Identifying Winning Relief Pitchers for DraftKings MLB Showdown Contests

Recently, I looked through the 85-plus single-game DraftKings Showdown slates and found some stack combinations that were used at a much higher rate by winning entries than the entire field.

The biggest usage disparity was between the Pitcher 1/3, Hitter 2 stack (i.e. one pitcher for one team, two from the other, and two hitters from one team). This stack accounted for 14.2% of winning lineups, while it was only found in 2% of entries overall.

Clearly using a four-pitcher stack, with THREE on one team, is contrarian. And it’s also the type of contrarian play that actually ends up being one of the best for upside.

Even knowing which stack we should use, we still don’t know the details of which players we should slot into the stack to maximize our chance of winning. In this article, I’m going to look into the characteristics of pitchers and hitter in this stack found in previous winning lineups.

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About the Author

  • Kevin Cole (colekev)

  • Kevin Cole previously worked on Wall Street as an equity and credit analyst before transitioning to data-related sports analysis. For a number of years, Kevin has specialized in creating predictive sports models that includes published work at Pro Football Focus, Rotoworld, numberFire, and RotoViz. He is now the Director of Data and Analytics at RotoGrinders.

Comments

  • bdawg22

    How much salary do the winners have left usually?

  • colekev

    @bdawg22 said...

    How much salary do the winners have left usually?

    The mean salary is around $45,500, but that’s skewed down by a couple winning entries below $40K. Most common total salary is between $49-50K.

  • thejontom

    Kevin – I read this article this morning and implemented the strategy for both Showdown slates this afternoon. I tied for 1st in the second game with both SPs, Hader (set up), Knobel (closer), Thames and Miller. Perfect roster strategy for the Brewers. Thanks a lot man. Appreciate the breakdown. Oh and I cashed in the Cubs game too without the correct closer.

  • rreader

    @thejontom said...

    Kevin – I read this article this morning and implemented the strategy for both Showdown slates this afternoon. I tied for 1st in the second game with both SPs, Hader (set up), Knobel (closer), Thames and Miller. Perfect roster strategy for the Brewers. Thanks a lot man. Appreciate the breakdown. Oh and I cashed in the Cubs game too without the correct closer.

    I also read the article yesterday morning and finished tied for 1st in the MIN/MIL Showdown. Great advice and a great strategy when two K upside SPs are facing off.

  • Bazinga77

    Can RG create a team list with the most used set up and relief pitchers? I could only really name a few if im being honest.

  • colekev

    @thejontom said...

    Kevin – I read this article this morning and implemented the strategy for both Showdown slates this afternoon. I tied for 1st in the second game with both SPs, Hader (set up), Knobel (closer), Thames and Miller. Perfect roster strategy for the Brewers. Thanks a lot man. Appreciate the breakdown. Oh and I cashed in the Cubs game too without the correct closer.

    Congrats! Glad to hear the strategy is working

  • colekev

    @rreader said...

    I also read the article yesterday morning and finished tied for 1st in the MIN/MIL Showdown. Great advice and a great strategy when two K upside SPs are facing off.

    $$$$. Great job! Hopefully I can find some more wrinkles as I dive deeper into Showdown strategy.

  • KardiacKids

    Cool article! I suck at Showdowns. It’s nice to have a strategy. I am going to try this. If you don’t have two upside starters, but you have one, would you sub the starter who has low upside with a hitter? Should you always have at least one starter? I’m looking at the two offerings for Showdown contests today (7/6). We got Chi/Cinn with Montgomery (no upside) and Mahle (has K upside). The second one seems more intriguing: Phi/Pitt. Pivetta for Phi has upside, but Williams doesn’t, but Phi could give him some. So that strategy could work there. Thoughts?

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