Exploiting Platoon Splits: Stretch Run Edition
Heading into the last weeks of fantasy regular seasons, and into the playoffs, streaming starting pitchers is a must for any owner looking to win their league. The SPs you have held onto all season can only take you so far, and targeting and avoiding specific lineups for the last few weeks of the season is a great way to build ratios on your way to a fantasy title.
As of August 29th, the New York Yankees have won 13 straight games against left-handed starters, all without injured Giancarlo Stanton, who owns a career OPS of 1.023 against southpaws. Despite their undefeated run, they are behind three teams in terms of production against lefties. Unsurprisingly, the Twins and Astros mash against left-handers, with lineups that feature some of the best right-handed bats in the game such as George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Nelson Cruz. One surprise on this list is the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose success against lefties is in large part due to the breakout of Ketel Marte, who is slashing .331/.369/.636 against the weak side of the platoon.
Featuring MVP candidate Cody Bellinger as well as fellow left-handed batters Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, and Corey Seager, the Dodgers have dominated right-handers the entire season. However, the reigning champion Boston Red Sox have moved into the top spot against righties despite falling out of the playoff race. The Sox’ issues in 2019 have not been run production, and the breakouts of lefty batter Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts (who owns reverse platoon splits) have driven their league-leading batting against right-handed pitchers.
With the breakout of Josh Bell and rookie Bryan Reynolds, the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves only a game below .500 and only 2.5 out of NL Central lead at the 2019 All-Star break. Since the summer classic, the Pirates have had the worst record in the National League, 12-31, and have become far-and-away the worst team against lefties in all of baseball.
Naturally, the worst teams in baseball are the worst teams against the strong side of the platoon. The four worst teams in baseball all find their spot in lineups to target with right-handed pitchers, with the only outlier being the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have gotten solid contributions from core pieces like Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada, and Eloy Jimenez, but star first basemen José Abreu has posted only a .744 OPS against right-handers (compared to his 1.000 OPS against lefties).
(All statistics as of August 27th 2019)