MLB Data Detective - Best Player Values (July 23)

As a professional software developer with 15+ years of experience working with data in the finance industry, my passion is using data analysis to gain a competitive advantage. I developed a software application that generates custom stats and player projections from play-by-play logs of every MLB game in recent history, and I will use this blog to share my DFS-related findings as I explore this data.

Welcome back, everyone! After a longer-than-expected offseason, baseball is back and I’m excited to kick off my 3rd season of blogging here on RotoGrinders. I expect it to be a wacky season with tons of variance, but I’m just thankful that there will actually be a season. We have a tiny 2-game main slate today on FanDuel and DraftKings. My blog format doesn’t work very well with tiny slates like this, but I’m so baseball-starved that I’m going to post anyway. There’s rain in the forecast for the NYY-WAS game so be sure to keep an eye on the MLB weather page for updates.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with my blogs, please note that my app allows me to respond quickly to last-minute starting lineup changes so be sure to check back before lock (and even throughout the early games of a slate) as I typically post updates once the official batting order is posted for a game.

If you enjoy my blog, please click the “like” button at the top of this page to let me know how I’m doing.

How did my previous picks do?

To evaluate how my previous stack picks did, I use the cash line score from the large GPP that I entered that day as my target. I’ll skip this section today since it’s the first slate of the new season and there’s no previous slate to review, but for reference I had a 53% success (cash) rate last season. This was a marked improvement over my 43% success (cash) rate the previous season. For comparison, the expected success rate of an average stack is approximately 20% (since I’m using the cash line from large GPPs as my success criteria).

Now let’s move onto today’s games…

Which pitching matchups should we target?

Let’s first take a look at how the probable starting pitchers rank in terms of FPTS given up to hitters per plate appearance (over the past 3 seasons):

FPTS / PA given up (FanDuel) FPTS / PA given up (DraftKings)
Pitcher Opponent vs All vs Lefties vs Switch vs Righties vs All vs Lefties vs Switch vs Righties
Johnny Cueto (SF) LAD 2.1 (281 PA) 2.6 (110 PA) 1.5 (21 PA) 1.8 (150 PA) 1.6 (281 PA) 2 (110 PA) 1.1 (21 PA) 1.4 (150 PA)
Dustin May (LAD) SF 1.9 (141 PA) 3.3 (39 PA) 1.9 (18 PA) 1.2 (84 PA) 1.5 (141 PA) 2.4 (39 PA) 1.6 (18 PA) 1 (84 PA)
Gerrit Cole (NYY) WAS 1.8 (1618 PA) 1.6 (608 PA) 2.1 (200 PA) 1.8 (810 PA) 1.4 (1618 PA) 1.2 (608 PA) 1.6 (200 PA) 1.4 (810 PA)
Max Scherzer (WAS) NYY 1.7 (1560 PA) 2 (603 PA) 1.5 (178 PA) 1.6 (779 PA) 1.3 (1560 PA) 1.5 (603 PA) 1.2 (178 PA) 1.2 (779 PA)

Here are the most hitter-friendly platoon splits by FPTS given up per plate appearance to hitters (minimum 100 plate appearances):

Pitcher Opponent Against hitters who bat… FPTS/PA given up (FD) FPTS/PA given up (DK) # Plate appearances against
Johnny Cueto (SF) LAD Left-handed 2.6 2 110

My App’s Top-Value Hitter Stacks (FanDuel)

SF hitters vs Dustin May (LAD) - Score: 10.81, Value: 5.17 (FD):
1) Michael Yastrzemski (L) - 13.07 proj FPTS & 5.23 value on FD ($2500)
2) Wilmer Flores (R) - 8.88 proj FPTS & 4.23 value on FD ($2100)
3) Pablo Sandoval (S) - 11.24 proj FPTS & 5.35 value on FD ($2100)
4) Alex Dickerson (L) - 12.24 proj FPTS & 5.56 value on FD ($2200)
9) Tyler Heineman (S) - 10.97 proj FPTS & 5.49 value on FD ($2000)

