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  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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    Lefty/righty splits are obviously a big part of daily fantasy baseball. I think utilizing splits is pretty important in cash games – maybe not as valuable as others believe, but still a big factor to consider. In tournaments, though, I’ve been utilizing lefty/righty splits less and less, for a few reasons.

    The most important of those reasons is I’ve noticed a strong correlation between handedness and tournament ownership. One of the strategies I’ve been using a lot more lately is playing righty-dominant lineups against RHP. You get reduced ownership, and right-handed batters tend to not struggle against righties the same way lefty batters struggle vs southpaws.

    Splits are obviously important over the long run, but the reduced popularity you see on batters facing the same handedness of pitcher – especially studs who often have near-even splits and can go off against anyone – means I think it’s worth it to reconsider how you set up lineups based on handedness/splits.

    tl;dr Handedness splits are important, but people are weighing them too heavily.

  • Maxkim

    I tend to agree with this for the most part. Worse players with the handedness in their favor tend to be much higher owned than ones without it, even if the second player has significantly more talent than the first one. In that situation, their projections would be very similar, but the one with the handedness advantage would have the much higher own%.

    My question is, how many plate appearances do we need to determine that a player has a much higher than average platoon split (Jeff Baker style.) These players, if the split is real, would almost never be worth playing against a same handedness pitcher, but if we decide that their true talent level is a much more normal split, we can potentially profit by playing these players when literally nobody else does.

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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    I think you probably need more PAs than people think, especially when results aren’t extreme, which likely plays into the idea that we can’t trust handedness splits to predict success in a single night as much as most assume.

  • Maxkim

    @Jon Bales said...

    I think you probably need more PAs than people think, especially when results aren’t extreme, which likely plays into the idea that we can’t trust handedness splits to predict success in a single night as much as most assume.

    do we have numbers for average platoon splits? obviously hitters are better against opposite handed pitchers, but how much better, on average? My approximation would be something like lefties are 30-40 woba points better against righties, and righties 20-30 points better off lefties, but I’d love the exact numbers if anyone can find them.

  • jdubadubs

    @Maxkim said...

    do we have numbers for average platoon splits? obviously hitters are better against opposite handed pitchers, but how much better, on average? My approximation would be something like lefties are 30-40 woba points better against righties, and righties 20-30 points better off lefties, but I’d love the exact numbers if anyone can find them.

    In 2015: Lefty batters: vs Left Pitcher: .294 wOBA, vs Right Pitcher – .324 (30 pts)
    Righty Batters: vs Left Pitcher: .320 wOBA, vs Righty Pitcher .304 (16 pts)

  • meerkatmreow

    @jdubadubs said...

    In 2015: Lefty batters: vs Left Pitcher: .294 wOBA, vs Right Pitcher – .324 (30 pts)
    Righty Batters: vs Left Pitcher: .320 wOBA, vs Righty Pitcher .304 (16 pts)

    You beat me to it. Here’s combined from 2006-2015:
    Lefty Batters:
    v. LHP 0.298 wOBA; 0.125 ISO
    v. RHP 0.329 wOBA; 0.156 ISO
    Diff: +0.031 wOBA; +0.031 ISO

    Righty Batters:
    v. RHP 0.309 wOBA; 0.144174925838
    v. LHP 0.329 wOBA; 0.157660659932
    Diff: +0.020 wOBA; +0.013 ISO

  • Jeets232

    @Jon Bales said...

    Lefty/righty splits are obviously a big part of daily fantasy baseball. I think utilizing splits is pretty important in cash games – maybe not as valuable as others believe, but still a big factor to consider. In tournaments, though, I’ve been utilizing lefty/righty splits less and less, for a few reasons

    Really like this ideas and have questioned my weighting of splits in GPPs because I have noticed they can lead me to using higher owned players. I also think this is a great way to go contrarian! My question is: What other factors are you looking at if you aren’t weighing splits at all? Also, are you just ignoring wOBA and ISO splits?

  • cedric19

    Great idea

    Love the logic behind this

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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    @Jeets232 said...

    My question is: What other factors are you looking at if you aren’t weighing splits at all? Also, are you just ignoring wOBA and ISO splits?

    I don’t ignore splits at all; I just think they’re probably overrated. I look at a variety of things (Vegas, lineup order, weather, SB/HR upside, line movement, ownership, etc)

  • CJtheGrump

    I tend to agree. Splits can be overrated. It’s a nice shortcut if you’re short on time and a generally sound cash-game approach, but in tournaments, differentiation is key.

    I’ll see how a batter does against the handedness of the pitcher they’re facing primarily. Most of the platoon splits are confirmed this way, but it helps to identify some of the Righty/Righty or Lefty/Lefty matchups one might miss just looking at handedness.

  • Cameron

    RG Co-Founder

    • 2014 FanDuel NFL Survivor Champion

    • 2016 RG Season Long Champion: NFL

    Hot taek. Love the approach for GPP’s. Splits, and other advanced stats, are certainly overvalued at times. Thanks for posting, Bales.

  • pmsimkins

    • 2014 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2015 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    I don’t entirely understand the premise here. If we’re saying don’t blindly pick opposite handed or blindly ignore same handed, then sure I think any decent player agrees.

