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Fantasy Baseball Hitter Rating Series - The Adam Jones Effect

Fantasy Baseball Hitter Rating Series
Keith Allison Flickr

The Adam Jones Effect came about in February of this year when I was looking at ESPN Projections. I was attempting to identify players that could get me similar stats that were rounds apart from each other that could get me similar if not better stats. As I dug into the projections looking at HRs, RBIs, Runs, SB, etc., I noticed something that made me change my whole perspective of the ESPN Projections. I noticed At Bats. Now that might seem quite obvious to look at that but sometimes I overlook it and just look at what a player will get me in my categories. The players that really stood out to me were two young guys, Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich. Their stat projections were very similar.

Betts: 85 Runs, 11 HRs, 56 RBIs, 28 SB, .291 AVG 100.6 ADP

Yelich: 91 Runs, 10 HRs, 52 RBIs, 21 SB, .278 AVG. 85.6 ADP

The big difference was the At Bats. ESPN projected those stats in 583 ABs for Yelich. Mookie Betts was putting up similar numbers a round or two later but in only 474 ABs. If Mookie Betts was to have as many at bats are Christian Yelich what would his stats look like? I divided Yelich’s at bats by Mookie’s (583/474) = 1.23 I multiplied Mookie's stats by 1.23 to see his adjusted stats at 583 ABs and Mookie would be at the following:

Betts: 105 Runs, 14 HRs, 69 RBIs, 34 SB, .291 AVG 100.6 ADP


Comparing to:


Yelich: 91 Runs, 10 HRs, 52 RBIs, 21 SB, .278 AVG. 85.6 ADP

Mookie is now better than Yelich across the board. But it doesn’t really work like this. People do get more at bats than other players. So let’s look at the difference between Christian Yelich and Mookie Betts in stats without the adjusted at bats.

Mookie is better than Yelich in HRs, RBIs, SB, and AVG. He only is 6 runs behind Yelich. If Mookie really only gets 474 at bats he will be on your bench for quite a few games more than Yelich would. Your alternative player that subs in would need to make up 6 runs in the difference of at bats (109) for Mookie to be better in each category.

Now this might not seem like big news and you might be aware of this but let’s think about this more. At bat differentials are really giving some players an advantage over another. I dug in deeper and tried to look at which players are having their projections inflated or deflated by ABs.

I looked at who was #1 in projected ABs and it was Jose Altuve at 641 projected at Bats. In second was Adam Jones at 639. You might ask you self, why is this not called the Jose Altuve Effect instead of the Adam Jones Effect and the answer is quite simple. If Jose Altuve had the average amount of at bats as everyone else, he would still be the #1 or #2 second baseman. Adam Jones on the other hand was projected to be the #6 OF. If all other outfielders had his numbers, or if he had the average at bats of everyone else (top 50 hitters averaged 570 ABs), he would not have the same value as he does now. His whole value relies on his at bats to give him his quantities.
So why is the Adam Jones Effect important?

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