Fantasy Baseball Category Power Rankings 5/24

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 these two formats, 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.)



And here’s the 15-team, SGP data:



12-Team Leagues



And now for the 12-team, SGP data:



Category Power Rankings


Batting Average (AVG)





Of Note: Isaac Paredes.

Paredes has long outperformed lower barrel, xwOBA, and hard-hit rates (really just lower quality of contact rates in general) to post strong power numbers.

Okay, so perhaps he hasn’t been doing it for that long, but Paredes does have respective home run tallies of 31 and 20 the last two seasons despite never seeing his xwOBA (or xwOBAcon) finish above .320 or his barrel rate top 7.0%. His hard-hit rate has finished at 38.7% and 28.5% respectively.

But that’s not what all this is about. This is more about Paredes’ BABIP finally being a bit more on the fortunate side of things.

A few weeks back, Paredes was mentioned in this column as someone to consider trading away given his once again lower expected and quality of contact metrics. That’s still essentially the case, but perhaps even more so now considering his BABIP and average have jumped from .311 and .294 respectively to .336 and .309.

In the past, Paredes’ BABIP has never finished about .280 in the Majors, including a .257 metric in 571 plate appearances. Maintaining a higher BABIP is certainly possible, given the infielder’s penchant for high walk rates and lower strikeout, chase, and whiff rate metrics, but this seems to be another arrow pointing towards a sign that says “make a trade.”



Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Kevin Pillar.

Pillar’s name appeared in last week’s deep league waiver wire column and he’s done nothing but produce at an above-average rate for the Angels, posting a 1.238 OPS and a 250 wRC+ in his first 40 plate appearances for the American League West franchise.

With Taylor Ward and Jo Adell entrenched in the outfield corners, it’s a bit of a timeshare in center field (though one that has favored Pillar recently in terms of playing time) between the former Blue Jays outfielder and Mickey Moniak.

With a career 88 wRC+ and a career-best .314 on-base percentage in a full season, much of this production isn’t sustainable (Pillar also owns a .519 BABIP since his first game with the Angels on May 1) but the veteran outfielder is worth a look in the short-term as a streaming option for the time being.


On-Base Percentage (OBP)





Of Note: Colton Cowser.

After a torrid start to the season in which he hit .303 with a .372 on-base percentage and six home runs in 86 plate appearances through the end of April, Cowser hit just .233 in his first 54 plate appearances in May.

But, he’s still drawing walks at a high rate, as evidenced by a 16.7% walk rate during that span, maintaining his place as a surefire starter in most leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring.

While his 12.9% barrel rate in his first 54 May plate appearances isn’t quite as high as his 20.4% barrel rate before the month started, it’s nonetheless an encouraging sign despite the drop in batting average. With a regular role in a loaded Baltimore lineup, Cowser should be just fine moving forward.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: LaMonte Wade Jr.

Since 2010, only 20 times has a hitter (minimum 300 plate appearances in a season) finished the year with an on-base percentage over the .430 mark.

Really, due to repeat performances, it’s just a 10-player list in terms of those who’ve accomplished the feat in that span. The 10 players? Miguel Cabrera, Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Joey Votto, José Bautista, Paul Goldschmidt, and Troy Tulowitzki.

Wade Jr., who looks well on his way to topping the 300 plate appearance mark for the third time in four years, has a very real shot at joining that exclusive group.

A .425 BABIP is no doubt currently aiding his cause, but the first baseman and outfielder is also sporting a 20.5% walk rate and a 90th or better percentile ranking in each of the following statistical categories: xwOBA, xBA, chase rate, and walk rate.

He’s got a real chance at it, especially if the BABIP stays more on the helpful side of things.


Home Runs (HR)





Of Note: Taylor Ward.

A must-start at this point, Ward is in the midst of a career-best year, one that could see him significantly outperform his 2022 metrics, which included a .281 average, a .360 on-base percentage, 23 home runs, and five stolen bases in 564 plate appearances.

If the season ended today, the outfielder would walk away with new career highs in xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, and xwOBAcon. Furthermore, he’s already at 21 barrels after logging 23 all of last season.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Michael Busch.

