Points Leagues: Risers and Fallers

Players being valued differently in points leagues.

There is an obvious caveat that all Points leagues aren’t created equally. It is the format where customization of scoring rules is most frequently found. Nonetheless, it is generally understood that Points leagues value different aspects of player profiles than those which are coveted in Roto or H2H Categories leagues. In some cases, the disparity between the two can be massive, allowing perceptive fantasy managers to take advantage, unearthing gems and avoiding pitfalls.

Players that aren’t usually heralded in Roto or H2H Categories leagues have new lives in Points leagues. Excellent plate discipline, extra-base hits, and innings pitched are highly desired in points leagues, whereas stolen bases, batting average, and saves don’t play as big of a factor. A player that avoids striking out and walks a lot, a batter that makes up for a lack of homers with an onslaught of doubles, or an innings eater that doesn’t rack up strikeouts are player profiles that are more positively perceived. On the other hand, a diminished premium is placed on stolen base specialists, high-average hitters, and five-and-dive pitchers.

Even still, we are sure to miss players that stand out in individual leagues because the scoring format can differ dramatically from league to league. For example, in my home league, relievers are valued highly because of a limit to games started. Additionally, we account for pitching losses, which devalues pitchers on bad teams. The most unique rule is that we account for hit-by-pitches on both the pitching and hitting sides.

This is all to say that it’s impossible to account for players that will have different valuations in every league, so it’s important to identify the archetype of players that can take advantage of your settings. My biggest piece of advice is to utilize an auction calculator that takes projections and your league settings and spits out a projected points total. In fact, if you sign up for PL Pro, you’ll have access to our Auction Draft Calculator which uses our brand-new PLV-powered projections which are combined with the prolific ATC aggregate projections!

Let’s identify 20 players (10 pitchers and 10 hitters) that will be valued differently in Points leagues.






Anthony Rizzo

Once a premier first baseman in both Roto and Points leagues, Rizzo has leaned towards proficiency in the latter in recent years due to a decline in average (.277 from 2012-19 to .234 from 2020-22) that resulted from a reduced BABIP (.291 to .235 in the last three years) caused by a proclivity to pull the ball in the air. The lefty masher is a borderline top-100 pick in points leagues (top 10 amongst first basemen) but is taken outside the first 150 picks in Roto leagues because of his status as a three-dimensional (HR, R, RBI) roto category supplier. A double-digit BB% and a sub-20% K% are the primary stats propping up his status in Points leagues, but 30-homer power and the ability to stay on the field will play in every format (except for a WorstBall league).


Wander Franco

The young shortstop has played just over 150 games in his Major League career, but in that short time, he’s proven to be one of the most adept at controlling the strike zone. After debuting with a 0.65 BB/K ratio in 2021, Franco mirrored his minor league numbers with a 0.79 mark in 2022. That incredible plate discipline is partnered with gap power that manifests itself in the form of doubles rather than home runs (38 doubles in 153 career games vs. 13 homers). A combination of that sort makes him a monster in Points leagues and somewhat of a disappointment in Roto leagues when considering his prospect pedigree. Rankings prove this as Franco is a borderline top-five shortstop in Points as opposed to being outside of the top 10 in Roto. With so much potential to improve, Franco should be a target in all formats, but he excels the most in Points leagues because they capitalize on his strengths. Oh, and he’s still only 22.


Alex Bregman

Bregman has long been the poster boy of Points leagues. It is mainly due to his ability to walk more than he strikes out, which made him one of just six qualified players to do so in 2022. Expressing his track record of doing so, he maintains the best BB/K ratio in all of baseball since 2018 (1.14), just barely ahead of plate discipline legend Juan Soto (1.13) and Luis Arraez (1.05), the only other players with more walks than strikeouts since 2018. Since his juiced ball-aided 40-homer 2019 campaign, Bregman has proven to lack long-ball power. That didn’t stop him from blasting 23 in 2022 with a little bit of help from the Crawford Boxes. Regardless, he makes up for the lack of bombs by lacing double after double (38 in 2022 and 51 in 2018) which go unaccounted for in Roto leagues. His skillset makes him a top-40 pick in Points leagues and puts him outside the top 75 in Roto leagues. He goes from being above average at a scarce position to being elite in Points leagues.


