MLB Data Detective - Best Player Values (May 25 Early Slate)

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.

We have a 6-game early (4pm ET) slate today on FanDuel and DraftKings. The early weather forecast looks OK, but be sure to keep an eye on the MLB weather page for updates.

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How did my previous picks do?

To evaluate how my previous stack picks did, I use the cash line score in the large GPP that I entered that day as my target. For yesterday’s main slate the FD cash line was 170.3, which is equivalent to 4.87x value (i.e. FPTS / salary).

Let’s see how my picks did:

Stack Players Total Salary Total FPTS Total Value Verdict?
Los Angeles Dodgers righties (FD, DK) Turner, Freese, Hernandez, Barnes $10,400 75.8 7.29x Success
New York Mets hitters (FD, DK) Rosario, Frazier, Alonso, Ramos $11,700 81 6.92x Success

It was a high-scoring night thanks to a large number of HR’s from chalky players, but both of my stacks still managed to crush the GPP cash line value. My incredible hot streak continued as 10 of my last 13 stacks have beaten the cash line value. Both my Mets and Dodgers stacks scored a lot of points at low ownership, and either would have served as a nice core for a successful lineup.

This 2-for-2 day brings my overall season record for stack recommendations to 52-47, a 53% success rate. 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 (since the start of last season):

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
Ryan Carpenter (DET) NYM 3.3 (154 PA) 3.3 (37 PA) 2.7 (14 PA) 3.3 (103 PA) 2.6 (154 PA) 2.8 (37 PA) 2.1 (14 PA) 2.5 (103 PA)
Jason Vargas (NYM) DET 2.4 (1272 PA) 2.5 (268 PA) 2.1 (206 PA) 2.4 (798 PA) 1.8 (1272 PA) 1.9 (268 PA) 1.7 (206 PA) 1.8 (798 PA)
Andrew Suarez (SF) ARI 2.3 (690 PA) 1.4 (171 PA) 1.3 (77 PA) 2.8 (442 PA) 1.7 (690 PA) 1.1 (171 PA) 1 (77 PA) 2.2 (442 PA)
Mike Fiers (OAK) SEA 2.1 (1600 PA) 2.1 (580 PA) 2.2 (219 PA) 2.2 (801 PA) 1.7 (1600 PA) 1.7 (580 PA) 1.7 (219 PA) 1.7 (801 PA)
Jake Arrieta (PHI) MIL 2.1 (1694 PA) 2.5 (577 PA) 2.2 (176 PA) 1.8 (941 PA) 1.6 (1694 PA) 2 (577 PA) 1.7 (176 PA) 1.4 (941 PA)
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) WAS 1.9 (412 PA) 1.8 (176 PA) 3 (61 PA) 1.7 (175 PA) 1.5 (412 PA) 1.4 (176 PA) 2.4 (61 PA) 1.3 (175 PA)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) TB 1.9 (1800 PA) 2.2 (590 PA) 1.8 (269 PA) 1.8 (941 PA) 1.5 (1800 PA) 1.7 (590 PA) 1.5 (269 PA) 1.4 (941 PA)
Jhoulys Chacin (MIL) PHI 1.9 (1776 PA) 2.1 (684 PA) 2.1 (194 PA) 1.7 (898 PA) 1.5 (1776 PA) 1.6 (684 PA) 1.7 (194 PA) 1.4 (898 PA)
Patrick Corbin (WAS) MIA 1.9 (1886 PA) 1.7 (427 PA) 2.1 (206 PA) 1.9 (1253 PA) 1.5 (1886 PA) 1.3 (427 PA) 1.6 (206 PA) 1.5 (1253 PA)
Taylor Clarke (ARI) SF 1.8 (34 PA) 2.7 (15 PA) 0 (1 PA) 1 (18 PA) 1.5 (34 PA) 2.3 (15 PA) 0 (1 PA) 0.8 (18 PA)
Charlie Morton (TB) CLE 1.8 (1538 PA) 1.9 (521 PA) 1.7 (194 PA) 1.7 (823 PA) 1.4 (1538 PA) 1.4 (521 PA) 1.3 (194 PA) 1.3 (823 PA)
Yusei Kikuchi (SEA) OAK 1.6 (244 PA) 1.7 (47 PA) 2.2 (37 PA) 1.5 (160 PA) 1.3 (244 PA) 1.4 (47 PA) 1.8 (37 PA) 1.2 (160 PA)

