Fantasy Baseball Category Power Rankings 4/19

Power rankings for every fantasy-relevant category.

Whether it’s early in the season, the middle of July, or late in the year, it’s always good to know where you stand in your Roto league.

Of course, perusing your league’s standings accomplishes that fairly quickly. However, numbers can often be misleading. Is your team producing at the level it should be as a league leader compared to the vast majority of other Roto leagues?

Are there underperforming players on your team, or available via waivers each week that could help you significantly in specific, or multiple, categories moving forward? This column aims to, and will, answer all those questions on a weekly basis, regardless of league size.

Essentially, it’s an almanac for Roto leagues and NFBC or TGFBI leagues, showing you not only the watermarks your team should be hitting category-wise to be truly elite but also the specific players that will help you get there. What’s more, it’ll also cover the top performers in each category, as well as some under-the-radar options for each metric as well.




  • A couple of quick notes before we begin, for metrics like ERA, WHIP, batting average, and on-base percentage, only qualified or close to qualified pitchers and hitters (respectively) were considered, especially at this time of year with smaller sample sizes running rampant.
  • Additionally, all rostered rate numbers are via FantasyPros. Furthermore, in part due to NFBC leagues, all stats (as well as the rostered data) are via the previous week’s Sunday.
  • All the data in terms of Roto league production is from last year’s numbers.


Where You Should Be Producing In Each Category


Below is data for both 15-team and 12-team Roto leagues from last season and the average statistical totals that each placed team finished with. This is for the entirety of a season. Basically, if you want to do well in a 15-team (and later 12-team) format, these are the season-long watermarks to shoot for.

There’s also SGP data for both 15-team and 12-team formats.

Before we get any further, a massive thank you to Pitcher List Director of Data Analytics and Research Kyle Bland for getting a hold of the data.

And now, without further ado, the 15-team data, which comes from 2023 TGFBI leagues:


15-Team Leagues


(Quick reminder, the far left-hand column is where the team finished in the standings.)

15-Team Averages

And here’s the 15-team, SGP data:

15-Team SGP Values


12-Team Leagues


12-Team Averages


And now for the 12-team, SGP data:

12-Team SGP Values


Category Power Rankings


Batting Average (AVG)




Of Note: Ryan McMahon.

There’s a lot to like about Ryan McMahon’s production so far. The xwOBA, barrel rate (9.1%), hard-hit rate (50.0%), and strikeout rate (22.9%) are all notable. And while his .476 BABIP is notable for more unideal reasons related to regression, the most notable (this time in a good way) part of the Colorado infielder’s statistical resume so far has been his production away from Colorado.

McMahon hit just .219 with a .690 OPS, a .302 wOBA, and nine home runs in 279 road plate appearances last year, down significantly from his home splits, which included a .261 average, a .816 OPS and 14 home runs in 276 plate appearances.

This year, he’s batting .347 with a 135 wRC+ away from home. As long as some semblance of quality road production continues, McMahon should have no trouble finishing the year as a top 150 player overall, with the ceiling for more.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues


Of Note: Turnover. Plus Jarred Kelenic.

This early in the year, the amount of turnover in the deeper league options rankings isn’t too surprising given both the fact that productive players generally see their rostered rate skyrocket in a matter of days or a week, and due to the fact that one-week statistical swings can tip the balances of leaderboards with so small sample sizes.

Still, with all that being said, there are a number of quality, under-the-radar options to consider here. Most notably Jarred Kelenic. The outfielder is barely being used against left-handed pitching in his first season in Atlanta. And while it would be nice if he had more plate appearances this season (he has 32 as of the beginning of play on Monday), the former Mariner has been excellent against mainly right-handed pitching. He’s a quality option to consider as part of a platoon for fantasy managers, a strategy that, when done correctly, can pay significant dividends.


On-Base Percentage (OBP)



Of Note: Justin Turner.

After seeing his quality of contact metrics decline in the last two years, Turner’s underlying metrics are, in large part, starting to resemble those he had during his most productive Dodgers seasons.

From 2015 through 2021, Turner logged an xBA of at least .285 five times and never saw his xwOBA dip below the .350 mark, seeing it finish as high as .390 in a full season. He also routinely registered hard-hit rates in the 40% to 45% range and logged low strikeout rates and high walk rates.

So far, the former Dodger is sporting a .296 xBA, a .386 xwOBA, a 42.2% hard-hit rate, a 16.7% strikeout rate, and a 13.6% walk rate. Look familiar?

