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Draftster MLB: Primer and Picks

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson covers the Angels for RotoWire and writes the weekly Draftster MLB and Dominate Your Duel daily games articles for RotoWire.

Welcome to Draftster: Primer and Picks

In this article, I will discuss the different contests Draftster offers, their point structures, and how the different contests and point structures should factor into your philosophy of choosing a team. I'll also help you focus in on some picks that should give you an edge in bringing home the bacon (or whatever else you like to munch on while the game is on).

Game Format

Draftster offers three basic competition formats. These are: "Double Up", "Top 3*", and "Winner Takes All". The easiest way to make money is by playing in Double Up contests, wherein half the field doubles their money. These are a good way to hedge against the variance you have to deal with in the bigger tournaments.

*As of the publishing of this article, "Top 3" tournaments are not running on a regular basis.

Pitching

Out = +0.3 (Inning Pitched = +0.9) Strikeout = +1 Win = +4
Earned Run Against = -1 Hit = -0.25 Walk = -0.25
Hit Batter = -1 Complete Game = +2 No Hitter = +5

There are some quirky things here we can't really plan for, like complete games and no-hitters, but we can see that pitchers with high strikeout rates and low walk totals should carry more value.

Hitting

Single = +1 Double = +2 Triple = +3
Home Run = +4 RBI = +1 Walk = +1
Hit By Pitch = 1 Strikeout = -0.75 Double Play = -0.75
Run Scored = +1 Stolen Base = +2 Caught Stealing = -2

As is true in most formats, the home run is king, but the structure of Drafster's game makes us think twice before taking the punchout/power guys, and renders otherwise useful speedsters like Jean Segura, who has 10 stolen bases, but has been caught a whopping six times, as something of a desperation play.

That's the basic stuff. Now, on to the action!

Sunday's Schedule

There are 14 games on the docket Sunday. While trying to sort through all the data to find profitable picks can seem overwhelming, I find that it helps to take the most exploitable players/parks first and work from there.

Pitching

Nathan Eovaldi seems like one of those guys who doesn't get enough attention. This is great for us on our maiden voyage, as he will cost just $3,800 on Sunday, and will face a Braves team (at home) that is tied for last place in the league with a wOBA of .285 against right-handed pitching, and strikes out against them at a 22.5 percent clip. Eovaldi has had his problems with left-handers this season, but Atlanta has only two of those in their lineup performing right now. Take the cheap price and run with it.

Offense

Eric Stults is a soft-tossing lefty whose hobbies include giving up home runs to right-handed hitters, as he has allowed eight in just forty innings this season. He is facing the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, which has been especially conducive to righty homers in the first two months of the 2014.

Therefore, allow me to recommend…

Dayan Viciedo (OF)- $4,900
Gordon Beckham (2B)- $5,000

Who's Next?

Jeremy Guthrie is definitely a pitcher in the Royals' rotation. This is great news for us, as he has given up an inordinate amount of home runs against the opposite hand, and will take on the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, which has an above average home run factor for lefties. It's tempting to go with the big righties in the Toronto lineup here, but I'm respecting the platoon split, as it's pretty drastic. Guthrie has given up just one homer to righties all season long, with a 2.67 ERA against them in 30.1 innings.

Well then...

Adam Lind (1B) ($8,600)
Jose Reyes (SS) ($9,500)
Melky Cabrera (OF) ($6,000)

Also…

David Wright (3B) ($5,400)

Wright got off to a brutally slow start this season, but he's picked it up lately, and mostly off of left-handed pitching. Sure, Cole Hamels Can be tough, but Wright has done well against him in his career. Not that I am in love with batter vs. pitcher splits, but a .979 OPS in 70 at-bats off of one guy seems like something that should at least be considered.

Charlie Blackmon (OF) ($3,000)

Blackmon is at the site's minimum salary, so I say take advantage of it. Josh Tomlin has gotten back to being mediocre lately, and Progressive Field has been a decent place for lefties this year. Indians hitters can be used against Jhoulys Chacin for similar reasons.

And Lastly…

Miguel Montero (C) ($3,300)

Alfredo Simon has come hurdling back to earth after a solid start, and now sports an enormous 2.1 HR/9 rate against lefties this season. Montero hasn't been that great against any particular pitcher type, but as a cheap catcher option, it's tough to beat the matchup. The adventurous among you might want to try Tyler Flowers against Stults, but that strikeout rate is just too much for me too handle, even if it is a nice matchup otherwise.

The Week At a Glance

Since this is a weekly column, I consider it my duty to fill you in on what I see as some of the best plays throughout the week. Here is a snapshot:

Bartolo Colon has been pretty good in his last few starts, but he's headed into a hitter's ballpark with his *blistering* fastball Monday against the Phillies, so pack your lefty power hitters accordingly.

You could try putting Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz up against Joe Saunders in Texas on Tuesday. Saunders pitched well enough in his first start since returning from an ankle injury to get another crack as a starter. Lucky us?

Vidal Nuno gets a smattering of right-handed bats against the A's in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. You should too.

See if you can fit some of the big righty bats of San Francisco in there against the Reds at Cincinnati for your Wednesday play, as Tony Cingrani has been hosting a home run derby of late.

Friday sees Franklin Morales take On the Dodgers, which means Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, and Matt Kemp at Colorado. This seems to me to be a must play, with Morales allowing 10 home runs in 44 innings to righties this season.

Also on Friday, Phil Hughes will get the ball against the Astros at home. Hughes' resurgence should shine bright against the Astros' hapless bats versus right-handed pitchers.

Tim Hudson seems to be all the way back from his hip injury, and will look to make that sinker dance against the Mets on Saturday, who have the second-lowest wOBA against righties in the league.