Over the last week or so I’ve extolled the virtues of points leagues and I’m in the middle of bringing you an entire series on points league values at every position! There are certain things that can make a player better in points leagues than say Roto leagues and vice versa. Steals are a huge category in Roto leagues. But because in most leagues they are only worth two points well… like in the MLB, they just aren’t as valuable. Walks don’t help you in Roto leagues but are a huge part of points leagues. Strikeouts lose you points and you get rewarded for hitting a double. These are the things you need to look for when searching for a points league sleeper! Those without these traits are ones that lead to busts!
I will be using a stat you often hear used for pitchers, but flipping it for hitters. I will use Batter K-BB%, meaning I will take their strikeout rate and subtract their walk rate. The lower the number, the better the points league hitter, as they will lose fewer points due to strikeouts and gain more due to walks. Those with a higher K-BB% are batters that are less valuable in points leagues.
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Points League Sleepers
Jose Ramirez played just enough games at second to qualify in some leagues. If he does, he is not only the number one ranked second baseman, but he is a lock Top 5 pick in points leagues. No batter (min. 300 plate appearances) had a lower Batter K-BB% than Ramirez at -3.7 percent. If you remember during first base I said Carlos Santana had the second lowest rate at -2.5 percent. Only five batters in the entire MLB had a negative rate. So not only is he in elite company in this vital points league category, but he was head and shoulders the best at it. He is in consideration as early as two, and likely will go third in most points leagues.
Jose Altuve is another big name you do not need to be told to draft. But, I’m often seeing him go in the second round of drafts, which would be a big value in points leagues. A knee injury not only cost Altuve time, it cost him production while on the field. Yet, he still had a four percent Batter K-BB%, which was the third lowest at the position. It was just a year ago the Altuve was the consensuses second overall pick and in points leagues, he should be going in the back of the first round right now, if not higher. If you get him in the second round… well, enjoy having two first round picks.
Robinson Cano is no longer a sexy pick, but he is still valuable in points leagues. Last season, Cano missed 80-games due to a PED suspension, but he still managed a 4.3 percent Batter K-BB%, the fifth-lowest at the position. Oh, and the talks of his demise are greatly exaggerated. I mean, he hit .303 with a .374 OBP and .168 ISO. Add in that after he returned from that suspension he slashed .317/.363/.497 with a .180 ISO. Cano currently has an ADP of 134.8 in Fantrax leagues, meaning you can get him in the 11th round of 12 team leagues. That is a great value if you wait on the position.
Daniel Murphy is my favorite value at the second base position. Knee surgery cost him nearly half his season. He also needed some time to shake off the rust, but once he did he was the Murphy of old. In the second half he slashed .315/.346/.498 with 11 home runs and 11 doubles. So basically, Murphy was the Murphy that made him a fourth-round pick just two years ago. Even with the slow start, he had a 5.7 Batter K-BB%, the ninth lowest at the second base position. Oh, and you can add on the Coors Field gains. Recency bias is causing him to have an ADP in the late 11th round of 12-team leagues. Take advantage of it. Even if Murphy’s ADP climbs a bit, he is a great value and you should actively target him in points leagues.
Other Second Baseman with Favorable Batter K-BB%:
Joe Panik- 1.1 percent
Jeff McNeil- 4.1 percent
Ian Kinsler- 4.5 percent
Jed Lowrie- 7.3 percent
Brian Dozier- 9.3 percent
Second Base Busts
Yoan Moncada has potentially league winning upside in Roto leagues. Yet, he is far less valuable in points leagues. Can he steal 30-plus bases? Sure, but that is far less valuable in points leagues, as I hope you know by now! Also, he has a 23.1 percent Batter K-BB rate, the sixth highest of all second baseman. His ADP of 154.3 on Fantrax is appropriate to me, but I fully expect it to climb as he is hyped up this draft season. He currently is going behind Murphy and Cano, and while I expect that may change, I would rather have both of those guys in a points league.
Much like Moncada, Jonathan Villar is a great Roto play. We know the upside Villar has, as we saw in 2016. Yet, Villar’s upside is tied to his stolen base ability, which again, is far more valuable in Roto. Also, while his counting stats will be better than in years past, playing on the Orioles should still have him coming up short in Runs+RBI, which is what you care about in points leagues. Lastly, he had an 18.8 percent Batter K-BB rate. He’s currently going ahead of Cano and Murphy, but again I would rather have those two. You can currently get Murphy 33 picks later on Fantrax, which is a hell of a value.
Javier Baez had a huge breakout season in 2018 and now is going off the board as the 15.68 pick overall on Fantrax. He is going ahead of Jose Altuve, which is a mistake. Baez finished as the top second baseman in 2018 with 537 fantasy points. But, in 2017 a healthy Altuve had 601 fantasy points. Also, Baez excelled in the five major Roto categories in 2018, but struggled with a 21.4 percent Batter K-BB%. Baez will not be a bust in the sense that he has an awful year, but you are currently paying too high of a price to want him in points leagues.
Jonathan Schoop is a bounce-back candidate for sure, but he is better had in Roto leagues. He had a 19.2 percent Batter K-BB percent and has never demonstrated the necessary plate discipline to want in a points leagues.
Other Second Baseman with high Batter K-BB%:
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – 19 percent
Niko Goodrum- 18.3 percent
Gleyber Torres- 16.5 percent
Rougned Odor- 15.7 percent
And to help put these sleepers into play here is my Points League Draft Strategy for 2019.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.
Enjoying Michael’s points league sleepers? For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
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