Why 'average' players are good for your fantasy baseball team

Jurickson Profar is one of a rare group of players who can deliver value in every fantasy category. Getty Images

When it comes to describing a common, everyday individual, a frequently used phrase is "average Joe." In fantasy baseball, calling someone an "average player" typically means a guy who is pretty much uninteresting, mediocre, and who has little more than replacement-level value. But common parlance doesn't necessarily jive with reality.

What exactly is an average player in 2018? Well, there are certainly different ways to approach this question, but in terms of each individual statistic, the "average" lineup spot, given an even distribution across all 270 positions in the majors (30 teams times nine players per starting lineup) results in the following stat line: .248 BA, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 55 R and 6 SB. There's no one player who hits all of these marks dead on, but in terms of "neighborhood" we're talking your Brandon Nimmo, Tim Anderson types.

Which brings me to what perhaps might be a startling revelation. Using those five statistical milestones as the definition of average, as we enter play on Aug. 6, there are only 17 players who are above-average in every way. They are Jose Ramirez, Starling Marte, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Andrew Benintendi, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Christian Yelich, Trevor Story, Ozzie Albies, Didi Gregorius, Manny Machado, Alex Bregman, Freddie Freeman, Eddie Rosario, Aaron Judge and George Springer.

Each one of those players is rostered in at least 95.5 percent of ESPN leagues, so there's little to be gained from pointing them out. However, if you lower the bar in each of those categories only slightly to .243 BA, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 50 R and 2 SB, you'll find some additional names to consider either trading for or, if possible, snagging off the waiver wire as we enter the homestretch for the 2018 fantasy baseball season.

There may be better options out there in one particular fantasy category, but if you're looking to gain ground in one area without the fear of below-average performance in any other stat, this is the tier of players to which you should turn.

90 percent rostered or higher: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies; Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians; Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners

80-89 percent rostered: Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates; Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies; Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers; Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers; Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

70-79 percent rostered: David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks; Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins; Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

Less than 70 percent rostered: Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers; Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees; Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks