Fantasy strategy: Mind the splits

By dannysisto

Why more members of fantasy leagues don’t do this is beyond me. It seems startlingly simple, but only a handful of my friends actually utilize it.
Simply look at “splits”, or how well a positional player does against righty and lefty pitching. Knowing how your money-maker guys do against both righties and lefties can make or break your season. It also gives you the ability to turn your fringe-bench players into quite useful part-time players.

This is a tool that can be better used in leagues where you can make positional changes on a daily basis, but if you’re a cold a calculating fantasy player, it can be implemented in weekly leagues as well.
I have an ideal example of how I used this idea effectively in my league last year.

Jayson Werth was studly, across the board in 2009. The man was a 36 home-run-hitting outfielder in a stacked Phillie lineup. Add his incredibly patience and efficient 20 stolen bases and you have a guy who carries teams for good portions of the year.

Werth’s season totals are admittedly gaudy, but he was markedly better against lefties, as he has been his entire career. Over the past 3 seasons, Werth has only managed a .256 batting average against right-handers. Compare this to his .319 batting average, .418 on-base percentage, and unbelievable 1.058 OPS against southpaws in the same 3-year time=-span, and you can see the extreme disparity. In the realm of real Major League baseball, he is by no means a liability against them, but we’re talking fantasy here.

I am not saying that you should be sitting Werth 80% of the time in order to use him only against lefties, but it can be a smart play to sit guys with similar split-numbers, if a tough right-handed starter coming to town.
If a fantasy powerhouse like Jayson Werth can be put to even more effective use through, you can imagine how well it would work with lower-tier players as well.

This strategy can be used to a fault, like most ideas of this nature. You don’t want to overdo it, and double-think yourself consistently, but it bears keeping in mind.

Personally, I would advise you doing a quick Google-search of your mainstay players and check out how they have done over the past 3 years. It could be the edge that brings your team the fantasy glory.

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