Daily Fantasy Baseball: Positive Batted-Ball Regression Candidates for Week 22
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.
Rhys Hoskins, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
An up-and-down season for Rhys Hoskins reached a new and rather dire lull in August, with the 26-year-old posting a .123 batting average across 99 plate appearances on the month while slugging a miserable .247.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies youngster continues to post a walk rate (22.2%) which outpace his strikeout numbers (20.2%), while his 6.8% swinging-strike rate on the month hardly finds him over-matched at the plate. With a strong command of the strike zone and a formidable bat to boot (42.6% hard contact in August), Hoskins' ultra-low .135 BABIP to correct itself sooner than later. Daily players should enjoy a discount on Hoskins as his FanDuel salary dips below $4,000 and the Phillies face some very beatable Pittsburgh Pirates arms to start the week.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
With Joey Votto expected to be activated from the IL this week, daily players might want to get in while the going is still cheap.
It was beginning to look like Father Time had finally caught up with once-bankable veteran Cincinnati Reds infielder (.419 slugging since the start of the 2018 season), but Votto was raising his game considerably before retreating to the IL with a back ailment in mid-August. Check out that nasty 51.4% hard-contact rate and .217 ISO in 57 August plate appearances. Paired with a 17.5% walk rate against 21.1% strikeouts, and there are strong whiffs of vintage Votto in the offing.
If and when Votto is activated, he makes for a very tempting low-$3,000s play on FanDuel, especially with the Reds looking to tee off on some very suspect arms in the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals rotation this week.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt just can't seem to string together a consistent stretch of hot production. Goldy was a house on fire in July, mashing an outrageous 1.085 OPS across 101 plate appearances on the month. August has been a different story, however, with the 31-year-old submitting a pedestrian .767 OPS since the calendar flipped.
Yet Goldschmidt's middling August results mask some strong peripheral numbers, with the first baseman stinging 52.2% hard contact and 35.8% liners over that span, the latter a top-ten MLB park for the period.
Of course, the Cardinals offense is the pits (.748 team OPS since the All-Star Break), and they don't have the most agreeable match-up schedule in the upcoming week, but a few games at the hitter-friendly Miller Park might massage Goldschmidt's power ceiling, and his low-$3,000s FanDuel price tag won't tax your budget.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Minnesota Twins
C.J. Cron makes a surprising appearance on the hard-contact leaderboard for August, with his 53.3% mark on the month good for 15th best in the Majors over that span. The hulking Minnesota Twins infielder has only a .164 ISO on the month for his troubles, a surprising lack of power considering he's lifted 42.2% fly balls in that sample.
Cron's three-run jack on Sunday helped the Twins to a victory over the Detroit Tigers, and we might expect more muscle from the 29-year-old in the days to come. His FanDuel salary has settled near $3,000, and Minnesota visits Guaranteed Rate Field to start the week, where the brawny Twins offense will look to show the weak-hitting Chicago White Sox how to take advantage of a prime hitter's venue.
Wil Myers, OF, San Diego Padres
Wil Myers hasn't exactly run with the opportunity that was afforded him in the wake of the Franmil Reyes trade. More playing time has simply meant more mediocre returns for Myers in August, who's slashed a forgettable .250/.297/.333 since the start of August, with a .083 ISO over that span putting him in the company of weak-hitting players like Jean Segura, David Fletcher, and Cesar Hernandez.
Myers' 35.9% strikeout rate on the month is ugly as anything, but his other peripheral stats don't exactly support his ailing power profile. The 28-year-old has wrapped a respectable 27% line drives in August, and while his 35.1% hard-hit rate isn't exactly Herculean, his soft contact is way down, with 13.1% in August compared to a 21.1% in the first half.
Most projections systems expect Myers to show a bit more power in the remaining weeks of the season (Fangraphs' ZiPS projections credit him with a .198 ISO the rest of the way), lending Myers and his near-minimum FanDuel salary some appeal as a contrarian roster-filler for daily players.
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.