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DFS Baseball 101: Splitting the Splits

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.

I've written a lot about the importance of hitting splits during this daily fantasy baseball season, and this week, I'll dig into what I call "Splitting the Splits".

This is where we look at handedness and park factors to uncover even more indicators in building successful lineups.

Let me preface the piece with a few things for clarification:

The data I used is from FanGraphs, which limits me to either using one single season or a player's entire career. All of the data used are career numbers from players who have only been with one team, which is why I purposely left out players like Albert Pujols because he played most of his career in St. Louis, so the data would be skewed. I've written enough about Lefty/Righty (L/R) and Home/Road (H/R) splits this year, so guys like Pujols and Miguel Cabrera have been covered, yet, those players don't provide much value on splits anyways because they hit everyone just about equally no matter what park.

For this article, I'm using wRC+ (weighted Runs Created Plus) as the measure.

wRC+ Top Hitters at Home vs. Left-Handed Pitching (LHP)

Giancarlo Stanton   196
Stanton is so impressive to put up a 196 in Marlins Park, which is a notorious pitcher's park. This really points out the extreme value you want with him in hitter's parks on the road versus LHP.

Wilin Rosario   190
Rosario's value is mostly driven by the thin air at Coors Field, as you will see with Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado below. Take this trio of Rockies' hitters at home versus weaker LHP.

Andrew McCutchen   186
McCutchen destroys LHP, and you especially want to pair him with Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, and Gaby Sanchez against weaker LHP.

Yasiel Puig   179
While the sample size on Puig is not huge, we still have enough to see that he is an elite bat, even against RHP at home (pitchers' park).

Paul Goldschmidt   176
Taking advantage of the huge park factor at home for right-handed batters (RHB), Goldy is a must play at 1B when he is in Chase Field versus weaker LHP. Obviously, with him out for the season with a broken hand, this is more of something to keep in mind for next season.

Starling Marte   176

Khris Davis   170
Davis is great for pairing with Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy against weak LHP.

Ryan Braun   169
Matt Kemp   166
Troy Tulowitzki   164
Nolan Arenado   164
David Wright   161
Evan Longoria   159
Billy Butler   156
Joey Votto   155
Jose Altuve   154
Dustin Pedroia   154
Trevor Plouffe   153
Ryan Zimmerman   153
John Mayberry   151
Buster Posey   150
Marcell Ozuna   147
Anthony Rizzo   146
A.J. Pollock   146
Mike Trout   145
Brian Dozier   140
Brandon Guyer   140

wRC+ Top Hitters at Home vs. Right-Handed Pitching (RHP)

Corey Dickerson   194
It's a small sample size, but the Coors Field factor is a bonus, and you can look to get him in your lineup with Justin Morneau (who I had to leave out of this due to park change) and Carlos Gonzalez (if the guy is ever healthy).

Yasiel Puig   174
Puig has mashed at home regardless of who the pitcher is.

Mike Trout   167
It doesn't usually matter who Trout faces, if it's a righty or lefty, but you want to pick your spots when using him because he is always a top-five priced hitter.

David Ortiz   167
Big Papi destroys left-handers in Fenway and can wrap homers around that short porch in right field at Fenway. I've noticed he especially loves to light up extreme fly ball pitchers.

Carlos Gonzalez   167
Cargo is part of the Rockies' left-handed batters (LHB) trio with Corey Dickerson and Justin Morneau. You only want to use him at home versus weaker RHP when he is healthy.

Matt Adams   164
Big Country mashes righties at home but has one of the most extreme splits with only a 117 wRC+ on the road, and he's even worse against lefties (64 home, 66 road).

Matt Carpenter   154
Ryan Howard   154
Freddie Freeman   153
Andre Ethier   149

Scooter Gennett   148
Gennett is a RHP killing specialist but one of the worst hitters against LHP. Usually, he hits out of the top of the order when he is in the lineup.

Pablo Sandoval   143
Bryce Harper   141
Evan Gattis   139
Joe Mauer   139
Charlie Blackmon   138
Jay Bruce   136
Adam Lind   136
Daniel Nava   135
Neil Walker   134
Alex Avila   132
Brandon Belt   130

wRC+ Top Hitters Away vs. LHP

Jordy Mercer   221
Who would have thought that this guy has the highest wRC+ on this entire list? It's not the biggest of sample sizes, but it's enough to stand up and warrant using him versus weaker LHP with the other Pirates mentioned above.

Buster Posey   188
While there aren't a ton of hitter's parks in the National League, getting Posey outside of his home park in San Francisco is key when using him in daily fantasy baseball against weaker LHP.

Ryan Braun   182
David Wright   175
Evan Gattis   171
Mike Trout   170

Scott Van Slyke   168
Van Slyke is a specialist that usually takes Andre Ethier's or Adrian Gonzalez's spot in the order when a lefty is on the mound. He's another nice, cheap guy to use whenever he is in the lineup.

Paul Goldschmidt   163
Khris Davis   163
Starling Marte   159
Anthony Rendon   159
Jonathan Lucroy   158
Andrew McCutchen   155

Ed Lucas   150
You can't use this guy any other time except on the road versus weaker LHP, but he is a great sleeper pick to use in daily games because his price tag will always be cheap.

Desmond Jennings   149
Carlos Santana   147
Salvador Perez   143
Welington Castillo   143
Ben Zobrist   133
Todd Frazier   132
Dayan Viciedo   131
Devin Mesoraco   131
Brian Dozier   130
Will Middlebrooks   130
A.J. Ellis   130
Carlos Ruiz   129

wRC+ Top Hitters Away vs. RHP

Mike Trout   172
Joey Votto   169
Joe Mauer   152
David Ortiz   150
Scooter Gennett   149
Christian Yelich   146
Lucas Duda   143
Jason Heyward   140
Didi Gregorius   138
Matt Joyce   134
Bryce Harper   132
Freddie Freeman   130
Andre Ethier   130
Kyle Seager   129
Jason Kipnis   125
Pablo Sandoval   124
Eric Hosmer   121

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. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.