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I’m going to talk about seemingly the most derisive topic since we had to choose a side on ‘great taste’ or ‘less filling’ for Miller Lite.  I’m gonna speak about average, or ‘how many hits a player gets divided by their true at-bats which excludes their walks, sac flies, sac bunts, and HBP’ for all of you who need things spelled out.  So let’s get one thing clear: your entire team does not need to hit .300 unless you’re playing in a 1 team league.  Looking over at this Razzball link, we can see that your team needs to hit anywhere between .265 and .270 to be successful for the year.  For all you guys and 4 girl readers out there, that equates to about 26.5/27 hits per 100 ABs.  We’re not talking large numbers here, but if you want to, we could by adding a couple of zeros on the end.  It doesn’t really change the topic, but feel free to.  For a little experiment on how this works, I’m going to review my deep league thoughts columns (search Razzball for them by ‘Deep League Thoughts’ if you’d like to read them.  Yeah, I just whored myself a bit) and my perfect team in which I have to start 2 at every position.  When I’m non-specific about a target – such as in the 1B post – I’ll take the lowest average estimated player to further prove my point.  Don’t hate me if I’m right and all you see is the inside of my nose as I look down on you; it’s only because I’m quite tall.  Now since I have to pick one source for my numbers, I’ll be using Bill James’ 2012 projections.  Though my league also includes two UTIL slots, I didn’t include it in my series seeing as it can be filled with any position so I won’t include them in the stats.  If I had, I might’ve filled them with guys who hit for high average just to make you happy.  I’m just that giving!  See you in about 18 cell rows:

Deep League Thoughts Roster
Position Player At-Bats Hits Average
C Yadier Molina 497 140 .282
C Russel Martin 457 117 .256
1B Prince Fielder 562 160 .285
1B Paul Goldschmidt 545 145 .266
2B Dan Uggla 601 151 .251
2B Danny Espinosa 568 141 .248
SS Starlin Castro 631 197 .312
SS JJ Hardy 503 132 .262
3B Mark Reynolds 542 126 .232
3B Kevin Youkilis 499 140 .281
OF Giancarlo Stanton 532 145 .273
OF BJ Upton 561 141 .251
OF Logan Morrison 442 117 .265
OF Vernon Wells 507 132 .260
OF Jayson Werth 506 131 .259
GRAND TOTALS 7953 2115 .266

The best team in a standard 12 team ESPN league – which is about as close to the league I’m describing is going to come – is hitting one point higher than me.  Or at least I thought they were until I noticed the part where Grey says ‘These are all for one catcher leagues.  If you have two catcher leagues, the counting stats go up a little bit and down a little on average.’  And that’s me quoting Grey, mimicking his ‘that’s me quoting me’ quoting style with bold italics for emphasis!  To keep with the Q theme, it looks like our average met our quota.  In fact, when you consider this team essentially rosters 2 more hitters than a standard ESPN league, this team might be ahead of the curve at this point.  If you’re wondering about the counting stats and how they line up because you REALLY don’t like that this crazy idea just might work, I’ll save you the math trouble.  Based on projections, this team is going to be at or above league average in runs (1191 vs 1045), RBIs (1195 vs 1008) and HRs (360 vs 261).  The only category we’re lacking in is stolen bases as we estimate to get about 145 vs the need for 186.  Considering the leg up we have on the other categories, we get to trade from strength or be ready for when SAGNOF is coming to town.

Just to make sure you don’t think of me as some crazy, calculating genius who sits down and does this before I draft, realize I just did the math this morning as I typed this article.  I’m not saying that because I’m flippant about who and what I post about.  I did it since I knew the title of this article was ‘It All AVGs Out’ and guess what…it usually does and it did!  The moral of this story is don’t read a fantasy baseball blog if you’re looking for a story with morals…wait, that’s not it!  It should be ‘Don’t let your team become average just to avoid having a bad one.’

42 Responses

  1. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    I think what makes it hard not to worry about your average is the fact that it goes down on a bad day. Counting stats never go down!

    So far, averages are down a bit this season in the RCL. The average for all teams sits at .2595, with 201 of the 576 teams hitting .267 or better.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @VinWins, Very true. A watched average never boils…or something like that. People with ADHD should probably have a big black mark in the average area so they don’t worry so much.

      Those first 3 days were a slow start to the season on the hitting side as a whole. Will be interesting to see how the whole season shakes out but I’m not surprised at all by those stats.

      • steve b says:
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        @Oregon Nut Cups,
        Well theres a bunch of different ways to win.Couldnt you say the same for every stat or am I missing something here.To me it seems like your saying that you dont have to have the best average to win your league.But you dont need to have the most saves to win your league either.You just need to have more points than the second place team in any combination

        • Oregon Nut Cups

          Oregon Nut Cups says:
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          @steve b, I’ll put it this way: you won’t win your league because you drafted Michael Young, Howie Kendrick, Billy Butler and Starlin Castro as your infield. In fact, I’d say you have a strong shot at losing because of it since the power/counting stats won’t be there. This is not a combination that gets you more points than the next guy but it’s a high average team. That’s why I say don’t let your team become average trying to avoid having a bad one.