It’s a bit of a stark contrast when compared to the veteran’s numbers the last two years, which have included respective xwOBA numbers of .339 and .336 plus xBA metrics that didn’t top .270, but there’s been a lot to like so far. A 4.4% barrel rate is perhaps the only thing fantasy managers would prefer to be better, but as long as the quality of contact continues, Turner looks like an early-season, potential league-winning waivers pick or late-round draft pickespecially with eligibility at three different infield spots.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Blake Perkins.

With a sky-high BABIP (it was .444 through Sunday) and a collection of largely unideal quality of contact metrics, there’s a real question of sustainability here with the 27-year-old outfielder. However, the outfielder has also added two home runs and a pair of stolen bases in his first 30 Major League plate appearances. All that, combined with the BABIP and Christian Yelich’s current placement on the injured list make Perkins the ideal streaming option in leagues with 14 or more teams until the BABIP inevitably cools off, or Yelich returns.


Home Runs (HR)



Of Note: Jose Altuve.

For as good as Jose Altuve has been, for as productive as the infielder has been in recent history, he’s never sported a double-digit barrel rate over the course of a full season. Is this the year that changes? Altuve is sporting an 11.9% barrel rate on eight barrels so far. If a double-digit barrel rate holds, the infielder has top-10 overall upside, especially considering all the contact (14.3% strikeout rate) and quality contact (.391 xwOBA) he’s making while entrenched as Houston’s leadoff hitter.

Despite never finishing with a double-digit barrel rate in a season, the infielder still boasts a pair of 31-homer campaigns and three additional seasons with 24 or more home runs.

The counting stats like runs and RBI look like they’ll be there as long as he’s healthy atop Houston’s lineup, and the average and on-base percentage should be there too. xwOBA aside, Altuve has hit .298 or better in 10 of the last 12 full seasons. The only times he didn’t reach that mark? He hit .278 and .283 respectively. Altuve’s on-base percentage has finished below .340 just once in a full season. All told elite production and fantasy upside await if the barrels continue.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Iván Herrera.

Generally speaking, when a Major League team has a hot-hitting backup catcher, it presents a rather unideal situation mainly in the sense that said backup won’t play as much in the grand scheme of things.

Enter Iván Herrera, who is not only playing regularly in St. Louis as of late but is starting in games alongside fellow catcher Willson Contreras (with one starting at designated hitter) despite third catcher Pedro Pagés being optioned to Triple-A last week. Contreras has, per usual, been very productive, but Herrera has quietly been one of baseball’s most productive power-hitting catchers so far this season. In fact, he’s been one of the better power threats in the league. He’s very much worth adding (and starting), in all formats.


Runs Scored (R)



Of Note: Anthony Volpe.

Ok, so this is slightly cheating as Jackson Merrill is playing the outfield for the San Diego Padres, but he remains eligible at shortstop for fantasy purposes.

Both Anthony Volpe and Merrill are off to strong starts to the season, and while the sample sizes are on the smaller size of thingsas they are in mid-Aprilboth look very much legitimate.

Both are sporting an xwOBA over .340 (.371 in Merrill’s case) and the duo both sit in the 80th percentile in hard-hit rate.

Not only that, the decision-making is there at the plate too. Merrill’s respective percentile rankings for chase rate, whiff rate, strikeout rate, and walk rate: 18th, 84th, 78th, 65th. For Volpe, his respective percentile rankings in those categories are as follows: 81st, 96th, 70th, 78th.

Even more encouraging is that Volpe has hit leadoff every game he’s played in since April 10. Merrill hasn’t been the beneficiary of that type of regular lineup placement just yet, but after hitting exclusively eighth or ninth to start the year, he’s starting to slowly move up the Padres lineup. The more that happens, the more he should be able to score with regularity hitting near the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth, and Xander Bogaerts.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Connor Joe.

One of last season’s best platoon options for fantasy managers in deeper leagues, Connor Joe won’t overwhelm with a ton of crushed pitches. His xwOBA sits at just .312 and his 81 MPH average exit velocity is in the first percentile league-wide.

So while he might not be a threat to provide above-average production in terms of home runs and overall power production, the 31-year-old is doing plenty to get on base at an above-average rate and thus put himself in a position to score.

More specifically, Joe is making a bunch of contact and drawing plenty of walks. He ranks in the 80th percentile or better in chase rate, whiff rate, strikeout rate, and walk rate.

What’s more, and underscoring those developments in a decidedly positive manner, is that he’s also hit leadoff eight times, and third twice this year.