Steven Kwan

This is the player that might benefit the most from the format change. Kwan can be considered a 2.5-category contributor in Roto leagues because he hits for a great average atop the lineup, giving him plenty of opportunities to cross home plate, and can steal 15-20 bases. However, that stolen base total isn’t what you’d usually expect from a player with his skillset, and on top of that, his power production is a detriment. Wrap that up into one player and you have an outfielder that is taken outside the first 25 outfielders. In Points leagues, however, Kwan is a god. Garnering most of his Points league value by walking more than he strikes out, Kwan also makes up for his detrimental lack of bombs by ripping doubles and legging out triples. His 25 doubles don’t immediately stand out, but when you consider the fact that he turned seven of them into triples (tied for second in baseball), you begin to realize how valuable he is in his go-to format. Somehow boosted to top-10 outfielder status in the Points format, Kwan won’t be taken as high as he should in those leagues because of how shocking it is to make him a near top-50 pick.


Masataka Yoshida 

Coming over from Japan, it’s difficult to accurately project how Yoshida’s skills will transfer to the States. 20-homer power could turn into single-digit power and a .330 average could be more like .270 in MLB. One thing we do know is that he’ll make up for any regression in Points leagues because of his eye at the plate. If you thought it was impressive that Bregman and Kwan walked more than they struck out, then you’ll be flummoxed to find out that Yoshida not only walks twice as much as he strikes out, but he’s also done so for three consecutive seasons in NPB. That level will be difficult to reach in MLB, but it is more than a good enough baseline from which to build. If his borderline power turns homers into doubles, Roto managers will upsettingly miss out on any value, but Points league managers will accept them graciously. Yoshida is one of my targets in the Points format, and the consensus seems pretty clear on that front given that he’s being taken nearly 100 picks earlier in that format.




Charlie Morton

As Morton gets older, his viability in all formats is fading. Entering his age-39 campaign, there is still a disparity in his production from format to format. He doesn’t fit the typical mold of a Points league savant, but breaking down his profile reveals the assets that make him a strength in the format. He strikes out a lot of batters (28.4% K% since 2021) but doesn’t do so at the expense of innings pitched (at least 170 IP since 2019, excluding ’20). Additionally, he’s no longer elite with his rate stats, producing a 4.34 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 2022. Those rate stats drag him outside the top 45 pitchers in Roto leagues, but his volume and strikeouts make him a borderline top-30 starter in Points leagues. The big question is whether the veteran can forego the slow start he trudged through each of the past two seasons, but if he’s the same pitcher he was last year, he’ll rack up a ton of points.


Lucas Giolito

While I’m high on Giolito in all formats heading into 2023, going as far as to name him a Chicago White Sox sleeper, I’m even more bullish on him in Points leagues. His 2022 was very similar to Morton’s, where he put up poor ratios (4.90 ERA, 1.44 WHIP), but still surpassed 160 innings and struck out a quarter of batters. While that obviously won’t be good in any league this year, a bounceback is in the cards and would make Giolito enticing in the Points format. Most projections aren’t expecting his strikeouts to return in full (ATC: 26% K%), but if he can avoid the blowups that plagued him last year, he’ll surpass 170 innings with ease, providing volume that makes him a near top-30 starter in Points leagues.


Kyle Wright

It will be a tall task for Wright to repeat his breakout 2022 campaign. Much of his value resided in beings the league’s only 20-game winner. If the run support isn’t as prevalent in 2023, Wright will still have success in points leagues if he can build upon the 180 innings he pitched in 2022. He’s in the top 25 of projected 2023 innings pitched (176) according to ATC which will help him make up for a strikeout rate (23.6%) that is above average but isn’t quite elite.  Surprisingly, Wright is being drafted relatively equally across all formats, so I can’t tell if he needs to be taken higher in Points leagues or lower in Roto leagues. Either way, he’s clearly better in one format over the other.


José Berríos

If Bregman has long been the poster boy for hitters that are better in Points leagues, then Berríos is his pitching counterpart. Well, he was until last year when he never got on track and finished the year with a 5.23 ERA across 172 innings. Prior to that, he was a pitcher that averaged a 3.71 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate and 190 innings pitched. That profile screams “Points league riser” because the innings are the best things he brings to the table and he’s only above average everywhere else. No projection system is expecting a full bounceback (ATC: 4.27 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 21.7% K%), but it’s still clear that he’s close to being a top-50 starter in Points leagues whereas his projections suggest a post-250 pick in Roto leagues. Come for the Points league value, stay for the 2023 comeback.


