RBI's


RotoAuthority Unscripted: You, Sir, Don't Belong. Or Do You?

Today we’re taking a look at the leaderboards to see (as the title suggests) who doesn’t belong. Specifically, we’ll see which names raise our eyebrows as leaders in the five major hitting categories Runs and RBI (who has time for all five?) and look more closely at them. Are they small-sample flukes you need to ditch before their inevitable regression? Are they breakout candidates just pining to join your team? Something more mundane? It’s RA Unscripted, so I can honestly say I don’t have the answers yet….

Runs 

Since there are so many repeat numbers in this category, I’ll try sparing us all a lengthy table and list the Runs leaders like this: 

55: Troy Tulowitzki, Brian Dozier

52: Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt

51: Jose Bautista, Hunter Pence

49: Michael Brantley

48: Giancarlo Stanton

45: Mike Trout, Carlos Gomez, Anthony Rizzo, Ian Kinsler, Edwin Encarnacion 

As anticipated, this list is mostly usual suspects, though three names may not belong: Dozier, Brantley, and Rizzo.

Dozier would be a big-time breakout candidate if only for his 15 homers and 14 steals (actually, we would have been happy if he’d done that on the year), but his place by Tulo’s side is downright impressive. Now, I’m well aware that Runs are highly subject to the vagaries of fortune, but Tulo has the cards stacked in his favor: quality hitters around him in the lineup; getting to play half his games in Coors Field. Yeah. Dozier plays for the Twins. In a park with a power-killing, run-suppressing reputation (though it played pretty much neutral last year for overall scoring). Just for fun, Dozier’s OBP falls more than .100 points short of Tulo’s. So, does Dozier belong?

I’m going to hedge my bets and say yes and no. To the extent that he makes his own luck by hitting homers and doubles, walking and stealing bases, I like Dozier to continue helping out in Runs. However, I’m not inclined to think his teammates will be coming to his rescue quite often enough to keep him in the top ten run scorers by the end of the year. So far, the Twins are mid-pack when it comes to scoring, and I suspect they’ll be slipping a bit over the next few months, Kendrys Morales or not.

Brantley is a big part of the reason his Indians are fifth in baseball in runs scored, but as Carlos Santana seems to be heating up a bit and Nick Swisher (or what’s left of him) has come back from the DL, the Tribe could actually be on the upswing. Cleveland actually suppressed more runs than Minnesota did last year, for what it’s worth, but it looks like the Indians should be able to continue to support Brantley. 

Will Brantley be able to support himself? That’s the real question anyway. His .327 BABIP says there could be some regression coming to his OBP, but when you’re starting with a .390 number you can lose a bit and still have enough to cross the plate on a regular basis. But let’s not pretend that Brantley’s is a story about BABIP: it’s all about his HR/FB rate, which at 17.7% is more than double his previous career best. If he keeps hitting these homers, you have to believe everything else will fall into place. Well, at least the Runs should. For my money, I’d say that Brantley has improved enough that some of it’s got to be pretty real. Even if it's mostly not, all he's got to do is hit well enough to stay in the middle of the Indians’ lineup, and he ought to keep delivering on the Runs. 

Rizzo is enjoying the way it feels to have an above-average BABIP again (.310, compared to last year’s .258 mark). Not only that, but he’s increased his BB% (15.7%) for the second year in a row and more than doubled it since 2012. I think the debate on his bat is done. But will he keep producing the Runs? That’s the question for this article. 

I’m…um…bearish on the Cubbies’ offence, to say the least. They’re currently 27th in team runs scored and I suspect Rizzo’s sweet .406 OBP is going to leave him stranded on base even more often in the second half. And consider the guys hitting behind Rizzo: Starlin Castro, Luis Valbuena, and Welington Castillo. Admittedly, Castro has (very quietly) vindicated those who drafted him (unless they wanted steals), but Valbuena is enjoying a .359 BABIP—expect that deflation to cut pretty directly into Rizzo’s runs. So I like Rizzo, but expect him to slip quietly off the Runs leaderboard. 

