Daily Fantasy Strategy – 7/29/13 – For Draftstreet

We all know home runs are the best way to have a big fantasy day on the hitting side of things, but they’re really hard to predict. I have a little process I like to go through to try and identify the guys that are in the best situation to hit a home run, and it starts with park factors. Here on the site we have park factors broken down by handedness, which is a good place to start if you’re trying to pick home run hitters. Below is a chart showing which parks are most favorable to home runs for both left and right handed hitters.

Team HR as L Team HR as R
Yankees 118 White Sox 116
Rockies 116 Reds 114
Brewers 113 Rockies 112
Rangers 112 Rangers 109
Orioles 112 Orioles 109
White Sox 109 Blue Jays 106
Reds 108 Diamondbacks 105
Phillies 105 Astros 105
Indians 102 Yankees 103
Dodgers 102 Brewers 103
Diamondbacks 102 Cubs 103
Astros 101 Mets 103
Cubs 101 Tigers 102
Blue Jays 100 Nationals 101
Mets 100 Red Sox 101
Braves 99 Phillies 99
Nationals 99 Twins 98
Tigers 99 Dodgers 96
Cardinals 96 Braves 96
Angels 95 Angels 96
Mariners 95 Royals 96
Rays 95 Padres 96
Pirates 95 Rays 95
Athletics 94 Athletics 94
Red Sox 92 Marlins 93
Marlins 91 Giants 93
Royals 90 Cardinals 90
Twins 90 Pirates 90
Giants 87 Mariners 89
Padres 81 Indians 88

I start with the most favorable park and work my way down. The Yankees are off today, and the White Sox, Rockies, Reds and Brewers are on the road. But the Rangers are at home. The park is slightly more home-friendly to left-handed hitters, so the first step is to to see if either of the starters are left-handed. For example, if Derek Holland was starting for Texas (he’s not), you wouldn’t want to consider the Los Angeles left-handers because they wouldn’t have a favorable platoon matchup. But both starters are right-handed, so the next step is to look at the left-handed hitters on each team.

Your left-handed options for the Rangers are Mitch Moreland, Leonys Martin, David Murphy, Engel Beltre, and A.J. Pierzynski. Of that group, Martin is probably the best play. He comes at a very reasonable price of $5,180. And Mitch Moreland is very tempting at only $4,735. But he only has 17 hits and two home runs in 117 PA since returning from injury in late June. It’s not a good idea to be too affected by hot or cold streaks, but I’m only taking Moreland if I’ve got to save some money on a spot. The only left-handed power hitting option for the Angels is Josh Hamilton. At a price of $6,757, that’s entirely reasonable.

One other note on this game, it’s going to be 93 degrees at game time, and the wind is going to be blowing in from right. If you’ve read the daily strategy article here all season, you know that hot weather is good for scoring. And Blake Murphy showed us recently that the wind blowing in is actually good for scoring in Texas.

From there, just keep moving down the list looking for hitters in the most homer-friendly parks with favorable platoon matchups.

The Daily Five

Mike Leake, $12,716 – It’s a tough day to pick pitchers. For starters, there are only eight games today. Beyond that, there aren’t many good matchups, especially among the more expensive pitchers. The most expensive pitcher, Francisco Liriano, gets the Cardinals who have the 10th best wRC+ vs. LHP (although it is lower than league average at 95) and the 2nd lowest K% vs. LHP. The next most expensive guys are Matt Garza and Jered Weaver, and we have already discussed why that game is set up well for hitters. But if you move down the list a bit, you’ll find Leake against the Padres who are 25th in wRC+ vs. RHP and have the 9th highest strikeout rate vs. RHP. And the game is in San Diego. As you can see above, Cincinnati’s park is pretty homer-friendly. But San Diego is the least homer-friendly park in the league for left-handed hitters, which are the hitters who have the platoon advantage against Leake.

Jeremy Hefner, $9,228 – Hefner has struggled in his two starts since the break, but for the season his SIERA and xFIP are just under 4.00 with roughly league average strikeout and walk skills. Anytime a pitcher who doesn’t suck faces the Marlins, he’s worth a look. And on a day with so few options and even fewer decent options, it’s hard to pass up a starter at this price against this team.

Jeff Samardzija, $12,886 – The third starter had to come from this game, but it was tough to choose between Shark and Kyle Lohse. They’re virtually the same price, and the offenses are roughly equal against right -handed pitching. Ultimately, I went with the strikeout upside of Shark.

Alejandro De Aza, $7,511 – It’s not a huge sample size, but in 213.2 career innings Zach McAllister has yielded home runs at an above average rate. Cleveland is an above average homer park for left-handed hitters, so the left-handed Chicago hitters have a good matchup against the right-handed McAllister.

Adam Dunn, $5,627 – I like Dunn for the reason just listed for de Aza as well as Dunn’s below average price today.

One Day FREE Fantasy Contest – $300 in cash prizes

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This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs will maintain complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in our continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.

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You can find more of Brett's work on TheFantasyFix.com or follow him on Twitter @TheRealTAL.

6 Responses to “Daily Fantasy Strategy – 7/29/13 – For Draftstreet”

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  1. Charles H says:

    Could focus on the excellence of the pitchers and not the wind. Then there are the hitters who, to quote Harry Carry, couldn’t hit a Home Run in a phone booth.

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  2. thalooch says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Forgive me if this sounds like a dumb question, but why is it that some park factors change so much over a few years? In particular, Comerica, the Tigers park. In 2004 it had a park factor of 91, and now it has a park factor of 102.
    Afaik the dimensions have not changed in that timespan. Does it have to do with a general lack of HR hitters for the Tigers offense at that time, or simply randomness?

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  3. Tim A says:

    If anyone wants too start let me know, and I will refer you.

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  4. TheRookiePhenom says:

    The park factor increase has to do with changes in the atmospheric conditions around Detroit. Higher levels of pollution in the air result in higher temperatures, and as it was mentioned in the blog, more heat = more HR ;)

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    • thalooch says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      okay, but this is a pretty serious increase. From 91 to 102? That cannot be temperature alone.

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