I was raised on traditional 5 X 5 rotisserie baseball and it’s still the format I play most. I do however respect those leagues that have replaced batting average with on-base percentage. There’s no doubt OBP better represents the true value of a hitter. While I like some of the variance in batting average, on-base percentage is nowhere near as volatile.
With most of our fantasy baseball rankings being based on traditional 5 X 5 roto, I thought a piece highlighting those players who gain (and lose) the most value in OBP leagues would serve a useful purpose. I hope this article helps address some of the BA bias in our rankings and meets the needs of those of you who are playing in OBP leagues for the first time.
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!
OBP Gainers and Losers
I have used my incredible mathematical prowess to create a complicated algorithm that will highlight the players who will benefit the most from the OBP format, as well as those whose value is hurt by the OBP focus. For you mere mathematical mortals reading this, what I did was simply take each player’s OBP from 2022 and subtract their BA over that same time span. While you’re likely sitting stunned by such genius, I’ll move on to looking at the winners and losers of our little game.
40 Hitters Who Gain Value in OBP Leagues
First things first, Juan Soto is a god when it comes to OBP leagues. Even in a “bad” year, Soto’s .401 OBP was one of the best in baseball. In fact many of the same hitters who were tops in 5 X 5 value also excel in OBP leagues. Aaron Judge, Freddie Freeman, Yordan Alvaraez, and Paul Goldschmidt were huge in 202 OBP leagues.
Now just because a player makes this list doesn’t mean they are necessarily a plus in this format. Take Joey Gallo for example. If he hits as he did in 202 he’s a negative in any format. It does however highlight Gallo’s history of pretty useful OBPs and encourage us to keep an eye on how he starts the 2023 season out.
Max Muncy, Jesse Winker, and Carlos Santana are less popular names that have sneaky OBP value along with their solid power. Brendan Donovan is teasing us with his Spring Training power binge. If that power carries over into the regular season, Donovan is an OBP All-Star.
|LaMonte Wade Jr.||SFG||.305||.207||.098|
|Josh Bell||- - -||.362||.266||.096|
Hitters Who Lose Value in OBP Leagues
While some of the hitters on this list aren’t huge stars regardless of format, we do see some names that will need to be bumped down are rankings if OBP is in play.
Amed Rosario is a borderline 5-category helper in traditional 5 X 5 roto. Not so much in OBP leagues.
Josh Jung and Alec Bohm may be up-and-coming young hitters at the hot corner, but their value cools off a lot when you see how their lack of plate discipline hurts them in OBP leagues.
Salvador Perez and Tim Anderson are established stars who are near the tops at their respective positions but who get a lot less attractive in this format.
Bobby Witt Jr. shows up on this list but his minor league numbers make me think he won’t be as much of a detriment in OBP leagues as he was in 2022. I’m not fading him too much.
|Christian Bethancourt||- - -||.283||.252||.031|
|CJ Abrams||- - -||.280||.246||.034|
|Bobby Witt Jr.||KCR||.294||.254||.040|
Winning OBP Leagues
Unlike batting average which can be wildly random, on-base percentage is a statistic that can be attacked more aggressively. Don’t ignore it. You can generally chase many of the same stars as you do in 5 X 5, just stay away from the OBP anchors on the second list and you’re going to have no problems finishing in the top quarter of the category. Plenty of your league-mates will ignore the category as they tend to do for BA and the proof will be in the fantasy pudding.
Who are your favorite OBP weapons? Drop some names in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!