Merrill Kelly

This list of risers has made one thing clear: pitchers with a mediocre strikeout rate, decent ratios, and a boatload of innings will thrive in Points leagues. No player matches that profile more so than Kelly. One of just eight pitchers to surpass 200 innings in 2022, Kelly did so while striking out just 22% of batters but was able to maintain a sub-3.40 ERA and sub-1.15 WHIP throughout the year. His disparity between formats is set to become even more apparent in 2023 as projection systems expect his strikeout rate to regress to his career levels (20.8%) while being a top-15 innings eater (ATC: 182 IP). It will be difficult for him to repeat his career-best season, but a low-4.00 to high-3.00 ERA would make him a top-50 starter in Points leagues.






Jazz Chisholm Jr.

The cover athlete for the newest edition of MLB The Show, Chisholm has a lot going for him in 2023. That list doesn’t include being good in Points leagues. The rising star is one of the highest-upside Roto options, as he provides 30-30 potential and will have 2B and OF eligibility early in the 2023 campaign, making him a top-five option among 2B-eligible players and a top-50 pick in Roto leagues. That being said, he’s not the same in the Points format, barely sneaking inside the top 10 second basemen and often being picked outside the top 100. It’s largely due to the fact that he had an 18th percentile strikeout rate (27.4%) in 2022, which was an improvement on his career rate. He doesn’t make up for that by walking an exceptional amount either. Despite that, I’m expecting a breakout season for Chisholm, going as far as to predict he wins the NL MVP Award. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s a faller in Points leagues.


Bobby Witt Jr.

Witt is looking like a Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon with the amount of helium he’s receiving during the draft season. This blurb is not only pointing out that Witt is worse in Points leagues, but also that he’s being taken way too early. His average draft position is seven on NFBC whereas it’s outside the top 40 in ESPN leagues. Now, that disparity is largely due to the fact that ESPN harbors Points leagues while NFBC is often Roto-based. Nonetheless, it reveals the difference in his value across formats and shows how aggressive high-stakes drafters are being with him. The stolen bases he provides push up his Roto cost, which aren’t nearly as coveted in Points leagues. The most egregious knock on Witt Jr. is his plate discipline. Chisholm has poor plate discipline, yet his 0.32 BB/K rate was nearly 50% better than Witt’s 0.22 mark. It will be difficult for Witt to live up to his first-round hype and he’ll be miles away from that level in Points leagues. Don’t get fooled!


Tim Anderson

Understanding archetypes of players that excel or underperform in Points leagues is the crux of dominating the format. Anderson is one of the archetypical players and is the antithesis of Bregman. He has a storied career of awful plate discipline (career 0.15 BB/K), gets pumped up in Roto drafts because he provides some steals and consistently bats over .300 (.318 AVG since 2019), and lacks impactful power both inside (surpassed 30 doubles just once in his career and has just three triples since 2019) and outside of the field’s fences (max of 18 HR since 2019). A consensus top 100 pick in Roto leagues, Anderson is barely among the top 15 shortstops in Points leagues and there’s nothing to suggest that changes in 2023.


Tyler O’Neill

My background of preferring Points leagues led me to severely doubt O’Neill’s 2021 breakout because of his 31.3% K% and 7.1% BB%. I ended up being right and I’m still leaning the same way for 2023. The hulking outfielder posted a career-best BB/K ratio (0.37) in 2022 but was still unable to repeat his ’21 success. It’s mostly that plate discipline that has me avoiding in Points leagues, but he also gets artificially boosted because of his power-speed potential and his massive biceps. Given that there’s also plenty of competition in the Cardinals outfield and O’Neill has struggled to stay healthy, playing over 100 games just once in his career, I’m fading O’Neill in every format. He’s just especially unappealing in Points leagues.


