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Umpire Analysis: Considering Weather Conditions

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson

Those of you who have been active on FanDuel recently have likely noticed some rather significant changes. In a previous column, I covered the addition of player notes to help track progress and injury. Now, it seems the website has taken another step in becoming an all-encompassing DFS location by producing its own lineup information and weather reports.

There are three basic elements included in FanDuelís new weather tracking page: Temperature, wind speed and chance of precipitation.

While each of these factors is important to consider when crafting daily lineups, weíll be looking specifically at the two that can directly affect the flight of the baseball.

I think itís fair to assume that most of us know the broad strokes when it comes to the effect that temperature and wind can have on the ball, but the extent of the impact may surprise you. Here is a link to some excellent work done by Scott Lindholm at Beyond the Box Score, which shows a strong correlation between temperature increase and offensive production.

As we can see from the first chart, slugging percentage, isolated power and home runs per at-bat all show a marked increase as Mother Nature turns up the heat. This information suggests that we should target parks such as Chase Field in Arizona, where game-time conditions can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

Itís easy to underestimate the degree to which wind can wreak havoc on a batted ball. After all, a wind speed of 10 MPH wonít do much more than blow leaves around your backyard. Apply that same amount of force to a baseball, however, and the outcome of a game can potentially be changed.

Physicist Robert K. Adair, in his book, ďThe Physics of Baseball,Ē notes that a 1-MPH headwind can reduce the distance of a 400-foot fly ball by three feet. This means that the 10-MPH gust of wind that we barely notice can turn a sure home run into a 370-foot out in certain stadiums. Keep this in mind when you check out daily conditions, as even a relatively small amount of wind could affect your lineup in a meaningful way.

I noticed a number of unhappy comments in response to FanDuelís addition of this data to their website, with the main gripe being that they are making it too easy for players to locate crucial data. I believe concerns of this nature are overblown.

As I alluded to above, you wonít typically find many competitive players at this stage in the evolution of daily fantasy who donít have at least a cursory grasp of the importance of weather. Plus, all of the included information is not more than a few simple keystrokes into a search engine away. Itís for this reason that I believe our edge comes not in simply knowing such data exists, but understanding how crucial this data can be in the success or failure of our daily lineups.

Thatís information you wonít find by simply going to a FanDuel page.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.