Yesterday, I discussed how your playing style should affect, well, every decision you make, but specifically your bankroll management. Everyone sort of know if you play more tournaments than cash games, you need to be more conservative with your bankroll and the amount of money you put into play in a given day. But the way in which you structure your lineups also has a major impact; the more you fade the chalk—the more you get away from high-value players—the more extreme your results will be and the less aggressive you can afford to be.
So how much should you be putting into play? Well, that really is a matter of personal opinion based on your goals and how much you really want to take on risk for the sake of upside, but I can tell you I play no more than around three percent of my bankroll during MLB. That’s going to sound like a ridiculously low number to a lot of people, but you have to remember a few things.
First, I don’t play many cash games in MLB. Second, baseball is extremely volatile as it is. Third, I play a lot of qualifiers and other tournaments with top-heavy payouts. And lastly, I generally use a pretty contrarian approach, suffering frequent small losses and then occasional large boosts in bankroll. With the amount of variance I take on, I need to be conservative with my bankroll in order to limit my risk of ruin.
Anyway, I really wanted to hammer home the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all bankroll management plan—or game selection strategy, or lineup creation method, or whatever. It all depends on your goals and how you want to approach the game.
NOTE: Today’s plays are for the late slate of action.
Minnesota Twins (vs CJ Wilson)
Very quietly, the Minnesota Twins have been one of the top teams in the league this year against lefties. Sometimes it’s difficult to predict ownership, but I think we can agree the Twins are going to be fairly low-owned tonight against CJ Wilson. That’s especially true since their lineup is unlikely to be posted until pretty close to lineup lock, which always draws down ownership even more. I like a mini stack of Dozier, Hunter, Rosario, and Plouffe.
Kansas City Royals (vs Charlie Morton)
The park isn’t ideal, but I do like the Royals as a contrarian stack against Charlie Morton tonight. Moustakas, Hosmer, and Morales all have much better power versus righties than lefties, Cain can take anyone deep, and Escobar has stolen base upside. Kansas City does need to probably score more runs than a team like Houston to match their fantasy production, but I doubt the crowd is going to be very bullish on the Royals at home. Also, since Colorado isn’t playing tonight, it’s not like you can jump on a top offense outside of Coors and still be contrarian. Teams like the Tigers are going to see high ownership.
C Josh Phegley, Oakland (vs Felix Doubront) – $3400
Two catchers are going to dominate ownership in the late slate, in my view. Matt Wieters is insanely undepriced at $2900, and Brian McCann facing a righty at home will also be popular. Phegley is a notch below in value but should come with dramatically reduced ownership. The hope is that he moves up in the order and hits at least fifth.
2B/3B Luis Valbuena, Houston (vs Joe Kelly) – $3800
I think Valbuena is a no-brainer at home against a righty, but he always seems to be underowned in that situation to me. You also have some other values at second and third base—Jose Altuve, Steve Pearce, Jimmy Paredes, and Manny Machado, among them—that I think Valbuena will again be underutilized. He has big-time upside in this situation, and the wind will be blowing out in Houston.
SS Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis (vs John Danks) – $4300
I play Peralta pretty much every time he faces a lefty. He has a running 12-month wOBA of .369 and ISO of .235 versus southpaws. That sort of power is very scarce at shortstop. Peralta isn’t at all a contrarian choice, but he’s an example of a player I will still use even if I think ownership will be decently high just because of his scarcity and the fact that he’s in such a good spot.
Edinson Volquez, Kansas City (vs Pittsburgh) – $7000
I’m pretty confident Jose Fernandez and Sonny Gray will be the most popular pitchers tonight. Both are good plays and I wouldn’t fade either one. If you want exposure to a little bit of a high-risk, high-upside play, I think it’s Volquez. Pittsburgh has 0.26 strikeouts per at-bat. Otherwise, I don’t think it’s a night to really get cute at pitcher, even in a GPP.