    • Blue says:
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      Average is a counting stat–hits and ABs, neither of which go down.

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        @Blue, Ha. So there’s no such thing as ratios, then. OK.

  2. Bill S. Preston, Esq. says:
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    I think something that people need to consider here, like any post on this site, is the type of league you play in. My league is a typical 12-team Yahoo league with one starter at each position and 2 utility. The average batting average of each of the top 3 finishers for the last 3 years has been .282, with the highest at .297 and the lowest at .271. The overall final rankings aren’t directly proportional to the batting average ranking, but it does trend that direction. Obviously the more hitters on a team, the lower the average production becomes from each player, across all categories.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Bill S. Preston, Esq., Agree that league will always dictate what will have the largest effect and as you point out the average is not directionly proportional; would be interesting to see if the counting stats are in line with that link in the article. If it is, the average is there but it’s the counting stats that carried the win. My main point is to not let the average make one lose focus on the counting stats, something I think we can both agree on.

  3. Ralph says:
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    Unrelated question–does Joel Peralta have any value left? It looks like Rodney has this locked down until Farnsworth comes back, but he is, after all, Rodney.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Ralph, Depends on league size. He’s still the handcuff in TB in my opinion. Whether that’s worth holding onto depends heavily on what is available via FA and league parameters. Mad Hatter Maddon could just as easily let him run off the next 5 saves. Somewhere along the way, Maddon turned into La Russa lite.

  4. Dale says:
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    My instincts tell me that if you perform this exercise with any of the offensive stats using Bill James projections, you’ll be comfortably ahead of any real-world numbers. He seems to be shamelessly optimistic on every player. I always use his projections when I need some consoling about a player, and ZiPS when I know I need to stay away from a player.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Dale, Yeah, I just wanted to pick one solid source for my basis. Overall, most are in range of career norms/expectations. I could look and see how Zips rates the team. Would be an interesting excercise.

  5. jrock says:
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    What’s your take on Ryan Raburn? He’s my insurance for Utley and had a killer spring, but he’s sucking it up. I know its early but he’s killing me, I just always drop a player just before they get hot or turn things around … I.e. Carlos Pena, Adam LaRoche every year etc.

    Thoughts?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @jrock, He’s a streaky hitter. If you go look at his monthly splits from 2011, he ranged from .113 in May to .323 in August. Sadly, you’re suffering through the other side of the coin right now. If you have the bench, I’d put him there until he does something.

  6. T.J. says:
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    11-team NL-only 4×4. Drew Pomeranz got shelled yesterday in his debut, but he’s obviously worth pursuing despite TINSTAAP. We had our draft on Saturday, and he’s not on anyone’s team, so he’s eligible for FAAB tomorrow. I had a top-three freeze list and a solid draft, so I should be in the hunt this year.

    How much would you go for Pomeranz? My worst pitchers are Lance Lynn ($4) and Jeff Samardzija ($4), who have gotten off to good starts with solid K/BB numbers in the early going. I’d love some advice on whether I should waive either of them for him, and if so, how aggressive I should be.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @T.J., If those are your worst, I’d stay put. STL’s coaches are top notch with their staff and Jeff’s K:BB splits have me believing enough to keep onto him. I’d let them play their way out of your lineup and keep your eye on the horizon for guys like Bauer, Shelby Miller, and maybe Skaggs if he comes up. Good arms to watch while the guys you have prove it or disprove it.

  7. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    For a bench spot that you don’t need in the lineup everyday would you go David Murphy or B.Belt? Looking for upside this year, without completely ignoring the present.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @A Hill O’ Beans, Upside will forever be Belt. Unfortunately, someone needs to go upside Bochy’s gigantic head to be worth it. Murphy for playing time, Belt for dreamy upside time.

  8. Sean says:
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    You are heavily dependent on Castro. He regresses or gets hurt, you’ve blown the cat.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Sean, I think more the point I’m trying to make is, it’s a cat you shouldn’t be dependent on. Average can fluctuate plenty. Maybe he hits .280 or .290, but maybe someone else hits .280 or .290 that was expected to hit .260.

      Now if I had Billy Butler, Castro, Howie Kendrick and Michael Young around the horn, we’d be talking about how much of the other cats I’d be missing out on. I’m trying to get people to not put too much emphasis on a category that is just that: one category.

      • Sean says:
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        @Oregon Nut Cups, What do you think is more likely, that something will happen to Castro (the single point of failure), or that someone like Uggla or Upton will suddenly jump 20 batting average points? I know what my guess would be. And yes that doesn’t mean you should have 6 empty batting averages on your team either… but any team should have more balance. Having a huge risk in a category and then saying “well anything could happen” is not taking responsibility for having taken that risk.

