Do You Need Runs? Do You Want RBI?! You Need Home Runs!

Back in April, I conducted an analysis that looked at which category made the most sense to punt in roto-category scoring leagues. The results proved (somewhat) the offensive category most conducive to that strategy is stolen bases. That’s easy.

But you punted already. The punting is done. That ball ain’t coming back. Now you need to win, win, win! Therefore, you need home runs. When taking the last 15 games of the season from qualified hitters from 2015 to 2019, and limiting the dataset to just the three categories: home runs, runs, and RBI, I get the following correlations:

End of Season Correlation Sums
HR 1.00 0.48 0.69
R 0.48 1.00 0.45
RBI 0.69 0.45 1.00
SUM 2.18 1.94 2.15
Among qualified hitters in their last 15 games, 2015-2019.

Homeruns, late in the season, have the highest sum of correlation. When batters hit home runs in small samples, they’re bringing runners in and scoring runs themselves. No duh. Here are three players that are projected (as of 9/20/21) to hit three more home runs according to our Depth Charts Rest of Season Projections. Now, I know you deep-league players are going to scoff and turn your nose up at these players who have not been available since your draft, but let’s give some love to the churn and burn, shallow leaguers, trying to squeeze out a few more category tens. 

C.J. Cron, Depth Charts ROS: 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R. ESPN Roster %: 70.9. 

Mike Podhorzer’s recent article encourages you to stack up on Rockies hitters for good reason. Pod did not include Cron because he assumed he would be gobbled up by your league mates already. But he recently went 0-for-11 before a two-hit night in Washington followed by another 0-for-3 night. There are surely managers out there that have dropped Cron and are unaware of the fact that he will be hitting in Colorado for nine games, as pointed out by Podhorzer. At home, Cron has batted .315 and on the road, has batted .226. While he is slumping as of late, his second-half .283 average is improved from his first-half .254 and his ROS projections could add a few more needed digits to your totals. 

Miguel Sanó, Depth Charts ROS: 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R. ESPN Roster %: 50.2.

Sano is one of those players, like Cron, that you may just be able to pick up on the wire because other managers have lost faith. But, recently Sano has been on a tear going 6-for-21 with two home runs, four RBI, and five runs. What is there left to say about Sano? He ranks 11th in savant’s Brls/PA% and fourth in average exit velocity. He’s going to hit the ball hard and hopefully, he puts it over the fence three more times as projected. Luckily, you can grab him on a hot streak and, hopefully, won’t have to suffer through too many hitless games the rest of the way. 

Tyler O’Neill, Depth Charts ROS: 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R. ESPN Roster %: 71.8.

This season I have fallen in love with xwOBA and its in-season predictive power. Tyler O’Neill ranks 16th in xwOBA among minimum balls in play qualified hitters. His teammate Paul Goldschmidt is just above him at 15th and since August 15th the Cardinals rank 9th in wOBA. With an offense clicking, a man that looks like he could hit a ball to Greenland, and projections to further the narrative, O’Neill should be rostered on your team the rest of the way.

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wanderlust franco
1 year ago

Great piece. Thanks.