A few seasons ago, I was sitting at a car wash on a Saturday afternoon when I decided I would enter a $6 GPP with 3 entries for the late afternoon slate. I did a few minutes of research, read a few industry articles, and decided to focus on a Yankees stack against Jeremy Hellickson. As I was racing against time to enter my 3 lineups, my hitter stack was confirmed along with my rotation of 3 pitchers (using all in 2 of 3 lineups), so I needed some very cheap batters. I looked down in the salary scraps and came out with a punt at catcher and a fill-in starter named Alen Hanson at 2B. Hanson was the cheapest starting 2B on that slate, batting 9th, but his salary fit so I plugged him right in.
Fast forward a few hours, the Yankees hit 4 or 5 home runs that day, and my pitchers were solid, leading to a decent sweat as the later games began. I had Hanson and maybe one other hitter still live and if I had any chance at 1st place, I’d need a lot of help. And then Hanson got his first AB and he just kept scoring points. He got hit after hit, a double here, a few stolen bases there and he ended up outscoring every other hitter on this slate leading my entry to first place and $10,000 that afternoon.
Why do I bring this up? We talk all the time about variance, but we all just nod our heads, say we understand and move on to plug in our 1-5 lineup stacks, our expensive one-off hitters, or our stud pitchers because they are comfortable. We know their names. We’ve seen their highlights. We know about their careers.
Yet almost every night in MLB, we get unknown players having the games of their lives. Take last Monday night for example, when both DraftKings and FanDuel ran small dollar ($4-$5) entries with first place taking home $100K. This was on a manageable eight-game slate with massive amounts of total entries. These are the types of tournaments where new players enter the field, 3 lineup guys go to 10, 10 lineup guys put in 20 entries, and so on. They’re exactly the types of tournaments where we must take on risk in our lineups.
As I was flipping back and forth between games, about an hour in the White Sox offense just started to go off. This immediately took any lineups without White Sox stacks out of contention and while I was running mostly stacks in the Cleveland-Angels game, I was lucky enough to have a few one-off shares while they scored 16 runs. What piqued my interest most from this outburst though is how these runs were scored. It wasn’t the big hitters on Chicago like Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, or Tim Anderson driving in the runs. The runs came primarily from Danny Mendick (5 RBI), Yermin Mercedes (3 RBI), Nick Madrigal (2 RBI), Billy Hamilton (2 RBI), and Leury Garcia (2 RBI). Madrigal was the highest scoring hitter of the entire slate.
Think about the last sentence: on Monday night, with two $100K purses available for combined under $10 of entry fees, Nick Madrigal was the highest scoring batter.
Just like a few years back when Alen Hanson unexpectedly carried my squad up the leaderboards, Madrigal or Mendick did the same for those brave enough to run them out there in a White Sox stack.
Taking this just one step further, I want to look at the highest scoring batters from this past week’s main slates (using DK scoring):
Not exactly an all-star team though Winker, Sano, and Mancini are no strangers to big games. But was Turnbull or Kluber a comfortable play? What about Cooper? If I’ve learned one thing when I enter a low-dollar, high entry tournament and think I have a chance to possibly take home the 30% massive payout to 1st place, it’s that I must have someone on my roster who feels uncomfortable. You can define uncomfortable for you. Maybe you haven’t heard of them, maybe you don’t even know their first name. Maybe it’s a poor matchup against a great pitcher.
But I ask you to think about this one question on Sunday when you are posting your lineups…who will be your Alen Hanson?
As we tackle this Sunday’s slate, we still need to start with where our stacks will focus. I’ll do this again by pulling some of the probable starter stats allowed over the last 14 days (no named starter yet for Mets or Rays):
Bubic looks to have some hard regression coming his way. Keuchel and Happ show up far too frequently here. Javier too, but he’s already served up his share of Home Runs in his last few starts. Bubic and Folty are the two who look like a HR allowed tomorrow is a near-certainty and we still have Harvey pitching along with five pitchers with walk rates over 10. Yikes.
My favorite exposures will indeed fall on these two offenses. We have pitchers who give up hard contact, walks, and fly balls. For hitters, I shift the time frame to the past 7 days with minimum 10 at-bats. But this week, I will ask you all to synthesize what you see below:
Jeimer Candelario (38% barrel rate) and Niko Goodrum (60% FB, 0 HR) are my favorite Tigers while Michael Brantley hits everything hard (on the ground), and Kyle Tucker’s in a great spot with his 50% FB and 50% hard-hits.
As for the rest of our hitter pool, here are the top 25 hard-hit rates along with companying data over the past 7 days:
So you tell me now, who is today’s Alen Hanson?
Thanks for hanging with me on another Sunday. Good luck to all today!