The Missing Link: As I peruse the players left in free agency, one guy really stands out to me. Ben Revere.
Revere was off to his best start by far last season before a foot injury took him out for the rest of the year. Some might consider Revere just a steals guy but if he can offer a decent runs total—even though that is a big IF on the Philadelphia Phillies this year—and keep his average above .300 for all of 2014, he might be the missing piece to your team.
Side Note: Just last night Dixon and I were texting about a good expectation for average. He suggested .280 as a good mark to shoot for, team wise.
I noted that .280 used to be my goal, but now I shoot for .275 because the more player combos I throw together, the harder it is to find the right guys to get to .280 and still hit my counting stat totals.
My Theory: The mean batting average for MLB players is down from a few years back when I started setting goals. I started setting goals in preparation for the 2009 season, and I came up with .280 then and stuck with it. As it grew increasingly harder to meet that, I had to adjust and realized that in all my Roto leagues the batting average that would gain me 7-9 points (depending on league size) I needed, was closer to .275 than .280.
The Results: So this morning I did a little research and—thanks to Baseball Almanac—I found that indeed the mean batting average is trending downward.
In 2008, the year before I was setting goals, the league average was .264. In 2013 was .253 at the end of last season and hasn’t been above .270 since 2000. Ergo, a .300 with 550 at bats or more is a whole lot more valuable now than he was five years ago. Chalk it up to inflation, deflation, drug testing. Whatever you want.
Back to Revere: The point is that Revere has a lot more value than just a steals guy. Revere is basically a lock for 40 steals as long as he is around 530 at-bats. I did some quick math on his per at bat steal rate and got this
Ben Revere Stolen Base Rate
|2011||450||34||1 SB per 13.23 AB's|
|2012||511||40||1 SB per 12.76 AB's|
|2013||315||22||1 SB per 14.32 AB's|
|Total||1276||96||1 SB per 13.29 AB's|
So you have a guy who is bankable at 40 steals, and in 530+ at bats could give you 75 runs, even on an aging team like the Phillies. If if he can make good on a .300 batting average is a very nice addition.
The Conclusion: If you are worried about Revere actually hitting .300, he’s been at .298 over his last 826 at-bats. I think the kid will be just fine. He is only 25 years old, is the clear cut leadoff hitter, and has not had a history of injuries.
When you add all those factors together, you have a very good player, that really should have been drafted. So if you see average, steals, or runs as an issue, drop whoever you took last in your league and scoop him up before one of your league mates wises up.