Roster Construction Experimentation: K% vs Barrel%

Let’s do some experimenting. Let’s imagine you drafted a team using only one statistic. What style of baseball are you? Do you love the hitters with speed, bat control, and an eye for tactics? Or, are you more of the home run or strikeout kind of fan? Why can’t you be both, you ask? Well because it’s an experiment and you have to choose one or the other. So…go ahead. Which do you choose? The K% Kings or the Barrel Brothers?

Now that you’ve made your decision, I went ahead and compiled a roster for either choice. Most of these players ended the 2021 season as qualified hitters, so if you ended up drafting a roster like this before the season, maybe you have some kind of AB projection system that you would like to share with the rest of us. I write ‘most of these players’ because of the exception of Elias Diaz (the only qualified catchers were Salvador Perez and J.T. Realmuto). One more point is that some players on these lists are interchangeable. Juan Soto ranked 27th in Barrel% and 17th in K% among qualified hitters. He’s a special one.

Finally, why choose Barrel%? Is that really a statistic that describes home run or K type of hitters? No, not necessarily, but if you look at the lists below, it makes sense. Most of the rostered Barrel Brothers are hard-hitting, sell out for power types. Now, feast your eyes on these two mono-cultures.

K% vs Barrel% Rosters, 2021
K% Kings – Player/POS K% Barrel Brothers – Player/Pos Barrel%
Elias Diaz, C 16.2% Salvador Perez, C 16.3%
Yuli Gurriel, 1B 11.2% Miguel Sano, 1B 17.7%
David Fletcher, 2B 9.0% Brandon Lowe, 2B 14.0%
Kevin Newman, SS 7.4% Fernando Tatis, Jr. SS 21.3%
Adam Frazier, 3B 10.8% Josh Donaldson, 3B 17.4%
Nicky Lopez, MI 13.1% Javier Baez, MI 13.40%
Michael Brantly, OF 10.4% Joey Gallo, OF 18.5%
Raimel Tapia, OF 13.1% Bryce Harper, OF 18.1%
Juan Soto, OF 14.2% Tyler O’Neill, OF 17.90%
Whit Merifield, OF 14.3% Aaron Judge, OF 17.6%
Charlie Blackmon, OF 15.6% Adam Duvall, OF 16.1%

* 2021 K% league average: 23.2%
* 2021 Barrel% league average: 7.9%

If you are looking back at your 2021 roster and saying, “Hey! That was my roster. I was the Barrel Brothers!”, then well done! To draft, or at least spend most of the season, with a team like this would have gotten you decent results on the ABs alone. But, let’s compare how the two teams would have finished the fantasy season:



With the only advantage going to the Kings being stolen bases, this clearly shows that in 2021 drafting based on Barrel% would have given you a much greater advantage. Production is key in fantasy baseball and the Brothers produced. Hit the ball hard, get the barrel on the ball and put fear into your opponent so that they would rather walk you and you’ve got a good system for collecting fantasy statistics.

One has to wonder; is there one all-encompassing metric that will allow me to prepare for 2022’s drafts by simply sorting a column? However, one would also already know the answer; no. Yet, certain ‘single sort stats’ shouldn’t go as unnoticed. The more intellectual types may say, “Oh, just throw it into the model”, but they would be overlooking the value in investigating unique qualities players have. Before you cut Raimel Tapia in your Ottoneu league, notice that he doesn’t strike out much and dig a little deeper from there. Maybe, this is a way to challenge yourself in a few leagues in 2022. Just choose one stat and draft from there like it were your overall rankings (maybe do it in a low-stakes league, though). There are certainly some good team names that could come out of that process. I may just rename one of my teams the Single Stat Sorters and give it a try.


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6 months ago

If you’re going to pick K%, a stat that probably best correlates with BA, why compare OBP instead of BA? Is this just an Ottoneu thing?

6 months ago
Reply to  zurzles

It’s not an Ottoneu thing. The scoring format (“5×5 Old School”) that uses HR, RBI, R, and SB also uses BA rather than OBP.