Some teams just match up extraordinarily well against certain-handed pitchers, and it’s high time that we took advantage of that in our daily fantasy games. By now we’re all aware of the platoon advantage, and like to use favorable handedness matchups to ruin our foes and predict which hitters will struggle (or succeed) against either left-handed or right-handed pitching.
Today, I’m a bit interested in looking at overall team numbers and determining which teams are having more or less trouble against pitchers of a particular handedness. The idea here is to give myself a general baseline, some small amount of general information, that I can then add context to when making pitching choices on a particular day. Now, before I share the top- and bottom-hitting teams against each side, let me offer a few pair of quick tips on how to parse this information:
Consider park factors. If a team like the Yankees is battering right-handed pitchers, perhaps it’s due to their playing at home with the short home-run porch benefitting left-handers in Yankee Stadium. Of course, this year they’re not — so maybe I’m especially interested in picking someone going against the Bombers when the Yankees have an away day.
Consider the players for the team. The Mets have been one of the worst teams in baseball hitting against right-handed pitching this year, and noted righty-assassin Lucas Duda (144 wRC+ against righties this year) just went on the DL. You can be sure I’ll be focusing on right-handers pitching against the Mets going forward.
Consider both K% and BABIP when looking at these numbers. A team’s K% gives you an idea on how often they’ve struck out in a particular split, and since strikeouts play in any daily fantasy league, I always try to leverage a team with high strikeout numbers against a given split. At the same time, if I see a squad with exceptionally good (or exceptionally bad) BABIP as part of a split, I might change how I use the information accordingly.
Armed with a little more team information, you might have an easier time choosing starters that can abuse a particular team, or who might get rocked.
For your immediate use, you can find the full advanced split leaderboard I used to pull this data here at FanGraphs. The leaderboard for teams against right-handed pitching is here, and the leaderboard for teams hitting against left-handers is here.
And isn’t it nice that that leads us right into …
The Daily Five
James Shields – $16,055
Big Game James has been his usual consistent self for the Royals this season, and has been especially effective against left-handed hitters this season (.244 wOBA against), meaning I don’t like the chances of any of the White Sox hitters today. The only major risk here is that the game will be rained out, as there’s some thunderstorm potential in KC today. But given Shields’ consistency and the White Sox’ general inability to hit right-handed pitching, I’d give this one a run for it’s money, and hope that the Royals’ ace stays dry and homer-free.
Jarrod Parker – $11,926
Parker has been very good over the past month, and faces the Mariners in Seattle this afternoon. Now, the Mariners aren’t a bunch of automatic outs these days, especially against right-handed pitchers. But between the game taking place in SafeCo, Parker’s recent effectiveness, and the inadequacy of lower-tier starting options today, I’m more than happy to go with this matchup.
Trevor Plouffe – $8,274
I know Trevor Plouffe is more of a lefty-killer than he is a weapon against righties, but I am simply not sold on Carlos Carrasco being able to survive in an ML rotation these days. And while Plouffe is a weapon against opposite-handed pitchers, he has posted a nearly league-average batting line (.312 wOBA, 96 wRC+) against righties, and has been hitting the ball well since coming back from his calf issue / concussion injury combo.
Marco Scutaro – $6, 883
Nathan Eovaldi is still an unproven opposition pitcher, and Scutaro’s been hitting everything this season. If Eovaldi had a habit of inducing weak contact this season, I’d be less inclined to take this pick, but given that Eovaldi has only pitched in one game, and therefore doesn’t have any habits to speak of for 2013, I’ll go for a reasonably cheap 2B option like Scutaro.
Colby Rasmus – $6,313
It’s not worth covering one of Blake Murphy’s columns without giving some sort of Blue Jays player a shoutout. Colby has been racking up the homers this year, despite a large load of strikeouts. Fortunately for him, today the Jays face Freddy Garcia, who is an awful pitcher. When you’re facing a bad pitcher (checkmark!), you get the platoon advantage (checkmark!), at home (checkmark!), in a hitter-friendly park (checkmark!), with little chance of postponement (checkmark!), for a good price (checkmark!), it’s a no-brainer.
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