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For those of you that have followed my team outlooks on each major-league team, I thought I might take some time to explain the idea behind AVH (average hit). Slugging percentage has been the standard for many years in baseball to show a player's value in producing power. Last year the major-league average for slugging percentage was .417. This number really doesn't give a Fantasy owner a real feel for a player's value or even possible growth or decline in this area. AVH = singles plus doubles X 2 plus triples X 3 and home runs X 4 or total bases divided by hits. Here’s a look at the final team totals for each team in major league baseball in 2016 sorted by AVH:
It surprising to see Tampa on the top of the list, but they had a low hit total with plenty of added doubles and triples to go along with their 216 home runs. The major-league average for AVH in 2017 was 1.635, which equates to about 187 HRs per team or a HR every 29.5 at bats.
Last year there were 45 players had a slugging percentage of over .500 with 300 at bats or more. Here’s a look at those players ranked by AVH:
When looking at this data, you can easily see that 11 players averaged over a double (2.000 AVH) each time they put the ball in play. (The minimum AVH a player could have is 1.00 if he had a single every time he had a hit. The maximum would be 4.00 - all home runs.) The trick here is using a player's home run output with AVH.
Eric Hosmer has been a highly-touted prospect for the Royals in his career. When he hit 19 HRs in his rookie season, the Fantasy world pushed his draft value to the 2nd round in many drafts in 2012 thinking he had much higher upside in power. His AVH was 1.59 that season, but he had a ground ball rate of 49.7 percent. His AVH was in an area where growth in power was expected, but his swing path suggested a huge jump in HRs wasn't a high probably without a much stronger HR/FB rate or decline in ground balls. Over the last five seasons, Hosmer has an AVH of 1.548, 1.484, and 1.471, 1.546, and 1.627. His AVH looks to be trending up in the last two seasons and he did hit a career high 25 HRs in 2016, but his GB rate has remained in a weak area - 2012 > 53.6, 2013 > 52.7, 2014 > 51.2, 2015 > 52.0, and 2016 > 58.9. Even with a career high in HRs last year, he had a weaker swing path. His growth in AVH and power last year was due to a spike in his HR/FB rate (21.4 – 13.4 in his career). We know Hosmer has talent plus upside, but we should temper our expectation based on his swing path and high ground tendencies. He is averaging about a single and half in his major-league career.
In this case, AVH tells a pretty good story. In the ideal situation, we would like to see a player adding more length to hit hits. Any player with an AVH of 1.75 or higher has 25+ HR power with 550+ at bats. A Judy type player (all speed and no power) will have an AVH under 1.35.
The goal here is to be able to glance at a player's AVH and HR total to get a feel of a player's upside in power. It is also critical to understand each player’s ground ball and fly ball rate. A change in swing path could lead to a huge jump in home runs. In the case of Hosmer, if his ground ball rate were trending down with a rising AVH, I would expect much more upside in power.