Three Sneaky Home Run Calls: Monday, September 9th
Nothing accrues more fantasy points than home runs, this we know. But what is even better than rostering a player who goes yard? Rostering a player who goes yard that not a lot of other DFS players have in their lineups. The goal of this article is to find some sneaky home run calls with the help of some of our most useful RotoGrinders tools, such as MLB Weather, PlateIQ, and MLB Ballpark Factors.
HOME RUN CALLS
1) Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
Opposing pitcher: Cal Quantrill
FanDuel price tag: $3,300
FanDuel position: OF
As you can see from our Ballpark Factors, Petco Park is just an awful park for lefty home runs. So right off the bat (pun intended), Schwarber probably doesn’t gain much traction tonight simply due to the ballpark. But there are a handful of things working in his favor that should still leave us plenty interested.
For one, there is a slight breeze blowing out to right. That should at least give him a little bump.
Secondly, when Schwarber hits bombs, Schwarber hits BOMBS. According to PlateIQ, he has a 93.3 average exit velocity and 316-foot average air distance against RHP this season. More than half of the batted ball have left the bat at greater than 95 MPH. Quite simply, park factors mean much less for guys with his kind of power.
And lastly (and perhaps most importantly), Quantrill has been absolutely brutal against lefties this season. In 231 plate appearances per PlateIQ, he has allowed a .354 wOBA and .193 ISO on 40% flyballs and 45% hard contact. Better yet, he only has a 14.3% K%. With Schwarber’s main issue being strikeouts, it is highly likely he puts a bunch of balls in play tonight. I am banking on at least one of them leaving the yard.
2) Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
Opposing pitcher: Zack Greinke
FanDuel price tag: $3,900
FanDuel position: 3B
Chapman is one of the most expensive third basemen on the slate (only the $4,000 price tag of DJ LeMahieu is higher). On top of that, he will not hold the platoon advantage against Zack Greinke, a pitcher who comes with the reputation of being an ace for some reason. I would be shocked if ownership reaches double digits on him tonight.
If we dig a little deeper though on Greinke, we know that he isn’t exactly an ace. And the strange thing about Greinke is that his batted ball profile is actually worse against righties. Sure, he strikes out more batters on that side of the plate (24.9%), but he has also allowed 44% flyballs and 36% hard contact. Against lefties, for example, he induces almost 50% groundballs while only allowing 25% flyballs.
That should set up well for Chapman, who actually has great plate skills against RHP. He has posted a .254 ISO in the split this season on 43% hard contact and a slight lean to flyballs (42%) over groundballs (40%). With Greinke’s flyball lean and this park being above average for righty home runs, Chapman has a sneaky good chance of taking Greinke deep tonight at what will likely be minimal ownership.
3) Michael Conforto, New York Mets
Opposing pitcher: Merrill Kelly
FanDuel price tag: $3,400
FanDuel position: OF
Speaking of batted ball profiles, Mr. Kelly’s looks abysmal against lefties. In 312 plate appearances in the split this season, per PlateIQ, he has allowed 47.5% hard contact and almost 30% line drives. That is just flirting with danger, especially considering how little strikeout ability has against them (16.3%).
So just like we talked up above about Schwarber in a pitcher’s park, the same is true here with Conforto. These contextual factors will automatically push them down in projection models. When that happens, you will naturally see them with much lower ownership.
And while park factors absolutely matter, I love it when they allow power hitters to get glossed over on a slate. Guess what? A no-doubter is a no-doubter regardless of where a game is played.
Conforto has 29 dongs this season. Care to wager a guess at how many of them are at home? 15! That’s right; Citi Field, one of the best pitchers parks in the league, is where Conforto has logged more than half of his home runs. Park factors matter right up until Conforto blasts one 450 feet tonight against Merrill Lynch Kelly.
You can follow Andy Means on Twitter @ameansy