posted them for 2019 here. They have also released updated 2023 ballpark factors, but you need a paid membership to access that data.

David Gerth posted the most extreme park factors for homers and overall runs last season:

If you want three-year factors, MiLB.com posted them for Class-A Advanced, Double-A, and Triple-A for 2017-2019. Note that the MLB renamed the former Class-A Advanced league to High-A for 2021 but most of the parks haven't changed. The higher levels have become increasingly hitter-friendly in recent years.

 

Analyzing MiLB Performance

Another common problem with minor league statistics is the sample size. It is simply easier to run an unsustainable BABIP or ERA in a small sample than a larger one. The minor leagues compound this problem by allowing a healthy player to be called up or demoted multiple times in one season, leaving us with two or more partial-season samples instead of one full season of statistics.

Due to the small sample, metrics such as BABIP may be unreliable for minor league players. In this situation, it's advisable to examine the player's plate discipline numbers and batted ball distribution (GB% vs. FB%) because they stabilize (or become predictive) more quickly. We don't have the additional information provided by metrics such as O-Swing%, but these metrics are still a good way to start MiLB analysis.

For example, James Outman reached Double-A for the first time in 2021. He hit nine homers in 187 plate appearances, suggesting he had pop. He also struck out too often with a 27.3% K%, but offset that by working walks (9.5 BB%) and maintaining a .368 BABIP. Outman displayed the same characteristics at Double-A in 2022, hitting 16 HRs over 307 PAs with a 29% K%, 12.4% BB%, and .386 BABIP.

Outman was promoted to Triple-A mid-season and remained true to form, hitting 15 HRs in 252 PAs with a 25% K%, 12.7% BB%, and .343 BABIP. We expect Outman to demonstrate above-average pop, a high BABIP, and plenty of walks and strikeouts in his rookie season based on his MiLB resume.

Sure enough, Outman slashed .248/.353/.437 with 23 HRs over 567 PAs for the Dodgers in 2023. His 31.9% K% was high, but he offset it with a 12% BB% and .343 BABIP, which made his average tolerable and his on-base percentage a fantasy asset. Outman's minor league track record told us exactly what kind of player to expect.

Prospect growth isn't linear, and it's possible for a player to completely transform at the MLB level or fail to replicate success on the farm in the Show. Still, a player's minor league performance is the single best indication of what to expect from rookie seasons.

There are a couple of other factors to consider. Stealing bases is easier in the minors, but strong success rates are still something to look for when projecting fast players. If a guy is only stealing successfully 50% of the time on the farm, his big league club probably won't give him a green light. Age is also a factor for minor leaguers, as a 28-year-old dominating a bunch of teenagers isn't that impressive.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, the fact that we don't know a minor leaguer's average exit velocity or BABIP on ground balls doesn't prevent us from analyzing them for fantasy purposes. We have tools such as SwStr% and BB% for hitters and FIP and LOB% for pitchers. We can still place these numbers into context by examining any given league's tendencies. Finding rookie breakouts before they happen is still challenging, but that's what makes it fun.

Stay tuned to learn more about how to apply advanced stats within a fantasy context.



Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!






POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Expert Advice
Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

