BATTERS: 2018 LIMA targets

The Low Investment Mound Aces (LIMA) Plan is a way for you to target consistent, affordable hitters who offer both solid plate discipline and some power/speed upside.

Our latest iteration of the LIMA model suggests that we should target hitters who are projected to meet some of the following thresholds:

  • ct% + bb% of 90% or greater
  • PX or Spd level of 100 or greater
  • Regular playing time
  • Projected R$ between $10 and $30

LIMA values can vary based on your league context. We encourage you to use our Custom Draft Guide to see customized LIMA values for your league.

Here are the top 2018 projected LIMA hitting targets in a 5x5 mixed league:

                                       -----------Projected 2018----------
Name                 League  Position  bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   Spd  BPV  LIMA
===================  ======  ========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====
Bregman, Alex            AL     3B/SS   9%  82%  0.56  123  121   84    A
Murphy, Daniel           NL        2B   8%  87%  0.62  113   83   79    A
Carpenter, Matt          NL        1B  16%  76%  0.77  140   93   78    A
Rizzo, Anthony           NL        1B  12%  82%  0.79  126   67   77    A
Turner, Justin           NL        3B  10%  85%  0.72  117   72   77    A
Gurriel, Yulieski        AL        1B   6%  88%  0.50   96   92   69    A
Moustakas, Mike          AL        3B   7%  85%  0.47  117   68   68    A
Santana, Carlos          NL        1B  15%  80%  0.89  108   82   65    A
Panik, Joe               NL        2B   9%  89%  0.89   67  115   65    A
Seager, Kyle             AL        3B   9%  81%  0.54  113   73   58    A
Simmons, Andrelton       AL        SS   7%  90%  0.70   65  105   58    A
Kepler, Max              AL        RF   9%  79%  0.47  114  104   58    A
Polanco, Gregory         NL        RF   8%  82%  0.50  100   82   50    A
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stanton, Giancarlo       AL        RF  12%  69%  0.43  209   63   89    B+
Harper, Bryce            NL        RF  14%  76%  0.71  146  106   85    B+
Donaldson, Josh          AL        3B  14%  76%  0.69  151   84   81    B+
Rendon, Anthony          NL        3B  12%  82%  0.74  126   88   80    B+
Pollock, A.J.            NL        CF   7%  84%  0.49  109  130   78    B+
Martinez, J.D.           NL        RF   9%  71%  0.36  182   92   77    B+
Benintendi, Andrew       AL        LF  10%  82%  0.59  111  115   71    B+
Machado, Manny           AL        3B   7%  82%  0.43  116  109   70    B+
Dozier, Brian            AL        2B  10%  77%  0.51  131  109   69    B+
Cozart, Zack             AL        SS   9%  84%  0.58  104  104   69    B+
Judge, Aaron             AL        RF  14%  63%  0.46  201   79   68    B+
Encarnacion, Edwin       AL        1B  14%  78%  0.77  133   59   68    B+
Braun, Ryan              NL        LF   9%  79%  0.48  124  100   66    B+
Cespedes, Yoenis         NL        LF   8%  78%  0.38  136   87   65    B+  
Belt, Brandon            NL        1B  14%  72%  0.58  149   92   65    B+
Bellinger, Cody          NL     1B/LF  11%  72%  0.44  149  111   64    B+
Thames, Eric             NL     1B/LF  13%  68%  0.44  173   91   63    B+
Abreu, Jose              AL        1B   6%  80%  0.34  127   86   62    B+
Posey, Buster            NL      C/1B  10%  87%  0.91   82   78   61    B+
Correa, Carlos           AL        SS  11%  77%  0.52  124   93   60    B+
Rosario, Eddie           AL        LF   5%  78%  0.24  124  121   60    B+
Conforto, Michael        NL        LF  11%  72%  0.45  152   81   60    B+
Fowler, Dexter           NL        CF  13%  75%  0.61  112  139   59    B+
Reddick, Josh            AL        RF   8%  85%  0.60   84  112   59    B+
