Hold or Fold: Position Players Start/Sit

“It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy” ~ Lit “My Own Worst Enemy”

Fantasy baseball sites the world over tell you about pitching streamers. Pitchers who pitch like an ace at home, and like they are throwing batting practice on the road (or vice versa). But as far as I am aware, no one tells you to stream position players like that – I’m not telling you that either.

What I am telling you is that even in deep leagues it is possible to have one or two more viable bats than lineup spot. Sometimes a position player is his own worst enemy. Overall numbers over 162 games help to mask a position player’s flaws much better than 30 odd games for a starting pitcher. Over the course of the season, talent generally wins out and keeps the overall line at palatable or better. That doesn’t mean you have to be content with it when there’s data to help you exploit the situation.

For this week, hold and fold are the same players. Don’t cut these guys, and only trade them if you can find someone more consistent. These are guys putting up big numbers somewhere, and quietly killing you at the same time, maybe so quietly you don’t even notice.

Hold ‘Em

Charlie Blackmon at Home

Aside from Christian Yelich and his monster numbers at Miller Park, no one takes better advantage of their home environs than Blackmon. Maybe it’s the home cooking, or his own mattress, or something absurd like the thin air, but Blackmon absolutely rakes at Coors. You might be reading this and thinking of Blackmon’s excellent overall line with 18 home runs and an OPS better than 1.000, and wondering why I feel Blackmon is worth mentioning. Well, like I said, he rakes at Coors. .452/.504/.983 for a 1.486 OPS and 14 home runs kind of rakes. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Ozzie Albies at Home

He’s not quite Yelich or Blackmon at Suntrust Park, but Ozzie Albies still puts on a show in Atlanta. He’s on pace for a 20 home run season . . . at home. He has the .323/.369/.585 line at home to back it up too.

Brandon Belt Anywhere But Home

The park in San Francisco is beautiful. It’s also all centerfield in the outfield and is where power goes to die. When he is away from the salty air and garlic fries, Belt is mashing at a pretty decent clip. (.241/.357/.481 with 7 home runs in 40 games). That’s 28 a season if he got to play 162 games anywhere else.

Brian Anderson Anywhere But Home

Basically, except for the garlic fries, take everything I said about Belt and repeat it here. Away from the cavernous yard in Miami, Anderson is smoking baseballs to the tune of .266/.331/.490 with 8 home runs in 36 games.

Fold ‘Em

All of the above. No, really.

Charlie Blackmon Away From Coors

You see the .300 batting average, the 1.000+ OPS, the 18 home runs. It’s Coors. While Yelich rakes at Miller Park, he still hits like a star on the road, with a .914 road OPS. Blackmon would probably be dancing in the streets if he had a .900 road OPS. Away from Coors, he has a .690 OPS and only 4 home runs (1 of which came at Chase Field, another great hitter’s park). Start him at home. START HIM AT HOME!!!! But if you’ve got a viable outfield replacement, feel free to let him ride your bench when he isn’t in Colorado or Arizona).

Ozzie Albies On The Road

Ozzie Albies actually makes Blackmon’s road production look palatable, which is no mean feat. With a mere 2 home runs, and an OPS of .632 away from Suntrust, he’s a great candidate for your bench when the Braves are on the road. He’s verging on bad enough on the road to sit even if you don’t have a replacement – there’s just no production at all.

Brandon Belt and Brian Anderson At Home

Their home park is eating both of these otherwise productive hitters alive. Belt has a .711 OPS at home, driven almost entirely by his excellent on-base skills, as he only has 2 home runs in San Francisco this year. Anderson only has 2 home runs in Miami and an even less palatable .684 OPS. No one likes benching home runs, but that isn’t really the worry here, and as neither player runs, when they are at home all you are missing is walks. You can do better.

 

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Seth Bias

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I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.