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Fantasy Baseball: Best Bets for a .300 Average in 2014

In 2013 there were 24 major leaguers who hit over .300 and also qualified for the batting title.

In 2012 there were 25 major leaguers who hit over .300 and also qualified for the batting title.

In 2011 there were 26 such players, and there were 23 in 2010.  So let’s keep this simple and say that over the past few years there has been around 23-26 guys who hit over .300 for the season and let’s work off the assumption that 2014 will be similar. Take that, math!

So here are my next questions: How many guys were repeats on those lists and did any guys show up every year? Hello, arbitrary cutoff points!

 
Age
Career .300 Seasons
Lowest Season AVG
Highest Season AVG
Ryan Braun295.285.332
Joey Votto306.297.337
Adrian Beltre344.240.334
Robinson Cano317.271.342
Joe Mauer307.287.365
Carlos Gonzalez283.284.336
Miguel Cabrera308.292.348
Matt Holliday337.290.340
Buster Posey262.284.336
Mike Trout222.323.326

The table above simply lists some of the leagues best hitters and caveats abound (like Adrian Beltre has more career seasons than Mike Trout because he’s played a million more seasons than Trout). So let’s now let’s list players with the strongest possibility of hitting .300+ in 2014, ranked in order of likelihood. With a list of .300 hitters so small these guys are more valuable than bitcoin for your fantasy team.

1. Miguel Cabrera – There are really no caveats here. Unless his hip falls off, there is absolutely no reason to think that Miggy will hit under .300. The last four seasons he’s had a K% around 14% and he hits 20% of his batted balls as line drives (and line drives are excellent for batting average). He’s a complete hitter and a near lock for .300.

2. Joe Mauer – Much of what was said about Miggy could be said about Joe as well. He’s always been a catcher who hits as good as a first baseman, but now it’s official. He doesn’t have the HR power, but we’re talking about batting average in this post, and he’s a virtual lock for .300+.

3. Mike Trout – He has the hitting prowess of Miggy and Mauer, but also has the speed to leg out some infield singles. Right now he’s dinged because he just has 2 years of history, but he’ll finish his career with a bushel basket full of .300+ seasons.

4a. Robinson Cano and 4b. Adrian Beltre – These guys are both a safe bet for .300+ on the strength of incredibly low strikeout totals which leads to healthy BAPIP numbers. Both these veterans excel at putting the ball in play.

5. Joey Votto – Votto routinely has one of the highest line drive rates in the leagues, which can even frustrate fantasy owners who wish he’d hit more of those line drives as fly balls out of the park. This coupled with his excellent eye at the plate make him a sure thing for a .300+ average. See this for more.

6. Andrew McCutchen – I hope you’re noticing a pattern with low K% rates. If you put the ball in play you have a better shot at a solid to good batting average, particularly if the sting the ball for line drives like Cutch.

7. Matt Carpenter – Carpenter has a freakishly high contact rate. See ball, hit ball. I wrote more about this here.

8. Allen Craig – Craig actually doesn’t have the batted ball profile to hit 30+ homers like fantasy owners wish he would (see: Votto, Joey). But the line drives he hit will help him to a .300+ AVG.

 

So here’s a quick list of sure bets for a .300+ AVG for your reading pleasure. Please let us know in the comments if you have a guy or two you think is a lock for .300. Read this is you want to learn more about the underlying metrics that go into batting average or how to project batting average yourself.

Tags: Joe Mauer Miguel Cabrera Mike Trout

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