Daily Fantasy Baseball: Positive Batted-Ball Regression Candidates for Week 13
Recent batted-ball data can be very useful in MLB DFS, allowing us to notice the players who are seeing the ball well and hitting the ball with authority yet coming up short on results.
Remember, your fantasy opponents may only be paying attention to counting stats like homers and RBI and ratios like batting average and slugging percentage, which hardly tell the complete story of a hitter's performance. This is a major market inefficiency in daily fantasy, and one that is easy to exploit with a look at the underlying stats.
In this article, we'll examine recent batted-ball data to highlight players whose surface results are lagging behind their actual skills metrics (per FanGraphs and Baseball Savant), potentially putting them right on the edge of a productive hot streak that could pay huge dividends for daily fantasy players who roster them at a relative discount.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs have slumped hard through the month of June, posting a team wRC+ that puts them in the company of such non-contenders as the San Francisco Giants and the Miami Marlins. Slumping right along with the Cubbies is first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who carries an unremarkable .781 OPS in 86 June plate appearances.
Under the hood, however, RIzzo has been his usual reliably excellent self. In June the 29-year-old slugger has posted a terrific 2.3% strikeouts-minus-walks, while his 27.6% liners against 29.3% fly balls are at odds with that .246 BABIP (career .286) in the June sample. Some bad batted-ball luck is afoot here, so FanDuel players shouldn't bristle at investing a relatively modest low-$4,000s salary on Rizzo as the Cubs draw some beatable arms in the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds rotations this week.
Jorge Polanco, SS, Minnesota Twins
The breakout campaign of Jorge Polanco has hit the skids in June, with the 25-year-old toting a .748 OPS across 98 June PAs after firing off an eye-popping 1.009 mark across the month of May. A significant dip in walk rate is admittedly troubling (3.1% in June compared to 11.3% in May), but most of his hit-tool metrics appear stable, with Polanco smoking 27.8% liners and 40.7% hard contact on the current month.
Lackluster recent returns have Polanco's FanDuel salary peeking below $4,000, making him a potential bargain when the Minnesota Twins visit the hitter's haven at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago over the weekend.
Justin Turner, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
The ritual of under-appreciating Justin Turner is in full effect to start the summer, as the veteran infielder's .119 ISO across 75 June PAs has left his FanDuel salary to wallow in the low $3,000s. Meanwhile, Turner is the Major League's hard contact leader for the month of June (62.3%), smoking 39.6% line drives and maintaining a slender 8.7% swinging strikes.
Daily players will be all over the Los Angeles Dodgers as they visit Coors Field this weekend, and the slumbering Turner looks to provide some terrific value amid what should be an offensive windfall in Colorado.
Franmil Reyes, OF, San Diego Padres
Statcast darling Franmil Reyes has come back to earth in June, sputtering along with a .218/.290/.436 triple slash after he tantalized fantasy players with his .563 slug and mouth-watering advanced stats in May.
And yet many metrics have the San Diego Padres slugger posting an even better month in June despite the subdued results, with the 23-year-old showing significant gains in line drives, fly balls, and hard contact. Some recoil in Reyes' power output seems inevitable, and with the upside rich outfielder tracking at or below $3,000 on FanDuel and some suspect Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals pitching on the horizon, Reyes looks like a super intriguing play in Week 13.
Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
The MVP-caliber Ryan Braun that we loved to hate is certainly in the rear view, but the veteran outfielder might not be cooked just yet. Granted, his .247/.276/.411 triple slash in June doesn't paint the prettiest picture, but the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder is still managing 49.1% hard contact and 23.6% line drives over that span.
Moreover, Statcast places Braun in the 91st percentile among all MLB hitter in terms of average exit velocity on the season, and he's in the 89th percentile on league-wide hard contact. There might still be a spark or two in Braun's bat, and with his FanDuel salary plummeting below $3,000, now might be the time to invest on the cheap as the Brew Crew host some shaky arms on the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates staffs at hitter-friendly Miller Park in Week 13.
Tom Whalen is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tom Whalen also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username whalentc. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.