Each week during the next 2 months leading up to the start of the MLB season we will be doing our consensus rankings by position. Towards the end of the week, we will look for some players that may have extra value in daily fantasy baseball leagues over seasonal leagues. This week is second base.
One of the biggest differences between daily leagues and season long leagues is how to construct a roster. In a daily league, a player with non elite seasonal value can be a strong play for that particular day. Daily fantasy baseball heavily takes into account that day's individual matchup; a cheaper, non elite seasonal fantasy hitter with a strong platoon split facing a tomato can on the mound in a great hitting park can be as good or better than an expensive, elite seasonal hitter that day, especially if that elite seasonal hitter is facing high quality pitching in a lower run scoring environment.
Neil Walker played many of his games in pitcher friendly parks, like his home park in Pittsburgh. PNC park is generally in the bottom third for home runs for left handed hitters. Walker is a switch hitter, but he has huge platoon splits; he does not hit LHP well at all. Walker's career wRC+ is 123 vs RHP with a .182 ISO, but it falls off to a 83 wRC+ and .078 ISO vs LHP. Targeting Walker against select RHP in a hitter friendly road park is the type of play that can pay off. And in 2016, Walker is moving into Citi Field, which recently adjusted its dimensions to right field and has played much more hitter friendly for lefties than it had in prior seasons. Citi Field was in the top third in home run park factors in 2015 with the new dimensions.
Jose Altuve made a swing adjustment in spring training of 2014 and has torn up LHP since, to a 176 wRC+ (.991 OPS) and .162 ISO. He usually hits leadoff, which puts in him in good position to receive extra PAs throughout the game and be on base to score runs when the Astros best hitters, like Carlos Correa, come up behind him. He also has a ton of speed, which adds to his value with stolen bases. Playing Altuve against a hittable LHP is one of the best plays for all second basemen.
Here are some other second baseman to look out for in these splits:
Ben Zobrist vs LHP (154 wRC+, .161 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Logan Forsythe vs LHP (137 wRC+, .240 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Howie Kendrick vs LHP (124 wRC+, .117 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Brock Holt vs LHP (116 wRC+, .117 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Brett Lawrie vs LHP (110 wRC+, .183 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Danny Espinosa vs LHP (124 wRC+, .168 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Jedd Gyorko vs LHP (113 wRC+, .134 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Derek Dietrich vs RHP (128 wRC+, .208 ISO vs RHP last 2 seasons)
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