Draft season is in full swing and the 2023 baseball season is just around the corner. As many of you already know, having a firm grasp on the player pool makes it easier to target different categories throughout the draft. Here, we’ll take a look at some players who can provide a nice boost to your batting average (AVG) and on-base percentage (OBP) categories – categories that can fall by the wayside when drafting. If you find yourself playing catch-up on draft day, consider these players. All will give your AVG and OBP columns a much-needed boost. Also, they are all on the cheap (think post-250 ADP). Let’s take a look at some players who can provide cheap AVG/OBP for the 2023 fantasy baseball season!
ADP based on NFBC Online Championship drafts since March 1
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
Cheap AVG/OBP for 2023
Justin Turner, Boston Red Sox (ADP 259.5)
Justin Turner is a player that always seems to land on my fantasy rosters, and this year will be no different. The former Dodger takes his skills to Boston where he’ll be the team’s primary designated hitter. It’s a good landing spot, and the DH role should help keep the veteran fresh for the duration of the season (think 130 games). Turner’s 20-homer days are likely behind him, but he’s still one of the strongest AVG and OBP plays after pick 250.
Turner had a sluggish start to the 2022 season. But he came on strong in the second half, finishing with a solid .278/.350/.438 slash line and 123 wRC+ across 532 plate appearances. He also hit 13 home runs with 61 runs scored, 81 RBI, and chipped in three steals. Turner is no stranger to strong plate skills. During his 14-year career, he has a shiny 15% strikeout rate and 9% walk rate. Additionally, he holds an impressive career .289 AVG and .366 OBP.
It’s possible Turner misses Opening Day after getting hit in the face by a pitch this spring. But once he’s ready to go, Turner will start padding your AVG and OBP totals. He is one of the most reliable sources of cheap AVG/OBP for the 2023 fantasy baseball season.
Brendan Donovan, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP 276.76)
Brandon Donovan flashed a strong hit tool throughout the minors and had no problem carrying it over to the majors. The rookie slashed .281/.394/.379 with a 129 wRC+ across 468 plate appearances last season. Incredibly, that slash line was nearly identical to his .285/.396/.429 slash line across the minor leagues. Additionally, Donovan’s .394 OBP led all rookies and ranked seventh-best among players with a minimum of 450 plate appearances. Heading into his sophomore season, expect more of the same from Donovan.
Donovan is a contact hitter with elite plate discipline metrics. He made a ton of contact in the zone last season (92.9%), and had a minuscule 23.2% chase rate. Donovan was also one of the league’s toughest outs, striking out 15% of the time while walking at a 12.8% clip. There’s not much pop to Donovan’s game (five home runs in 2022). But he overhauled his batting stance in the offseason and has flexed more power this spring. Stay tuned.
Donovan could bat near the top of the order this upcoming season. He primarily hit in the top two spots of the lineup for the final 41 games of 2022, and he’s been batting leadoff in Spring Training. A possible leadoff hitter with strong plate skills, multi-positional eligibility (2B/3B/OF), and room to grow in the power department? Sign me up! Donovan is an intriguing young player who is well worth picking up later in drafts.
Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP 290.69)
Yandy Diaz is one of my favorite AVG and OBP targets this draft season. I previously wrote about Diaz being a target for cheap runs scored, with many of the same reasons making him a strong asset in AVG and OBP categories as well.
Last season, Diaz posted a .296/.401/.423 slash line and a hefty 146 wRC+ across 558 plate appearances. He also hit nine home runs with 71 runs scored, 57 RBI, and three stolen bases. Few players got on base more than Diaz did in 2023. In fact, his .401 OBP tied for fifth-best across the league. But being an on-base machine is nothing new for Diaz – he has a career .372 mark to go along with a career .278 batting average. Not too shabby.
Many fantasy managers shy away from Rays players due to the team’s platoon-happy ways. But Diaz wracked up at least 540 plate appearances in each of the last two seasons, so don’t sweat it. In addition to his strong on-base skills, Diaz bats leadoff for a solid offense, has a little bit of pop, and will likely throw in a couple of steals as well. He’s currently going just inside pick 300, making Diaz one of the best bargains for AVG and OBP in fantasy baseball drafts this season.
Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins (ADP 360.19)
If you’re looking for a no-frills player who can give you a late-round boost in AVG and OBP, look no further than Garrett Cooper. He doesn’t steal, but he brings some power to the fantasy table, in addition to getting on base. Last season, he slashed .261/.337/.415 across 469 plate appearances. He also had strong quality of contact metrics, posting a 43.3% hard-hit rate to go along with a 10.7% barrel rate.
The main knock against Cooper is that he can’t shake the injury bug – he’s never played more than 120 games in a season. But when healthy, posting high marks in batting average (career .274) and on-base percentage (career .348) is kind of his thing. Cooper tends to be overlooked by fantasy managers, but don’t make that mistake. He’s on track to start the season healthy, making Cooper a sneaky late-round pickup for AVG and OBP in 2023 drafts.
Who do you turn to late in drafts when you need cheap average or OBP? Drop some names in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!