If you play daily fantasy baseball, you probably know the importance of weather in projecting players. When an offense plays in 90-degree weather, for example, the ball carries through the air much easier than in even 70-degree temperatures. And it isn’t just the temperature; humidity, altitude, wind speed, and a myriad of other factors affect the flight of the baseball.
One of the first things I look for in any hitter is power; if he can’t steal bases with regularity, I want a realistic chance of him going deep. That’s especially true in tournaments. Well, weather has an absolutely massive impact on home run probability—more so than most people realize. Altitude can be the most important factor—as evidenced by the Coors Field effect—but air density is affected in a variety of ways.
This is actually something I wrote about extensively in my DraftKings strategy book Fantasy Baseball for Smart People. Here’s a look at home runs per team and temperature, for example.
Let’s look at an example from today to show how you might use this information. Let’s say you have the Indians and Padres both projected about evenly in terms of overall home run probability as it relates to their power and matchup. Which offense should you stack? All else equal, it should be San Diego, who plays in hitter-friendly Arlington with 90+ degree temperatures, as compared to Cleveland seeing temperatures in the low 70s.
We all look at stats like ISO and park factors, but don’t overlook just how important the weather is in predicting the probability of home runs.
San Diego Padres (vs Wandy Rodriguez)
I mentioned the Padres because I like them as a stack today. Their righty-dominant lineup faces a weak left-hander in Wandy Rodriguez, and they have plenty of offensive upside tonight in Texas with bats like Derek Norris, Matt Kemp, and Yangervis Solarte. We also once again have the Rockies (and their opponent) at Coors and the Blue Jays facing a lefty, so collectively those three teams should eat up maybe 40-50 percent of total player ownership.
Baltimore Orioles (vs Gio Gonzalez)
I love to stack high-upside offenses when they’re in a somewhat challenging matchup. The O’s face off against Gio Gonzalez tonight—a name that will probably drive down ownership lower than what it should. Baltimore has a lot of bats that match up well with Gonzalez, including Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Steve Pearce, and they’re playing in good weather at hitter-friendly Camden. Vegas likes the Orioles a bit as well, projecting them at 4.2 implied runs.
C Yasmani Grandal, LA Dodgers (vs Jimmy Nelson) – $4100
Grandal normally wouldn’t be on this list against a righty, but Wilin Rosario, Nick Hundley, Michael McKenry, and Russell Martin should all see pretty heavy ownership tonight. None costs more than $100 more than Grandal, with all three Rockies catchers at $3500 or below. I expect that will drive down Grandal’s ownership lower than it should be in a quality matchup.
1B Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers (vs Ian Kennedy) – $4300
As I explained on Wednesday, I love playing Moreland and other players who have a teammate who plays the same position (such as Adam LaRoche). Moreland is perpetually underutilized because most people prefer teammate Prince Fielder at first base. Moreland is facing a decent arm in Ian Kennedy, but Vegas loves Texas, projecting them at 4.9 implied runs. Moreland’s .405 wOBA and .285 ISO splits over the past 12 months mean he’ll likely be my top first baseman.
3B Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles (vs Gio Gonzalez) – $4200
I already explained why I like Baltimore as a stack versus Gonzalez, but I specifically like Machado because there are so many other third basemen who others will like, including Josh Donaldson versus a weak southpaw and Nolan Arenado at home. Machado is an opportunity to acquire value and moderate-at-best ownership.
P Noah Syndergaard, NY Mets (vs Arizona Diamondbacks) – $8200
I’m not going completely off the map here with Syndergaard, but I would expect Gerrit Cole and Madison Bumgarner to have the highest ownership tonight, followed by Danny Salazar. I could be completely wrong, too, but that’s my guess. Syndergaard has a 9.1 K/9 facing a team that can whiff a lot and often under-produces on the road. Only Bumgarner is projected by Vegas to hold his opponent to fewer than the 3.0 implied runs they have predicted for Syndergaard.