RBI 

56: Nelson Cruz

55: Miguel Cabrera

54: Giancarlo Stanton, Edwin Encarnacion

53: Brandon Moss

51: Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Abreu

50: Mike Trout

47: Jose Bautista

45: Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Brantley

Who doesn’t belong here? Cruz, I’m looking at you. Also, Moss, Abreu, and yes, let’s discuss Stanton. Briefly.

Cruz has been a classic all-power, nothing-else type of guy for the last couple years, but he’s seriously stepped up his game so far with Baltimore. Real? His BABIP is above-average (.326), but it isn’t crazy, while his HR/FB is off the charts (25.6%). One thing that I find really encouraging is that he’s already racked up a healthy 14 doubles to go with his homers. Cruz has been off and on with the doubles power throughout the years, and if he’s hitting those, the RBI should keep coming (if a bit more slowly) even if the HR/FB rate gets less stratospheric.

The Orioles’ lineup—which has been missing Chris Davis for a lot of the year—is mid-pack in scoring runs. Actually, that makes it pretty bad for the AL. While Nick Markakis is delivering a decent OBP in front of Cruz, Adam Jones and Manny Machado certainly aren’t. Jones, in particular, has a good chance to improve his game and deliver more RBI to Cruz. I don’t think Cruz will end the year as a top-five OF…but he should certainly end up in or near the top 10 in RBI. 

Moss shouldn’t be helping with RBI…he’s a platooner, right? The thing is, he’s too good for the A’s to keep out of the lineup, even for Kyle Blanks. (Okay, maybe that's not saying too much.) Moss has 231 AB (47 against lefties, against whom he’s hit .298/.400/.532). With a normal BABIP, a healthy portion of walks, and a HR/FB rate to match what he did last year, nothing here seems abnormal. Expect Moss to keep getting playing time against lefties and to keep driving in runs against them. 

Abreu is just impressive for being on this list at all despite missing significant time on the DL. This season will have its ups and downs for him, but he’s got the power to make his own luck with RBI. It doesn’t hurt that Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham haven’t been bad with the OBP...that may not continue...

Stanton deserves quick mention too, since he wasn’t supposed to have any lineup around him to help him deliver in Runs or RBI…and yet he’s a leader in both. His power is insane and he’s healthy, so there’s a significant element of making his own luck going on here too. While the discrepancy between his homer output and his Runs and RBI will probably increase as his teammates regress towards their normal, horrible levels of production, it might be (somewhat) fair to hold out some optimism that maybe the Marlins aren’t quite as bad as we all thought.

 



How to Win 2014: RBI

Runs Batted In are our third luck-heavy counting-stat category in a row, following on the heels of Wins and Run Scored. RBI contain the same two essential features: skill factors and luck factors, so we'll be examining the category based on both. Let the reader beware: much of what matters for scoring runs matters for driving them in--and that's not at all limited to hitting the ball over the fence and doing both at once. With that in mind (hint, be ready to check the How to Win article from a couple weeks ago), let's dive in to what it'll take to bring home the RBI crown.

Making Your Own Luck

Big-Picture Factors: Park and Lineup

Park factors and overall team offense play a huge part in how many runs any given player bats in. There's a reason one expects Robinson Cano's fantasy value to go down playing for the Mariners. You already read the more in-depth analysis (right?) that I did for Runs, and it's the same for RBI. Here's the condensed version:

The Rockies, Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Red Sox were all among the top teams in projected offensive output (by RS/Game) and play in the top hitter-friendly parks. Yes, these two factors have causal relationships on one another, but getting both at once is still well worthwhile.

The Angels, Blue Jays, Tigers, Giants, Cardinals, and Braves all look to be among the top offenses in their leagues. While the difference between AL and NL clubs looks very large at the macro-lineup level, a lot of that difference (all?) is thanks to those wonderful batting pitchers. Keep that in mind when it comes to NL players in the first-third lineup slots, but after that it shouldn't matter nearly as much.

Your Place in the World (or at Least the Batting Order)

Just as with Runs Scored, a hitter's slot in the lineup matters a lot for RBI. Fortunately, entirely different slots are useful here, so we get some original analysis.

This part of the teammate/order/luck factor is obvious enough: middle of the order hitters get more RBI chances, and therefore get more RBI. Adding to the obviousness of it all, this is where most of the best hitters bat anyway. So the key to RBI is to use early draft picks and high auction dollars on good hitters. Now, that is an efficient fantasy baseball economy.

Unfortunately, my last two sentences are about as true as they are tongue in cheek, but there is still a way to get less-obvious value and more RBI onto your roster.

The first thing you can do is to check out our list (again in the runs article) of high-OBP hitters that bat in leadoff or second, and take extra care to target the hitters behind them. However good the hitter is, he'll get a value boost from the guys batting ahead of them. It's why maybe you shouldn't be too excited about the RBI chances that Joey Votto or Chris Davis will get (check out MLBDepthCharts.com to see who might be hitting ahead of them...ugh), but you can be thrilled about what Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera will be able to do.

Here are some teams whose four through six hitters ought to enjoy their table-setters:

Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Indians, Tigers, Angels, Rangers, and probably the A's.

Over in the NL, we've got the Braves, Padres (surprisingly enough), Rockies, Cardinals, Nationals, and probably the Dodgers and Brewers getting good OBP's out of their top two slots.

Of course, change the lineup around a lotand these lists might look different by the time the season starts. They will look different by the time it ends. So keep an eye on this stuff. It's also worth noting that having a good team offense and having good table-setters are very different things.

The second thing you can do is look for middle-of-the-road hitters in premium lineup slots. These guys won't have the name value or high cost of their superstar counterparts, but they ought to drive in more runs than similar players stuck farther back in the lineup. These hitters might even be in bad lineups, but stand a good chance to luck into whatever baserunners manage to happen.

Here are some decided non-stars who seem rosterable occupying prime four-through-six batting order real estate (most platoon players excluded):

C: Miguel MonteroEvan GattisJarrod SaltalamacchiaJonathan LucroyRussell MartinSalvador Perez

1B: Justin MorneauYonder AlonsoMatt AdamsAdam LaRocheCorey Hart, Mitch Moreland, James Loney

2B: Brandon PhillipsNeil Walker,  Jedd Gyorko

3B: Chris JohnsonJuan UribeDavid Freese

SS: Asdrubal CabreraJ.J. HardyXander Bogaerts

OF: Ryan Ludwick,  Chris Young, Marlon Byrd,   Carlos Quentin,   Michael Brantley,  Avisail Garcia, Josh Willingham, Oswaldo Arcia,  Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera,  Josh Reddick

 Narrow that down to players on the teams listed above for good table-setters and you've got a target list of guys who ought to luck into more RBI's than a player of their caliber normally would:

Gattis, Johnson, Morneau, Uribe, Lucroy, Quentin, Alonso, Gyorko,* Adams, LaRoche, Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera, Bogaerts, Loney, Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Freese, Reddick, Moreland

*Don't actually load up on Padres hoping for RBI. But one of them really might produce with Everth Cabrera and Will Venable setting the table.

You could narrow it down by park factor too (which would get rid of those incongruous Padres from the formula), but that seems to make it a bit too narrow to be useful.

Bringing the Skills to the Table

Hidden Power

Homer power is more than a little apparent. Doubles and triples, however, fly a little under the radar. Not much, but a little. And really, who do you think is driving in more runs, a guy with 35 doubles and 20 HR's, or a guy with 20 doubles and 20 HR's? Their stats may look the same on your fantasy baseball website (which can be useful when you offer trades), but the first guy will probably be knocking in way more runs. So go after those doubles hitters.

Thrity-eight players hit at least 35 doubles last year. Since you can go to Fangraphs.com or Baseball-Reference.com and see them for yourself, I'm not going to list them here. But I will mention those doubles hitters that don't hit home runs. Any that do will have been snatched up long before you could get to them.

And yes, 35 is arbitrary. But there has to be a cutoff somewhere. Just remember that when you're looking up a player's stats in the heat of the draft, look them up from a source that actually tells you how many extra-base hits he got.

Players with 35+ Doubles and Fewer than 20 HR's

40-55 Doubles: Matt Carpenter, Manny Machado, Jed Lowrie, Yadier Molina, Gerardo Parra, Dustin Pedroia, Saltalamacchia

35-39 Doubles: Brandon Belt, Alexei Ramirez, Daniel Murphy, Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez, Jason Kipnis, Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist, Morneau, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Mauer, Jason Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera

 High Slugging Percentage, Low Homers

 Doubles are a specific, helpful aspect of slugging percentage, but the rate stat does a good job of encapsulating the ability to drive in runners too. Again, we'll list some heavy sluggers, but omit those with over 20 homers (or who would have gotten over 20 with more playing time).

 .460-.480 SLG: Carpenter, Molina, Mauer

 .440-.460: Jhonny Peralta, Chris Johnson, Allen Craig, Jonathan Lucroy, Jason Kipnis, Shane Victorino, Omar Infante, Eric Hosmer, Jed Lowrie, Daniel Nava, Starling Marte

 Aside from the fact that this list comprises essentially the entire Cardinals lineup, we can see that there are a some potential values at catcher and middle infield--which is good, because those aren't the usual sources of homers or of RBI.

 Some Final Thoughts

The above are ways to assist yourself on the margins. Marginal upgrades to each player in your lineup, mid- and late-round draft picks that will provide more help than their peers, that sort of thing. By far, though, the bulk of your team RBI will come from your top players, and this will be true for everyone in your league. Beware, then, of spending too much or too early on pitching, as it will have consequences in the RBI category.

As with Runs Scored, your RBI total in daily roto leagues will depend a lot on your in-season management: utilizing your bench slots, and probably streaming at bats. The more chances you have to hit, the more runs will come in. Sometimes, baseball is still simple.

Join us again next week: we'll swing back to the pitcher's mound for ERA.



Stock Watch: More of What You Need

So, you're in the top three of your Roto-style league, but you just can't seem to crack the real money spots. Your pitching is pretty good, but nothing you do seems to help you climb up the standings in Runs. Time to make a trade.

You're in the lower half of your Head-to-Head league, with a couple good players on the DL. You know your team should be competitive in September...but getting there might be another story. Each week you seem to split, winning most of the hitting but always falling short in WHIP. Time to make a deal.

Last week on Stock Watch we checked out some players you should target if you're in need of Homers, Batting Average, Wins, or ERA. This week we check out Runs, RBIs, Strikeouts, and WHIP and highlight trade and pickup candidates that might fly just under the radar. 

Runs

Runs are a tough category to win--indeed, the best most common strategy is to draft good hitters and hope things work out. That's what I usually do, at least. So if you're stuck in a Runs rut, here are some hitters to target in trade. Unfortunately this category is unlike stolen bases (or even home runs) in that there are some pretty bad (and therefore cheap) players who can help you a lot; no, you'll have to target players who can actually hit a little.

When searching for potential high-scorers, I went looking for players who hit at or near the top of powerful lineups, like those of the Rays, Tigers, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Orioles. Also the Braves, somewhat, but they need better top-of-the-order hitters.

Austin Jackson has sort of become the Runs poster boy, and RA's Mark Polishuk has a great write-up on him, so I won't say any more. Fellow Tiger Torii Hunter might as well be Jackson's elder clone this season--something tells me that hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder is good for your runs total.

The Rays sit Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist on the top of their batting order most days, and while both have proved disappointing this year, both should keep scoring runs. Matt Joyce doesn't play every single day, but he tends to score when he does.

Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava benefit from hitting before David Ortiz. If Nava gets to keep hitting on top of the order, he'll have Runs value.

Matt Carpenter is one of the hottest names at second base for his batting average, but if you need to help yourself in two categories, he's your guy. Matt Holliday ought to be coming off the DL soon and he may come at a discount. 

Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis have been setting the table for the O's, while Chris Davis and Adam Jones have been among the best in clearing it. McLouth's steals will drive his price up, but, as with Carpenter, at least you get to help yourself in multiple categories.

In the last month, Chase Utley and Jason Werth have been high-scorers. In fact, Werth has been hitting the cover off the ball.

Alex Rios keeps hearing his name in trade rumors, and I'd bet that if he gets moved, it will be to a team that puts him at the top of the order, making him a good Runs candidate. Of course, this advice could backfire when he gets stuck hitting sixth and scoring RBI's...but maybe you need those too.

RBIs

Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, and Joey Votto are all among the league's top run scorers. Why do we care in the RBI section? Because you should pick up or trade for anyone who hits behind these guys. Brandon Phillips is having a perfectly pedestrian season--and yet he's among the league leaders in RBIs with over 80. Why? Just look at the names above.

You'll notice that a lot of top RBI guys come from the same lineups as the top run scorers. Take Jhonny Peralta. Between his crazy BABIP and the Biogenesis link, there's every reason to trade him away. And yet, he's hitting behind Prince and Miggy, so if you need RBIs and a shortstop upgrade, he could be your guy. Similarly, Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are hitting behind Ortiz. 

Allen Craig and Freddie Freeman have disappointed in homers, keeping them from truly elite first base production, but don't make the mistake of thinking the RBIs aren't there. Dan Uggla joins Freeman in a Braves lineup that keeps generating runs.

With his trade to the Yankees (and batting cleanup in his first game), Alfonso Soriano just saw his RBI potential go way up. Now, these Yankees aren't exactly Murderers' Row, but they're better than the Cubs. Hitting behind Robinson Cano shouldn't bother anyone.

Strikeouts

You can get to the top of the standings in Strikeouts just by pitching the most games, but there are all kinds of obstacles to that: innings limits, anti-streaming rules, and the poor performance of volume-heavy pitching staffs. So here are some guys who can help you compete in K's. Many of them are widely available, so that's nice too.

Hector Santiago (13% owned in Yahoo! leagues), Corey Kluber (29%), and Tony Cingrani (49%) are all striking out more than a batter per inning without killing your ERA. (They aren't all great for your WHIP, I admit.) As you can see, there's a good chance that one of them is available on your league's waiver wire.

Francisco Liriano, Jeff Samardzija, and Justin Masterson are a step above Santiago and company, and they'll require a trade to go after.  They will probably be better for your rate stats. Ubaldo Jimenez, is a step below, but only owned in 17% of Yahoo! leagues. He will kill your WHIP, though.

In the last month, several pitchers have stepped up their strikeout game: Tim Lincecum and Mat Latos are striking out over 11 batters per nine IP. John Lackey and (to my great surprise) Jeremy Hellickson are whiffing more than a batter per inning. 

On the lower end of the scale, Jose Quintana (18% owned in Yahoo! leagues), Tom Gorzelanny (5%), Jonathan Pettibone (5%), and Erik Bedard (2%) are screamingly available and all generating strikeouts over the last month. If you're in position to play the hot hand in a deep league, these are the guys to look out for.

WHIP

I can't do much about the hits part of WHIP--it's notoriously luck-dependent, all the more so over as short a time span as what remains of the season. So, let's take a look at the BB/9 half instead.

Jordan Zimmermann hasn't pitched well in his last few starts, but he's still got a 1.34 BB/9 on the season. If you want to risk that his recent slump is temporary (I would), he could be a big help to anyone's WHIP category.

Hiroki Kuroda's 1.76 BB/9 looks good, but his ERA is already so lucky that you should be prepared for it to rise even if he helps your WHIP. 

