OBP Leagues: Studs and Duds

Here at RotoGraphs, we don’t always give too much of our time to OBP leagues. Sad, but true. More and more leagues are converting to OBP, or adding OPS, so it’s about time that we made time for them.

Some players have much more value in OBP leagues, and some have much less. The easiest (or is it the laziest?) way to determine this, is to simply subtract a players’ batting average from their OBP. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Studs
1. Chipper Jones (.141)
2. Josh Willingham (.139)
3. Prince Fielder (.137)
4. Jose Bautista (.127)
5. Kevin Youkilis (.123)

While Bautista has much more value in OBP leagues, his OBP is only around 10 points above average. Chipper, however, is amazing. He is waiver wire fodder in standard leagues, but he needs to be owned in every OBP league. His injury problems mean you’ll need a reliable backup, but when he plays, he reaches base. Willingham is owned in 65% of Yahoo! leagues, so he won’t be widely available. Even though Youkilis and Fielder are big time fantasy players, Bautista and Chipper are nice values in OBP leagues.

The Middle Class
83. Alfonso Soriano (.072)
84. Shane Victorino (.072)
85. Alex Rodriguez (.072)
86. Hideki Matsui (.071)
87. Denard Span (.071)

A-Rod in the middle of the road? Gasp.

The Duds
173. Pedro Feliz (.025)
172. Julio Borbon (.025)
171. Alberto Callaspo (.026)
170. Carlos Gonzalez (.027)
169. Cristian Guzman (.027)

Feliz should never be owned, period, and hasn’t been worth your time since 2007. Borbon is having a nice season, especially after the way he started off, but his value needs to be altered in OBP leagues. The speed is nice, but a .319 OBP isn’t going to cut it. Callaspo has always had a decent walk rate in Kansas City, so his struggles to take a free pass are strange. Guzman’s Nationals career has always been the definition of “empty average”, so this is not a shock. Gonzalez’s walk rate was decent last year, but he’s swinging more while making less contact. Borbon and CarGo both have some value due to their counting stats, but don’t get too excited.




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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

7 Responses to “OBP Leagues: Studs and Duds”

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  1. Byron says:

    Carlos Pena is an excellent example of this, and hid previous years would put him in your top 5. And that’s before you get to his power!

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  2. Thanks for some OBP league love Zach. It’s kind of shocking how little time is spent by fantasy writers talking about OBP leagues, when you consider the rise in the statistic’s popularity over the past decade. I understand folks want to write for a large audience, but if you build it Zach, they will come.

    I find it extremely difficult to be a knowledgeable baseball fan and play in a league that solely counts batting average. In fact, I won’t do it anymore, it just flies in the face of everything I know about the game. Of my two leagues this season, one is strictly OBP and the other counts that and BA. To not count OBP is criminal (well not literally) if you have any understanding of the game. I’ve lobbied to change OBP for OPS in my long running keeper league, but that’s been met with a luke warm response.

    Now if we can get more people on the band wagon, perhaps we can get the “standard five” to one day mean the much more utilitarian OBP.

    Viva Willingham! Viva Youk! Embrace the BB!

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  3. chongo says:

    Joined an OBP league in ’92. Back then I was told by the League Elders simply that it was a better measure of a player’s worth to the team than average.

    Anyway, its been a nice ride because most of the media doesn’t cover it, so to find the good players one had to actually do their own homework and stats- which really provided an opportunity for separation in the league standings.

    In the last few years the Dunns, Custs and Swishers were my saviors.

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  4. Chris20 says:

    The king of the OBP league is Mr. Adam Dunn.

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  5. The_King says:

    I love Dunn, Pena, Swisher (owing them all) but, lets not go overboard. The King is still Pujols who would probably rank 6th or 7th on the above. In addition to a 420+ OBP he is actually running a bit.

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  6. Chris says:

    We are in a league that went to OBP and SLG several years back and I have “owned” Chipper several of those years for his excellent OBP. He has helped my teams greatly. I drafted him this year and even though he can still draw a walk, the .380 SLG% is what I expect out of a speedy MI, not from the corners. I’m glad I drafted Beltre as well, as a back up plan. Sadly, Chipper is no longer on my team.

    I would agree with the Adam Dunn comments too, he is consistanly a highly ranked player in our league. I also like Carlos Santana and Justin Smoak’s plate disipline, if you are in a keeper OBP league.

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