Baseball, also known as America’s Past-time, is a sport that can be truly broken down by the numbers. When it comes to this sport, I believe that there is a level playing field compared to the other sports. Anybody can pick a stud like Mike Trout and have him go 0/5 while a low owned minimum priced guy like Lonnie Chisenhall can hit 3 homeruns in a single game. It’s important to break down the sport and look at it by the numbers. When you’re looking at baseball stats over a certain period of time, you will notice that the numbers tend to normalize over the course of such a long season.
You can compare a player’s career stats to his recent performance and be able to understand if he’s in a slump or a hot streak. There are so many things that can be analyzed that it’s never-ending. What’s important to understand is that there are many great stats out there, but there are also others that are over or undervalued. I’ll be discussing advanced statistics in further articles but for now I’ll be looking at where to start with MLB DFS if you’ve never played before, or just want a different view of the game. Here are some very basic steps to developing a daily MLB process.
What are we looking for?
Pitching (Click To Expand)
It’s the end all be all for baseball. There are dominant pitchers, and weak pitchers. There are pitchers who do better against the opposite hand, Righties vs Lefties, and there are pitchers who do better vs the same hand, Righties vs Righties. I spend the most time analyzing pitcher for the slate to figure out a few different things. What are the best matchups for the pitchers, and what are the best matchups through hitting. But you still find this information by digging through the pitchers.
What type of pitchers do I like?
- Pitchers with high strikeout upside who make batters swing and miss.
- Pitchers who are accurate and don’t walk many people.
- Pitchers who induce ground balls at soft contact rates.
- Pitchers who have a good history vs the team they are facing.
When looking at pitching, you can get a decent handle on which games will be higher scoring or lower scoring. You can find anything you need about the matchups by first understanding the pitcher who will be out there for the majority of the game. Let’s move on to where to find information right off the bat that will help you out.
Batting (Click To Expand)
After looking at pitching, I find out which batters are in ideal spots. Many players will straight up stack the highest potential scoring games, but for sake of argument, let’s just talk about individual matchups. I like to find players who have good splits against the opposing pitcher they are playing.
So for example, I would already know from my pitching research that there’s a weak righty pitching in Yankee stadium with a short right field fence. I would look for the Yankees who hit best against weak righties, in order to maximize potential for a homerun. There are many more strategies that we’ll discuss in the future but not all righties are good vs lefties and visa versa.
What type of batters do I like?
- Batters with high contact %, meaning guys who see the ball well.
- Batters with high BB% (Walk%) and OBP% (On Base%).
- Batters with speed, stolen base upside.
- Batters who have a good history against the opposing pitcher, with a large enough sample size.
A very popular strategy in MLB is stacking teams, using a multiple players from a single team. The reason for this is the high correlation between RBIs and Runs. In baseball, teammates highly effect the outcome of other teammates. It’s a good strategy to stack as long as you pick the right game. I personally don’t stack as much as the average player, but I have my own strategies I’ll discuss later.
MLB DFS Scoring
**Updated Pitcher Scoring**
Wins are now 6 points and Quality Starts are now 4 points, instead of a win being 12.
To qualify for a Quality Start, a pitcher must pitch at least 6 innings and give up 3 Earned Runs or Less.
Where to start your research?
The first thing most people look at are the Vegas Lines. There are a lot of factors that go into those lines and Vegas has been historically pretty accurate. When it comes to cash games, it’s not a bad idea to follow those lines because that’s where a lot of the public will flock to. When it comes to GPPs I tend to avoid the lines for the most part, and I’ll explain why. When it comes to betting, you only really have to be 60% accurate to maintain profitability. But if you go based on that premise, we want to take advantage of the 40% of the time they are wrong, (hypothetically in that example).
When looking at Vegas lines, Most DFS players go straight to the O/U to find which games they want to pick players from. This is a good way to start, to understand what matchups are best. We’ll talk about other ways to use the lines in future advanced articles, but that’s a good starting place.
Next we want to check weather. When it comes to NBA, it’s very hard to predict who will be playing night in and night out. When it comes to MLB, full games can be postponed where you will get a 0 in your lineup for that player. You MUST know what the weather is looking like and this is what you should really be focusing on with OUTDOOR games. When a game is in a DOME it isn’t necessary to monitor the weather unless under very extreme circumstances. It’s important to understand the importance of weather affecting the way a game is played. Chances of rain are almost always bad, but you can get low ownership in GPPs by taking risk there, when it comes to cash games you want to be more on the safe side of games expected to have good weather.
Different weather conditions affect the games differently, including heat and air density. One of the most important factors though is wind.
Wind Blowing Out: Helps Hitters.
Wind Blowing In: Helps Pitchers.
Wind Blowing Left to Right: MAY Help Lefty pull hitters.
Wind Blowing Right to Left: MAY Help Righty pull hitters.
More advanced weather strategy will be discussed in future articles.
Now we start looking into matchups and lineup position. Order of the lineup is very important because the more at bats you get, the more chances you have to do something positive. With the negatives for outs being removed, it’s more important than ever to get those extra ABs. I’m not saying stack a bunch of lead off slap hitters, but usually the top 1-6 of a lineup will gets the most ABs of the game.
You can use this page to look at the players for each team, including their different DFS prices, filled with game logs and personal stats.
This is the website I use for 95% of my MLB stats and it’s so in depth and customizable that I can’t cover it all in this article. I linked you to the Stats page where you can create custom reports and I explained in the video below how to create custom reports. This is my MLB favorite stats and data website by far and do almost all of my work on here so I reference it a lot. You can find almost any piece of data you need to know when examining pitchers and batter, by splits based on home/away, batting order, time of day etc… It gets very advanced.
If you haven’t seen my Basic Intro to MLB DFS, watch here, if you have, continue to the article.