REAL-TIME FANTASY NEWS

Daniel Bard2 hours ago

Won't Return In 2024
José Leclerc2 hours ago

Jose Leclerc Temporarily Removed As Closer
Yariel Rodriguez3 hours ago

Starting Saturday
Eduardo Rodriguez3 hours ago

Rehab Stalled
Nick Pivetta3 hours ago

Will Resume Throwing Saturday
Carlos Correa3 hours ago

Likely Heading To Injured List
Walker Buehler3 hours ago

Pulled From Rehab Start
Joel Embiid4 hours ago

Tweaks Knee In Win Over Orlando
Joe Burrow4 hours ago

Confident He'll Stay Healthy
Brandon Aiyuk5 hours ago

Unfollows Niners On Social Media
Luka Doncic5 hours ago

Unavailable Sunday Versus Thunder
Kyrie Irving5 hours ago

Ruled Out Sunday For Mavs Regular Season Finale
Carlos Correa5 hours ago

Exits Early With Oblique Strain
Jonathan Kuminga6 hours ago

Ruled Out Versus New Orleans
Gary Payton6 hours ago

II Unavailable For Friday Versus New Orleans
Klay Thompson6 hours ago

Available Versus The Pels
Cade Cunningham7 hours ago

Not Playing Against Dallas
Christian Yelich7 hours ago

Exits Friday’s Game With Lower Back Discomfort
Jalen Duren7 hours ago

Will Not Play Friday
Anthony Davis8 hours ago

Active Versus Memphis
LeBron James8 hours ago

Available Versus Memphis
Michael Porter8 hours ago

Jr. Will Play Against The Spurs
Dejounte Murray8 hours ago

Back In Action On Friday
Aaron Gordon8 hours ago

Available Versus The Spurs
Jamal Murray8 hours ago

Cleared For Friday Night
Bruce Brown8 hours ago

Cleared To Return On Friday
Nikola Jokic8 hours ago

Will Meet The Spurs
Gary Trent8 hours ago

Jr. Ready To Return On Friday
Isaiah Jackson8 hours ago

Unavailable On Friday
Bobby Portis9 hours ago

Available To Play Versus Oklahoma City
Luka Doncic9 hours ago

Expected To Miss Friday's Game
Justin Verlander9 hours ago

To Make Rehab Start On Saturday
Joel Embiid9 hours ago

Will Play On Friday
Rashee Rice14 hours ago

Surrenders To Police
Alex Pereira14 hours ago

Set For First Light Heavyweight Title Defense
Jamahal Hill14 hours ago

Faces Alex Pereira In The Main Event Of UFC 300
Yan Xiaonan14 hours ago

Set For A Title Shot At UFC 300
Charles Oliveira15 hours ago

Returns To Action On UFC 300 Main Card
Arman Tsarukyan15 hours ago

Has A Tough Test In Front Of Him
Laurent Brossoit17 hours ago

Shuts Out Stars With 24 Saves
Lucas Raymond18 hours ago

Erupts For Four Points
Sidney Crosby18 hours ago

Enters Top 10 On NHL's All-Time Scoring List
Sergei Bobrovsky18 hours ago

Logs Sixth Shutout Of The Season
Timo Meier18 hours ago

Notches Three Points In Win Over Toronto
Noah Dobson18 hours ago

Sustains An Upper-Body Injury
Colton Cowser1 day ago

Hits First Two MLB Homers
Yariel Rodriguez1 day ago

Blue Jays Calling Up Yariel Rodriguez
Rafael Devers1 day ago

Likely To Need Another Day Off
Justin Verlander1 day ago

Astros Won't Rush Back Justin Verlander
Cody Brundage1 day ago

A Massive Underdog At UFC 300
Bo Nickal1 day ago

Puts Undefeated Record On The Line
Max Holloway1 day ago

Moves Back Up To Lightweight At UFC 300
Justin Gaethje1 day ago

Puts BMF Belt On The Line At UFC 300
Zhang Weili1 day ago

Defends Strawweight Title At UFC 300
Tom Brady1 day ago

Won't Rule Out Return To NFL
Treylon Burks1 day ago

Has To Earn It In 2024
Tua Tagovailoa1 day ago

Doesn't Plan On Holding Out
Mason Miller1 day ago

Locks Down Second Save
Jose Altuve1 day ago

Picks Up Three Hits Thursday
Bobby Witt Jr.1 day ago

Has Monster Day At The Plate
Brandon Lowe1 day ago

Heading To Injured List With Oblique Strain
Rafael Devers1 day ago

Still Bothered By Shoulder
Vaughn Grissom1 day ago

Starting Rehab Assignment Friday
Eloy Jiménez1 day ago

Eloy Jimenez Could Return This Weekend
C.J. Uzomah2 days ago

Expected To Sign With Eagles
Washington Commanders2 days ago

Commanders Hosting Top QB Prospects Next Week
Nick Chubb2 days ago

Browns, Nick Chubb Agree To Reworked Contract
Connor Hellebuyck2 days ago

Connor HelleBuyck Getting A Breather Thursday
Timothy Liljegren2 days ago

Could Return Before Postseason
Igor Shesterkin2 days ago

Getting A Rest Day Thursday
Matt Tomkins2 days ago

Getting Rare Start Thursday
Jake McCabe2 days ago

To Sit Out On Thursday
Joel Edmundson2 days ago

To Return On Thursday
Leon Draisaitl2 days ago

Enjoys Multi-Point Outing Versus Vegas
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins2 days ago

Picks Up Two Assists Wednesday
Jordan Kyrou2 days ago

Scores Twice In Wednesday's Win
Elias Pettersson2 days ago

Extends Point Streak With Power-Play Goal
Quinn Hughes2 days ago

Sends Out Three Assists Wednesday
Dylan Guenther2 days ago

Celebrates Birthday With Four Points
Tony Pollard2 days ago

Titans Calling Tyjae Spears, Tony Pollard 1A And 1B
Rashee Rice2 days ago

Arrest Warrant Issued For Rashee Rice
Nick Foligno2 days ago

Out On Wednesday
Petr Mrazek2 days ago

Between The Pipes Wednesday
Connor Ingram2 days ago

Expected To Start Wednesday
Jayden Daniels2 days ago

Meeting With Giants On Monday
Jacksonville Jaguars3 days ago

Jaguars, Josh Allen Agree On Five-Year Extension
Jason Day3 days ago

Heads To Augusta After Rough March Stretch
Sepp Straka3 days ago

Save Yourself The Heartache And Don't Play Sepp Straka At The Masters
Bryson DeChambeau3 days ago

