The Duel

Top 3 Sleepers for Batting Average in 2020 Fantasy Baseball Season

Tristan Jung
Luis Arraez bats in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Yankees.
Luis Arraez bats in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Yankees. / Elsa/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

Given the volatility of batting average, it can be one of the most frustrating categories. There's nothing worse than drafting someone for someone who hit .305 last season because of a high BABIP and watching them hit .250 the next.

Thus, finding an undervalued source of batting average can be absolutely critical. Strong sources of batting average can often come from the back of drafts or the waiver wire, like Tim Anderson or Ketel Marte last season. Here's a short list of three candidates that can make a big leap in 2020.

1. Luis Arraez, 2B, Minnesota Twins

Luis Arraez hits during the ALDS against the Yankees.
Luis Arraez hits during the ALDS against the Yankees. / Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

Luis Arraez is a pure contact hitter. In 366 plate appearances, Arraez hit .334/.399/.439, collecting 109 hits in 92 games. Arraez's primary skill is contact: he can hit any ball he sees, even if his power is a bit lacking. Throughout his minor league career, he earned a reputation for not striking out. That has translated well to the majors, as his strikeout percentage is a minuscule 7.2, which would be by far the best in the league for qualified hitters. Even if Arraez gets unlucky with balls in play, his Statcast expected batting average based on his contact profile is a robust .290. Since he's going toward the end of drafts due to his lack of power, he's a good bet for a team in need of average. He also does draw some walks, so he should be a good source of runs scored.

2. Yandy Diaz, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays

Yandy Diaz bats in the AL Wild Card Game against the Athletics.
Yandy Diaz bats in the AL Wild Card Game against the Athletics. / Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Yandy Diaz wasn't the overnight success some expected after his trade to the Tampa Bay Rays. Diaz battled injuries and only played in 79 games. Still, his batted-ball profile and contact skills are to be reckoned with. Diaz's expected batting average based on his contact on Statcast was .283, a major step up from the .267 he actually had. Given that he has a track record of hitting in the minors (Diaz hit .325 and .350 in AAA during 2017-18) and in the majors (.312 in a month of action with the Indians in 2018), he's rather undervalued as long as he remains healthy. While that's a big ask, the Rays should give him plenty of chances to succeed in their infield.

3. Hanser Alberto, 3B, Baltimore Orioles

Hanser Alberto bats in a game against the Texas Rangers.
Hanser Alberto bats in a game against the Texas Rangers. / G Fiume/Getty Images

It's fair to say that the industry has no idea what to make of Hanser Alberto, the 27-year-old infielder for a terrible Baltimore Orioles team. Like Arraez, Alberto is a pure contact hitter—he only walks or strikes out in 12 percent of his at-bats, a very low number in this era of baseball. After washing out with the Rangers, he went to the Orioles and started hitting .305, a remarkable turnaround. It wasn't even a crazy BABIP season: Alberto has a .318 BABIP to go along with his strong batting average. Because of this, the numbers suggest he should be somewhat playable next season. There's no doubt that Alberto will get a huge number of at-bats on the Orioles, and he clearly has the contact skills to stick around. His Statcast expected batting average from 2019 was a strong .290, and he could contribute to an average-needy team in a pinch.


Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.


Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

facebooktwitterreddit