If you’ve been playing MLB DFS for a while, your brain is probably already trained to think of players with a sense of duality. Troy Tulowitzki isn’t just simply a guy with a .381 wOBA; he’s a guy with a wOBA split of .328 versus right-handed pitchers and .476 versus left-handed pitchers. There’s no sport quite like baseball where a player’s true, down-the-middle averages really mean so little – splits are everything.
And there’s different types of splits, too. There’s the obvious splits by handedness like the example I just gave, or a pitcher’s strikeout percentage by batter hand. But there’s also splits by salary – some players, for some reason, do better when they’re at a certain salary level. New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda is one of these oddballs.
Michael Pineda is fairly notorious for being all over the place in terms of performance. Take a look at the breakdown of his recent games:
The pie chart on the right represents the average MLB pitcher’s performance. As you can see, Pineda has a much higher upside percentage, but also a much higher terrible percentage. The guy was born to be a GPP pitcher.
Interestingly, there’s an odd correlation between his salary level and his performance. In fact, it’s almost uncanny. Take a look at his Plus/Minus and past games when he’s below $8,800 on DraftKings:
When he’s priced below $8,800, he exceeds his expected production by over 10 fantasy points. That is incredible. And now look at when he’s above that threshold:
I’m honestly not sure why these splits exist, but they’re too crazy to just ignore. Perhaps he doesn’t play as well with large expectations or as the heavy favorite or some other #narrativestreet reason, or maybe this is just a weird correlation/causation anomaly. Either way, it’s definitely something to monitor and it still shows just how valuable he can be in a GPP. Not only are his salary splits crazy far apart, but he’s also better when at a value – you can fit in better batters on top of getting his performance.
Again, this could be merely a site-pricing coincidence, but the sample size continues to grow. He also has very drastic home and road splits, so that’s probably contributing here, but you can see by the recent game logs for both salary levels that it probably isn’t the entire story. While the reason behind Pineda’s salary splits remains perplexing, the decision of whether he should be in your GPP lineup should not.