I’m a huge fan of head 2 head points leagues and that’s where I spend the majority of my fantasy time, but I realize many of you are playing in categories or roto leagues. There’s a lot of ways to play, but I tend to look for guys that do a little bit of everything in these kind of leagues. The best bet is to find the guys that hit for high average that could help a little in other areas. Unfortunately, in today’s baseball, the high average only guys are going the way of the dinosaur. The late round power and speed sources are much easier to find than the higher average guys. Just in case you’re searching for average late, check out these options.
2018 Average Sleepers
Ketel Marte (SS – ARI)
We’ve been hearing about him for years and how much potential he has, but it just hasn’t happened to this point. The .290 BABIP probably shows a little growth probability for his average of .260 last year. Steamer projects a .288 and ZiPS projects a .282 average for the 2018 season. He only strikes out 14% of the time and walks over 11% of the time. The plate discipline is improving and his minor league track record shows .300 potential. There is some deep sleeper talk out there for Marte, but he’s also going undrafted in most standard leagues. You could do much worse at that price.
Yulieski Gurriel (1B – HOU)
He’s now injured his hand and likely to begin the year on the DL, but this could very well make him even more affordable than he already is. He hit .299 last year with a respectable .308 BABIP. He won’t give you many RBIs and he’s not a huge threat in the power department, but he is one of the more reliable average plays in the game. He is currently being drafted at the 229 spot, which is the back end of most standard drafts. There’s definite concern when a player’s best tool is AVG and he has a hand injury, but you don’t have to invest much to get the upside of his batting average.
Ryan Zimmerman (3B – WSH)
Sometimes the key to fantasy is to zig when everyone else is zagging. The .335 BABIP screams that regression is coming. He had a 40% hard contact rate and a 20% line drive rate, so the guy was absolutely mashing in 2017. Can that continue? It’s doubtful. He’s 33 years old and has struggled to stay healthy for years. This is all about value here. No one believes in Zimmerman and he’s being drafted as such. If you need a late stab at AVG, why not grab the guy that hit .303 last year? If he can’t stay healthy, then you didn’t invest much to find out.
Michael Brantley (OF – CLE)
Michael Brantley is just unable to stay healthy at this point, but when he’s on the field, the guy is going to rake. He hit .299 in his 375 at-bats last year and hit well over .300 his last two healthy seasons, 2014 and 2015. Just like Guriel, he’s dirt cheap at an ADP of 246; don’t let him get past you late in the draft.
Jose Martinez (OF, 1B – STL)
Martinez can hit. The only question here is playing time. He hit .309 in 307 at-bats last year and has the minor league track record to back it up. Many experts are making comparisons to J.D. Martinez, but no one seems to notice with his ADP of 298. He could easily be one of the best picks of any draft. This is assuming that he even gets drafted at all. Can the Cardinals really not give him a chance to play every day?
Raimel Tapia (OF – COL)
There’s plenty of competition in Colorado, but Raimel Tapia is a name that is starting to be thrown around late in drafts. Steamer projects a .296 batting average. He doesn’t offer much power, but he could steal about 10 bases to give you something else. There’s no guarantee that he wins a spot in the outfield or even breaks spring with the Rockies, but he is someone to keep your eye on as the season progresses.
Featured Image Courtesy of Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports