Finding a player with a high average usually requires a trade-off. Rare is the combination of average, power and speed and even rarer is that player being available in your league after the draft. But if you're struggling in the average category, have no fear, the Rotoballer experts have identified several plus-average players, and some will even help you in the other fantasy categories too:
- Daniel Murphy: 2B (Yahoo owned: 62%, CBS owned: 89%): Murphy is the much-maligned Mets 2B – known to some for his inept glove, bumbling baserunning skills and tinkering too much at the plate with his ever-changing stance. Yet for fantasy purposes, Daniel Murphy will provide a plus average at the 2B position. He batted .320 in 2011 before having his season slowed by an injury and was at .291 in 2012. This year he’s above .300 and already has 2 HR and 11 RBI. Is the power for real? History says he could go for 15 or so bombs, but regardless, the plate skills will be there. Snag him and watch the hits rack up.
- Michael Brantley: OF (Yahoo owned: 14%, CBS owned: 34%): He actually paced all Indians starters in 2012 with a solid .288 BA and you can expect a similar range for 2013. The Tribe’s lineup is stacked this year and if you believe in lineup protection, Brantley should benefit. He even had a serviceable .265 BA against LHP in 2012, to go with a .299 split against RHP. Don’t expect too much power, but he could generate 10-15 SB to complement his plus average. The more he's on base, the more he will have opportunity to produce SB and R.
- Jeff Keppinger 1B, 2B, 3B (Yahoo owned: 17%, CBS owned: 44%): It may seem odd recommending a player with a sub-.200 average, but it’s still early in the season and he will regress to his career norm. He’s a contact hitter who strikes out less often than almost anyone else in the game over the past few seasons. In his last three seasons over 1393 plate appearances, he’s whiffed just 94 times, by far the best ratio in the majors. Although not a power threat or a stolen base threat, you can peg him in at .275 to .285. And though he’s not traditionally been a power hitter, he could benefit from playing 81 home games in the White Sox friendly field. 10-12 HR could be within reach.
- Travis Hafner U (Yahoo owned: 15%, CBS owned: 23%): You probably didn’t expect to see Pronk as plus average candidate. Let’s consider that he is a career .278 hitter, with a lifetime .287 average against righties, whom he will be seeing the majority of his AB against while serving as the Yankees DH. Add in the short porch in Yankee Stadium and Hafner is a buy-low candidate for plus average and power.
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