Busch got off to a torrid start at the plate this season, particularly where home runs and barrels were concerned.

Through the end of April, he was hitting .266 with a .333 on-base percentage, six home runs, and 10 barrels, good for a 16.1% barrel rate on 62 batted ball events. It was an extremely encouraging start for the rookie, who never saw consistent plate appearances in Los Angeles at the Major League level due to the Dodgers’ loaded lineup.

Unfortunately for fantasy managers starting Busch, the rest of the league has seemingly adjusted. Busch is batting just .208 with a .323 on-base percentage in his first 62 plate appearances of May, collecting just one home run and a pair of barrels. Most concerning is that the infielder’s strikeout rate was 40.3% during that span.

Given his upside and fantasy eligibility at both first base and third base, Busch probably isn’t someone to consider dropping, but now might be the time to start looking for interim fantasy options at either corner infield position.


Runs Scored (R)





Of Note: Anthony Volpe.

Volpe’s hot start to the season has cooled somewhat. And while he’s hitting leadoff for the Yankees, something that should guarantee him solid counting stats, it’s worth noting that 20 of his 29 runs scored came prior to May 1. Elsewhere, he’s seen his strikeout rate (27.3%) jump in the month of May after it was just 19.9% prior to that. He’s also stolen only two bases in his first 17 games in May after logging eight in March and April. Both the strikeout and stolen base trends could end up being outliers when all is said and done this season, but both are worth keeping in mind as the summer months progress.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Abraham Toro.

With a .295 average, a 17.3% strikeout rate, a .344 BABIP, and an xwOBA hovering around league average, Toro’s production is probably mostly BABIP-aided at this point.

Still, he’s hitting leadoff on a regular basis in Oakland for the A’s. And even though the A’s entered play this week with the seventh-lowest runs scored number in the league, hitting at the very top of any lineup is going to do wonders for a player’s fantasy prospects, particularly where runs scored are concerned given the uptick in plate appearances and the team’s best hitters following him in the order.

That’s exactly the case here with Toro. And while he might not be a long-term solution for fantasy managers, his BABIP and fantasy eligibility at multiple infield spots make him a quality streaming option in most leagues.







Of Note: Vinnie Pasquantino.

After hitting just .108 with a .214 on-base percentage and a -1 wRC+ in his first 42 plate appearances this season through April 9, Pasquantino has more than made up for the slow start. In his next 145 plate appearances, the slugger hit .266 with a .338 on-base percentage, five home runs, 19 total extra-base hits, and a walk rate (10.3%) approaching his strikeout rate (13.1%).

A constant as the Royals’ third hitter this season, he’s been the main beneficiary of Maikel Garcia’s breakout season, and Bobby Witt Jr. getting even better. Both, as you’ll see in a bit, currently rank in the top 10 in the league in stolen bases, giving Pasquantino a pretty safe floor for RBI production moving forward.

What’s more, with Salvador Perez (and his Statcast page awash in bright red stats) following Pasquantino in the lineup most nights, there’s considerable run-scored potential here as well.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Joey Meneses.

Meneses has mostly been a constant in the middle of the Washington Nationals lineup this season as all but seven of his starts have come either batting third or fourth.

With that in mind, and CJ Abrams and Jesse Winker hitting ahead of him, that should lead to a decent amount of RBI opportunities. However, Meneses has so far managed just a 5.7% barrel rate and a 60 wRC+. Neither is obviously a fantasy counting stat, but it’s rare to see (for fantasy purposes) hitters log quality RBI totals with such low marks in both categories over the course of a season. Now might be the time to try trading the slugger if he’s on your fantasy roster.


Stolen Bases (SB)





Of Note: Johan Rojas.

Rojas has struggled at the plate at times this season, hitting just .231 with a .275 on-base percentage, two home runs, and a 69 wRC+ in 141 plate appearances. He’s certainly made the most of his opportunities on the base paths this season, with 11 stolen bases, including four in his last nine games.

