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Is Jose Altuve the New #1 Player in Fantasy Baseball?

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A look at Jose Altuve vs Mike Trout

Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Back in late October, Joe Gentile pondered the thought, “Could Mookie Betts be better than Jose Altuve?” It was a piece designed to showcase how Betts ‘“down” season in 2017 could be greatly improved in 2018 thus making Betts a top tier fantasy option again. And by ‘top tier’ I mean a top 3 hitter. He points out that Betts was the #1 hitter in all of fantasy in 2016 but Altuve claimed that spot in 2017. Do you know who the #2 hitter was in 2016? That would be Altuve again! Do you know whose name wasn’t in that spot either season? Mike Trout. That’s right, the consensus #1 overall pick in fantasy baseball drafts for multiple seasons now, hasn’t actually claimed the top spot, at least not over the past four years.

With that in mind, coupled with it being Second Base Week here at Fake Teams, I thought I would ponder a different question, “Should Jose Altuve be the #1 overall pick over Mike Trout?”

Altuve is the clear cut top second base option, that we can agree on 100%. In terms of #1 overall player though, the line between Trout and Altuve is paper thin. In standard 5X5 roto leagues, Altuve has out performed Trout in four consecutive seasons! In three of those four seasons, Altuve finished no worse than #2 overall. Even if you pace out Trout’s numbers to a full season, (he missed 48 games due to injury) he only climbs to 4th overall in 2017. So, why is Trout consistently ranked over Altuve in roto?

In points leagues, Altuve finished 7th overall hitter in 2017, 3rd in 2016, and 15th in 2015. Trout was 22nd overall hitter in 2017, 2nd in 2016, and 7th in 2015. The two were separated by just 10 points in 2016 by the way. Trout, helped by his much higher walk rate, wins out in points pretty easily. This is not to say Altuve is a terrible points option, these are just facts in that format. Games played plays into points rankings but Trout is clearly #1 on a per game basis.

Let’s pan our focus back to roto league. This also applies to head-to-head category leagues. You can probably guess who’s who but let’s compare the stats of Trout and Altuve over the past three seasons without putting a name attached to them:

Player Games AVG OBP SLG OPS HR RBI R SB Points
A 432 .307 .427 .586 1.013 103 262 319 63 1,720
B 468 .332 .386 .512 .898 63 243 306 100 1,741

Player B actually has accumulated more fantasy points over the past three seasons but has done so by just 21 points despite playing in 36 more games. Player A is Trout and Player B is Altuve in case you couldn’t tell. These numbers are telling in terms of roto leagues. Altuve is much better in average and steals. Trout has a lot more home runs. The other two categories, RBI and runs, are almost identical. Because of this, Altuve has more value in roto formats. When you take into account the surplus of power and deficit of speed league wide, Altuve’s value increases.

All of this is to say, both players are AWESOME! But I think it’s time, at least in roto and H2H categories leagues, we start ranking the player who has finished higher than the other player every season since 2014 #1 overall.

Jose Altuve is the #1 player in fantasy baseball!

Poll

Who would you take with the #1 pick in the draft?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Jose Altuve
    (38 votes)
  • 68%
    Mike Trout
    (83 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now