Throughout the season, I am using our FREE Trends tool to create a custom trend, and then I am tracking the results of my matches for the week in this article. The goal is to create trends with high Plus/Minus values and share them with our readers every Friday.
If you’ve been following our Trend of the Day series this MLB season, you know that we’ve had several trends attempting to locate slumping players (based on recent advanced stats) who are in good situations on a given day. This week, I’m offering my own take on this, and I’ll be tracking the results of the players who match.
Bypassing surface stats like batting average, home runs, RBIs, etc., I’m looking for players who are making weaker contact over the past 15 days. To do so, I’m looking for batters whose average distance on batted balls is down by at least 10 feet and whose exit velocity is down at least two miles per hour.
Some players will be struggling worse than others based on these filters. For example, a couple of weeks ago, Chris Davis had an average Distance Differential of -68 feet. But in this case, I think it’s good enough to know that a batter is struggling without quantifying precisely how badly he is struggling. Two of the main variables I’m interested in exploiting with this trend are pricing and public opinion (ownership), which will both likely be depressed during a slump.
Finally, I needed to define ‘in a good spot’ and for that I chose Vegas and Lineup Order. Specifically, we are looking at batters in the top half of their orders and whose teams are implied to score at least 4.5 runs.
The filters used to create this trend were as follows:
• Distance Differential is down by at least 10 feet over the past 15 days.
• Exit Velocity is down at least two MPH over the past 15 days.
• Vegas’ implied run total is at least 4.5 runs.
• Spot in the order is between one and five.
Obviously, the Plus/Minus is fairly unimpressive here. Players who enter a game in a slump will often remain in a slump. But in intentionally targeting struggling batters I’m not looking to create a cash-game trend. I’m looking for players who have the opportunity to turn things around. Specifically, I’m hoping to find one of these games at low ownership:
The following screenshots are pulled from entries into FanDuel’s guaranteed prize pools throughout the week.
A bad night for Vegas meant a bad night for this trend. The Rangers eclipsed 4.5 runs (barely) while the Mariners and Blue Jays each fell short.
I thought that 12 percent ownership on Josh Donaldson against Chad Green — before Chad Green ‘happened’ — was more than reasonable, despite the righty-righty matchup. Seth Smith’s ownership was nowhere to be found despite the fact that he is a splitty player on the right side of his split, facing the righty Ricky Nolasco. You could even argue that Ian Desmond’s ownership was depressed here. After all, the Rangers were projected to score 6.1 runs against Ross Detwiler and Desmond was batting second.
Jay Bruce had the park bump (@ARI), the platoon split, and was batting third for an offense projected to score 4.8 runs. Only 1.9 percent of the field was interested. In fact, ownership remained pretty minimal across the board, as many DFS players chose to target the Red Sox (@BAL) and Coors Field.
Although each player listed above did exceed his implied point total based on salary, the results could have been better. On a night when Russell Martin, Chase Utley, and Mookie Betts all double-donged, 10-16 points weren’t going to pay the bills.
I’m continuing to find players at sub-10 percent ownership who are, for the most part, falling in line with their salary-based expectations. This low ownership comes despite the absence of a Coors Field game. (This was a main-slate contest and Coors was an early game.)
Again on Wednesday, there were multiple two-homer games, this time from Adrian Gonzalez, Rickie Weeks, and Yasmany Tomas, and since I haven’t been able to find a home run yet the results continue to be middling overall.
Some DFSers were on the Indians’ matchup last night against Carlos Rodon, but Carlos Santana was mostly overlooked. This is partially due to the fact that Mike Napoli is listed as the same position on FanDuel, meaning that Indians stackers were forced to choose one or the other. Napoli was probably a better option coming into the night given the matchup as a whole and considering Santana’s recent slump. It was Santana, however, who produced the better numbers.
More players were on Max Kepler in what seemed like a good spot for the Twins, who were facing Dillon Gee and the Royals. Gee, though, turned in a solid performance allowing only one run over seven innings, which limited all Minnesota bats, including Kepler, to minimal fantasy production.
Keep in mind that I wasn’t necessarily looking for overall production with this trend. Since the Plus/Minus overall was only +0.16, looking for Consistency here would have been a mistake. I was looking for low-owned blow-up games. And while I didn’t uncover a multi-homer game, the ownership on most players was encouraging. Remember that in order to qualify, a player must have a positive matchup based on Vegas data and position in the batting order.
When looking at this trend, you do not need to consider every single match. Instead, look for players with upside in their matchups and realize that you may be able to capture that upside at depressed ownership levels due to recent poor performance.