Identifying hitter strengths on pitch locations can be a useful tool for fantasy owners in both seasonal leagues and daily leagues. The nature of the swing paths of some hitters make their swings more tailored to hit certain pitch locations than others. For example, Yoenis Cespedes’s bat path makes it easier to crush low pitches (.585 slugging) but more difficult on high pitches (.285 slugging).
Fantasy owners, especially in daily leagues, can attempt to use this to their advantage by avoiding this type of low ball hitter in potentially unfavorable matchups and using them in favorable ones. Specifically, pitchers who like to pitch up in the zone and have repertoire’s fit to pitch up in the zone (think Justin Verlander with his high spin rising fastball) do not appear to be the ideal matchup for a hitter with this profile. Instead, targeting pitchers who like to pitch down in the zone and have repertoire’s fit to pitch down in the zone (think Martin Perez or Marcus Stroman) would probably make for better plays. With how expensive hitters like Cespedes are priced, it might be good way to squeeze out some more value or avoid overpaying in a less than ideal matchup. Of course, this is in addition to taking into account the overall skill level of the opposing pitcher and the run scoring environment.
Here were the top 25 low pitch hitters in 2016 by slugging percentage, with low pitches defined as pitches that are located in the bottom third of the strike zone or below the strike zone. The average MLB hitter slugs .370 on low pitches.
|Player||Low pitch slugging%|