Here are the most hitter-friendly platoon splits by FPTS given up per plate appearance to hitters (minimum 50 plate appearances):

Pitcher Opponent Against hitters who bat… FPTS/PA given up (FD) FPTS/PA given up (DK) # Plate appearances against
Ryan Carpenter (DET) NYM Right-handed 3.3 2.5 103
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) WAS Switch-hitter 3 2.4 61
Andrew Suarez (SF) ARI Right-handed 2.8 2.2 442
Jake Arrieta (PHI) MIL Left-handed 2.5 2 577
Jason Vargas (NYM) DET Left-handed 2.5 1.9 268

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

NYM hitters vs Ryan Carpenter (DET) - Score: 12.56, Value: 4.01 (FD):
1) Amed Rosario (R) - 11.4 proj FPTS & 4.07 value on FD ($2800)
3) Pete Alonso (R) - 12.7 proj FPTS & 3.26 value on FD ($3900)
4) Wilson Ramos (R) - 10.81 proj FPTS & 4 value on FD ($2700)
6) Todd Frazier (R) - 10.65 proj FPTS & 4.1 value on FD ($2600)
7) Aaron Altherr (R) - 10.55 proj FPTS & 5.27 value on FD ($2000)

ARI hitters vs Andrew Suarez (SF) - Score: 11.44, Value: 3.95 (FD):
2) Ildemaro Vargas (S) - 8.73 proj FPTS & 3.97 value on FD ($2200)
4) Adam Jones (R) - 9.48 proj FPTS & 2.63 value on FD ($3600)
5) Kevin Cron (R) - 10.26 proj FPTS & 5.13 value on FD ($2000)
6) Nick Ahmed (R) - 10.31 proj FPTS & 4.12 value on FD ($2500)
7) Tim Locastro (R) - 9.82 proj FPTS & 4.91 value on FD ($2000)

MIL hitters vs Jake Arrieta (PHI) - Score: 11.41, Value: 3.12 (FD):
2) Christian Yelich (L) - 13.33 proj FPTS & 2.84 value on FD ($4700)
3) Ryan Braun (R) - 10.17 proj FPTS & 3.08 value on FD ($3300)
4) Mike Moustakas (L) - 10.89 proj FPTS & 2.94 value on FD ($3700)
5) Yasmani Grandal (S) - 9.89 proj FPTS & 3.09 value on FD ($3200)
6) Eric Thames (L) - 10.6 proj FPTS & 3.93 value on FD ($2700)

WAS hitters vs Sandy Alcantara (MIA) - Score: 11.18, Value: 3.08 (FD):
1) Trea Turner (R) - 11.8 proj FPTS & 2.95 value on FD ($4000)
2) Adam Eaton (L) - 9.65 proj FPTS & 3.01 value on FD ($3200)
3) Anthony Rendon (R) - 11.44 proj FPTS & 2.86 value on FD ($4000)
4) Juan Soto (L) - 10.39 proj FPTS & 2.66 value on FD ($3900)
5) Matt Adams (L) - 9.94 proj FPTS & 4.52 value on FD ($2200)

CLE hitters vs Charlie Morton (TB) - Score: 11.07, Value: 3.49 (FD):
1) Francisco Lindor (S) - 11.7 proj FPTS & 3.44 value on FD ($3400)
2) Jason Kipnis (L) - 9.66 proj FPTS & 4.02 value on FD ($2400)
3) Carlos Santana (S) - 9.89 proj FPTS & 3 value on FD ($3300)
4) Jake Bauers (L) - 8.51 proj FPTS & 3.7 value on FD ($2300)
5) Jose Ramirez (S) - 10.51 proj FPTS & 3.5 value on FD ($3000)

