MLB DFS: Matchup Tool Walkthrough

Using The MLB Matchup Tool and What Stats to Look For in MLB DFS

Hey everyone! Some people have asked me to kind of give a walkthrough of the matchup tool and what I look for in selecting pitchers or batters. The first thing I will do is run through all the pitchers on the slate and look for any red flags I can find. In this case, I am using Homer Bailey’s picture. Let’s examine what we see. You will see that Homer has much more red circled on the “Vs RHH” column than the left handed side. Well Tim, how do you tell what is a red flag and what isn’t? Most people have thresholds they look for and I have my own personal numbers that I look for that I will share with you here. These aren’t an “industry standard” so to speak, but rather my own personal threshold. The graphics on the website have since been updated so it looks just a touch different but all of this information still holds true.  Good luck!

 

ERA

Under 2.50: elite, 2.50-3.00: good/above average, 3.0-3.80: average, 3.80-4.00: below average, 4.00 and above: bad
*Xfip is the same, but the way I really use ERA and xFIP is to compare the two. I will look at the pitcher’s season ERA and xFIP and if they are within 1.00 of each other either way, that’s okay to me. If they deviate by more than 1.0 either way, that tells me there may be a little more to the story going on. If a guy’s xFIP is more than 1.0 lower than his ERA, that tells me that he may be pitching better than his ERA and face-value stats indicate/getting unlucky and if the xFIP more than 1.00 higher than the ERA, that tells me he may getting lucky and could be due for some regression.

WHIP
Under 1.0: elite, 1.0-1.2: good, over 1.2: average to bad the higher you get

HR/9
Under .80: elite, .80-1.00: good, 1.00-1.15: eh. Average, 1.15-1.40: below average, 1.40 and above: very bad

K%
Under 15%: bad, 15-20%: below average, 20%-23%: average, 23%-27%: good, above 27%: elite

BB/9
Under 1.5: great, 1.5-2.0: average, 2.0-3.0: below average, above 3.0: awful

wOBA
under .300: elite, .300-.330: good, .330-.350: average, .350-.380: below average, .380-.400: bad, over .400: awful

SLG
Under .300: elite, .300-.350: good, .350-.370: average, .370-.400: below average, .400-.450: bad, bovver .450: awful

Ground-ball % (GB)
Under 30%: bad, 30%-40%: below average, 40%-50%: average to abover average, 50% and above: real good to elite

Line drive %
Under 18%: elite, 18%-20%: good, 20%-22%: average but teetering, above 22%: bad

Flyball rate (FB)
*It should be noted that not all flyballs are bad. If the pitcher is allowing a lot of flyballs, but not a lot of hard contact, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because they’re likely to be flyball outs to fielders. If a pitcher has a high flyball rate, but high hard contact, that is not a good recipe.
Below 30%: great, 30%-35: good, 35%-40%: average but teetering, 40%-45%: below average, above 45%: alarming and going to have to look at other metrics as stated above

Hard contact %
Under 30%: elite, 30%-35%: good, 35%-40%: average, 40-45%: below average/alarming, above 45%: bad

So in looking at Bailey, I have circled all the potential red flags that I see. (first picture). I will go through each pitcher, make a note of everything I see that is either good or bad and write it down. We see here that to righties he is allowing 47% hard contact on a 47% flyball rate and a 32% line drive rate. On top of that, he is allowing 3.18 HR/9 to righties. That’s pretty bad. In taking into account everything Bailey is allowing and seeing that he has been much worse to righties, we want to go to the batters and see which ones line up the best.

In the below photo, we see the Yankees that are in the projected lineup (confirmed lineups will have a green check mark). What do we want to look for in batters?


wOBA
below .320: bad, .320-.340: below average, .340-.360: average, .360-.380: above average, .380 and above: great to elite

ISO (a measurement of a player’s power – a player with a low ISO may still be playable if their wOBA is high – just don’t expect a ton of homerun upside)
Below .120: bad, .120-.140: below average, .140-.170: average, .170-.200: above average, .200-.250: great, above .250: elite

HC (hard contact)
Below 30%: bad, 30%-35%: below average, 35%-40%: average, 40%-45: above average, 45%-50%: great, above 50%: elite

Flyball rate (FB) – like with a pitcher, we need to look at other metrics before determining what is good and bad. Sure, we want a hitter to hit a lot of flyballs because those are more likely to be homers, but if he has low hard contact, they have less of a chance of making it out of the park. That’s where we can use HR/FB% (homeruns per flyball) for both the pitcher and batter. An average HR/FB% is around 11, so for a batter, the higher the number the better and for a pitcher, the lower the number the better.
FB % (flyball)
Below 30%: bad, 30%-35%: below average, 35%-40%: average, 40-45%: above average, 45% and above: Great, assuming HC is also good.

wRC+ – basically, I use this metric as an “overall” type thing. A wRC+ of 100 is considered average, so obviously below that is below average and gets worse the lower you go and above 100 is good and gets better the higher you go. I consider a wRC+ over 150 elite, 100-125 is good, and 125-150 is really good.

We’ve identified that we probably want to play righties against Bailey. Examining the photo below of the Yanks’ projected lineup, they all have great wRC+ numbers so they may look to be all in play but lets see how we may narrow it down. First, I will eliminate Gardner and Tauchman because they’re lefties. Second, I will eliminate Romine because of his low wRC+ and HC. I will eliminate LeMehieu due to his low HC, ISO, and FB rates. That leaves me Frazier, Judge, Voit, and Torres. If I were stacking Yankees, those are the players I would go with. If I wanted to take it even further or was on the fence about a guy, I would look at what pitch the pitcher throws the most AFTER the fastball. In this case, we can see that it is the splitter (circled in blue). So, we would click “pitch type” for the Yankees batters, select splitter and see who hits it best if we wanted to further narrow it down. In this case, there isn’t sufficient 2019 data for the splitter (the Yanks haven’t seen the splitter that much to start the season, so I’d go to the next most thrown pitch).

I hope this helps a little bit in choosing which guys within a particular team to stack. I will be editing this and possibly adding more commentary as we go!


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Tim Parker

Tim Parker

Tim is a Co-Founder of Top Flight, and the head of MLB content. Tim is an avid Taylor Swift fan, and often finds himself criticizing Derek Carty on Twitter.