Bullish or Bearish: Matt Chapman
A Closer Look at Matt Chapman
Nothing about a .224 batting average makes a DFS player excited, but batting averages are no more honest than politicians. Just as you need to make sure your sources are objective and reliable in any research you do, with baseball statistics, you need to make sure that surface stats, like batting average, are supported by underlying metrics. Even then there are more ways of learning what a true player’s talent is.
Digging Deeper into the Stats
Chapman’s .276 BABIP suggest that there will probably be some improvement coming to his batting average. There have been some mixed results. His 32.9% K rate is obviously concerning and seems in line with his minor league numbers. His .217 Batting average seems unlikely to get past .250, because BABIP can only regress so far without luck. That said, he displayed legitimate 30+ homerun power in the minors and has 7 homeruns and a .256 ISO in only 146 plate appearances. Further, he has a track record of elite walk rates, which tells me that he has plus plate discipline and will give himself a chance to see good, hittable pitches and improves his chances of sticking.
Given the single game nature of DFS, it is important to follow short term statistics so you want to choose guys who are hitting well and avoid guys who are slumpin; especially if their prices don’t reflect their full talent. This is where we unearth some interesting numbers on Chapman. Since the All-Star break, Chapman is hitting .253 with all 7 of his homeruns in 104 plate appearances, and has a more manageable 26.9% strikeout rate. As suggested by his homeruns over this time, his ISO is a blistering .341, probably unsustainable, but worth placing a bet on while he’s hot.
When Should You Play Matt Chapman?
Obviously, we know that great walk rates are very positive for cash games, so I’m happily playing him as an affordable cash game option. For tournaments, he may not be as cheap as you may want from a bargain hunting perspective, but I’m inclined to think that he will be low owned as a rookie and could provide solid output as a contrarian play.
There are a couple of filters to throw on here, though. His overall wOBA is .321, but if you filter that only against right-handed pitchers (RHP), that improves to .341, hinting at a reverse platoon split. Further, his home park in Oakland is bad for hitters, so look to take him on the road where his wOBA improves to .359. On the road against right-handed pitchers, that improves to .368.
I generally don’t want to pay much more than $3,500 on FanDuel for Chapman, but on the road, in a good hitters park, and facing a RHP, I may bend and go a little higher. Either way he’s going for $3,100 on FanDuel recently, so he’s definitely priced in for those optimal matchup situations.
I am BULLISH on Matt Chapman.
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