The average person who watches a nationally televised baseball game is 55-years-old. Luckily for Major League Baseball, daily fantasy sports (DFS) is here to save the day.
The powers at MLB know it, as they’ve officially signed a partnership with a DFS site. It’s the next big boom, the next poker craze and the reason we want to watch Indians at Twins on a May evening. Some basic strategy for beating these one-day salary cap games and picking up some extra pocket change this baseball season:
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There are a mountain of stats we can look at when deciphering a hitter vs. pitcher matchup. If we can only look at one, it should be a player’s splits. Everyone knows that most righty batters prefer to face lefties – but to what degree? A player like Jordy Mercer absolutely crushes lefties and is borderline inept against righties. His DFS price doesn’t reflect this though, giving him tons of value when he faces a southpaw. If that southpaw has bad splits against righty hitters, we’ve struck gold.
FADING THE CHALK
Baseball is a unique sport because a player can fail 70 percent of the time and be a Hall of Famer. It’s not like basketball or football, where we can reasonably project a narrow range of outcomes for each day. Therefore, a contrarian approach for large-field DFS tournaments is the only way to roll. If Mike Trout is facing Kyle Kendrick in Coors Field, we know 60 percent of our opponents are going to use him. If we also use Trout and he does go off, we gain nothing. But if he goes 2-4 with two singles or (gasp) 0-4, we’ve virtually eliminated 60 percent of the field.
THE BvP ARGUMENT
How a batter has fared historically against a pitcher (BvP) is a controversial stat because so many holes can be poked in it. Typically, the sample size is not big enough for BvP to be relevant and many of the at-bats are out of date. We also know players make adjustments over time. Furthermore, many DFS players use BvP as one of their primary tools, which drives up the ownership for very questionable reasons. For all those reasons, I do not use BvP at all in my research.
MLB Pickups of the Week
Shane Greene, SP, Tigers – The Yankees are going to regret trading Greene away. And fantasy owners are thrilled he’s pitching in Comerica.
Adam Ottavino, RP, Rockies – It only took a few days for fossil LaTroy Hawkins to lose his job and Ottavino to step in.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Rays — Led the Rays in OPS last year and has plenty of room to grow at age 24. He’s playing just about every day.
Michael Crabtree has had two left foot surgeries since 2009 and ruptured his right Achilles’ tendon in 2013. His lower-leg explosion is completely sapped, causing his free agency market to completely crash. Of course, that makes him a perfect fit for the rudderless Raiders! Crabtree will not break the franchise’s nine-year streak without a 1,000-receiver, instead fading into the Black Hole while rotating with the likes of James Jones, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes and a draft pick.