Of Note: Jake Cronenworth.

We need to talk about just how good Jake Cronenworth has been this season. The surface-level stats, which include a .254 average and a .333 on-base percentage, don’t do things justice.

A look at his underlying metrics tells a much different story.

The 30-year-old is sporting a .414 xwOBA and a 15.3% barrel rate in 83 plate appearances so far while dropping his chase rate from 26.4% to 23.6%. He’s also sporting a 13.9% whiff rate, which ranks in the 93rd percentile league-wide.

Speaking of percentile rankings, Cronenworth is one of two players to rank in the 85th percentile or better in whiff rate, xwOBA, xBA, barrel rate, and xSLG.

The other is Yordan Alvarez.

He’s been that good so far, and with a regular lineup spot in the top third of the Padres lineup, the infielder has a very real chance to finish the year as a top-50 player (or better) overall.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Jurickson Profar.

The main beneficiary of hitting after some combination of San Diego’s top four of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth, and Xander Bogaerts this season, Profar has taken full advantage.

And while he’s made plenty of solid contact, this might not be an entirely sustainable situation moving forward from an RBI standpoint. Or rather, it’s something to keep an eye on.

Despite the higher RBI total, 88 different players had more plate appearances with runners in scoring position than Profar entering play on Monday. That list of 88 includes five (!) of his Padres teammates. And while on the one hand that speaks to a deeper lineup, it’s something to watch all the same.


Stolen Bases (SB)



Of Note: Ronald Acuña Jr.

After stealing just one base in his first nine games, Ronald Acuña Jr. reminded the world why he’s one of fantasy baseball’s best (arguably the best depending on who you ask) players.

In a five-game span last week, he proceeded to steal six bases, including three on Tuesday, April 9. It’s league and weekly matchup-winning stuff for fantasy managers both roto and head-to-head leagues. It’s also not surprising at all for a player routinely selected near the very top of draft boards this spring.

And oh yeah, he hit .368 with a .899 OPS, six runs scored, an RBI, and more strikeouts than walks during that stretch.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Players not starting on a regular basis. Also Jake Fraley.

These numbers should look different later in the season with a larger sample size, but due to the date on the calendar now, there are a few potentially misleading metrics to keep in mind here.

Most notably, Dairon Blanco and Bubba Thompson. Neither are regulars for their respective teams and have a combined 21 plate appearances between them.

And while Fraley’s stolen base number isn’t notable due to his lack of playing time, it is notable in the sense that he stole all three bases in the same contest.

The Reds outfielder does have a history of quality stolen base production, with 21 in 111 games last year, but until he starts stealing bases on a more regular basis, his total is going to be propped up by one game’s tally.




Strikeouts (K)



Of Note: Garrett Crochet.

The Garrett Crochet breakout season rolls along. Really the only thing he hasn’t done super well has been limit grounders. The 24-year-old owns a 44.2% ground ball rate so far. But that’s not as glaring of an issue for a starter when said starter is striking out 35.2% of the batters he’s facing and logging a 34.9% whiff rate.

The elite strikeout numbers also come with the added bonus of little in the way of free passes, via just a 4.5% walk rate.

With a CSW rate of 32% or better in each start, Crochet doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. In fact, he’s actually gotten better as the starts have progressed.

Garrett Crochet By Start This Season

However, despite all that brilliance, Crochet has just the one pitcher win so far. With the way they’re currently constructed, the White Sox don’t look likely to supply the former first-round pick with much in the way of pitcher wins, so that’s the only real downside, otherwise Crochet has the look of a top-15 fantasy pitcher moving forward.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Sean Manaea.

Beware the knee-jerk reaction to immediately drop a pitcher after a cataclysmic start. It’s not the most common trend in the fantasy world, but it’s one to avoid if possible after just one outing.

Bailey Ober is a prime example of that. After getting lit up for nine hits, eight earned runs, three home runs, and a walk in only 1.1 innings, the right-hander has responded by allowing just one run in his last 11 innings, striking out 10 batters compared to only two walks.

We could be facing a similar situation with Sean Manaea, who gave up nine hits, eight runs, six earned runs, three walks, and a home run in 3.2 innings during his third start of the season.

(That both Ober and Manaea’s poor starts happened against the Kansas City Royals is likely just a coincidence, but it’s worth noting.)

Before that one outing, though, Manaea had scattered four hits, four walks, and an earned run in two starts spanning 11 innings while striking out 14 batters. He also logged CSW rates of 29% and 31%, respectively, in those starts.

