Comeback Players for 2013 | xAVG vs AVG

Much like the old saying of “there’s many ways to skin a cat,” there’s also many ways to evaluate a player’s batting average from a given season but xAVG is my weapon of choice. It’s no secret that luck can play a significant factor in a player’s total AVG in a season. When all is said and done, a player’s batting average can be greatly skewed by 5 to 10 weird plays that should have ended up as hits but didn’t. In determining how unlucky a player has been, BABIP is a great tool. As touched upon in my post on evaluating batting averages, xBABIP and xAVG both take the concept a step further to better explain what a hitter’s AVG should have been in a season if good/bad luck wasn’t a factor. After crunching the xAVG numbers from 2012, let’s take a look at some players who might benefit from a boost in AVG if luck turns around for them.

Good But Should Have Been Great

In looking at the list of players who suffered from some poor luck, the list isn’t always comprised of guys who had really down seasons. In some cases, their AVG was pretty good but it really should have been even better. Here’s a snapshot of some of those guys:

  • Ichiro Suzuki, .332 xAVG, .283 AVG
  • Norichika Aoki, .319 xAVG, .288 AVG
  • Adam Jones, .313 xAVG .287 AVG
  • Michael Young, .312 xAVG, .277 AVG
  • Jose Reyes, .311 xAVG, .287 AVG
  • Edwin Encarnacion, .309 xAVG, .280 AVG

Ichrio is an interesting name on the list. He had a decent year but it would have been outstanding if he had hit .332 instead of .283. Do I expect him to make that big of a jump in 2013? No. But, a year closer to .300 doesn’t seem outlandish. His ADP makes him much less of a risk now too.

I’m fairly surprised to see Adam Jones and Encarnacion on this list as they had stellar seasons. If their average was above .300, one can only imagine how epic that would have been. This mainly just gives more reason to feel like it is less of a risk to target either of these players in 2013.

Jose Reyes would suddenly become a lot more interesting as well if he were hitting over .300 in that stacked Blue Jays lineup. It certainly wouldn’t be outlandish for him to do. He’s a solid buy-low candidate.

Aoki had a good year out of the gates last year and if he were able to hit for that sort of average while still maintaining his 10 HR and 30 SB then we suddenly have an early round pick here. Keep an eye on him.

Even if Michael Young returns to hitting .300, I’m not sure what else he gives you to make him a very attractive fantasy player since he now lacks power and still lacks speed. He’s not a .310/20/10 guy anymore and probably could be more like a .300/10/5. Meh.

Pretty Bad But Should Have Been Good

With the exception of those listed above, generally a player’s season is pretty bad when bad luck rears its ugly head. As a result, the player ends up having a very statistical bad year due to the lower AVG and less Run/RBI opportunities that go along with that. Afterwards, they become undervalued in the following year’s draft despite having the potential to return back to their previous value if bad luck doesn’t rain on them again. Here’s some of those under-the-radar comeback players:

  • Darwin Barney, .304 xAVG, .254 AVG
  • Chase Utley, .298 xAVG, .256 AVG
  • Ben Zobrist, .295 xAVG, .270 AVG
  • Mark Teixeira, .292 xAVG, .251 AVG
  • Alexei Ramirez, .291 xAVG, .265 AVG
  • Freddie Freeman, .290 xAVG, .259 AVG
  • Jason Kipnis, .286 xAVG, .257 AVG
  • Jose Bautista, .283 xAVG, .241 AVG
  • Eric Hosmer, .275 xAVG, .232 AVG

Even including a jump in AVG for Barney, he doesn’t suddenly become a more attractive player. His line would be very similar to the projection for Michael Young above.

Chase Utley and Mark Teixieria both make interesting options as they are older and losing faith of the fantasy baseball world. Utley’s price tag is especially low and he could be a bargain if he returns to hitting close to .300 and the same could be said for Teixeira.

It is encouraging to see someone like Jason Kipnis on this list as well because I still have a man crush on him after he was a narco pick last year. If he can raise his average up, he becomes an even more attractive option at 2B but I’m concerned about just how high his ADP may be already.

Bautista looks like a nice gamble in the second round based on this sort of number and may be worth a closer look.

Eric Hosmer interests me because one of his biggest fantasy assets was supposed to be his ability to hit for high AVG. He didn’t do that last year and even his xAVG wasn’t exceedingly high. I don’t get warm and fuzzy feelings about him.

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