LAD hitters vs Johnny Cueto (SF) - Score: 9.61, Value: 3.34 (FD):
1) Max Muncy (L) - 13.39 proj FPTS & 3.43 value on FD ($3900)
2) Mookie Betts (R) - 12.92 proj FPTS & 3.08 value on FD ($4200)
3) Cody Bellinger (L) - 13.03 proj FPTS & 2.89 value on FD ($4500)
5) Corey Seager (L) - 11.29 proj FPTS & 3.53 value on FD ($3200)
7) Joc Pederson (L) - 11.45 proj FPTS & 4.09 value on FD ($2800)

NYY hitters vs Max Scherzer (WAS) - Score: 9.03, Value: 3.47 (FD):
1) Aaron Hicks (S) - 12.25 proj FPTS & 4.71 value on FD ($2600)
2) Aaron Judge (R) - 10.98 proj FPTS & 2.68 value on FD ($4100)
3) Gleyber Torres (R) - 10.42 proj FPTS & 3.06 value on FD ($3400)
5) Brett Gardner (L) - 11.06 proj FPTS & 4.1 value on FD ($2700)
7) Luke Voit (R) - 9.77 proj FPTS & 3.37 value on FD ($2900)

WAS hitters vs Gerrit Cole (NYY) - Score: 8.98, Value: 3.78 (FD):
1) Trea Turner (R) - 11.54 proj FPTS & 3.2 value on FD ($3600)
2) Adam Eaton (L) - 10.03 proj FPTS & 3.86 value on FD ($2600)
4) Howie Kendrick (R) - 10.11 proj FPTS & 4.04 value on FD ($2500)
5) Eric Thames (L) - 10.02 proj FPTS & 4.17 value on FD ($2400)
7) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) - 9.74 proj FPTS & 3.9 value on FD ($2500)

My App’s Top-Value Hitter Stacks (DraftKings)

SF hitters vs Dustin May (LAD) - Score: 6.83, Value: 2.54 (DK):
1) Michael Yastrzemski (L) - 9.93 proj FPTS & 2.48 value on DK ($4000)
3) Pablo Sandoval (S) - 8.59 proj FPTS & 2.45 value on DK ($3500)
4) Alex Dickerson (L) - 9.33 proj FPTS & 2.83 value on DK ($3300)
8) Brandon Crawford (L) - 6.63 proj FPTS & 2.45 value on DK ($2700)
9) Tyler Heineman (S) - 8.43 proj FPTS & 2.48 value on DK ($3400)

LAD hitters vs Johnny Cueto (SF) - Score: 6.71, Value: 2 (DK):
1) Max Muncy (L) - 10.02 proj FPTS & 2.18 value on DK ($4600)
2) Mookie Betts (R) - 9.92 proj FPTS & 2.02 value on DK ($4900)
3) Cody Bellinger (L) - 9.94 proj FPTS & 1.95 value on DK ($5100)
5) Corey Seager (L) - 8.54 proj FPTS & 1.94 value on DK ($4400)
7) Joc Pederson (L) - 8.7 proj FPTS & 1.93 value on DK ($4500)

NYY hitters vs Max Scherzer (WAS) - Score: 6.13, Value: 1.94 (DK):
1) Aaron Hicks (S) - 9.24 proj FPTS & 2.2 value on DK ($4200)
2) Aaron Judge (R) - 8.38 proj FPTS & 1.91 value on DK ($4400)
3) Gleyber Torres (R) - 8.04 proj FPTS & 1.87 value on DK ($4300)
4) Giancarlo Stanton (R) - 7.69 proj FPTS & 1.67 value on DK ($4600)
5) Brett Gardner (L) - 8.52 proj FPTS & 2.08 value on DK ($4100)

WAS hitters vs Gerrit Cole (NYY) - Score: 5.85, Value: 1.84 (DK):
1) Trea Turner (R) - 9.08 proj FPTS & 1.78 value on DK ($5100)
2) Adam Eaton (L) - 7.82 proj FPTS & 2.06 value on DK ($3800)
4) Howie Kendrick (R) - 7.96 proj FPTS & 1.81 value on DK ($4400)
5) Eric Thames (L) - 7.62 proj FPTS & 1.69 value on DK ($4500)
7) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) - 7.48 proj FPTS & 1.92 value on DK ($3900)

My Favorite Hitter Stacks

I will choose hitters from the projected starting lineups primarily based on their calculated “value”, which is their projected FPTS divided by their salary. The number before each player’s name is his projected position in the batting order.

