Yours truly likes to dabble. I make no bones about the DFS player that I am. Place me somewhere between casual and expert, and you’ll have some idea. I’d probably land right in the middle.
What I’m aiming to do in general is learn more about MLB, while also enjoying my time as a low-volume DFS player. I’ll likely be heavy on splits, too. Platoon players are nice. People generally people shy away from playing them, and their prices are frequently depressed. We have a couple of examples today.
If these efforts can help anyone break a tie between two guys or tweak their exposure to a certain player, I’ll be pretty satisfied. And if not, I’ll be content to learn more about sneaky platoon bats that may help me out now or in the future–whether I’m dabbling in DFS or mining for a deep league waiver wire play. Let’s hop to the guys who stuck out in this morning’s research.
OF J.D. Martinez ($3,900) vs. LHP Tommy Milone
Where will Martinez bat in the order? Second? Fourth? Eighth? Just playing. Anyway, against a lefty for one day only, I don’t really care about his batting order slot. Last year, Martinez obliterated southpaws, bashing a league-leading 19 home runs in the split and slashing .404/.494/.887. He was the only MLB hitter to bat over .400 against lefties, trailed most closely by Hanser Alberto (.398) and Ozzie Albies (.389). Hey, I worked in my Albies sighting for today. One startling number I’d like to remember this year–Martinez had an excellent 12.2% soft contact rate against lefties at home…but an otherworldly 3.2% soft contact rate against lefties on the road. In short, he hits the ball very hard and he doesn’t hit a lot of grounders (give me all those line drives and fly balls). Major #analysis incoming, but when you put the ball in the air AND you hit it hard, good things tend to happen.
Alex Bregman ($4,000) vs. LHP Marco Gonzales
Bregman’s no slouch against lefties, either. Only Martinez and Cody Bellinger hit more homers against southpaws in 2019, as Bregman’s 16 was tied with Nelson Cruz and one better than Bryce Harper’s 15. Random stat of the day, Jordan Luplow QUIETLY rapped out 14 home runs against lefties last year. What a premium MLB DFS play whenever a lefty is on the mound against the Indians, or a guy to plug in during the right week in your NFBC leagues. Anyway, if you’re thinking Bregman’s performance against southpaws was due to the good ole Crawford boxes, don’t. Here’s the home/away breakdown from 2019:
|Home vs L||79||27||6||.342/.424/.684||0.446||187|
|Away vs L||84||30||10||.357/.461/.798||0.498||222|
His strikeout rate was typically low in both splits, only 10.9% at home against a lefty–compared to only 12.7% on the road. However, the walk rate at home–12.0%–paled in comparison to his 16.7% walk rate versus a lefty while on the road. Bregman is a beast any way you slice it. But on the road against a lefty in 2019…just yikes. For what it’s worth, as recently as 10 days ago (July 14th note from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com), Bregman was discussing his swing mechanics not being where they needed to be. Four days after that (7/18) he was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles…look, it’s early in the season. Maybe don’t go to 100% exposure on any one player today, eh?
Eugenio Suarez ($4,200) vs. LHP Matthew Boyd
Suarez gets lefty Matthew Boyd at home, but you’re taking on a 31.4% strikeout rate by Suarez in that split. I’m not sure how comfortable I am rolling with that given that Boyd is actually a quality pitcher. I like picking on really bad lefties. But it’s still worth noting, as Suarez’s .406 wOBA and 149 wRC+ against southpaws was pretty impressive. And it might go without saying, but being a pull hitter in his home digs is a good thing (Suarez yanked it down the left field line a whopping 61.1% of the time at home against a lefty last year). As for Boyd, he did allow 39 homers in 2019, and 32 of them were to right-handed bats. He also struck them out a bunch, 30.3% of the time. Boyd also induced more grounders to lefties (47.2% to LHH and only 33.0% to RHH)…while allowing a whopping 47.2% fly ball rate to right-handed hitters. Fine, Suarez is a solid play. Just know you’re taking on a large whiff rate. I’d rather take the floor of Bregman in so-called “cash” games, though. Less of a strikeout rate and the same power in this split.
OF Jordan Luplow ($2,200) vs. LHP Danny Duffy
I swear I had no idea he was facing a lefty today. This is awesome. Luplow is the minimum on FanDuel despite having one of the best matchups of the day. Martinez (19), Bellinger (18), Bregman (16), Nelson Cruz (16), and Bryce Harper (15) are the only hitters who launched more dingers against left-handed pitching last year, for reference. That’s a heck of list to belong to. Anyway, I did my best to count, and I think there are 61 outfielders priced higher than Luplow on FanDuel today (Luis Robert at $2,300 is nice, by the way). On DraftKings it’s a different story, with only 26 outfielders priced ahead of Luplow–and that feels much more fair. And while I do like Nathan Eovaldi as a streamer and a solid SP2, Austin Hays batting leadoff for only $2,400 reads like a steal, too. On Fanduel you could have a Luplow-Robert-Hays outfield for a measly $6,900. I don’t hate it.
Joc Pederson ($3,000) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija
Here’s a (somewhat) random aside on today’s main slate run totals:
LOS – 6.07
BOS – 6.06
HOU – 5.67
CLE – 5.26
By my count I’ve listed a guy in a nice matchup in each of those games, sans the Dodgers. The Dodgers host RHP Jeff Samardzija at home tonight. Good luck picking which guys to play from that squad, as top-to-bottom it’s just all kinds of threatening. But Joc Pederson ($3,000) is cheap and in his preferred split. In fact, he’s the mirror image of Luplow. Pederson ranked fourth in the majors with a stunning 36 dingers against right-handers in 2019, trailing only Jorge Soler (39), Peter Alonso (39), and Eugenio Suarez (38). And while Pederson only managed a .252 batting average against righties, at home that number leapt to .281. Check out Pederson’s home/away splits versus right-handers last year:
|Home vs R||196||55||24||.281/.382/.694||0.433||173|
|Away vs R||205||46||12||.224/.318/.454||0.324||102|
That’s a pretty startling discrepancy, and maybe there’s a lot of noise given the small sample and the fact that Pederson is a career .249/.362/.474 hitter on the road in this split (compared to .234/.344/.543 at home). But higher career marks in wOBA, wRC+, and ISO at home versus a righty paint a nice picture overall. Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Samardzija allowed a 47.2% fly ball rate, 40.5% hard contact rate, and 44.2% pull rate to righties last year. That was a 1.75 HR/9 to lefties, compared to a 1.06 HR/9 to right-handed hitters. The obvious Dodger to play is the lefty Cody Bellinger, but if you can’t pay up for him Pederson is a fine consolation prize.
Ross Stripling ($6,600) vs. San Francisco Giants
Speaking of Dodgers, Stripling is about as obvious a choice as any. The Giants managed a .158 ISO as a team against righties last year, ranking 26th in the majors in the split. For reference, only the Royals, White Sox, Tigers, and Marlins were worse. The Giants were also 28th in team wOBA (.295), with only the Tigers (.286) and Marlins (.288) less threatening. Same story with wRC+, with the Giants (83), Marlins (78), and Tigers (74) bringing up the rear. As for Stripling, he managed 90.2 innings last year, 70 of them as a starter and 20.2 as a reliever. As a starter he had a 25.2% strikeout rate and 5.0% walk rate. He also generated grounders at a 53.6% clip while limiting hard contact (only 33.7%). Of course anything can happen in a given day…but today he reads like a free square.