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Introduction to MLB Daily Fantasy

What is up WiseTake Nation. I see you guys in chat all eager to start the year and I know a lot of you are new to the Nation and we are happy to have you. I see a good amount of people in the Slack Chat saying that they are ready for MLB DFS but they have never played before. The goal of this article is to give you guys a decent foundation for what you need in MLB to get started. Obviously we will have content on who we like on a daily basis but I think if you ask a lot of the guys that played last year they would say that they learned a lot and I saw a ton of members become very successful once they got the hang of things. With that being said the season is starting in about two weeks here and it is time to gear up for the long season. Lets dive into how to become a winning player in MLB.

Basics

Pitching

To be successful in MLB DFS pitching has to be your main focus. Everything you do goes from there. If you get your pitching down you will be able to locate spots as well to take bats against the pitchers you do not like. I would say that on average 70% of my research is pitching based. Nailing pitching is what takes you to the top. You want a ton of strikeout upside in pitchers!

It should be noted that the two major sites score the pitchers significantly different and it is a must when considering pitchers. Also, on FanDuel you only can roster 1 pitcher where on DraftKings you must enter 2. FanDuel for the most part, you can pay up at pitcher where on DraftKings you usually want to sit somewhere between 16k-18k for pitching depending on the slate. Some of the Aces (teams #1 pitchers) will be prices in the 13k range where some of the worst pitchers in the league will be below 5k. This allows you to take some risks that the field might not want to take and can pay off every once in a while and allows you to get the Ace and stud Bats, however, you can end the night with negative points from this pitcher very easily.

DraftKings scoring for pitching is more based on overall skill of the pitcher. It factors in WHIP (Walks and Hits given up) which means every walk or hit your pitcher gives up results in negative points. It is very valuable to get a pitcher that keeps guys off the base paths. However, FanDuel is not WHIP dependent which means your pitcher can load the bases every inning and as long as he doesn’t allow a run he will not get penalized. This is a large difference that must be considered.

Another major difference is the Quality Start (QS) points FanDuel gives to pitchers who go 6 or more innings of giving up 3 or few runs. DraftKings does not give these points for the QS. Therefore, slightly more of a priority to roster guys who you think might go 6+ on FD, however on DraftKings you still want that as well.

Lastly, pitchers receive points if they receive a Win. This does NOT mean that if the team they play for wins the game they started they will receive the points for the win. In order for the Pitcher to receive the Win, the STARTING Pitcher must pitch at least 5 innings and leave the game when their team has the lead. If the team loses the lead between the time they leave and the games end, yet the team they play for still wins, the Starter will NOT receive the win and a relief pitcher for the winning team will get the W. As you can see if can be very hard to predict a W for a pitcher. I personally use the probability of a pitcher getting a W as a tie breaker if I am between two options and I never let this alone influence my choice of who I am rostering.

Focuses:

DraftKings:

2 Pitchers:

Usually 1 stud and 1 cheapish pitcher with upside

Low amounts of Hits and Walks given up

Strikeout Upside

FanDuel:

1 Pitcher:

Heavy Favorite

Likely to go 6+ innings with less than 3 runs given up.

Strikeout upside

Hitting

For the most part hitting is constant between the two sites as you get points for a single, double, triple, HR, runs scored, runs batted in, and stolen bases. They might differ in points but it is all relative to the given sight.

Stacking

For those of you coming from NHL or possibly NBA, you know the term stacking. In MLB stacking is a staple of conversation throughout pre lock talk shows etc. Very rarely will you hear someone mention an individual player before mentioning that team stack beforehand. A lot of tournaments now a days consist of different team stacks  and it is a popular choice for roster construction however it is the correct approach. Increasing the correlation within your lineup allows you a great chance of taking down a large GPP if your stack goes off. As an example, if you simply roster Bryce Harper alone, and he hits a Grand Slam, you will get 10 points for the HR and 8 points for the RBI, however since you did not stack, you are missing out on the Run scored points for each of his teammates that crosses the plate which is an additional 6 points. Not to mention these guys needed to get on base via a single or walk at the very least which would result in 6 more points. Therefore, you are missing out on 12 addition points by not stacking. Stacking is used to increase the maximum score possible for each event occurrence, as MLB is much so an event based sport. If you are playing MLB GPP’s I very much so recommend stacking.

5 man stack is the most popular but you can do 4 man stacks as well. Also a very popular option is to pair the 5 or 4 man stack with another 3 man stack of a different team however that is not essential.