        • Oregon Nut Cups

          Oregon Nut Cups says:
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          @Sean, Keep in mind how much a ‘balanced’ team relies upon for it to work out. Saying I’m taking an average risk simply feeds more into my point: worrying too much about average puts you at risk to miss out on the four other categories. I’m trying to defuse the notion that if a guy hits .300, he’s what you need on your team every time you draft. It sticks you with the infield I mentioned and doesn’t leave you competitive.

          And another note: I take full responsibility for the risk I am taking. I drink responsibly. :)

  9. Jeff says:
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    Thoughts on Rios. 16 team league. We start 4 OF, plus one bench spot and only have 4 bench spots.

    My “5th OF’s” which I’m starting at the utility spot are Rios and Presley. I’m debating dropping Rios for some streaming starters and possible closers.

    should I go for it and ride Presley or be patient with him? What kind of numbers do you expect from him this year?

  10. Tony says:
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    ONC or GREY if you see this i just put up a fresh votto trade deal in the forums, if you could take a peek, i appreciate it.

  11. princerudynasim says:
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    what up Bones…..should Espinosa owner be worried about Lombardozzi or is it too early?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @princerudynasim, Too early. Lombardozzi profiles well as a utility infielder, but not much more. Espinosa is pretty streaky so him sitting and getting his head on straight is gonna happen from time to time.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @princerudynasim, Oh and hey :)

  12. My My My My Kuroda says:
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    Any thoughts on which of these two OF to roster in a 16 team H2H as a utility/fill-in for the light hitting COCO Crisp. Jesus Montero is my UTIL until he qualifies at Catcher. I have Lucas Duda right now, but like the tear that Reimold is on (2-3 HR, 2R, 2RBI off the bench Monday).

    Thanks

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @My My My My Kuroda, Nice Knacks reference

      So does that mean you’d have to drop someone to pick up Reimold? I like him and would take him over Crisp if speed isn’t a need. That said, I might test the market for Crisp before you turn him loose.

      • My My MY Kuroda says:
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        @Oregon Nut Cups, Right – would need to drop a player to pick him up. I usually punt speed and hate that I have Crisp on my team right now. Will look to see who had him last year. Thanks,

        • Oregon Nut Cups

          Oregon Nut Cups says:
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          @My My MY Kuroda, No Prob. Good luck!

  13. Mp says:
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    Tomorrows title should be “Is Lincecum Shot?”

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Mp, It may be. Definitely not a money shot right now.

  14. Eric says:
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    Freddie Freeman and Ike davis have been dropped in my league. Which one should i pick up? Would drop either Adam LaRoche or Adam Lind

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Eric, I’d drop LaRoche for Davis.

  15. jimbo says:
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    In a ‘moneyball’ sense I did draft a team this year that should dominate in avg. Votto, pablo, butler for example. I get the mantra ‘don’t be avg chasing avg’…but my strategy was to field a team strong across the board.

    While some teams might take a prado later in the draft to ‘offset’ their stanton/reynolds duo, I opted for pablo/markakis/k johnson at a far cheaper cost.

    Considering rbi and runs, I like the balance my guys offer at a relative discount. Plus, I’m sick of trying to make up avg later in the season!

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @jimbo, To be fair, my deep league posts had Pablo as my #1 3B and I would’ve taken any of the 5 top 1Bs. I took Fielder because he had the lowest expected average. Uggla vs Phillips fell into the same boat. My write up was more to keep people mindful that being too focused on average makes you miss out on far more important counting stats.

      Markakis has had a nice start. If he can return to 2008 form, you’ve got a great draft grab.

  16. chata says:
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    my concern , for this team , is the possible lack of playing time
    for a bunch of your players .
    the entire bottom half of your team , starting with your 3rd basemen ,
    might not reach your AB projections .

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @chata, Understandable concern to an extent. I wrote this when Giancarlo was just having a bit of a knee issue and it wasn’t looking as bad as it does now. LoMo is looking more and more like a ‘dings and bruises’ guy every day. Upton is back this weekend so should come close. I would’ve preferred Youk but was trying to prove a point by taking the lowest average between my two 3B that I liked (Pablo the other). I think Werth & Wells will be fine.

      In the end, as I’m sure you know, it’s about the moves you make over the season that make your team. I just wanted to provide an exercise that reminds people to not overrate average when reviewing their players.

  17. JoeC says:
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    “seemingly the most derisive topic since we had to choose a side on ‘great taste’ or ‘less filling’ for Miller Lite”

    Derisive. I do not think that word means what you think it does! :)

    Did you mean “divisive”?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @JoeC, If I were a Samurai, I’d have committed Seppuku…yes I meant divisive *blushes*

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