Fantasy Baseball Category Impact: Average
Each week, Colby Conway provides in-depth analysis on specific category contributors who may be lingering on your waiver wire.
Welcome back, FA Nation! Get ready for this week’s edition of Category Impact! If you’re new to the site or just forget how this article works since last week, let me offer a quick refresher.
Category Impact will offer up anywhere from four to six players that can help you out in a certain category, whether it is stolen bases, home runs, or strikeouts. Some weeks, there will be an added focus on a specific categories, while others will be just players that you will want to pick up, but there will be in-depth analysis detailing exactly what category, or categories, a certain player will be of added benefit.
This week’s featured category is…. BATTING AVERAGE!
Wilmer Flores , 1B/3B NYM – Despite playing for an unraveling franchise, Flores continues to just hit the baseball. He’s hit safely in six of his last seven games and he’s been feasting off the Giants’ pitching staff. During this series, Flores is 6-for-13 with two runs scored and one RBI. Flores has reverse splits, in that he hits better off righties (.295) compared to southpaws (.243). While he’s more of a pick-and-choose kind of guy, you can play the cards right with Flores more often than not during the course of the week.
The Mets will face more righties the rest of the way than lefties, which bodes well for Flores. Not that he’s much of a home run guy, but 10 of his 11 long balls have come off right-handed pitching this season. Therefore, starting him against righties would lend itself a solid batting average floor, but the potential for some additional statistical boosts as well, namely home runs and runs batted in. Flores is owned in only 13-percent of fantasy baseball leagues, making him rather widely available.
Melky Cabrera , CLE OF – All Melky has done lately is hit the cover off the baseball. While he’s leaving the yard with regularity over the past few games, hit best asset down the stretch is going to be his batting average. His batting average during the second half of the season is over 100 points higher than that of the first half and for the entirety of his career, July has been his best month. He rides the wave through August and there is no reason to believe that trend doesn’t continue, even during his 34-year-old season.
One thing that is certainly exciting for Cabrera so far this season is what he’s done with the fastball this year. Compared to his career averages, he’s hitting fewer ground balls, with slight increases in line drives and fly balls. That’s great! With a little spike in BABIP the rest of the way, Cabrera could be close to a .300 batter from this point out, which is certainly valuable and guys like that don’t grow on trees at this point of the fantasy season.
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Logan Forsythe , 2B/3B MIN – Don’t look now, but Forsythe is hitting .365 over the last two weeks. In theory, that would possibly lead to some value in other fantasy categories, correct? Well, not quite. Forsythe’s six runs and seven RBI are nice, but when you consider that a .423 slugging percentage is the result of that .365 batting average, it’s a smidge underwhelming. The Dodger castoff is definitely enjoying his new digs up north. Forsythe’s ISO of .076 is disappointing, even for a guy whose career mark is .129. His batting average is in the low .250s, which isn’t great by any means, but with the way he’s hitting at the moment, he’s a serviceable fantasy option.
People, Forsythe is red hot at the moment and he is owned in fewer than five percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. Despite being a subpar player at this point in his career, Forsythe can be adequate fantasy asset the rest of the way, or at least while he’s seeing a beach ball at the plate.
Billy McKinney , TOR OF – McKinney is a young outfielder that would be coveted by most teams, however, given the surplus of young talent the Bronx Bombers, they could afford to send McKinney out. It wasn’t until 2017 that McKinney started showcasing some power in the minors, notably hitting 10 home runs in 55 Triple-A games in 2017 and 16 long balls in 76 Triple-A games this year before being called up.
McKinney is hitting over .300 since joining the big league squad, and given the nature of the American League, Toronto’s season is over, so there is every incentive to give the young outfielder plenty of at-bats down the stretch run of the season.
Ideally, McKinney will hit more line drives down the stretch, as his current mark of 15.4 percent is too low, but the 38.5 percent fly ball rate is fine. For the majority of his career, he should hit for a decent average, more so than being a guy that leaves the yard with regularity. As he grows more accustomed to major league pitching, his strikeout rate should dip closer to the high teens, which should help keep that batting average reasonable. McKinney is still raw and has a lot of development to occur, but at just 24-years-old, he’s an attractive add in all formats, especially dynasty setups.