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2015 Fantasy Baseball: Selecting a Pitcher in DFS

Happy Easter and Happy Baseball Season! Finally the time has come for us to soak up the rays (and Rays), enjoy some ballpark franks and embrace the beauty of baseball.

If you’re reading this, most likely you’re not only excited about baseball being back on TV, but also that MLB is back in the lobbies of our favorite Daily Fantasy sites. I’m sure you have already set lofty goals for the MLB season and perhaps you’ve even started carving out your teams for tomorrow’s madness. But maybe, just maybe, you were waiting on one final piece to help you select your pitchers, not only for tomorrow, but for the whole season.

If that was the case, you’re in luck.

Picking a pitcher in MLB DFS is a key skill, one that is paramount to your success on a daily basis. Often times though, new players, or players with bad habits can fall into traps and are liable to pick pitchers on the brink of implosion. No longer should you be sorting categories merely by ERA and WHIP, instead, use a few of the following tools to select your pitchers tomorrow.

Lineups

The most important part of creating a fantasy roster of your own is making sure that the players you are selecting are in the lineup. While this has a major impact on your own lineup making, it can also impact the circumstances that a pitcher might have to face during a game. If on a given day the Red Sox were missing Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, it should present a red flag to daily fantasy players. The drastic change in the lineup presents us with a great opportunity to capitalize on the pitcher facing the Red Sox, as less formidable hitters will be taking the field on that given day. Make sure to check all available starting lineups prior to making any selections in MLB DFS.

Park Factors

Unlike most other daily fantasy sports, the players we use in MLB DFS largely depend on the venue in which the game is played. A player suiting up in Coors Field carries a different value than one suiting up in Petco Park on a nightly basis. Paying attention to the differences in ball park can go a long way in helping us select pitchers and also helping us know which hitters to avoid.

Typically, if you’re looking to find an optimal pitching situation, you’ll look to find a good pitcher in pitcher’s park, or one that favors pitchers rather than hitters. ESPN carries rankings on parks in a bunch of different categories that can be found here. You might want to bookmark that page.

Weather

Sometimes weather can play a role in helping us to select or not select a pitcher on a certain day. In the case of baseball, most often this is based on wind direction and wind speed as it has a direct affect on the flight of the baseball. Wind is the reason that Wrigley Field can play as the best hitters park on some days but one of the worst on the others. Paying attention the direction of the wind, and the overall wind speed is another valuable tool that some of your competitors might overlook.

Temperature can also have an impact on run scoring. Research done over at the Rotographs blog has shown that higher temperatures correlate with more run scoring. This is only something to consider on the extremes, but when it starts getting hotter as we move into the summer, keep temperatures in mind.

Vegas

Vegas is a valuable tool to daily fantasy sports players, so do not be afraid to use it! Vegas sets lines for just about everything you could imagine, and most of them can help us in some way. The totals, or team totals, give us an indication of which games might have abnormally high or low run totals. For example, if the Atlanta Braves have a low team total against a certain pitcher, it’s an indication that the respective pitcher might be a valuable DFS option.

Vegas takes everything into account before setting their lines, so park factor, weather and the starting pitchers will have an effect on them. Therefore, you don’t have to feel like anything is being left out.

While there are many other tools to help us select a pitcher on a daily basis, the aforementioned factors are some of the most overlooked, especially by players that are new to MLB. The weighted average you place on the importance of each factor is personal preference, but using them all will make sure that you do not create any gaping holes in your roster creation. Research pays!

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