San Francisco Giants hitters (FD, DK)

1) Michael Yastrzemski – 13.07 proj FPTS & 5.23 value on FD ($2500), 9.93 proj FPTS & 2.48 value on DK ($4000)
2) Wilmer Flores – 8.88 proj FPTS & 4.23 value on FD ($2100), 7.02 proj FPTS & 1.85 value on DK ($3800)
3) Pablo Sandoval – 11.24 proj FPTS & 5.35 value on FD ($2100), 8.59 proj FPTS & 2.45 value on DK ($3500)
4) Alex Dickerson – 12.24 proj FPTS & 5.56 value on FD ($2200), 9.33 proj FPTS & 2.83 value on DK ($3300)

Wait, what??? Why on earth am I kicking off the new season by recommending a Giants stack against Clayton Kershaw? For starters, let me just say that both my app and I concede that the obvious top play tonight is a Dodgers lefty-heavy stack against Johnny Cueto. But everyone and their uncle will be doing that, and on a tiny slate like this it’s almost a necessity to be somewhat contrarian. So I’m going to build my lineup with a Giants-Dodgers game stack. The Dodgers hitters will provide some boring herd-following upside while the Giants bats will offer the salary relief necessary to afford one of the ace pitchers in the Yankees-Nats game. For what it’s worth, Kershaw is a rather scary pitcher to stack against but he’s arguably a weaker opponent than either Cole or Scherzer from the other game. This stack clearly has bust potential, but I’m going to take a gamble on its pure value and hope that Kershaw has some rust to start the season. UPDATE: With Dustin May now taking the mound for the Dodgers, fire up a Giants stack with significantly more confidence!

Best Hitter Values

For reference, here are my app’s top hitter values by DFS site and price range. I use my own algorithm to generate projected FPTS for hitters, which is primarily based on the following:

  • Hitter’s average FPTS per plate appearance against similar pitchers over the past 3 seasons
  • Hitter’s projected # of plate appearances (considering batting position, home/away, & opposing pitcher)
  • Pitcher’s average FPTS per plate appearance given up to similar hitters over the past 3 seasons (for starter & bullpen)
  • Ballpark factors (e.g. the impact of the ballpark on fantasy production)

Value is calculated as projected FPTS / salary.

FanDuel – expensive hitters ($3500 or more)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Max Muncy (1B, LAD) $3900 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 13.39 3.43
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $3600 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 11.54 3.2
Mookie Betts (OF, LAD) $4200 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 12.92 3.08
Cody Bellinger (OF, LAD) $4500 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 13.03 2.89
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY) $3500 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 10.02 2.86

FanDuel – midrange hitters ($2500 to $3500)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Michael Yastrzemski (OF, SF) $2500 Dustin May (P, LAD) 13.07 5.23
Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) $2600 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 12.25 4.71
Brett Gardner (OF, NYY) $2700 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 11.06 4.1
Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) $2800 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 11.45 4.09
Howie Kendrick (2B, WAS) $2500 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 10.11 4.04

FanDuel – cheap hitters (less than $2500)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Alex Dickerson (OF, SF) $2200 Dustin May (P, LAD) 12.24 5.56
Tyler Heineman (C, SF) $2000 Dustin May (P, LAD) 10.97 5.49
Pablo Sandoval (3B, SF) $2100 Dustin May (P, LAD) 11.24 5.35
Wilmer Flores (2B, SF) $2100 Dustin May (P, LAD) 8.88 4.23
Eric Thames (1B, WAS) $2400 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 10.02 4.17

DraftKings – expensive hitters ($4500 or more)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Max Muncy (1B/2B, LAD) $4600 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 10.02 2.18
Mookie Betts (OF, LAD) $4900 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 9.92 2.02
Cody Bellinger (OF, LAD) $5100 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 9.94 1.95
Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) $4500 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 8.7 1.93
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $5100 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 9.08 1.78