Process

Just like another other DFS sport you have to have a process on how you go about each slate. MLB is one of the most statistics based sports out there which is why I love it. I am a numbers whore and it just plays right into it. Literally could stare at numbers each day for 12 hours which is also the scary thing about MLB, you can probably never be too prepared. I personally have a bunch of accumulated data off various sites combined into a single spreadsheet that pump out certain things. However, if you are just getting started I suggest starting with some basic websites.

*These are the sites I use most of the time*

*FanGraphs*

https://www.fangraphs.com/

Most important website for starters. This has to be your bible. Here you can search by Standard/Advanced/Batted Ball/ Pitch Type statistics which is pretty much a great starting point until you get those down. LIVE on here!!!

*Brooks Baseball*

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/

My 2nd most used site on a daily basis for MLB. Here you can track the way pitchers are moving for a pitcher, their velocity on pitchers, and swinging strike rates/ batted balls statistics for each pitch. Also another one that you should get familiar with!!

*Baseball Savant*

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/statcast_leaderboard

I used this everyday for my hitting research. Allows you to track the trends of hitters who are making solid contact on the year, month, or week. You can use this to see progression or regression.

Add More Funds

https://www.addmorefunds.com/

Honestly I don’t use this site but I know some do. Ask them about it in chat. I believe this is used for batted ball statistics for hitters and pitch types for hitters and pitchers but I use FanGraphs for that.

Brooks Baseball

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/

My 2nd most used site on a daily basis for MLB. Here you can track the way pitchers are moving for a pitcher, their velocity on pitchers, and swinging strike rates/ batted balls statistics for each pitch. Also another one that you should get familiar with!!

Baseball Prospectus

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/

Another site you can use for various things. Mostly I used this to aggregate data.

Advanced Statistics

Here are some off the basic stats I factor in heavily on a daily basis which can be found on the various sites listed above

Pitchers

Stikeout Percentage (K%)- The percentage the pitcher strikes out a batter. Higher K% will results in higher chance of a high strikeout game for your pitcher which is what you want.

Swinging Strike Rate (SwStrk%)- percentage of swings and misses a pitcher gets each time a hitter attempts a swing. Can be used to predict a guys success if the standard results do not show.

Ground Ball to Fly Ball Ratio (GB/FB)- We want this high! If the pitcher is constantly getting ground balls he is way less likely to give up a ton of damage. Fly Ball pitchers allow it to get ugly with a swing of a bat.

Hitters

Hard Contact % (HC%)- Percent of time they hit the ball hard (generic metric determined by exit velocity).

Fly Ball % (FB%)- Percent of time the ball is hit in the air. More chance for a HR.

*For Beginners I would start here. Without a doubt there are a ton of more things to consider and we will get into that as the year progresses but for now, get comfortable with these things.*

Splits

Splits for a Hitter and Pitcher is referring to the difference in performance based on what handedness the opposing player is that your player is facing. Some players hit lefties significantly better than they do right handed pitchers if they are right handed and vice versa for left handed hitters. There are massive edges if you can find these splits for hitters.

In terms of Pitchers, based on their pitch mix, they can be more effective vs right handed hitters or left handed hitters depended on movement. Pay attention to the splits of each player and make sure to monitor trends to get an edge on the field.

*Lock SPLITS in your head as you will hear it a ton!*

Ball Parks and their Influence

Unlike any other sport, the fields are not regulated in their dimensions, therefore each ballpark is different and can give an advantage to a hitter or a pitcher. For instance, Coors Field in the most hitter friendly park as they are up way above sea level and the air is less dense allow the ball to fly out of the park, where as in Seattle the air is more dense and the weather is usually colder allowing less travel for the ball. Some ballparks like Yankee Stadium are 300 feet to left while AT&T Ballpark has triples alley in left that is about 430 feet. These things need to be factored in when considering the teams you want to stack and pitcher you want to take.

*If there is a ever a game at Colorado at Coors Field the Rockies and opposing team will be very highly owned as these games are typically high scoring* It is always an ownership game in GPP and in cash just lock them in.

There is soooooo much more we could cover here but I just wanted to get a starting point here for those that are new and maybe even a refresher to our veterans as well. The season starts in about two weeks and were about to crush I can feel it.

As always just hit me up in the MLB Slack Chat with questions if you have any. See you on the 28th!

– Kam


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