Which Stat is Most Significant for 5×5 Roto Hitters?

As fantasy baseball owners in a typical 5×5 league, it’s easy to get caught in a trap of thinking that each roto category should be treated separately. But, it’s a bad trap to get caught in because high values in one roto category can lead to higher values in another category. When a player hits a homerun, it immediately affects four of your hitting categories (one additional Run, at least one RBI and the team AVG goes up). When a player steals a base, the SB category is the only one altered (though it does increase the chance of that guy scoring a run later). A pitcher not allowing baserunners helps not only his WHIP but also his ERA. Simply put, all roto categories were not created equally. In this post, I’ll be looking at the five main hitter statistics in roto leagues to see which stats are the best ones to focus on in a draft.


When it comes to the five hitting stats, you could break them into two types: self-created stats and stats influenced by others. The self-created stats are those which the hitter controls like HR, SB and AVG. The stats influenced by others would be RBI’s and Runs. It’s hard to really build a team specifically around Runs or RBI’s since they are the products of something out of the player’s control. So, typically, you’re going after players who can excel at those so-called “self-created stats”.

In testing out the past two years of data, I looked at the correlation between WERTH values in each of the five stats to see how they correlate to each other. Do high HR values also create high RBI values as we might assume, for instance? Well, yeah, they do. Here’s the chart with the correlation between each of the five stats (values closer to 1.00 meaning a stronger link):

R .48 .39 .57 .36
HR .48 .13 .84 -.32
AVG .39 .13 .31 .07
RBI .57 .84 .31 -.24
SB .36 -.32 .07 -.24

The three strongest links are between HR/RBI, HR/Runs and Runs/RBI. There’s also some weaker links that show a relationship between AVG/Runs, AVG/RBI’s and SB/Runs. To boil it down into a fun little visual, here’s what we come out with:

Basically, drafting for HR’s will give you the most benefit in other areas while drafting for AVG will give you the some other advantages as well. SB’s are out on their own island and either need to be punted or focused on in a separate manner. While SB’s can influence Run totals, that’s not unique to SB’s as AVG and HR’s also influence Runs to a larger degree.

If you find yourself focusing on hitters with high HR’s and high AVG then you’ll likely find yourself dominating four roto categories. That serves as a good default game plan but then you also need a plan for how to get yourself to not finish last in SB’s (while not hurting yourself in HR’s and AVG). It certainly is a tricky thing to balance but let this post serve as a reminder that HR’s and AVG are the first things to focus your hitters around.

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  • mjm
    March 8, 2012 at 12:29 am

    You mentioned not finishing last in SB. What is your philosophy and strategy with SB's? Try to finish middle of the pack? Is there a specific position you target for high SB?

  • Luke
    March 8, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Yes, my goal is to be fighting for first in the other four categories and then be at least somewhat competitive in SB's so I'm not completely punting it. As far as who I target to help out there, it totally depends on how the flow of the draft. It's almost always OF and SS that give you the highest SB totals though so that's something to keep in mind.