And while that recent run of success – he’s also hitting .286 in 31 plate appearances during those 10 games – makes him worth a look as a streaming option, it’s fair to wonder how consistently he’ll start for the Phillies if his form at the plate reverts back to its season-long trends.

That’s mainly due to the somewhat crowded nature of the outfield portion of the Phillies depth chart, which also includes Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh, Whit Merrifield, and Cristian Pache.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Brenton Doyle.

Doyle, like many other Colorado Rockies hitters, is decidedly more effective at the plate at home compared to on the road. Case in point, Doyle is batting .352 with a .432 wOBA and a 153 wRC+ at Coors Field compared to a .211 batting average, a .269 wOBA, and a 73 wRC+ away from Coors Field.

Incidentally, the notable home and road splits have trickled down into Doyle’s stolen base tally this season. Just three of his nine stolen bases have come on the road. The splits last season, in which nine of Doyle’s stolen bases came on the road, weren’t quite as extreme, but it’s something to monitor moving forward.




Strikeouts (K)





Of Note: Corbin Burnes.

After striking out 11 batters in his first start of the season all the way back on March 28, Burnes had yet to strike out more than six batters in an outing.

Of course, he also posted a 2.68 ERA and a 3.54 FIP during that span, to go along with a trio of pitcher wins for a decidedly very good Orioles team, so there wasn’t an overwhelming cascade of alarm bells going off.

Still, striking out 11 batters in his most recent outing against the Seattle Mariners was certainly a good sign. Against Seattle, Burnes scattered seven hits and an earned run in six innings. His FIP for the particular outing? -0.03.

See any minute cause for concern for his overall fantasy ceiling? One that would be impacted by a sudden drop in strikeouts? It’s fading farther and farther into the rearview mirror, though it really wasn’t much of a thing to begin with.

Elsewhere in more encouraging news, Burnes’ cutter (averaging 95.1 mph) and sinker (averaging 96.3 mph) have both actually seen upticks in average velocity after finishing last year with respective averages of 94.4 mph and 95.3 mph. He’s also posting the 11th-best CSW rate in the league at 32%.

And oh yeah, after that recent start, his strikeouts per nine innings metric is up to 9.05, right up near the 9.29 it was last season.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Reid Detmers.

After a strong start in which he allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his first four starts, Detmers’ run-prevention stats have ballooned considerably. After that four-start stretch and an outing at home against Baltimore in which he allowed four earned runs in a season-high seven innings, Detmers allowed 35 hits, 11 walks, and seven home runs in his next five starts spanning 27.2 innings.

He’s still missing bats at a reasonably high rate, striking out 26 batters and logging a 13.3% swinging strike percentage in those 27.2 innings but the sudden uptick in ERA and FIP certainly aren’t ideal.

From April 22 through May 19, Detmers allowed 11 barrels on 90 batted ball events, good for a 12.2% barrel rate. Not good.

The strikeout upside is nice, but it’s hard to recommend starting Detmers in fantasy lineups at the moment outside of the most pitcher-friendly matchups.







Of Note: Tyler Anderson.

Anderson was mentioned last month in this column as someone to consider trading due to some potentially incoming statistical regression. That was on April 26.

Anderson has certainly continued to produce fantasy-wise, with a 3.77 ERA in his next five starts. However, that stretch also included just a 20.3% strikeout rate, a 4.39 FIP, and a 10.1% barrel rate.

In many ways, Anderson actually makes for a better trade candidate now than before in terms of capitalizing on his fantasy trade value. The larger sample size and four pitcher wins in nine starts have something to do with that, but this is still a pitcher who’s striking out fewer than seven batters per nine innings (6.39 to be exact) and is sporting both a .204 BABIP and a FIP (4.50) that is perilously close to doubling his ERA (2.72).


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Luis Gil.

Let’s talk about Luis Gil’s walk rate so far. It’s at 13.6%. Combined with the fact that he’s also not getting batters to chase out of the zone too much with just a 24.4% chase rate, it’s certainly not ideal.

Okay, have we talked about that enough? Good.

