Riddle Me This..How Much Pitching Do I Need?
One of the toughest decisions, at least for me, in MLB DFS is trying to figure out how much of my salary cap I should be allocating to pitching. Do I pay up, pay down, stay in the middle? I always figured all of this was slate dependent, but I wasn’t sure. I decided to look deeper and see if I could see any trends. For the purpose of this blog, I will be looking at the large field GPP winning lineups for the main slates on DK from the first week of play (3/31-4/4). Also, I will look at different buy-in levels to see if the data changes. For Buy-In, I will classify them as (Low) $3-$7, (Medium) $30-$55, and (High) $300-$555 stakes and will use the large field GPP from the main slates.The table below details the slate info as well as the % of salary cap used for pitchers in the GPP winning lineup and the % of total points the pitchers scored. The last column is the % of cap used for pitchers in the optimal lineup for the slate.
|Date||Slate Size||Buy In||% of Cap||% of Points||Optimal %|
|29-Mar||9 Games||$3.00 / $20.00 / $333.00||29.80% / 37.40% / 32.40%||20.90% / 21.40% / 17.20%||34.80%|
|30-Mar||9 Games||$5.00 / $50.00 / $555.00||39.00% / 36.00% / 36.00%||32.20% / 29.60% / 29.60%||30.80%|
|31-Mar||7 Games||$5.00 / $40.00 / $333.00||39.80% / 39.80% / 33.60%||29.50% / 32.00% / 25.10%||34.60%|
|1-Apr||8 Games||$5.00 / $50.00 / $333.00||33.60% / 39.60% / 34%||25.60% / 38.10% / 30.10%||39.60%|
|2-Apr||9 Games||$5.00 / $33.00 / $444.00||37.80% / 33.40% / 34.60%||21.00% / 17.30% / 23.00%||36.80%|
|3-Apr||9 Games||$5.00 / $55.00 / $333.00||47.60% / 33.60% / 47.60%||16.20% / 17.60% / 17.40%||30.00%|
|4-Apr||5 Games||$7.00 / $33.00 / $400.00||37.40% / 37.40% / 33.40%||38.00% / 39.10% / 37.50%||37.40%|
For the first week at least, it seems that using a pretty good chunk of your salary for pitching seems to be the best route to a top score regardless of buy-in level. This makes some sense considering all the Aces started the season and there have been some less than ideal hitting weather early on. The major surprise to me is the small percentage of points the pitchers actually score on these winning rosters compared to the salary needed to get them. Doing this research has also exposed a flaw in my own roster construction. I tend to spend as little as I can feel safe with in order to squeeze in a better bat or two.
Do I need the top arm on the slate?
Now that we know we have to pay a decent amount for pitchers, another question quickly pops up. Do I need the top stud pitcher on the slate like Kershaw, Sale, Scherzer, etc.? With all the money spent on pitching, one would certainly think so. However, the numbers for the early season suggest something different. For the slates we are looking at, the top-priced pitcher was in the optimal lineup only 1 time out of 7 (the 5 game slate) and was the top scoring pitcher in 2 of 7. As for the buy-in levels, the most expensive pitcher was in 2/7 (Low) lineups, 2/7 (Medium) and 1/7(High) lineups. Not all is lost with the high dollar pitcher. Even though they weren’t on the top lineups much, they were on 30% of the top 10 lineups across our buy-in levels for these slates. This number could have been much higher but there were three pitchers (Keuchel, Darvish, Quintana) that were on ZERO top 10 lineups at any buy-in level for their slate. This once again has exposed my own thinking about pitchers. I have always been a sucker for that stud pitcher up top. This data says to me that a lot of the winning lineups are living with the 2nd, 3rd,4th stud and/or a combination of mid-tier pitchers.
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