If he was dropped in your league, and your team happens to be pitcher-needy, run to the waiver wire to add him. Like Ober, he’s much better than one poor showing would indicate.





Of Note: Paul Blackburn.

Off to a strong start this season, Paul Blackburn didn’t allow a run in his first three starts. We’ve seen similar stretches before from the hurler. In a nine-start stretch from July 22 through September 8 last year, the hurler allowed two or fewer runs in eight outings en route to a 2.52 ERA in 50 innings.

He also scattered nine runs in his first 47.2 innings (nine starts) to begin the 2022 campaign.

However, both of those seasons ended with Blackburn’s ERA well over the 4.00 mark at 4.28 and 4.43 respectively.

The 30-year-old is usually excellent at inducing a bunch of grounders in part due to his sinker, but low strikeout metrics don’t always help ERA tallies stay on the lower side of things. Blackburn has punched out 6.86 hitters per nine frames in his career and logged just 11 strikeouts in his first 19 innings. He’s worth a look as a streaming option in the right starts, and clearly, an ERA reading three zeroes isn’t anywhere near sustainable, but if his strikeouts stay on the lower side of things, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his ERA in and around the 4.00 mark again come the end of the season.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Reynaldo López

Just like with Garrett Crochet, another member of bullpens of the White Sox past seems to have nailed the switch from pitching in relief to moving into the rotation. Or at the very least, found success early.

Reynaldo López pitched to a 0.75 ERA and a 2.62 FIP in his first two starts, for Atlanta striking out 11 batters while allowing just one earned run. The walks so far, which included five free passes handed out in his first two outings, haven’t been ideal, however, Lopez has also surrendered just one barrel so far.

With a history of missing bats, he struck out 29.9% of batters in a relief role last season, and a spot in Atlanta’s rotation seemingly cemented for now following Spencer Strider’s injury, the former White Sox reliever has all the tools to find fantasy success. He’s a solid waiver wire addition at the moment if available, with the potential to be an impact fantasy starter if everything breaks right.



Wins (W)



Of Note: Tyler Glasnow.

We probably shouldn’t be surprised here. Pairing the pitcher with the third-lowest FIP and third-highest strikeout rate since 2019 with a franchise that has won a minimum of 100 or more games in the last four full seasons, was always going to result in a bunch of pitcher wins.

And that’s exactly what’s happened with Glasnow, who won each of his first three starts in a Dodgers uniform, including seven innings of shutout ball against the Minnesota Twins on April 9, a start in which he scattered just three hits, didn’t walk anybody and struck out 14 batters. If you’re looking for fun, tiny sample-size-related facts, his FIP for that game was -0.80.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Shane Bieber. Also, relievers, relievers, and more relievers, one of whom is Jeff Hoffman.

This list will, undoubtedly, be paired down as the season progresses. But with so few win opportunities (relatively speaking) there are a number of names higher up the leaderboard. One such name is Shane Bieber, who while technically qualifying here, is obviously out for the remainder of the season due to injury, ergo the asterisk mark.

Switching to relievers, while not an exact science the win totals can help somewhat distinguish high-leverage preferences from managers. Maybe not high-leverage hierarchy, or who’s next in line for saves, but it can be a useful exercise as part of the greater puzzle that is identifying stash candidates for saves later in the season.

Speaking of relievers who could potentially step into ninth-inning roles at some point, Jeff Hoffman could potentially earn ninth-inning work sooner rather than later in Philadelphia if recent trends continue.


Quality Starts (QS)



Of Note: José Berríos.

José Berríos‘ disastrous 2022 season continues to fade further and further into the rearview mirror. After a solid bounce-back campaign in 2023, one that came replete with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.99 FIP in 189.2 innings, the 30-year-old hurler has done nothing but continue the positive momentum.

He’s logged a quality start in each of his first four outings this season, logging a 1.05 ERA and a 3.63 in the process. The FIP, a .239 BABIP, and a 50% hard-hit rate point to some obvious regression coming. And like Kevin Ginkel (spoilers incoming), there’s probably a window here to capitalize on Berrios’ fantasy trade value with such a microscopic ERA. However, even if the 29-year-old is closer to his FIP production than his ERA production, he’ll continue to be a solid fantasy starter, regardless of whether you trade him or not.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Seth Lugo.

Like with José Berríos there’s some real regression potential here for Seth Lugo. The hurler posted solid run-prevention metrics in his first three starts with the Royals, logging a 1.45 ERA and a 3.20 FIP in 18.2 innings. However, he also struck out just nine batters during that span while registering a 7.6% swinging strike rate.