With Tim Hudson's injury, the chatter about Julio Teheran getting dropped from the rotation with Brandon Beachy's return from the DL has ended, though his 1.89 BB/9 suggests that such talk might never have been serious.

Ervin Santana and A.J. Griffin share 1.95 BB/9 marks, though if Santana gets traded he'll lose the benefit of baseball's top defense.

Rick Porcello (1.86 BB/9) is only 14% owned in Yahoo! leagues, and Eric Stults (1.98 BB/9) is only 31% owned. 

Some pitchers who've been hot this month include Bronson Arroyo (49% owned), Bartolo Colon, Kyle Lohse, John Danks (3% ), and Scott Feldman (41%). All five have BB/9 rates of 1.10 or below in the last 30 days, though Colon comes with significant baggage.

Some Guys Worth Picking Up

Christian Yelich is owned in every daily and keeper league, I know. But don't give up on him in weekly formats.

David DeJesus is returning from the DL, as should be half the Yankees' infield. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez aren't exactly who they used to be, but both could pay dividends for a waiver claim. Long-term, we can expect Biogenesis fallout for A-Rod, but don't be shocked if the appeals process lets him play most of the rest of the season. Whether or no he hits is another story. 

Warning: A previous version of this article contained an unintelligible section. It has been altered from that sorry condition. 



How to Win: RBI

Runs Batted In are a tough category to prepare for. Like Runs Scored, they depend partly on the skills of the hitter you want to draft, but heavily on the context he plays in. With Runs, you wanted the hitters who sat at the top of their lineups, now you want the bashers driving those guys in. Unfortunately, we've got the same problem we had then: most of the best RBI guys are the best hitters in baseball. That means that the edge you get is going to be more on the margins. Unless you get some seriously good luck or short yourself in a another category (like speed), you probably aren't going to run away with this one, but that doesn't mean you can't win it....

2012's Top 12

1. Miguel Cabrera            139
2. Josh Hamilton            128
3. Chase Headley             115
4. Ryan Braun                   112
5. Edwin Encarnacion    110 
6. Josh Willingham        110
7. Prince Fielder               108
7. Alfonso Soriano          108
7. Adrian Gonzalez         108 
10. Billy Butler                  107
11. Curtis Granderson    106
12. Aramis Ramirez        105
12. Albert Pujols              105

On a list like this, you'd expect to see elite power hitters in elite lineups, and that's mostly what you get. Obviously, everyone on this list had a great year last year, but some of the names don't seem to come from baseball's top offenses. Willingham comes from the middling Twins, while Headley's Padres and Soriano's Cubs come from the bottom ranks of last year's offensive teams. So, apparently you can get some RBI's on mediocre offenses, but other than that, I don't see much from last year's leaders that can help us find true value.

RBI's Without Homers
Often, RBI's are connected to homers, but that means paying extra for the double-category production. These guys won't put too many balls over the fence, but they'll knock in some runs anyway. If you want some sneaky RBI value, try some of these hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (108 RBI's, 18 HR), Torii Hunter (92, 16), Miguel Montero (88, 15), Joe Mauer (85, 10), Starlin Castro (78, 14), Brandon Phillips (77, 18), Justin Morneau (77, 19), Jason Kipnis (76, 14), Chris Johnson (76, 15), Marco Scutaro (74, 7), Alexei Ramirez (73, 9), Alex Gordon (72, 14), Martin Prado (70, 10), Neil Walker (69, 14), Howie Kendrick (67, 8), Shin-Soo Choo (67,16), Michael Young (67, 8), Austin Jackson (66, 16). I didn't include everyone with more than 66 RBI's and fewer than 20 homers. Instead, I was looking simply for hitters that don't get a large part of their value from hitting home runs--or a lot of their price tag from a power reputation.

