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 first 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.
One prime example for 1B from last season is Mike Napoli. Napoli was not very good as a whole; his 98 wRC+ was significantly below average for 1B. But Napoli destroyed LHP to a 154 wRC+ and .285 ISO, something that has been consistent with his career line vs LHP. Playing Napoli only against lefty opposing starting pitchers and never against righties can help squeeze out some extra value from the position, because Napoli's weak overall line drives his price down.
It's tough for Brandon Belt to hit dingers in his home park in San Francisco. It appears that a lot of Belt's home run power goes into that RCF alley:
(photo credit: http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/AT&TPark.htm)
As a result, Belt has huge home run splits for his career between home and road. Belt has 43 career road home runs vs only 20 at home, and significantly more of his fly balls go over the wall on the road (16% home run to fly ball ratio) than at home (7.7% home run to fly ball ratio). Playing Belt in a hitter friendly road park, particularly one for lefties like Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, makes it more likely that Belt will go yard on that night.
Here are some other players to keep an eye on under certain conditions (in a high run scoring environment in these splits):
Adam Lind against RHP and never vs LHP (146 wRC+, .198 ISO in 741 PA vs RHP last 2 seasons vs a 54 wRC+, .114 ISO in 1000 career PA vs LHP)
Freddie Freeman vs RHP (151 wRC+, .206 ISO vs RHP last 2 seasons vs a 106 wRC+, .122 ISO vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Justin Bour vs RHP (125 wRC+, .220 ISO in 449 PA last 2 seasons)
Mark Canha vs RHP (127 wRC+, .216 ISO in 323 PA last season)
Mitch Moreland vs RHP (119 wRC+, .197 ISO in 502 PA last 2 seasons)
Mike Napoli vs LHP (157 wRC+, .238 ISO in 319 PA last 2 seasons)
Steve Pearce vs LHP (133 wRC+, .262 ISO in 235 PA last 2 seasons)
Mark Trumbo vs LHP (127 wRC+, .229 ISO in 275 PA last 2 seasons)
Chris Carter vs LHP (119 wRC+, .241 ISO in 350 PA last 2 seasons)
Follow Tim on twitter at @TimFinn521