How to Choose a MLB Hitter for DFS
Find a MLB Hitter That Offers Good Value
What is Value?
Value is often discussed in regards to MLB DFS, what does that mean? Finding value is creating surplus with your DFS player buys. Investopedia.com defines surplus as occurring “when the price for a … service is lower than the highest price the consumer would pay”. You, the consumer (DFS player), are taking a budget and trying to buy as much surplus as possible. You have to be smart with your money. You want as many of your players as possible to be in good positions to provide surplus, and buy the top tier talent with the money left over from your value shopping. Picking the right MLB hitter for your DFS lineup is like analyzing a resume; you are building a categorical list of good attributes of the bat you want on your payroll for the night. Let’s start with some good habits to have as the investor:
Watch box scores
This is the baseline of your research. There are a lot of things you won’t notice by just looking up players’ aggregated stats. This will also inform your decision about how over/under valued players are each day.
Track player price points
You should know that Buster Posey at $2,900 is a deep discount. Sure he’s facing Kershaw, but this information was already factored into the price, and possibly too much so.
Player performance is obviously important, but what may not be obvious is the similar importance of the background being applied to each players performance. Here are a few things that add a little surplus to a players expected output:
Research shows a correlation between heat and harder hit balls which basic physics can corroborate. Translation: you can add surplus by taking value guys games played in HOT temperatures. Conversely, baseball doesn’t play through the elements, so games get canceled. Know the forecasts the day before and watch all chances of rain right up until game time. Games can get postponed late; you may need to make last second adjustments
Everyone who’s seen a baseball knows there’s something about Coors Field (Colorado) that makes a ton of offense happen. Some may even know that a partial driver of that increase is the thin air, which makes things fly farther and makes curveballs spin much slower. This is the extreme example, but all parks are unique in the MLB and that means certain things happen more in some parks and less in others. There are numbers for all these factors for comparison, but things can vary a lot year to year, especially with teams trying to address their weakness by moving fences in or out accordingly. Monitoring these changes can give you an extra edge in your DFS decision making.
If you want to win tournaments, you need to be contrarian to differentiate your line up from the thousands of people playing in it. Try buying players that a low percentage of people are playing on your DFS site in the contest you are playing.
Type of Contest
This article goes into greater detail about contest types.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a MLB Hitter
Pitchers to fade
If your search for a good pitcher for the day leaves you validating how bad someone is, there can be surplus in breaking ties in favor of fading the worse pitcher.
Does Bobby Bats have better stats vs. left-handed pitchers (LHP)? Yes? If he is facing an LHP today, his stock just improved in your eyes. Does that LHP also get hit harder by batters who hit from Bobby Bats’ side? Even better.
Both batters with high walk rates and batters facing pitchers with high walk rates add to the stability of a hitter’s range of outcomes. Stability is good for pricy buys in a tournament lineup and great for cash games.
This is a potentially complicated topic, but basically, learn how to tell if a good player is under performing (value – play) or when any player is over performing (overvalued – stay away) and adjust your conclusions accordingly.
Full Season Stats
For the first couple of months you have to use prior year stats. After that current year stats become relevant and you can start determining what their price should be on your DFS site.
Short term statistics
This is where fantasy becomes most unique. Anywhere else you are taught to ignore small sample sizes, but in DFS, you are just trying to be right for a day. Baseball is a game of streaks and betting on hitters who appear to be on hot streaks can improve your outcomes. wOBA is a good and quick stat to track over 6 and 12 game sample sizes.
The black swan here is when you get a player who is under performing, has good underlying numbers, and starting to show some life with some positive short term statistics. That’s when you look to play him repeatedly over the next week or two and follow the trail of money he brings with him.
That should give you a good overview of how to analyze the daily resume of each hitter for a job in your DFS lineup. If he doesn’t meet enough of your criteria, keep looking for someone who does.
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