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DraftKings Lineups: Caught Stealing, Catchers, and Pitchers

If you remember back to the beginning of this course during Lesson 1, I pointed out some of the top catchers in the game at throwing out runners. When identifying SB value for the day for your DraftKings lineups, you should take the catcher into consideration before taking the plunder. Although DraftKings, as of this season, does not penalize you for being caught stealing anymore, it’s obviously a negative situation (even if not negative points) that we want to be aware of. Not that I will shy away completely if a speedster I’ve got pegged is running against Wilson Ramos or Russell Martin or Yadier Molina, although it does make me ponder the situation. Gawd, I love the word “ponder”.

It’s reasonable to assume that if a catcher has a .350 CS % or higher, there should be some expectation your runner might be nabbed at second base. I usually use this information when deciding between two similar speedsters. If one is facing Ramos for example, and another is facing the dregs of the catching CS world, who are ya going with? The idea, of course, is to increase your chances any way you can; however, remember that last season’s numbers only carry you to a certain point in the DFS world. It’s more of a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately scenario, right? Just don’t forget that catchers do play an intricate role in your DraftKings lineups.

What about pitchers?

There have been some excellent write-ups over the years that have suggested that a pitcher is more responsible for CS than a catcher is, reason being that the pitcher controls the release and delivery time of a ball he is throwing to home plate. I’m sort of in agreement with that idea, considering the pitcher-catcher connectivity issue.

With that in mind, let’s identify some extra-geeky pitching and catching stats that I like to consider when rostering SB:

Pitcher’s Delivery Time
Pitcher’s Caught Stealing Percentage (duh)
Pop Time – This is super, super dorky, and only magnificent-stat nerds like me should dive in here. Basically, it’s the time that it takes for the catcher to throw to the infielder’s glove after catching the ball. So, glove-to-glove action.
Pick Offs
Wild Pitches
Pass Balls

It should go without saying that the less time it takes for a pitcher to reach his catcher’s glove, the less of a chance the runner has at stealing a base, wouldn’t you say? Yes, absolutely.

But, Master, what if you have a catcher that has an incredible pop time, but his battery mate has an awful delivery time? Ah, yes, Grasshopper, “Fear is the only darkness.”

Sometimes you’re going to have situations like that, and then it’s just plain okay to rely on your gut. In fact, relying on my over-sized gut has helped me out in more than one occasion in the DFS world.

When it comes to pop time and delivery time, keep in mind that there is data that I have not incorporated. Like, for instance, the runner’s speed and the amount of games played that a catcher has over a pitcher, giving him many more attempts at throwing a runner out and adjusting his pop time. Just so you realize my geekiness does stop somewhere.

It can be tricky identifying pitchers and catchers with solid delivery time and pop time, respectively, but there are sources out there to garner this information.

If you remember back to the beginning of this course during Lesson 1, I pointed out some of the top catchers in the game at throwing out runners. When identifying SB value for the day for your DraftKings lineups, you should take the catcher into consideration before taking the plunder. Although DraftKings, as of this season, does not penalize you for being caught stealing anymore, it’s obviously a negative situation (even if not negative points) that we want to be aware of. Not that I will shy away completely if a speedster I’ve got pegged is running against Wilson Ramos or Russell Martin or Yadier Molina, although it does make me ponder the situation. Gawd, I love the word “ponder”.

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