That’s not to skate over the walks, and the lower chase rate, in particular, is something to keep an eye on. However, the 25-year-old has otherwise been excellent this season, striking out 70 batters in 55.1 innings while ranking in the 80th percentile or better in whiff rate, strikeout rate, xERA, xBA, and hard-hit rate.

Per FanGraphs, through Sunday he was in the top 10 in the league in Stuff+ among qualified starters while also sitting in the top 10 in strikeout rate (31.2%). Tyler Glasnow, Jared Jones, and Dylan Cease were the only other three starters to appear on both lists.

Like Trevor Megill (more on him in a bit), Gil needs to be rostered in significantly more fantasy leagues. Waiver wire must add, league winner, and impact fantasy starter. They all apply.


Wins (W)





Of Note: Carlos Rodón.

After a down, injury-shortened season in 2023, Rodon is having a quality, bounce-back fantasy season.

The 31-year-old has pitched to a 3.27 ERA and a 4.46 FIP in 55 innings while striking out 55 batters compared to 16 walks and nine home runs allowed.

Pitching with the run support of a Yankees lineup that is fourth in the league is the real key bit here in terms of Rodon’s fantasy upside, papering over the ERA and FIP difference. Still, Rodon isn’t without upside. As of the beginning of play Monday he was sixth in the league in Stuff+ among qualified starters with a 118 number, per FanGraphs, behind only Jared Jones, Hunter Greene, Logan Gilbert, Dylan Cease, and Corbin Burnes.

Despite the aforementioned ERA and FIP differences, Rodon isn’t a fantasy trade candidate by any stretch. In fact, given the Stuff+, he might even be someone to consider trading for as a secondary player in a larger trade.

Because while he’s also allowed nine home runs this season, a potential point of worry, three came in a May 2 start in Baltimore against the Orioles while a further two more came in an April 3 outing in Arizona versus the Diamondbacks.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Chris Paddack.

From a surface-level standpoint, Paddack’s 3.99 FIP, 21.1% strikeout rate, and 4.5% walk rate point to a pitcher very much worth a look in deeper fantasy formats, as well as a potential trade target in general for fantasy managers considering his 4.47 ERA and .350 BABIP.

All of those things can be, and are, true. But, it’s worth considering the right matchups to deploy Paddack in.

He was excellent against the Seattle Mariners on May 8 and the Chicago White Sox on April 22, striking out 10 batters in each start. Against the Mariners, Paddack scattered eight hits (including a home run), an earned run, and a walk over 5.1 innings. Against the White Sox, he allowed just six hits in seven shutout innings.

And while those strong outings against the team with the highest strikeout rate (Seattle) and lowest collective wRC+ (Chicago) were promising, Paddack also surrendered 12 hits, nine earned runs, two homers, and a walk in 5.1 innings in Baltimore the outing before the White Sox start. The Yankees pushed across 12 hits, five earned runs, two walks, and a home run in five innings against the right-hander in Minnesota the outing after his start against the Mariners.

Furthermore, despite the pair of 10-strikeout games, Paddack has struck out exactly two batters in three of his outings this season.

So, in short, certainly, add him via waivers, but maybe only utilize him in the matchups with lineups who are prone to extended struggles.


Quality Starts (QS)





Of Note: Tanner Houck.

Houck isn’t posting the eye-catching strikeout tallies that he did earlier in his career. The 28-year-old is in the midst of his third consecutive season with a strikeout per nine innings rate somewhere roughly between 8.00 and 9.00.

And while a return to bat-missing metrics of that ilk would vault him into elite fantasy territory, Houck has (in part) made up for the relatively diminished strikeout totals by becoming elite at limiting mistakes.

He’s handed out just 11 walks and surrendered one more home run than you or I have at the Major League level this season while holding batters to a 3.7% barrel rate. Speaking of the barrels, Houck has allowed just six this season. Of those six, four (!) came in one start against the Angels on April 12. That start is looking more and more like an outlier the more time goes by.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Austin Gomber.

Gomber has allowed more than three earned runs in a start just twice this season. Both times he allowed… four runs. That type of surface-level production makes him worth a look in deeper formats, but the various signs of incoming statistical regression are concerning.

