Today we'll move onto the second installment of our series looking at the different elements of a daily fantasy projection. The idea is to hold all of the variables constant except the one under investigation. The case study today will be handedness. We'll take a look at how the daily projected points change for

  • left-handed hitters versus right-handed pitchers
  • right-handed hitters versus left-handed pitchers
  • right-handed hitters versus right-handed pitchers
  • left-handed hitters versus left-handed pitchers

The match-up will be held in a neutral park and no home/away adjustment will be incorporated. Like yesterday, Miguel Cabrera will be our hitter and Dan Haren the pitcher. In the past I have alluded to my career in Chemistry/Biochemistry. I put those skills to good use and genetically engineered my version of the six million dollar man to make Cabrera hit equally well right-handed and left-handed and one of Haren that throws right-handed just as he does left-handed. My column, my rules - work with me here.

Here's the projected fantasy points for Cabrera facing Haren for the four possible handedness match-ups on FanDuel (FD), Draft Street (DS) and Draft Kings (DK).

LHB v RHP 3.2 10.9 4.8
RHB v LHP 3.2 10.9 4.9
RHB v RHP 2.9 10.3 4.6
LHB v LHP 2.5 9.1 4.1
average 3.0 10.5 4.7

As expected based on the data posted here, a lefty-lefty match-up results in the fewest points followed by righty-righty. The difference may not seem like much but on a percentage basis it's pretty steep, especially lefty on lefty. Here is the data presented as percentage different than the league average (determined as a weighted average of the four scenarios).

LHB v RHP 4.7% 3.3% 3.4%
RHB v LHP 4.9% 3.8% 3.9%
RHB v RHP -3.3% -2.2% -2.3%
LHB v LHP -16.9% -13.2% -13.2%

By means of reminder, here's the results from yesterdays' home versus away study:

HOME 3.7 5.4 12.1
AWAY 2.7 4.1 9.5

So based on this, the influence of home versus away trumps handedness. The home/away difference is at least 25 percent. Of course, the ultimate goal is for an opposite handedness match-up at home but sometimes you don't have that option. The data to this point suggests a lefty hitter facing a lefty pitcher at home is preferred over a lefty hitter facing a right pitcher on the road (assuming both parks are neutral and the opposing pitchers are of equal quality).

There is a very important aspect of this discussion that I have purposely omitted to this point. As was discussed here, if a player has been in the league long enough, he owns his handedness splits. The rest of the league needs to be regressed to league average. Miggy has been in the league long enough for his splits to be real. The version of Miggy used in this exercise exhibits league average splits since the majority of the hitters either don't have the requisite number of plate appearances necessary for their splits to be real or their splits are very close to league average.

This gives me an idea for a future piece and that's to discuss the hitters whose splits are significantly different from league average and are likely candidates for DFS lineups.

But first, we'll continue with our series and learn how park factors influence projected fantasy points tomorrow.


Rudy Gamble 

Hi Todd - These results are surprising. I incorporate Home/Away and Handedness into my daily projections and - while I haven't replicated this test - I think Handedness is a bigger factor. Have you accounted for the 'survivor' bias in your averages - i.e, the hitters who are allowed to face same-handed pitchers are better than the hitters who are allowed to face opposite-handed pitchers? If this isn't accounted for in the averages, it underestimates the impact of handedness. Regards, Rudy

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About Todd Zola

Affectionately known as Lord Zola, Todd was the 2013 Fantasy Sports Writers Association recipient of the Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Web. He's been with Mastersball since its inception in 1997 and presently Todd writes for the ESPN Insider and Baseball HQ. Todd is a frequent guest on SiriusXM and is a regular on HQ Radio. He's a veteran of Tout Wars and LABR as well as a multi-time NFBC champion. Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddZola

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