Not only are the fewer swings and misses less than ideal for fantasy purposes, but as with Blackburn earlier, they can lead to statistical regression for pitchers who rely on contact.

It’s not a great development for Lugo, despite the low ERA.

The 34-year-old was solid in terms of inducing grounders last year, with a 45.4% ground ball rate, but he logged a respectable 8.61 strikeouts per nine frames despite less than stellar chase (25.9%) and whiff (21.8%) rates. Much of his success came due to limiting walks, as opposing batters managed just a 6.0% walk rate in 2023 against the former Mets pitcher.

That number was at 6.6% after three starts, but the early dip in strikeouts has been particularly worrisome. If you’re doing the math at home, nine strikeouts in 18.2 innings checks out to just 4.34 punchouts per nine frames. Even if Lugo is rattling off quality starts and pitcher wins with a decent ERA, if his strikeouts per nine-inning rate is anywhere below the 7.00 mark, it makes it difficult to roster him outside of 15-team fantasy leagues.


Saves (SV)



Of Note: Kevin Ginkel.

Ginkel has largely provided quality results for the Arizona Diamondbacks and fantasy managers since stepping into the ninth-inning role for an injured Paul Sewald. Through Sunday he’s logged a 2.45 ERA and a 3.34 FIP while turning in 11 strikeouts and a 15.3% swinging strike rate.

But, once Sewald returns from the injured list, all that fantasy value evaporates. Just like with Griffin Jax in Minnesota, now’s the best time to see if you can trade Ginkel. It’s easier said than done with a somewhat limited window of primary ninth-inning work remaining, but if there’s a closer-desperate team in your league, now’s the time to capitalize on


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Ryne Stanek.

Stanek seems to have moved into the role that Andrés Muñoz and Matt Brash operated in during past seasons as the best option for ancillary saves after Seattle’s top closing candidate is needed earlier in the game or unavailable.

Munoz, Diego Castillo, and Erik Swanson combined for 14 saves behind Sewald in 2022, and Brash and Topa combined for seven successful saves last season with Sewald and then Munoz operating as the primary closer.

Translation: ancillary saves seem to be more plentiful in Seattle, and Stanek has been the primary beneficiary of that so far. How long it lasts is another question entirely, considering Brash and eventually Gregory Santos should return from the injured list, but for now, the former Astros hurler looks locked in as a quality, under-the-radar source of saves for fantasy managers.





Of Note: Andrew Abbott.

Abbott seemed like a pitcher to stay away from in drafts during the spring largely due to his extremely hitter-friendly ballpark and the fact that he finished in the 32nd percentile or worse in walk rate (32nd, 9.6%), barrel rate (27th, 9.2%), hard-hit rate (23rd, 42.5%) and ground ball rate (third, 29.9%).

The good news, through three starts, is that Abbott has seemed to figure out the hard-contact bit, at least early in the season. Through three starts, opponents logged just a 26.4% hard-hit rate.

That’s good.

What’s not so good is that his ground ball rate was just 35.3%, his barrel rate was 7.5% and he had just 11 strikeouts and a 6.3% swinging strike percentage in 17.1 innings.

It’s a very similar situation to Seth Lugo in that you should probably consider trading him right about now, except that he also pitches in a launchpad of a home stadium half the time.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues

Of Note: Pitchers in the minors.

This is specifically for fantasy managers with deeper benches, or those with stacked lineups and rotations who are keen to play the long game.

Add Max Meyer and Matt Manning ahead of time. When either returns to the Majors is obviously very much to be determined but both will be priority waiver wire additions when they do return from Triple-A.

The case for Meyer: Arguably Miami’s best starting pitcher this season, the former first-round pick has turned in a 2.12 ERA and a 3.79 FIP in three starts spanning 17 innings this season. He’s only struck out 14 batters, but he’s also allowed just three walks and generated a staggering 23 whiffs on 46 swings and 91 pitches in his last outing against Atlanta.

The case for Manning: He’s only made two starts with the Tigers, both times as the 27th-man for a doubleheader. He doesn’t offer the same swing-and-miss stuff as Meyer, but has limited batters to a 28.1% hard-hit rate so far. The fellow former first-round pick held the Mets without a hit in 5.2 shutout innings in his first start before logging 12 whiffs and a 33% CSW rate in 6.2 innings versus Minnesota nine days later.


Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

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