The 4.81 FIP through 50.2 innings, when paired with his 3.02 ERA, is one such cause for concern. So too is a .238 BABIP.

A 37.4% hard-hit rate isn’t the worst metric, but a 9.7% barrel rate is a tad high.

There’s also the venue that is Coors Field looming large behind all this. That Gomber routinely induces ground balls is a plus, but the fact that he has to make half of his starts at Coors causes his fantasy viability outside deeper leagues to all but evaporate. Admittedly, that’s true of many starters, but sporting such a low BABIP, a high FIP, and an equally high barrel rate isn’t a recipe for success in Colorado.


Saves (SV)





Of Note: David Bednar.

David Bednar has, simply put, not given up much in the way of barrels in his career. The veteran reliever has allowed nine or fewer barrels in each of his three full Major League seasons.

This year, he’s up to six barrels allowed through his first 18.1 innings of work.

Understandably, that’s led to a spike in run-prevention (his ERA and FIP are at 7.85 and 4.28 respectively through 18.1 innings) and home runs (Bednar’s home runs allowed per nine innings rate is at 1.47).

It’s a concerning trend, though it has the potential to be a blip on the radar all things considered when taking Bednar’s track record into account. Still, if the trend continues it would significantly impact the right-hander’s fantasy upside, even if he’s still getting regular save work in Pittsburgh and even if his strikeout and walk numbers remain reasonably close to where they are now – and thus close to where they’ve been the past few years.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Trevor Megill.

Similar to James McArthur in last week’s column, Megill not being rostered in more leagues is on the surprising side of things. Through Sunday he was tied, incidentally with Bednar, for the league lead in saves in the month of May and had struck out 13 of the 45 batters he’d faced during that span.

What’s more, Megill threw perfect innings in five of his 11 outings and logged a 1.54 ERA and a 2.79 FIP during the same span. Overall, he’s posted a 14.4% swinging strike percentage.

Furthermore, just one other Brewers pitcher has a save this month. That’d be Kevin Hergert, who logged a save of the three-inning variety.







Of Note: Ronel Blanco.

The walks – including 3.99 per nine innings and an overall 11.1% walk rate – are still probably a little high. But, Blanco has continued to find success in the rotation by limiting other mistakes in the form of barrels and hard contact.

The right-hander has limited batters to a 5.7% barrel rate, a 35.2% hard-hit rate, and just a .302 xwOBAcon so far. The barrel rate and xwOBAcon in particular are down considerably from last season, when they finished at 11.8% and .396 respectively.

An increase in changeups certainly hasn’t hurt. After throwing the offering just 9.0% of the time in 2023, its usage rate has climbed to 31.4% this year. Blanco’s second-most utilized pitch after his four-seamer, the changeup is holding batters to just a .233 xwOBA and a .227 xSLG so far while sporting a 36.3% whiff rate and a +5 run value.


Rostered in 50% or Fewer Leagues



Of Note: Landon Knack.

Knack is more of a stash candidate for fantasy managers in deeper leagues with slightly extended benches given the fact that he’s currently with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.

However, the 26-year-old showed reasonably well in terms of limiting mistakes in his first taste of big league action, logging a 7.2% walk rate and limiting batters to just a 6.8% barrel rate so far. Even if his strikeout totals were to stay on the lower side of things if he gets another extended opportunity in the Majors – Knack logged a 19.3% strikeout rate and a 24.8% whiff rate with the Dodgers this season – there’s plenty of fantasy upside here.

This is mainly due to the pairing of limiting mistakes and pitching with the support of the Dodgers’ loaded lineup. It’s a recipe we’ve seen work before from a fantasy standpoint, particularly with Tyler Anderson in 2022.

When Knack’s next extended opportunity in the Majors might come remains to be seen. The Dodgers currently have Bobby Miller set for rehab outings, and sport a rotation featuring Tyler Glasnow, James Paxton, Walker Buehler, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Gavin Stone. Still, the upside is hard to ignore with Knack, particularly considering how rare it is to find this kind of upside in deeper or National League-only leagues.


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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