The Statcast era of Major League Baseball brought about an entirely new set of statistics (Average Exit Velocity, Batted Ball Distance, Launch Angle, etc.) that go beyond traditional and advanced stats. Exit Velocity (EV) is the most important of these new stats, and it remains underutilized in DFS.
EV is defined as the speed (measured in Miles Per Hour) at which the baseball comes off a hitter’s bat. Every time the ball is contacted EV is calculated, regardless of the result of the contact. A higher MPH means a batter hits the ball harder on average, which generally leads to more hits and more homeruns.
DFS players need to target hitters with high EV, so we roster guys who are hitting the ball hard. This helps us see hitters who might be slumping in average and HRs, but could break out soon because they’re ripping the ball. Conversely, we can see hitters who may have decent numbers lately, but they haven’t been contacting the ball consistently, so we can avoid them.
WiseTake’s Hitter’s Model utilizes EV (final column), which shows the batter’s average EV over the last 14 days and includes handedness. The EV number you see represents the last 14 days vs either a right-handed pitcher or lefty, depending on the starting pitcher the batter is facing today. If you’re looking for consistency – cross reference this number with the hitter’s average EV for the entire season. If both numbers are high, you’re looking at a consistent hitter.
Hitters, Fast and Furious by Jason Gaede
Nelson Cruz (DK – 4500 FD – 4000)
Cruz is in the elite of the elite status – 6th overall in MLB with a season EV avg of 93.5, and he’s currently sporting an EV14 of 90.46. We’ve always known he dominates LHP, but this year he’s hitting everything hard. His xOBA .370 and ISO .238 along with a Hard Contact rate of 68.75% vs RHP in the last 14 days backs up the EV stats. Nelly looks like a solid play any night of the week, so don’t be afraid to utilize him in all formats today.
Robinson Cano (DK – 4400 FD – 3500)
I’m not advocating for the attack of Luis Severino, but Robby has been consistently smashing RHP all season. He’s top 30 in EV at 90.7, and his EV14 88.49 shows us what we’re looking for in a cash player – consistency. His power numbers are excellent (.237 ISO), and his xOBA .399 is big time as well. I wouldn’t play both Seattle studs together in cash, but I would definitely have exposure to both in some form.
Jorge Bonifacio (DK – 3500 FD – 3200)
The Royals are on the downturn, but in years past they’ve found a way to rise from the dead to contend again. Last night’s walk-off win may be the catalyst they need, and Bonifacio can be the right-handed bat they must have to balance Hosmer and Moose. His EV14 88.72 is one of the best on the slate, and his xOBA .349 and HC14 just under 50% are decent as well. He’s a good play when he’s in the 2-hole in front of Hos, and I’m turning to him mostly as a value play tonight. I’m sticking to him only on DK and only in tournaments.