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Welcome to Splitsville

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening — whichever is applicable to you. Nefi Perez was a light hitting middle infield bat whose career spanned 12 years over five teams. As a rather average person myself, I’ve found that I tend to appreciate players like Perez. Those players who do just enough good things to hang around, but also realize just how close the end could potentially be. Over the course of his career, Perez batted an empty .267 accompanied by a rather pedestrian .672 OPS.

While Nefi Perez was doing everything he could just to hang on, Randy Johnson was establishing himself as the elite LHP in the game. Johnson’s quest would ultimately be fulfilled as 10 All-Stars and 5 Cy Young Awards (Including 4 straight) would cement his legacy as the best LHP since Sandy Koufax.

Would anyone happen to know who Nefi Perez posted his highest OPS against using a 40 plate appearance minimum? Randy Johnson would be the answer for those scoring at home. Baseball will often lend itself to unfathomable statistics; that in itself is what makes the game so damn hard to figure out.

For DFS participants, Batter vs. Pitcher and Platoon Splits are old news. Any player devoted to the craft has dedicated some of their time attempting to derive value that others may not know. While this newfound approach has been proven successful, as a whole, this detailed day-to-day evaluation has failed to be embraced by the season long community.

Personally I’m of the mindset that any value potential should be taken full advantage of. Collectively we react so quickly to newly appointed closers, or potential injury replacements; our reason naturally is because of the newfound value that each possess. This same value potential exist within our daily operations, it is simply much more difficult to identify.




Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

Though referenced above, this approach would not be the one I put all my stock in. At best you’re looking at 3-4 PA versus said opponent over the course of a game, and in the best case scenario the overall success rate is going to be below 50%, For those interested, Baseball Reference has a Finder & Advanced Stats tab. That link can lead you to whatever individual matchup data you’d like to see.

Pitcher Statistics

With pitching statistics I tend to look more from a big picture perspective. Ideally I target teams who have displayed particular struggles and look to capitalize on it. For example, teams that struggle as a whole vs. LHP and or RHP.

Using OPS as a measuring stick, here are the 10 worst teams vs RHP and LHP, along with the 10 best teams you may be less inclined to throw a marginal pitching option out against.

Top-10 Bottom-10
vs. RHP vs. LHP vs. RHP vs. LHP
Astros .847 White Sox .840 Giants .672 Padres .649
Yankees .831 Cubs .814 Padres .694 Rangers .665
Nationals .826 Tigers .798 Phillies .695 Cardinals .681
Diamondbacks .811 Nationals .793 White Sox .697 Angels .683
Rays .806 Astros .793 Royals .701 Pirates .684
Reds .783 Dodgers .785 Angels .706 Giants .685
Brewers .780 Red Sox .780 Cubs .718 Athletics .685
Dodgers .780 Mets .775 Pirates .720 Diamondbacks .690
Indians .776 Reds .767 Blue Jays .724 Phillies .702
Mets .773 Rockies .765 Marlins .733 Rays .702

For most players, both the Rays and Diamondbacks would likely not be deemed good streaming opponents. Both feast off RHP. Since most pitchers are right-handed their box scores would seldom reflect poor showing vs. LHP. Statistically speaking, LHP have fared very well vs. both teams.

Another pitching statistic that often gets overlooked is K potential. Over the last half decade the Royals offense hasn’t necessarily been punchless, but at the same time it brings very little fear along with it.  Contact, however, has been its calling card, so even if they were in the midst of another shutout, the much-needed strikeout support wasn’t exactly a given.

Here is a list of the 10 most prolific strikeout opponents as well as the teams that are most strikeout averse.

Highest K %  Lowest K % 
Padres 25.5 Astros 17.4
Athletics 25.3 Red Sox 18.1
Rays 25.2 Indians 18.5 18.5
Brewers 25.1 Pirates 19.0
Rangers 25.0 Giants 19.4
Orioles 23.6 Braves 19.4
Diamondbacks 22.9 Nationals 19.6
Phillies 22.7 Mets 19.8
Rockies 22.7 Angels 20.3
Dodgers 22.5 Marlins 20.4

Hitting Splits

Five qualified players currently have an OPS above 1.000. They are:

  1. Aaron Judge 1.150
  2. Joey Votto 1.040
  3. Paul Goldschmidt 1.035
  4. Ryan Zimmerman 1.008
  5. Bryce Harper 1.002

To put it into context, 20 players are currently sporting an OPS above 1.000 solely vs. LHP while 7 players are sporting an OPS above 1.000 vs. RHP. Now, many of these players are household names, and many are already owned. While this bodes well should you happen to be an owner, it does little to improve upon your team moving forward.

The key for this post is to perhaps identify some players who may be lesser owned. Players who, if given the opportunity, could provide really good value from a very unexpected source. For the purpose of this table I’m solely focused on RH batter vs. LHP and LH batter vs. RHP.

RH Batter vs. LHP LH Batter vs. RHP
Travis d’Arnaud
1.311 Alex Avila
1.080
 Chris Iannetta
1.158 Marwin Gonzalez
1.010
Nick Ahmed
1.078 Eric Sogard
.985
KiKi Hernandez
1.077 Matt Adams
.961
Kevin Pillar
1.050 Scooter Gennett
.959
Albert Almora Jr.
1.035 Colby Rasmus
.915
Austin Jackson
1.004 Lonnie Chisenhall
.911
Jesus Aguilar
.980 Bradley Zimmer
.895
Eduardo Escobar
.974 Jed Lowrie
.892
James McCann
.965 Josh Reddick
.888

The appreciation for platoon splits have had a history of steering me too far in an effort to over correct. I have found myself, sometimes to a fault, investing in the strong side advantage, when in reality, not everyone fares better vs. the opposite hand. The table below list notable players who don’t necessarily thrive with the favorable matchup.

RH Batter vs. LHP LH Batter vs. RHP
Yuli Gurriel
.488 Brandon Crawford
.606
Albert Pujols
.519 Odubel Herrera
.662
Jose Bautista
.540 Melky Cabrera
.687
Yasiel Puig
.554 Victor Martinez
.688
Lorenzo Cain
.616 Rougned Odor
.695
Adam Jones
.621 Carlos Gonzalez
.699
Mark Reynolds
.625 Kyle Schwarber
.706
Khris Davis
.633 Kendrys Morales
.739
Mark Trumbo
.676 Gregory Polanco
.743
Evan Longoria
.679  Ender Inciarte
.753

First one needs to understand the venues in which this approach could prove to be of value. In leagues shallower than 250 total players and/or those leagues with weekly transactions, this day-to-day approach would prove maddening. The production given would not  consistently outproduce what you already had in a shallow league, while the weekly commitment would ultimately result in as many poor matchup performances as it would those with great profit potential – ultimately devaluing the potential goodness to the point it becomes detrimental to your team.

If not hindered by roster restrictions, the potential to extract value from a pool of sameness intrigues me. The process will not be easy, the results will not always be those desired, but at the end of the day, the numbers would suggest that your efforts would not go unnoticed.

 

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Josh Coleman
Father of four SP1 children. Replacement level husband to a top tier wife. I love my family, value my friendships, and spend as much time as possible (too much according to the aforementioned Mrs. Coleman) dedicated to the pursuit, of another Fantasy Championship. I'm the oddball at the bar who prefers Fantasy Baseball to Fantasy Football.
Josh Coleman

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