Name                 League  Position  bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   Spd  BPV  LIMA
===================  ======  ========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====
Flores, Wilmer           NL     3B/1B   5%  84%  0.35  103   94   59    B+
Hoskins, Rhys            NL     LF/1B  12%  74%  0.55  139   82   58    B+
Margot, Manuel           NL        CF   6%  82%  0.33   87  155   57    B+
Gallo, Joey              AL     3B/1B  14%  55%  0.35  222  104   56    B+
McCutchen, Andrew        NL        CF  11%  78%  0.57  114   96   55    B+
Span, Denard             AL        CF   7%  87%  0.59   80   96   55    B+
Bell, Josh               NL        1B  10%  82%  0.61   99   89   54    B+
Lamb, Jacob              NL        3B  12%  72%  0.47  139  100   53    B+
Gregorius, Didi          AL        SS   5%  86%  0.36   86   98   53    B+
Kinsler, Ian             AL        2B   7%  83%  0.48   87  103   51    B+
Story, Trevor            AL        SS   8%  64%  0.26  175  115   50    B+
Schebler, Scott          NL        RF   7%  74%  0.30  137   90   50    B+
Cabrera, Melky           AL        LF   6%  88%  0.53   76   75   49    B+
Longoria, Evan           NL        3B   7%  80%  0.39  103   96   49    B+
Franco, Maikel           NL        3B   6%  83%  0.40  103   68   49    B+
Polanco, Jorge           AL        SS   7%  83%  0.45   87   96   47    B+
Renfroe, Hunter          NL        RF   6%  71%  0.21  154   84   46    B+
Shaw, Travis             NL        3B   9%  74%  0.39  131   80   45    B+
Dickerson, Corey         NL     LF/DH   6%  74%  0.24  129  105   45    B+
Kipnis, Jason            AL        2B   8%  77%  0.39  113   97   45    B+
Smoak, Justin            AL        1B  11%  73%  0.47  134   68   44    B+
Realmuto, Jacob          NL         C   6%  81%  0.31   91  116   44    B+
DeJong, Paul             NL     SS/2B   5%  70%  0.19  152   93   43    B+
Pillar, Kevin            AL        CF   5%  84%  0.32   82  101   43    B+
Wong, Kolten             NL        2B   9%  83%  0.59   70  115   42    B+
Jones, Adam              AL        CF   4%  81%  0.24   98   91   41    B+
Pujols, Albert           AL        DH   7%  86%  0.54   81   51   41    B+
Mauer, Joe               AL        1B  12%  83%  0.76   72   88   40    B+
Bruce, Jay               NL        RF   9%  72%  0.36  130   90   40    B+
Odor, Rougned            AL        2B   5%  76%  0.21  116   96   39    B+
Gennett, Scooter         NL        2B   6%  77%  0.27  106  100   38    B+
Bradley, Jackie          AL        CF   9%  74%  0.38  115   93   36    B+
Healy, Ryon              AL     1B/3B   5%  76%  0.21  115   95   35    B+
Phillips, Brandon        AL     2B/3B   4%  87%  0.30   66   78   35    B+
Semien, Marcus           AL        SS   9%  76%  0.39   94  119   34    B+
Markakis, Nick           NL        RF  10%  84%  0.69   69   74   34    B+
Duvall, Adam             NL        LF   6%  71%  0.22  138   87   33    B+
Crawford, Brandon        NL        SS   8%  78%  0.40   96   87   33    B+
Russell, Addison         NL        SS   8%  74%  0.32  116   94   33    B+
Perez, Salvador          AL         C   3%  80%  0.18  107   57   33    B+
Frazier, Todd            NL        3B  13%  73%  0.53  113   76   32    B+
Calhoun, Kole            AL        RF  10%  77%  0.48   94   82   30    B+
Escobar, Alcides         AL        SS   3%  85%  0.22   56  123   29    B+
Hechavarria, Adeiny      AL        SS   4%  83%  0.26   59  135   29    B+
Suarez, Eugenio          NL        3B  11%  73%  0.45  107   85   27    B+
Kemp, Matt               NL        LF   6%  75%  0.25  109   78   26    B+
Smith, Dominic           NL        1B   8%  76%  0.36  106   52   24    B+

