America’s pastime has certainly seen a great deal of changes since your grandfather’s legendary Yankees or Dodgers (depending on what coast you reside on) dominated the league. The motive behind the changes are reflected through the young phenoms of the game, such as Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, pushing the game to faster paced, more competitive, and an overall more enjoyable game to watch. Implementations such as Instant Replay, Designated Hitters, and pushing the rubber back were all meant to even out the playing field. Unfortunately for hitters that doesn’t change the fact of how gosh-darn hard it is to hit a mid-90s fastball with only seconds to react.
Those who are playing MLB fantasy baseball will aim to take advantage of this increase in competitiveness between pitchers and hitters. The .300 BA benchmark has seemingly stood the test of time but adaptation is necessary. After the explosion in offense due to the steroid outbreak of the late 90’s early 00’s, it seems as if pitchers have continued their excellence and hitters are the ones biting the bullet. Only 20 players all last year hit over the legendary benchmark of .300. The fantasy baseball analysis and consequences of this is the transition from mostly contact hitters to teams now stacking 35 big bats one after another in hopes unloading a long ball.
Although hitters have regressed seemingly across the board in offensive statistics; there is no better player to be than a longhair flowing, fastball wheeling power arm (take the likes of Mr. Syndergaard and Kershaw respectively). These men are not alone as it seems pitchers no longer are simply relying on finessing their off-speed to get guys out. The downside of throwing a knee-buckling, hanging curveball is the shear extra time hitters had to track down these pitches from the pitcher’s hand till they made contact. This is why pitchers are now more apt to blow their cheddar past their foes. This has resulted into a drastic decrease in contact as it is much harder to make contact with a ball when you have less time to see it! On the other hand, the harder pitches come in the less strength is required and it shows because even THOR himself mashed two homers not too long ago (5/11/16).
MLB fantasy rankings certainly reflect the changes in the game as acquiring consistent hitters has now turned into a luxury. The key is the balance of the hefty home run hitters and the consistent leadoff men to lead any team to victory. So sure a .300 BA isn’t as attainable as it once was but I will take watching over 40 different guys launch at least 25 balls out of the year on a yearly basis. Maybe the consistency isn’t there as it once was, but .275 BA and 25+ HR looks just as good to me.