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Sal Perez isn't striking out, but he's swinging more than ever and his batting average would be a career high. Is that why his fantasy value has been higher in 2017?

Coming into 2017, fantasy owners felt like they had a good handle on Salvador Perez. He was a safe bet to make regular starts at the position who would give you something like a .250 batting average, 20 home runs, 50-60 runs, and 60-70 runs batted in. These totals landed him in the “three star” tier of Baseball Prospectus’ preseason catcher rankings. He was a player who was supplying increasing power at a cost to his batting average.

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June 19, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Evolution and Decline of Francisco Lindor

10

George Bissell

His home runs are up, but what about his batting average and stolen bases? Lindor hasn't been nearly as valuable as in recent seasons, and it seems to stem from an early season power surge.

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Average means different things for different numbers, and the scales are forever sliding.

Last week I began a project: to take every major pitching statistic and look at its distribution along various percentiles, mostly to provide a feel for what a "good" or a "bad" number looks like for many of our important and unintuitive statistics. This isn’t so much a work of analysis as it is a dip in a statistical hot tub, just soaking in the numbers and getting comfortable in them.

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What does average mean for each number? And how long will it take to get used to our new environment?

There’s a reason why batting average is often still, after 150 years, the first number you see attached to a hitter’s name. It’s not because it’s a good stat for measuring a player’s offensive performance: it’s hardly terrible, but there are a dozen better ones. It’s because fans have internalized its value: they can glance at it and quickly establish whether it’s good or not. .310? Pretty great hitter. .220? Not so much. That’s all it takes: no counting, no comparing, just instant verification.

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