Adolis García 

What do you get when you combine the plate discipline of Anderson with the power of O’Neill? Adolis García! While his glove and power will keep him in the lineup, García’s standing as a Major League hitter is not sound. At this point, it wouldn’t take much for him to become a below-average hitter. 2021’s breakout 31-homer campaign was actually below average according to wRC+ because of his low OBP and lack of contact. This is to say that García is much more fantasy viable than he is in real life. Without his exceptional fielding (which fell off in 2022), García would struggle to find a role as a regular in the Majors. Most importantly, his skillset is a detriment in Points leagues, making him a player that’s taken almost 100 picks later in that format compared to Roto.




Jacob deGrom 

We’ve identified our archetypes for rising hitters, rising pitchers, and falling hitters, so it’s due time we uncover the archetypical falling pitcher. deGrom is the perfect example of a pitcher that is less valuable in Points leagues. As one of the best pitchers on a per-inning basis, deGrom is incredible when he’s on the mound, so if you combine his production with replacement production, you still have an amazing pitcher. Regardless, you need volume to rack up points, and injury-plagued pitchers aren’t going to provide that. The strikeouts and ratios he tallies while on the mound will certainly have an impact in a Roto league where keeping a sample size small can actually pay off. In Points leagues, it’s too risky to pass up the certainty of innings you get with other top 10 pitchers for a guy that hasn’t reached 100 innings since 2019. If you draft him, you have to have a contingency plan, and you’ll certainly be kicking yourself when he inevitably faces another injury.


Tyler Glasnow 

Glasnow has a case for being the most unappealing Points league pitcher. First of all, he’s coming off of Tommy John surgery and will have his innings limited. Second of all, his innings ceiling was capped anyway, as his career-high was 111.2 IP in 2018. Third of all, the Rays limit all of their starters’ innings and will prevent him from going deep into games when he is on the mound. That last point is what makes deGrom more appealing than Glasnow because when he is available, he’ll go deep into games, something Glasnow likely won’t be doing often. The cherry on top is that Glasnow’s strikeout upside (36% K% since 2019) makes him extremely coveted in Roto leagues, creating a larger disparity between formats. It’s usually smart to steer clear of TJ returnees, but it’s extra smart to do so in Points leagues when that player has a history of innings limits and pitches for the restrictive Rays.


Clayton Kershaw

Are you starting to see a theme? The future Hall-of-Famer is not the pitcher he once was. Injuries have forced the southpaw to reduce his workload since he pitched 232.2 innings in 2015. Since then, his career high is 178.1 IP, and he’s failed to surpass even 130 innings in each of the past three years. He’s in the same boat as deGrom, meaning he’ll be great when he’s on the mound, but you won’t see him as often as you’d like. His per-inning production makes him a top-30 starter in Roto leagues, but his lack of volume makes him more of a borderline top-50 starter in Points leagues. He won’t go that late because of his pedigree and the replacement player factor, but he still has clearly diminished value.


Chris Sale

It’s hard to tell if Sale is more like deGrom or Kershaw. Is he past his prime and needs to reduce his workload, or is he an injury-plagued ace that just needs health to dominate? It’s probably a mix of the two. Either way, Sale has tossed fewer than 50 innings since 2019 and wasn’t even topping 160 innings from 2018-19. It’s up in the air if Sale is still himself after missing so much time in recent years, and that makes it even more nerve-wracking to gamble on him. All that was pointed out about replacement player factors and per-inning production previously can also be attached to Sale. He contains the most uncertainty because we haven’t seen a lot of him and he likely has the lowest innings ceiling among the three veteran former All-Stars in this portion.


Dustin May

It was great to see May return from Tommy John surgery for 30 innings at the end of last year, but that doesn’t change the outlook on him in Points leagues. He’s still the same pitcher that has yet to pitch more than 56 innings in a Major League season. He’ll continue to be limited in his first full season back from surgery and likely already had a severe innings cap anyway. Lastly, the upside he hinted at obtaining to start the 2021 campaign could look like a small sample size fluke in just a few months, so banking on a boost from his per-inning production is a fool’s errand. The ADP disparity between NFBC (157) and ESPN (206) discloses how each platform values innings from unproven players. May will be an exciting pitcher to draft when he’s fully recovered and is hinting at 150+ innings, but in 2023, that isn’t the case.


Photos by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire and Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List, is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub, and does playing time analysis at BaseballHQ. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic.

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