I was recently mulling over the relative importance of a batter accumulating a lot of walks and/or being a consistent contact hitter.
So my question is this: Does plate discipline and ability to put the ball in play matter? (in a fantasy baseball context only)
From fangraphs, let's look at the free swingers (highest percentage of pitches outside the strike zone swung at). They are ranked by O-Swing % then I also put their ESPN player rater ranking (which I think is the best overall measure of fantasy performance):
Vladimir Guerrero: 49.8 % - 9.47
Carlos Gonzalez - 44.0 % - 7.21
Jeff Francoeur - 42.9 % - 2.25
Alex Gonzalez - 42.4 % - 6.35
Pablo Sandoval - 41.6 % - 2.03
For a measure of ability to stay at the plate and make contact, let's look at K% leaders (who strikes out the MOST):
David Wright - 39.0 % - 7.19
Mark Reynolds - 38.2 % - 5.95
Will Venable - 35.7 % - 4.00
Justin Upton - 34.2 % - 5.75
Cameron Maybin - 32.6 % - 2.26
For context, a player rating of over 5.50 puts a hitter in the top 50
My conclusion is: Go ahead and swing for the fences. Go ahead and strike out. In fantasy baseball, strikeouts don't hurt any more than a line drive to CF. But I guess we already knew that. The stats just show that it's possible to swing at a lot of balls, strike out a lot, and still be successful on a fantasy team.
So what are the peripheral stats that do support good FANTASY baseball performance?
I guess a high BABIP coupled with a high LineDrive % is commonly used. What else is out there?