Let's take a closer look at a bunch of intriguing LIMA targets who could deliver significant profit in 2018.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Andrew Benintendi (LF, BOS) delivered a 20/20 season during his first full MLB campaign in 2017, showing average expected power (100 xPX) and above-average wheels (110 Spd). His pitch recognition also was strong (11% bb%, 80% ct%, 0.63 Eye), and he made plenty of hard contact (112 HctX). His well-rounded skill set makes Benintendi a premium LIMA play on draft day.

Alex Bregman (3B/SS, HOU) remains an excellent LIMA batter target due to his combination of patience and contact, along with a solid power/speed combination. Bregman surged late in 2017, posting numbers that would have resulted in a .300+ BA with 20 HR and 20 SB over a full season. Given his prospect pedigree and age (24), it was growth that puts him on course for further gains in 2018.

Max Kepler (RF, MIN) showed flashes in 2017 of becoming an impact bat. He had a 60+ BPV in three separate months. He tanked in two others. Resolving that inconsistency is the missing piece to a breakout given his decent plate discipline and concurrent jumps in his line-drive and flyball rates.

Jorge Polanco (SS, MIN) is another young MIN bat with multi-category impact potential. He made some excellent strides late in 2017, hitting the ball for more authority while showing a high rate of contact. He also started to get a green light, which helped him produce double-digit SB after July 1. A 28% h% kept those gains hidden. Polanco carries 20/20 upside that many of your competitors might overlook.

Eddie Rosario (LF, MIN) owns one of the better power/speed packages in the game. Current projections have him owning both a 120+ PX and Spd. If he can continue the jumps in plate discipline that he showed in 2017, Rosario could become a 20/20 threat in 2018, giving him strong LIMA appeal on draft day.

Marcus Semien (SS, OAK) is coming off a season that was cut in half due to a wrist injury. Still, he managed a strong 110+ xPX for the third consecutive season, and his speed skills consistently have been above par during his MLB career. Add in his consistent batting eye improvement by year over the last five seasons (0.05, 0.30, 0.32, 0.37, 0.45 Eye) and increased production against righties during the last three (.637, .653, .707, .743 OPS vR), and you've got a $10 player with $20 upside.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Yoenis Cespedes (LF, NYM) was plagued by leg issues in 2017 after delivering elite results in the two seasons prior to last year. Still, his power skills are firmly elite, making him a lock for 30 HR and 100 RBI if he can stay healthy enough to net 500 AB. There's some nice injury profit potential here.

Wilmer Flores (1B/3B, NYM) currently is projected in a utility role at the start of the season. That role ambiguity is driving his mediocre 336 ADP. That aside, few age-26 bats are more intriguing than Flores given his steady growth in expected power over the last two seasons (95, 107, 127 xPX) and continued high rate of contact (84%+ ct% last four seasons). In addition, Flores smoothed out some of his wide LH/RH splits in 2017, posting his best OPS vR of his career. There's a $20 player here if he can carve out a full-time role.

Maikel Franco (3B, PHI) treaded water on the surface in 2017, posting a so-so .690 OPS. However, his plate discipline actually improved over the plate skills he posted during his mini-breakout in 2016 (7% bb%, 83% ct%, 0.43 Eye). He was victimized by lefties (.657 OPS vL) after looking like an impact bat against them in the two seasons prior to last year. At age 25, Franco remains a good investment.

Manuel Margot (CF, SD) is another young bat who got better as the season went along. He converted his 1H groundballs into flyballs in the second half while maintaining elite legs (149 Spd in 1H, 167 Spd in 2H). With some further growth against righties, Margot would continue on his 20-HR, 40-SB upside path.

Gregory Polanco (RF, PIT) entered 2017 as a premium breakout target before leg issues bothered him for most of the season. When healthy, Polanco made the most contact of his career (84% ct%) and continued to inch up his flyball rate for another season (31%, 35%, 37%, 38% FB%). Polanco is another age-26 bat with significant LIMA appeal given his multi-category production potential.

Hunter Renfroe (RF, SD) showed both power (26 HR in 445 AB) and a horrible average (.231 BA) during his first full season in 2017. His batting average struggles were the result of some big problems making contact (69% ct%). However, he did flash some glimmers of hope there, as he put up a solid 10% bb%, 80% ct%, and 0.57 Eye against lefties. If Renfroe can convert some of those skills when facing same-sided pitchers, he could deliver further growth in 2018.

Scott Schebler (RF, CIN) displayed an intriguing collection of skills early in 2017, including decent plate discipline and elite power (145 PX, 150 xPX). A mid-season shoulder strain likely resulted in his late-season fade. He also ironed out his lefty-righty wrinkles in 2017, posting a .780+ OPS and 130+ PX against lefties and righties. A healthy Schebler will be a strong LIMA batter target in 2018 drafts.

Kolten Wong (2B, STL) has not been an impact performer since way back in 2015. He was on his way back to those levels in 2017 before some nagging injuries plagued him. While it might seem like Wong doesn't have a high ceiling, his yearly improvements in batting eye (0.25, 0.30, 0.38, 0.65, 0.68 Eye)along with his excellent wheelsgives him some sneaky 30-SB upside.


Click here to subscribe

  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.