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 third 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.
Josh Donaldson is one of the biggest lefty crushers in the game. He's hit them to a 180 wRC+ (1.014 OPS) with a .344 ISO over the last 2 seasons, and usually plays his games in excellent run scoring park environments in the AL East. Donaldson still hits RHP at a high level, but it falls off a lot (130 wRC+, .206 ISO last 2 years) from his LHP stats, so selectively playing Donaldson against lefties is a way to maximize the value you get from his high price.
Pablo Sandoval is utterly worthless against LHP (43 wRC+, .083 ISO last 2 years) but he still hits RHP reasonably well: he was about average against them in 2015, and has a 120 wRC+ with a .151 ISO vs them the last 2 seasons. Sandoval's horrible overall slash line drove his price down last year to the minimum amount, but playing him against select RHP was sometimes a good way to squeeze out value and invest more money elsewhere. This type of play is usually termed a "punt play".
Another lefty masher who may go overlooked this year is David Wright. Wright is dealing with a chronic back condition called spinal stenosis, but he still destroys LHP, and I didn't see much after he came back from it last year to suggest that his play against lefties is going to fall off a cliff. Wright had a .207 ISO vs LHP after he was diagnosed with the condition, and has hit LHP to a 168 wRC+ and .168 ISO the last 2 years. That may be underselling him a little bit, too, because he played through a shoulder injury in 2014 that appeared to have significantly impacted his swing.
Here are some others to look out for under certain conditions in these splits:
Adrian Beltre vs LHP (158 wRC+, .220 ISO last 2 years)
Evan Longoria vs LHP (144 wRC+, .201 ISO last 2 years)
Danny Valencia vs LHP (131 wRC+, .152 ISO last 2 years)
Martin Prado vs LHP (150 wRC+, .177 ISO last 2 years)
Nick Castellanos vs LHP (124 wRC+, .174 ISO last 2 years)
Yasmany Tomas vs LHP (111 wRC+, .198 ISO last year)
Brett Lawrie vs LHP (110 wRC+, .183 ISO last 2 years)
Matt Carpenter vs RHP (154 wRC+, .249 ISO last year after an approach change)
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