DraftKings – midrange hitters ($3500 to $4500)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Michael Yastrzemski (OF, SF) $4000 Dustin May (P, LAD) 9.93 2.48
Pablo Sandoval (3B, SF) $3500 Dustin May (P, LAD) 8.59 2.45
Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) $4200 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 9.24 2.2
Brett Gardner (OF, NYY) $4100 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 8.52 2.08
Adam Eaton (OF, WAS) $3800 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 7.82 2.06

DraftKings – cheap hitters (less than $3500)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Alex Dickerson (OF, SF) $3300 Dustin May (P, LAD) 9.33 2.83
Tyler Heineman (C, SF) $3400 Dustin May (P, LAD) 8.43 2.48
Brandon Crawford (SS, SF) $2700 Dustin May (P, LAD) 6.63 2.45
Tyler Wade (OF/SS, NYY) $2800 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 6.34 2.27
Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS, SF) $3100 Dustin May (P, LAD) 5.78 1.86

Top-Scoring Hitters

For reference, here are my app’s top hitters in terms of total projected FPTS, ignoring value:

Top 10 hitters ranked by projected FPTS (FanDuel)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Max Muncy (1B, LAD) $3900 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 13.39 3.43
Michael Yastrzemski (OF, SF) $2500 Dustin May (P, LAD) 13.07 5.23
Cody Bellinger (OF, LAD) $4500 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 13.03 2.89
Mookie Betts (OF, LAD) $4200 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 12.92 3.08
Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) $2600 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 12.25 4.71
Alex Dickerson (OF, SF) $2200 Dustin May (P, LAD) 12.24 5.56
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $3600 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 11.54 3.2
Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) $2800 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 11.45 4.09
Corey Seager (SS, LAD) $3200 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 11.29 3.53
Pablo Sandoval (3B, SF) $2100 Dustin May (P, LAD) 11.24 5.35

Top 10 hitters ranked by projected FPTS (DraftKings)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Max Muncy (1B/2B, LAD) $4600 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 10.02 2.18
Cody Bellinger (OF, LAD) $5100 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 9.94 1.95
Michael Yastrzemski (OF, SF) $4000 Dustin May (P, LAD) 9.93 2.48
Mookie Betts (OF, LAD) $4900 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 9.92 2.02
Alex Dickerson (OF, SF) $3300 Dustin May (P, LAD) 9.33 2.83
Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) $4200 Max Scherzer (P, WAS) 9.24 2.2
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $5100 Gerrit Cole (P, NYY) 9.08 1.78
Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) $4500 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 8.7 1.93
Pablo Sandoval (3B, SF) $3500 Dustin May (P, LAD) 8.59 2.45
Corey Seager (SS, LAD) $4400 Johnny Cueto (P, SF) 8.54 1.94

About the Author

Comments

  • hautalak

    • x2

      2021 Blogger of the Month

    He’s back! One of the things I looked forward to about MLB coming back. Love what you do for us. Good luck this year. Thank you.

  • TheDataDetective

    • Blogger of the Month

    @hautalak said...

    He’s back! One of the things I looked forward to about MLB coming back. Love what you do for us. Good luck this year. Thank you.

    Thanks for the kind words! Best of luck to you too. It should be a wacky season but I’m just glad we have one at all.

  • bobbysteelz7

    Welcome back man! I’ll be looking forward to your articles. Thanks for your help.

  • TheDataDetective

    • Blogger of the Month

    @bobbysteelz7 said...

    Welcome back man! I’ll be looking forward to your articles. Thanks for your help.

    Appreciate it. Good luck on tonight’s slate. Looking forward to a full sized one tomorrow night

  • KJPhilies

    Confused. Why the Tampa Bay hitters in the headline when it’s SF?

  • TheDataDetective

    • Blogger of the Month

    @KJPhilies said...

    Confused. Why the Tampa Bay hitters in the headline when it’s SF?

    Look closely… it’s actually Mike Yastrzemski

  • KJPhilies

    Above his name. Tampa Bay Ray’s hitters

  • TheDataDetective

    • Blogger of the Month

    @KJPhilies said...

    Above his name. Tampa Bay Ray’s hitters

    Ahh, gotcha. Good catch… thanks. Fixed

  • KJPhilies

    Great content! Thank you

  • dj39466

    Glad you are back,these articles were a great help last season so looking forward to a profitable one again!

  • WestCrook1

    My guy is back!

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