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Why ISO is a Must for Fantasy Baseball Managers

Isolated Power (ISO) is a sabermetric computation that helps measure a player’s raw power by highlighting how often a player hits for extra bases. It’s calculated as slugging percentage (SLG) minus batting average (AVG), isolating the extra bases a player gets per at-bat. Specifically, the formula is:


or, equivalently,

ISO=(Total Bases−Hits)/At-Bats

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What Can ISO Do For You?

Although there are already more than enough stats that the average fantasy baseball manager has at their disposal, I see it very worthwhile to add ISO to the list of frequently monitored ones. It is not that popular of a statistic as it can only be found on a few sites, but it really can tell you a lot about why two players who you may think have equal fantasy value can differ greatly. Below are some (of the many) reasons in which Isolated Power is an important stat…

ISO directly measures a player’s power, distinguishing those who contribute significantly with extra-base hits (doubles, triples, home runs) from those who mainly hit singles. In fantasy baseball, power hitters are valuable for their ability to drive in runs and score themselves, making ISO a crucial metric for evaluating potential draft picks or trades.

While batting average can fluctuate significantly from year to year due to luck and other factors, ISO can provide a more stable measure of a player’s true power potential. A high ISO suggests that a player has the underlying skill to hit the ball hard and far, traits that tend to be more consistent over time.

Fantasy baseball involves strategic roster construction to compete across various categories (e.g., runs, home runs, RBI, stolen bases). Knowing a player’s ISO can help fantasy managers balance their team with a mix of power hitters and players who excel in other areas. This balance is crucial for winning in all of your leagues, however can be considered especially important in Roto/Cats leagues.

Sometimes, players with high ISOs may be undervalued because their batting averages are low, making them less appealing at first glance. Savvy fantasy managers (such as you, the reader of this article) can use ISO to identify potential bargains, acquiring powerful hitters who might be overlooked by others focusing more on batting average or more conventional stats.

Monitoring changes in a player’s ISO can also provide early warnings about declines in power (due to injuries, age, or changes in hitting approach) or signal breakout potential if a player’s ISO significantly increases. This can be valuable for making timely roster decisions, such as adding, dropping, or trading players.

In summary, ISO offers a focused view of a player’s power, complementing other statistics to provide a more comprehensive assessment of value in fantasy baseball. It allows managers to identify, evaluate, and capitalize on players’ power potential, which is a critical aspect of building a competitive team.

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