2B+3B Leaders
If you aren't putting the ball over the fence, you're still going to need some kind of power. Since doubles and triples usually bring in the same amount of runners (most or all of them),  I've just added the stats together. Here are the leaders:

1. Alex Gordon                 56
2. Aramis Ramirez          53
3. Albert Pujols                50
3. Aaron Hill                 50
5. Robinson Cano       49
5. Jose Reyes                49
7. Adrian Gonzalez         48
7. Martin Prado               48
9. Ian Kinsler                47
10. Ben Zobrist             46
11. Alex Rios                   45
11. Shin-Soo Choo           45
11. Nelson Cruz             45
12. Paul Goldschmidt 44
12. Joey Votto                44

The list continues on, and anyone with 35 or more doubles and triples is going to get some extra RBI's, on top of however many you might expect from his homers, lineup, and park. How good is Joey Votto, by the way? Forty-four doubles and triples in less than 400 AB--there's a reason you can't get him after the first round. Pujols, Kinsler, and Gonzalez, all disappointed to one degree or another--but they still batted runners in with extra-base hits.Knowing who smacks in extra-base hits is important, because you won't find that info listed with your fantasy stats. 

Of course, all the doubles and triples in the world aren't going to send many RBI's Jose Reyes's way, leading off as he does. That's why it's worth remembering a player's place in the lineup. 

Middle of the Order Hitters

A hitter in the right lineup slot can bring in a lot of runners, especially with a couple high-OBP hitters setting the table. Looking for a strong overall offense isn't so important when it comes to RBI's--you just need a decent hitter and runners on base. Without reiterating all the power-hitting superstars, here are some hitters likely to get some good RBI opportunities: Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks, Nick Swisher, Victor Martinez, Carlos Pena, Chris Carter, Howie Kendrick, Kevin Youkilis,Brandon Moss, Kendrys Morales, David Murphy, Colby Rasmus, Jason Kubel, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Gomez, Garrett Jones, Yonder Alonso, Jayson Werth.

Remember that context is key, even when considering context. Remember to count a hitter's home park for or against him--but do it after the players around him. Everyone knows to get the hitters from Colorado and Texas, but consider Chicago (White Sox), Boston, Baltimore, Arizona, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and--surprisingly enough--Detroit, Minnesota, and Atlanta. 

Mid-Order Steals

Stolen bases are showing up everywhere in today's game, not just in the top couple spots in the lineup and the AL nine-hole. Sure there are elite power-speed players out there, but there aren't many to go around. That doesn't mean you can't squeeze some RBI's out of your speedsters. Check out these mid-order guys who steal a few bases: Shane Victorino, Starlin Castro, Alex Rios, Ian Desmond, Hanley Ramirez, B.J. Upton, and Michael Saunders. All the guys above managed  20 steals or more, but you don't need to get your steals in bulk to help yourself in RBI's. There are quite a few hitters who add 10-15 steals but bat in the middle of the lineup. Grabbing several of them can pad your steals total without compromising your Runs Batted In.

A Few Final Words

Finding RBI's can be as simple as spending extra dollars or higher draft picks on the best hitters, in the best lineups, and friendliest parks. It's not to say that getting elite players isn't key...it is, but it's not really a strategy. The trick to succeeding in RBI's and finishing near the top of the pack at the end of the year (or week to week, if that's how you roll) is to add a few extra RBI's in on as many players as you can. Finding those sneaky doubles hitters, and making sure your later draft picks are hitting behind someone with a good on-base percentage can add quite a few ribbies to your fantasy lineup.

As with Runs Scored, RBI's aren't a category you can really plan on winning. There's so much luck involved in the difference between a little success and a huge amount, that a single waiver-wire selection can change the whole game. The one thing you want to avoid most is to assume that RBI's are nothing but luck, short yourself in the kind of players you'll need, and end up--avoidably--in the cellar. You can't win RBI's on draft day, but you can definitely put yourself in position to compete in the category and do enough to keep your team near the top of the standings.





Site Map     Contact     About     Advertise     Privacy Policy     MLB Trade Rumors     Rss Feed