    Just saying “anti-splits” though may as well be saying don’t look at stats. Assuming reasonable sample size I’m going use stats against handedness rather than overall stats. Other than the usual misapplied game theory argument I can’t see any reasonable reason not to.

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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    I’m not saying to not at all use stats vs handedness, but rather that the weight most are placing on them is too much; handedness splits are not as predictive on a nightly basis as many other factors. And with the correlation between GPP ownership and handedness splits that we see, I don’t think the game theory argument is at all misapplied.

  • troveur

    Very valid way for tourney differentiation and rarely discussed. It’s baseball so failure is the norm more often than not even for the ‘juicy’ splits matchups so taking the lesser traveled road vs a mediocre or bad pitcher in gpps at times sounds fine.

  • pmsimkins

    • 2014 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2015 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    What hitting/pitching stats are you going to use where you don’t look at handedness? Even if you drill down to pitcher type or pitch type stats handedness is still huge. It doesn’t make sense not to use the statistics that are the closest analogs to the day’s matchup. You can make ownership based decisions while still using the handedness stats. I know we fundamentally disagree on the ownership aspect, but that’s really outside the scope of what I’m getting at.

    Now a more overlooked and more interesting aspect of the discussion is how relievers come into play.

  • xdan3220

    I look at it both ways, the splits are the splits for a reason. That being that certain players hit certain handed pitchers much better than the other handed pitcher. At the same time even players (at least the one’s you’d generally consider for DFS) get production usually against both handed pitchers. I don’t know why I thought of him but take Matt Kemp generally a lefty masher, OPS against lefties generally 100 points higher than righties, still hit 17 long balls against R’s last year, drove in 72 and scored 60 runs. You can’t just eliminate production, I’m still not going to target him against the Max Scherzers of the league but right matchup right park right conditions absolutely.

  • pmsimkins

    • 2014 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2015 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    @xdan3220 said...

    I look at it both ways, the splits are the splits for a reason. That being that certain players hit certain handed pitchers much better than the other handed pitcher. At the same time even players (at least the one’s you’d generally consider for DFS) get production usually against both handed pitchers. I don’t know why I thought of him but take Matt Kemp generally a lefty masher, OPS against lefties generally 100 points higher than righties, still hit 17 long balls against R’s last year, drove in 72 and scored 60 runs. You can’t just eliminate production, I’m still not going to target him against the Max Scherzers of the league but right matchup right park right conditions absolutely.

    Agreed. But really you’re still using the handedness stats in your Matt Kemp example. I’m not saying you always follow the herd or coventional wisdom. Just that you should be using the most refined available data.

    The Blue Jays are another example. Conventional wisdom last year is that Blue Jays are greatest thing since sliced bread against a lefty. Personally, I was more likely to use them against rightys as Bautista and Encarnacion were more likely to hit homeruns in those matchups and Donaldson’s pt/$ tended to be similar either way. In this situation I’m still using the handedness data even if I’m coming to a different conclusion than others.

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

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    @pmsimkins said...

    What hitting/pitching stats are you going to use where you don’t look at handedness?

    I use handedness all the time – even when looking at park factors – so maybe I’m not being as clear as I could be. I’d never look at overall numbers over handedness splits; rather, I’m saying I’m going to weigh things like Vegas, lineup order, etc more so than a batter’s wOBA splits. I’m also very likely to favor same handedness batters in tournaments whenever possible.

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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    • x3

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    @pmsimkins said...

    The Blue Jays are another example. Conventional wisdom last year is that Blue Jays are greatest thing since sliced bread against a lefty. Personally, I was more likely to use them against rightys

    I think this is comparable to what I’m saying. Another way to put it might be that there’s clear value in handedness splits, but (likely due to volatility in baseball) that value is overrated by the crowd, who often favors batters vs opp handedness of pitcher, in particular.

  • rotoryan

    One aspect I have not seen mentioned that should be considered is the fact that many lefties will be pinch hit for in the later innings. Of course, this depends on a few factors:

    1) Is the lefty hitter still a capable bat against LHed pitching?
    2) Will there be a capable RHed bat available on the bench when the lefty/lefty matchup happens?
    3) Is the manager competent enough to think ahead and get the match ups he wants most of the time?

    Honestly, there may be too many factors to consider to evaluate on a nightly basis. With that said, in a GPP where one AB can make a huge difference, it puts your lineup at a disadvantage to lose 2-3 ABs due to pinch hitting situations.

  • toxx6878

    Jon Bales = F’ing Genius!

  • donkshow

    • 859

      RG Overall Ranking

    @Jon Bales said...

    so maybe I’m not being as clear as I could be.

    You were perfectly clear in your original post.

  • Priptonite

    • Blogger of the Month

    Pretty ridiculous to coin this, “The Anti-Splits Approach.” This is literally:

    “I think everyone is gonna have Josh Donaldson tonight since he’s facing a lefty, so Kris Bryant vs a righty is gonna be low owned with similar upside.”

    You could say the same thing for any situation regarding tournament ownership. Here’s the “Anti Bad Offense Approach:”

    “Kershaw is facing the Braves today so everyone is gonna be on him. Arrieta vs the Red Sox will be lower owned with similar upside.”

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