: The Battle Of Form Versus Recent History
Dustin Johnson3 days ago

Is A True Wild Card At Augusta
Patrick Cantlay3 days ago

Lost With His Irons Of Late
Rory McIlroy3 days ago

In Good Form Heading To Augusta
Keegan Bradley3 days ago

Coming To Augusta National With Ice-Cold Putter
Nicolai Hojgaard3 days ago

Looking For Putter At Augusta National
Tiger Woods3 days ago

Set To Make Another Start At The Masters
Nick Taylor3 days ago

A Boring Play At The Masters
Akshay Bhatia3 days ago

Earns Last Remaining Invite To The Masters
Tom Kim3 days ago

Looking For Turnaround At Year's First Major
Sahith Theegala3 days ago

Making Second Start At Augusta National
Wyndham Clark4 days ago

Chasing History At Augusta
Will Zalatoris4 days ago

In Questionable Form Ahead Of Masters
Tony Finau4 days ago

Seeking First Major Victory At Augusta
Shane Lowry4 days ago

In Top Form Heading To Augusta
PGA4 days ago

Tyrell Hatton An Overlooked LIV Option At Augusta
Min Woo Lee4 days ago

A Risky Option For The Masters
Sergio Garcia4 days ago

Can Always Lurk At The Masters
PGA4 days ago

J.T. Poston Needs To Show Early 2024 Form Now
Chase Briscoe4 days ago

Has Great Run At Martinsville
Alex Bowman4 days ago

Still Solid Despite Teammates' Podium Sweep
Anthony Richardson4 days ago

Making Good Progress
CeeDee Lamb5 days ago

Holdout Could Be Coming For CeeDee Lamb
Chris Curtis5 days ago

Defeated Via Split Decision
Brendan Allen5 days ago

Wins Split Decision In A Back-And-Forth Fight
Morgan Charrière5 days ago

Morgan Charriere Drops Decision Matchup
MMA5 days ago

Jose Mariscal Edges Decision Win At UFC Vegas 90
Lukasz Brzeski5 days ago

Snaps Losing Streak At UFC Vegas 90
Valter Walker5 days ago

Defeated In UFC Debut
Joey Logano5 days ago

Had Best Pit Strategy But Lacked Winning Speed at Martinsville
Kyle Larson5 days ago

Fastest at Martinsville But Not When It Mattered
NASCAR5 days ago

Bubba Wallace Earns His First Top-Five Finish At Martinsville Speedway
Chase Elliott5 days ago

Finishes Third At Martinsville
Ryan Blaney5 days ago

Makes Best Of Evening At Martinsville
Ryan Preece5 days ago

Finds Way Into Top Ten At Martinsville
George Pickens5 days ago

Skips Session With New QB
Tyler Reddick5 days ago

Quietly Obtains Seventh At Martinsville
William Byron5 days ago

Scores His Second Martinsville Win
Atlanta Falcons5 days ago

Falcons Would Consider Re-Signing Calais Campbell
Trevor Peek6 days ago

Falls To .500 In The UFC
Charlie Campbell6 days ago

Remains Undefeated In The UFC
Christos Giagos6 days ago

Loses In The First Round
Ignacio Bahamondes6 days ago

Gets First-Round Stoppage
Alexander Hernandez6 days ago

Loses A Decision At UFC Vegas 90
Martin Truex Jr6 days ago

Is Martin Truex Jr. One Of The Top Favorites At Martinsville?
Daniel Suarez6 days ago

Should Daniel Suarez Be Rostered For Martinsville?
Kyle Larson6 days ago

Wins The Pole For Martinsville
New England Patriots6 days ago

Patriots, Kyle Dugger Agree To Four-Year Extension
Corey Lajoie6 days ago

Corey LaJoie Is A Likable DFS Value Play For Martinsville
Denny Hamlin6 days ago

Is One of The Top Favorites To Win At Martinsville
Chase Elliott6 days ago

Will Start Third at Martinsville
Ross Chastain6 days ago

Roster Ross Chastain With Caution At Martinsville
Chase Briscoe6 days ago

Must Not Be Underestimated At Martinsville
Christopher Bell6 days ago

Is A Top-10 Recommendation For Martinsville
NASCAR6 days ago

Bubba Wallace Will Start On The Front Row In Sunday's Race At Martinsville
Ryan Preece6 days ago

Should You Play Ryan Preece In DFS This Weekend?
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF