Of all the MLB rule changes that will affect fantasy leagues this year, defensive innings limits may be the hardest to predict. It’s a rule change that will affect each player differently, as some batsmen have been hit with extreme variations more often than others in recent years. Additionally, some batters may try to change their batted-ball profile in response to new defensive alignments, while others will keep things as they were and hope that their batted balls hit the hole with more regularity. .
Never one to back down from a challenge, here are my best guesses for which players will see their batting averages rise as a result of the shift limits.
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Comment: You’ll notice that every name on this list is a left-handed hitter, as those who bat to the left and who draw a lot of balls are greatly influenced by the opposition’s ability to load up on the first base side. Diamond.
Of players who faced more than 1,000 pitches last year, no one faced more changeups than Pasquantino (93.8 percent). Despite facing an overloaded defense, the lefty slugger hit .295 in 2022 while en route to an 11.4 percent strikeout rate. Managers don’t need much imagination to see how Vinnie P. could lead the majors in batting average this year.
Good news – Seeger hit a career-high 33 homers last year. Bad news – his .245 average was 20 points below his mark in any previous season. Seeger’s strikeout rate remained consistent last year, and his .283 xBA showed he deserved better luck. Better luck and limits on innings could lead to a 50+ point average bump from year to year.
Among players who faced 2,000 pitches, only Seeger faced a changeup more times than Tucker. The 26-year-old is part of one of baseball’s best lineups, hitting 30 homers for two straight seasons and a career-high 25 steals last year, which means he’s just a batting-average bump away from being top-5. imaginary property.
Kepler was a fantasy star during juice-ball season in 2019 (36 HR, .252 BA), but showed only mediocre power (37 HR in 284 games), batting below .230 in each of the past three years Is. The lefty slugger suffered frequent excessive at-bats during that stretch, and his xBA was above .250 in each of those three seasons. After this year’s postseason, Kepler could soon be back on the shallow-league radar.
Coming off a 46-homer, 194-R+RBI season, Schwarber could take his game to even greater heights now that defensive innings have been limited. There’s a scenario in which Schwarber collects more base knocks and becomes the Mets’ equivalent of a slugger. Pete AlonsoWhich is being prepared in the second round this year.
Jordan Alvarez (OF, Houston Astros)
Already discussed as the best hitter in baseball, Alvarez could get even better now that teams can’t afford to make huge changes against him. The left-handed masher placed seventh in baseball last year with a .306 average, but Statcast believes he should have been even more productive, giving him a .329 xBA. There’s a chance we’re talking about Alvarez as the No. 1 overall fantasy option in 2024.
Those who want to give Kelenik another chance will be pleased to know that in each of his two disappointing MLB seasons, he pitched several innings and recorded an XBA that was 30 points higher than his actual mark. The bad news is that his XBA stats were still terrible. Still, the 23-year-old once earned high prospect status and could reward those who grab him at the end of their draft.
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For Lowe, the biggest factor in his 2023 fantasy production will be moving on from the woes that limited him to 65 games last year. But those looking to bet on his improved health will be pleased to know that the limitations on shifts should push Lowe back to the .258 average he logged in 2019-21.
When he’s not wrecking your batting average, Muncie is a valuable power hitter who owns a distinguished walk rate and collects both runs and RBIs in bunches. Unfortunately, the 32-year-old has hit less than .200 in two of the last three seasons, while constantly facing heavy defensive innings. Muncie will become a fantasy star in 2023 by becoming only a minor batting average drain.
Joey Gallo (OFF, Minnesota Twins)
Although I am unlikely to have drafted Gallo, I felt the need to include him in this article. The career .199 hitter has endured plenty of turnarounds in recent years and is likely still 40-homer power (he homered just 19 times in 2022), but he needs to make major batting average gains to become a fantasy asset. Will be
Topping a career .271 in 2020, Rizzo batted .234 while facing peak innings during the previous three seasons. The 33-year-old went deep 32 times last year and could be very valuable at the heart of the Yankees’ lineup if the innings limit helps bring his average back up to his lifetime .265 mark.
Olsson is yet another player in this article with a high batting average who is far from being an elite fantasy asset. He collected 73 homers and 214 RBIs over the past two seasons, and his .255 average during those two years is not an embarrassing mark. After experiencing quite a turnaround in those campaigns, Olson now has the ability to amass even more count statistics by virtue of providing more on-base knocks.
Tellez is one of my favorite sleepers during the second half of the Yahoo draft, as the .219 average he recorded in his breakout 2022 campaign was far less than his solid .252 xBA. I’m excited about the potential statistics Tellez can collect by hitting .250 by repeating his 35 long balls from a year ago.