2023 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards: Voting Open Now!


Target: LHB's Bryce Harper OF ($5600, +172 OPS and +.080 ISO vs. RHP) and Clint Robinson 1B/OF ($2600, -116 OPS and +.084 ISO vs. RHP) against RHP Matt Wisler ($5000, +393 OPS and +.103 ISO vs. LHB)

Targeting Bryce Harper at any price and against any pitcher is a sound strategy these days, but the specific context of this game nearly makes him a must-own. The wunderkind has been known to command in excess of $6000 of cap room, and the fact that he is facing a soft right-hander – let alone a rookie – is enough to justify such an expenditure. Robinson lies on the other end of the cost spectrum and has spent most of his time hitting fifth when in the starting lineup, giving the 30-year-old rookie tremendous value at a bargain price. Take the above splits for Robinson with big grains of salt, however, as he has been completely shielded from southpaws thus far in his career, with only 36 of his 339 career plate appearances coming with the platoon disadvantage, and the appearance of a reverse split could be completely altered by just a few more at bats against lefties. The playing-time pattern suggests that Robinson's outing might be short-lived, lasting only so long as a right-hander remains on the bump. Most egregious are the platoon splits of Wisler, who has been roped for a .355/.446/.617 slash by left-handed batters this season, including a K-to-walk ratio that favors the latter at 19-to-29 – against right-handed bats he has 46 punchouts and just eight walks.

I recommended the left-hand hitting Royals yesterday and I would double-down on that recommendation for today against Jeff Samardzija ($7500, + 77 OPS and +.054 ISO vs. LHB). The Shark has had a horrific season that has been personified by his staying in ballgames to take a beating, and brushing aside his out-of-nowhere, one-hit shutout of the Tigers in his last start, will provide a solid stacking opportunity tonight against the Royals. Samardzija's platoon splits are more exaggerated this season, and left-handed batters are hitting .279/.329/.509 against him in 2015, including 19 of the 27 homers that he has allowed.


Target: Jean Segura SS ($3000, 25-of-31 SB this season) against RHP Tyson Ross ($10300, opponents 37-of-49 SB this season)

Segura rarely brings value to the table these days, but a head-to-head with Tyson Ross is right up there with climbing Mt. Everest and seeing the pyramids on top of Segura's bucket list. In addition to his having surrendered the second-highest total of steals this season, Ross actually leads the league in runners caught stealing due to the sheer multitude of attempts; consider that the MLB leader in steals given up (Jon Lester) is also tied for second in runners caught. Over the weekend, Ryan Braun was officially shut down for the rest of the season (he had just five plate appearances since September 18), with back surgery scheduled for just after the regular season ends; he won't be building on his 24-for-28 on the basepaths. Braun and Segura are only two players on roster with more than six steals this season, and Khris Davis' half-dozen swipes are double what anyone else currently on the Brewers has done for the team in 2015.

Recency Bias

Target: RHB Tommy Pham ($3700) against RHP Charlie Morton ($6100)

Last 12 games (11 starts): .381/.413/.857 with 9 extra-base hits and 24 RuBI in 46 plate appearances

It seems like everyone that the Cardinals bring up from the farm is immediately productive at the highest level, with this year's examples including Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and now Tommy Pham. The 26-year-old Pham started getting regular work just two weeks ago, but the former 16th-round pick has made the most of his first full cup of coffee. The centerfielder has mashed four homers to go with three triples and a pair of doubles in his last dozen ballgames, with 12 runs scored and 12 more driven in, also chipping in two steals. It sounds like he's playing way over his head, but the overall performance is not completely out of line with his career slash of .274/.348/.493 across 2958 plate appearances in the minors.

Target: RHB Kevin Pillar OF ($4000) against RHP Miguel Gonzalez ($5300)

Last 7 games (7 starts): .480/.536/.920 with five doubles, two homers, 11 RuBI and six stolen bases in 28 plate appearances

Pillar has had a solid campaign when looking at the counting stats, including 30 doubles, 12 homers and 25 steals in 28 attempts in his first full season. His overall slash of .274/.307/.395 is less impressive, but Pillar is putting an exclamation point on his season with the performance of the past week, which after 600 plate appearances has still raised his OPS 35 points on the season. One has to be careful with recency bias, particularly when looking at such a narrow time window as seven games, but stolen bases take a different shape due to the fact that players have more control over when to take off than they do over any other aspect of stat generation. So it's worth taking note when a player suddenly starts running with reckless abandon, and in Pillar's case his DFS stats have been filled with SB helium – for his past seven contests the outfielder has averaged an astounding 16.9 fantasy points per game on DraftKings.


Target: LHB's Robinson Cano 2B ($3400) and Kyle Seager 3B ($3300) against RHP Mike Fiers ($8600)

Both Cano and Seager have easily justified those salaries just given their baseline performances of 2015, even considering that those performances were a notch below expectations. The pair of left-handed bats are priced as if they are facing Dallas Keuchel, not Mike Fiers, and the latter's vulnerability to homeruns could rear it's ugly head tonight against the fence-clearing roster of the M's. There's not much in the recent track records of these players to justify such low salaries, and Fiers has been giving away souvenirs like he's running a store in the stadium, coughing up six homer in his last four ballgames.


Resources used for this article:

Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards

Draft Kings player prices

Brooks Baseball


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