Fantasy Sports

Evans Views on MLB Pitchers for DFS


Spring is in the air. Is anyone just for lack of better words sick and tired of  the daily NBA grind. Late scratches random rest days I’m done. I’ve actually personally been done for a while. How about you ? Well baseball is about to return and although many people feel that it is the hardest fantasy sport to master that may not be the case if you know what to look for and the stats that really matter to be successful.

Last year was my first real go around in daily fantasy baseball and I had some really good success. Where did I have success. It certainly wasn’t tournament play.  My success was as a single entry player with an emphasis on cash game play. Anyway how does this matter for the up coming baseball season. It’s simple if you want to be successful in fantasy baseball I have the answer for you and guess what it’s simple and it doesn’t matter if you play cash games or tournaments (although tournaments are more difficult as we have to pay attention to ownership percentages). The answer is it’s all about the pitchers.

Pitching  in daily fantasy baseball is actually very predictable . The stats year over year are very consistent. Unless a pitcher is early in his career where he is still growing into a major league pitcher or a seasoned veteran pitcher who is in decline the statistics are very similar. If you don’t believe me check it out for your self pull up any pitcher on fan graphs and see for your self. Wait a minute fan graphs . What’s fan graphs ? Fan graphs basically is your encyclopedia for any stats your looking for in Major League Baseball. The great part about the site is it’s free and you can tailor make your dashboard to your personal preference to help cut down on your research. If your serious about playing fantasy baseball this season jump on this site and become familiar with it I promise you your competitors are and if you don’t you will be giving those that do a serious edge. Don’t make it easy for your competitors.
Fan Graphs Well you have jumped on fan graphs and now you see more than twenty different categories. Evan wtf are you serious I don’t have all day to look at this I have a real job and responsibilities I can’t do this. Yes you can . There are a small amount of initial stats that you need to be successful and remember as I said earlier you can customize your dashboard to set to the stats that you really want to see. Let’s get started with the process of successfully picking our pitchers for daily fantasy baseball.
I start my research everyday with the Vegas line set and looking also at the pitchers money line. Yes use Vegas to help you. Vegas hires people to set betting lines so it’s important that they get an accurate feel for how they believe a game will play out. I caution you though this is a starting point only to give you an idea of where to start. FYI they don’t always get it right . However if you use this as a starting point you will be in the pointed in the right direction to start your daily research.

Ok next step I’ve looked at Vegas now it becomes all about the match-ups . I’ll start going through all the starting pitchers on the slate and identify all pitchers that I’m interested in using and all pitchers I want to pick on. If a pitcher doesn’t fall in either of these two categories I cross them off my list.

What determines if it’s a pitcher I want to use. That’s also easier than it looks. For me it’s all about strikeouts and walks. Evan are you serious really it’s all about strikeouts and walks . Yup it’s really that simple.

Let’s go through this a pitchers strikeout percentage and walk percentage are really consistent year over year. On fan duel we get plenty of points for strikeouts and strikeouts also are an equalizer if our pitcher unfortunately gives up a few runs. If your pitcher that you choose does not have a good strike out percentage and gets in trouble your done for the day because you really have no way of making up the deficit. I look at strikeout percentage personally many people look at k/9 which I feel is a mistake. Strikeout percentage is a much more accurate statistic as k/9 is the amount of strikeouts a pitcher accumulates per inning ( here is the secret it doesn’t take into account how many batters your pitcher had to face to get those strikeouts) . Strikeout percentage handles all of that as it’s a true percentage. Here is where you get your first serious edge as you can have a superstar pitcher at a high price facing a team that just doesn’t strike out much leading to a tougher match-up for our starting pitcher. On the flip side we can have a league average strikeout pitcher these days it’s at approximately 20.4 percent facing a team that strikes out a ton at a much lower price point . Here is where match up comes in to play as our cheaper less skilled pitcher may actually have the opportunity to match our high salaried pitcher. When you can identify these type of pitchers you have a serious edge not only in cash games but also tournaments as you will be able to roster better hitters that your competitors can’t. That my friends is a serious advantage. Let’s turn our attention to pitchers that give up a lot of walks.

Walks are the worst thing for our pitchers. Walks extend innings. Walks cause our pitchers to face more hitters, allow for more hits, and potentially lead to big innings. I won’t start pitchers with high walk percentages ever and I’ll attack these pitchers and stack against them in all formats. Giving up walks is a perfect storm as well because if a pitcher can’t get out of innings guess what we get the middle relief bullpens of Major League Baseball. Little secret all of teams just don’t have good middle relief pitching. Again you have a serious edge and we will dive deeper into this in my hitting preview article.

Fan duel has changed their scoring system this year by adding points for quality starts . A quality start is considered 6 innings pitched and less than 3 runs surrendered. Bravo fan duel getting a win is quite random in Major League Baseball so now we don’t have to put a premium on getting a win like last year. So we now know a strong start is our appetizer, strikeouts are our main course and the win is our desserts when selecting our starting pitchers.

As you can see success in fantasy baseball is really about selecting good starting pitchers. We have used Vegas , strikeout percentage, and walk percentage to help us choose our pitcher. What are some other things to look at.
I like to look at Sierra as the next stat I look at. Many people like to look at e r a as a way to select a pitcher but that stat can be misleading especially early in a season. We can see pitchers with inflated or deflated era

Especially early in the season just due to plain old bad luck. If I see a good pitcher with a high e r a and a low Sierra I’m usually not to concerned but if I see a pitcher with a low e r a and a high Sierra bells start ringing as this yup of pitcher I may be interested in attacking as he may not be good and just be getting lucky. Why is Sierra important. It’s important because it eliminates all the variance. It calculates everything k percentage, walks , ball park factors , and any other stat that’s important. Sierra in my opinion is a critical statistic in choosing our pitchers as it’s really a true indicator of how good our pitcher really is. If your short on research time this stat really can help you narrow down your pitcher lists.

There are many other things to look at in selecting your starting pitchers ball park factors, home run to fly ball ratio, hard hit percentage etc etc. I could go on and on and you should become more educated on how to use these statistics to your advantage. Again these stats are all on fan graphs . One last piece of advice look at your pitchers opponents team profile. How do they hit are they a ground ball hitting team or a fly ball hitting team? Does your opponent strike out a lot or do they walk a lot? Does your opposing offense struggle vs a lefty or a righty pitcher? All these stats matter and if you master your ability to find how to use these statistics correctly you will find yourself consistently cashing in your daily games and you will find baseball really isn’t as hard as you may have  initially thought. I will have a follow up hitting basics article in a couple of days and I hope to be writing daily preview articles a few times a week to help you in preparing for your daily fantasy contests and if I’m really lucky Ian and I will be doing some pod casts during the season like we did in football. Questions are always welcome and I  can be reached at erboxes@ . I’m usually available up to an hour before skates lock Monday through Friday . I hope this article helps prepare you for the upcoming baseball season

Good luck



Any questions I can always be reached at up until 2 hours before kick off

Any questions I can always be reached at up until 2 hours before kick off

Any questions I can always be reached at up until 2 hours before kick off









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