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

NYM hitters vs Ryan Carpenter (DET) - Score: 8.75, Value: 2.16 (DK):
1) Amed Rosario (R) - 9.06 proj FPTS & 2.26 value on DK ($4000)
3) Pete Alonso (R) - 10.04 proj FPTS & 1.89 value on DK ($5300)
4) Wilson Ramos (R) - 8.4 proj FPTS & 2 value on DK ($4200)
6) Todd Frazier (R) - 8.14 proj FPTS & 2.14 value on DK ($3800)
7) Aaron Altherr (R) - 7.96 proj FPTS & 2.74 value on DK ($2900)

MIL hitters vs Jake Arrieta (PHI) - Score: 8.15, Value: 1.72 (DK):
2) Christian Yelich (L) - 10.39 proj FPTS & 1.76 value on DK ($5900)
3) Ryan Braun (R) - 8.06 proj FPTS & 1.61 value on DK ($5000)
4) Mike Moustakas (L) - 8.51 proj FPTS & 1.74 value on DK ($4900)
5) Yasmani Grandal (S) - 7.72 proj FPTS & 1.68 value on DK ($4600)
6) Eric Thames (L) - 8.16 proj FPTS & 1.81 value on DK ($4500)

DET hitters vs Jason Vargas (NYM) - Score: 8.08, Value: 2.38 (DK):
1) Niko Goodrum (S) - 7.4 proj FPTS & 2.18 value on DK ($3400)
3) Nicholas Castellanos (R) - 9.14 proj FPTS & 2.34 value on DK ($3900)
4) Miguel Cabrera (R) - 7.96 proj FPTS & 2.27 value on DK ($3500)
6) Josh Harrison (R) - 6.87 proj FPTS & 2.45 value on DK ($2800)
7) Grayson Greiner (R) - 6.43 proj FPTS & 2.8 value on DK ($2300)

WAS hitters vs Sandy Alcantara (MIA) - Score: 7.98, Value: 1.73 (DK):
1) Trea Turner (R) - 9.32 proj FPTS & 1.9 value on DK ($4900)
2) Adam Eaton (L) - 7.65 proj FPTS & 1.87 value on DK ($4100)
3) Anthony Rendon (R) - 8.8 proj FPTS & 1.52 value on DK ($5800)
4) Juan Soto (L) - 8.07 proj FPTS & 1.58 value on DK ($5100)
5) Matt Adams (L) - 7.69 proj FPTS & 1.88 value on DK ($4100)

ARI hitters vs Andrew Suarez (SF) - Score: 7.91, Value: 2.1 (DK):
1) Ketel Marte (S) - 7.58 proj FPTS & 1.65 value on DK ($4600)
2) Ildemaro Vargas (S) - 7.09 proj FPTS & 2.09 value on DK ($3400)
5) Kevin Cron (R) - 8.03 proj FPTS & 2.59 value on DK ($3100)
6) Nick Ahmed (R) - 8.11 proj FPTS & 2.25 value on DK ($3600)
7) Tim Locastro (R) - 7.66 proj FPTS & 2.13 value on DK ($3600)

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.

New York Mets hitters (FD, DK)

1) Amed Rosario – 11.4 proj FPTS & 4.07 value on FD ($2800), 9.06 proj FPTS & 2.26 value on DK ($4000)
2) J.D. Davis – 10.35 proj FPTS & 3.98 value on FD ($2600), 8.16 proj FPTS & 1.9 value on DK ($4300)
4) Wilson Ramos – 10.81 proj FPTS & 4 value on FD ($2700), 8.4 proj FPTS & 2 value on DK ($4200)
6) Todd Frazier – 10.65 proj FPTS & 4.1 value on FD ($2600), 8.14 proj FPTS & 2.14 value on DK ($3800)

The Mets came through for me last night and I’m going right back to them today against gas can Ryan Carpenter, whose career stat line is 8.90 ERA, .357 avg, 1.85 WHIP…no that’s not a typo, although it is over a small sample size. There are so many ways to stack the Mets today because every player in their lineup offers good-to-outstanding value, but I’m going to go with a low-cost value approach with this group of proven hitters in the tops two-thirds of the order. I’m taking a big risk leaving Alonso on the bench, but let’s see how it plays out before deciding whether I’m crazy or crazy like a fox. Altherr is a nice punt play with ridiculously high projected value but I don’t trust him…he’s a strikeout machine who might get benched early.

Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed hitters (FD, DK)

2) Ildemaro Vargas – 8.73 proj FPTS & 3.97 value on FD ($2200), 7.09 proj FPTS & 2.09 value on DK ($3400)
5) Kevin Cron – 10.26 proj FPTS & 5.13 value on FD ($2000), 8.03 proj FPTS & 2.59 value on DK ($3100)
6) Nick Ahmed – 10.31 proj FPTS & 4.12 value on FD ($2500), 8.11 proj FPTS & 2.25 value on DK ($3600)
7) Tim Locastro – 9.82 proj FPTS & 4.91 value on FD ($2000), 7.66 proj FPTS & 2.13 value on DK ($3600)

This is admittedly a cheap, ugly, contrarian stack but one with insane projected value in this matchup against Andrew Suarez. Suarez has some serious Jeckyll & Hyde platoon splits…he’s an ace against left-handed hitters (career .208 avg, 0.85 WHIP) but a gas can against righties (career .286 avg, 1.47 WHIP), and the Diamondbacks are wisely rolling out a righty-heavy lineup against him. Arizona doesn’t have a great offense (especially without Peralta) and they’re playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but I still don’t undertand why the Vegas implied run total is so low. I’m going to include at least a couple of these hitters in my GPP lineup and use the salary relief to pay up elsewhere.

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 (i.e. the league-wide average for his batting position)
  • 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
Nicholas Castellanos (OF, DET) $3500 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 11.72 3.35
Pete Alonso (1B, NYM) $3900 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 12.7 3.26
Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA) $3600 Mike Fiers (P, OAK) 11.03 3.06
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, SEA) $3800 Mike Fiers (P, OAK) 11.3 2.97
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $4000 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 11.8 2.95
Mike Moustakas (3B, MIL) $3700 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 10.89 2.94
Anthony Rendon (3B, WAS) $4000 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 11.44 2.86
Austin Meadows (OF, TB) $4100 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 11.68 2.85
Tommy Pham (OF, TB) $3700 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 10.51 2.84
Christian Yelich (OF, MIL) $4700 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 13.33 2.84

FanDuel – midrange hitters ($2500 to $3500)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI) $2500 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 10.31 4.12
Todd Frazier (3B, NYM) $2600 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.65 4.1
Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) $2800 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 11.4 4.07
Carlos Gomez (OF, NYM) $2600 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.45 4.02
Wilson Ramos (C, NYM) $2700 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.81 4
J.D. Davis (OF, NYM) $2600 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.35 3.98
Eric Thames (1B, MIL) $2700 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 10.6 3.93
Kyle Seager (3B, SEA) $2500 Mike Fiers (P, OAK) 9.06 3.62
Ji-Man Choi (1B, TB) $2700 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 9.7 3.59
Brandon Belt (1B, SF) $2900 Taylor Clarke (P, ARI) 10.42 3.59

FanDuel – cheap hitters (less than $2500)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Aaron Altherr (OF, NYM) $2000 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.55 5.27
Kevin Cron (3B, ARI) $2000 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 10.26 5.13
Tim Locastro (OF, ARI) $2000 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 9.82 4.91
Adeiny Hechavarria (2B, NYM) $2000 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 9.56 4.78
Matt Adams (1B, WAS) $2200 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 9.94 4.52
Grayson Greiner (C, DET) $2000 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 8.16 4.08
Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) $2400 Charlie Morton (P, TB) 9.66 4.02
Starlin Castro (2B, MIA) $2200 Patrick Corbin (P, WAS) 8.73 3.97
Ildemaro Vargas (2B, ARI) $2200 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 8.73 3.97
Austin Dean (OF, MIA) $2200 Patrick Corbin (P, WAS) 8.66 3.93

