Daily Fantasy Baseball: Positive Batted-Ball Regression Candidates for Week 19
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.
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Injuries have ensured that Aaron Judge's season will be a disappointment for those who invested in him in season-long leagues, but the dynamo New York Yankees outfielder should still be a favorite for daily players. That's especially the case as his recent production has suppressed his salary into the low $4,000s on FanDuel.
And while Judge may carry a modest .463 slugging percentage over his last 128 plate appearances, with a troublesome 33.6% strikeout rate in that span, he's the runaway MLB leader in hard contact (64.6%) since the start of July. Meanwhile, Statcast pegs Judge for a monster 21.4% barrel rate on the season, a top 1% mark in the majors.
Judge is in a nice spot to make good on his advanced metrics and post some gaudy lines as the Yankees encounter perhaps the softest opposing-pitcher schedule of the week, including a date at Camden Yards against the back end of the talent-starved Baltimore Orioles staff.
Max Muncy, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
A four-hit game on Sunday should be a sign of things to come for Max Muncy. The late-blooming 28-year-old has been in a bit of an average funk of late, hitting only .234 since the calendar turned to July, yet the Los Angeles Dodgers infielder has mashed 45.2% hard contact and only 12.9% soft contact over that sample.
Muncy and his mid-$3,000s FanDuel salary may represent the best combination of upside and affordability in Dodgers' prodigious lineup this week. LA should be able to do plenty of damage against Michael Wacha and Merrill Kelly, and perhaps even touch up the homer-prone Robbie Ray and Jack Flaherty.
Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers
A sustained funk has left Elvis Andrus with a dreadful .206/.239/.275 triple slash over his last 112 plate appearances. The veteran Texas Rangers' infielder has chipped in seven steals over that span, but with 20 combined runs and RBI since the start of July, Andrus hasn't given daily players much incentive to plug him in, even as his FanDuel salary plummets into the low $3,000s.
This does appear to be quite an unlucky stretch for Andrus, though, with the veteran shortstop posting a low .220 BABIP (career .312) despite a combined 76.1% liners and grounders in the recent sample. It's long been clear that Andrus' 20-homer 2017 was an anomaly, but daily players can still turn to Andrus as a cheap source of at-bats and counting stats, particularly with the Texas offense set to face the back end of a depleted Cleveland Indians rotation before visiting the Milwaukee Brewers at hitter-friendly Miller Park this weekend.
Cavan Biggio, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
Cavan Biggio has thus far made good on the promise of MLB-ready plate discipline, working a 16.7% walk rate and a Joey Votto-esque 13.4% reach rate over his first 239 MLB plate appearances. You have to wonder if the Toronto Blue Jays' rookie isn't leaving some power on the table, though.
Indeed, that .377 slugging on the season is nothing to write home about, but Statcast credits him with a considerably better .422 expected slugging mark. With 45.8% hard contact and 43.1% fly balls, you'd expect a bit more power production from the second-generation infielder.
It's something for daily players to monitor, at the very least. Tough assignments against the staffs of the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees should depress Biggio's FanDuel salary below $3,000, making him an interesting roster filler for Week 19.
Wil Myers, OF, San Diego Padres
The Franmil Reyes trade appears to have resolved the playing time bottle neck in the San Diego Padres, which is good for Wil Myers, because for a while there, he was receiving the short end of the bottle.
It also helps that Myers has been showing signs of rejuvenation in his limited playing time. Sure, that .246/.328/.404 slash line over his last 64 plate appearances seems like more of the same ho-hum stuff from him, but you've got to love the 27% liners and 53.4% hard contact over that sample. Statcast has been slightly bullish on Myers all year, steadily crediting him with better expected than actual slugging marks; meanwhile, his barrel rate of 11.7% is his highest on record.
Cautious daily players won't have to stick their neck out to employ Myers this week. His salary has steadily trended below $3,000 on FanDuel, and while his Week 19 venues in Seattle and San Diego are not ideal for breakout production, the matchups certainly are, with Myers and the Pads looking to tee off against the likes of Yusei Kikuchi, Jon Gray, and Kyle Freeland.
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.