DraftKings – expensive hitters ($4500 or more)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) $4700 Charlie Morton (P, TB) 9.1 1.94
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $4900 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 9.32 1.9
Pete Alonso (1B, NYM) $5300 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.04 1.89
Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL) $4500 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 8.16 1.81
Tommy Pham (OF, TB) $4700 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 8.3 1.77
Christian Yelich (OF, MIL) $5900 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 10.39 1.76
Austin Meadows (OF, TB) $5400 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 9.39 1.74
Mike Moustakas (2B/3B, MIL) $4900 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 8.51 1.74
Bryce Harper (OF, PHI) $4900 Jhoulys Chacin (P, MIL) 8.41 1.72
Yasmani Grandal (C, MIL) $4600 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 7.72 1.68

DraftKings – midrange hitters ($3500 to $4500)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Nicholas Castellanos (OF, DET) $3900 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 9.14 2.34
Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET) $3500 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 7.96 2.27
Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) $4000 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 9.06 2.26
Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI) $3600 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 8.11 2.25
Jose Ramirez (3B, CLE) $3700 Charlie Morton (P, TB) 8.13 2.2
Todd Frazier (3B, NYM) $3800 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 8.14 2.14
Tim Locastro (OF, ARI) $3600 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 7.66 2.13
Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) $3600 Charlie Morton (P, TB) 7.51 2.09
Brandon Belt (1B/OF, SF) $3900 Taylor Clarke (P, ARI) 8.07 2.07
Stephen Piscotty (OF, OAK) $3600 Yusei Kikuchi (P, SEA) 7.43 2.06

DraftKings – cheap hitters (less than $3500)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Grayson Greiner (C, DET) $2300 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 6.43 2.8
Aaron Altherr (OF, NYM) $2900 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 7.96 2.74
Starlin Castro (2B, MIA) $2600 Patrick Corbin (P, WAS) 7.1 2.73
Kevin Cron (1B/3B, ARI) $3100 Andrew Suarez (P, SF) 8.03 2.59
Josh Harrison (2B, DET) $2800 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 6.87 2.45
Adeiny Hechavarria (2B/SS, NYM) $3400 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 7.65 2.25
Harold Ramirez (OF, MIA) $3000 Patrick Corbin (P, WAS) 6.6 2.2
Dawel Lugo (3B, DET) $3200 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 7.04 2.2
Niko Goodrum (1B/OF, DET) $3400 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 7.4 2.18
Garrett Cooper (1B/OF, MIA) $3200 Patrick Corbin (P, WAS) 6.94 2.17

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
Christian Yelich (OF, MIL) $4700 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 13.33 2.84
Pete Alonso (1B, NYM) $3900 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 12.7 3.26
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $4000 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 11.8 2.95
Nicholas Castellanos (OF, DET) $3500 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 11.72 3.35
Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) $3400 Charlie Morton (P, TB) 11.7 3.44
Austin Meadows (OF, TB) $4100 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 11.68 2.85
Anthony Rendon (3B, WAS) $4000 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 11.44 2.86
Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) $2800 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 11.4 4.07
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, SEA) $3800 Mike Fiers (P, OAK) 11.3 2.97
Bryce Harper (OF, PHI) $4300 Jhoulys Chacin (P, MIL) 11.1 2.58

Top 10 hitters ranked by projected FPTS (DraftKings)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Christian Yelich (OF, MIL) $5900 Jake Arrieta (P, PHI) 10.39 1.76
Pete Alonso (1B, NYM) $5300 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 10.04 1.89
Austin Meadows (OF, TB) $5400 Carlos Carrasco (P, CLE) 9.39 1.74
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $4900 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 9.32 1.9
Nicholas Castellanos (OF, DET) $3900 Jason Vargas (P, NYM) 9.14 2.34
Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) $4700 Charlie Morton (P, TB) 9.1 1.94
Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) $4000 Ryan Carpenter (P, DET) 9.06 2.26
Anthony Rendon (3B, WAS) $5800 Sandy Alcantara (P, MIA) 8.8 1.52
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, SEA) $4400 Mike Fiers (P, OAK) 8.65 1.97
Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA) $4400 Mike Fiers (P, OAK) 8.57 1.95

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