Power, speed can make you a DraftKing
Targeting homers, steals could be right strategy for Mini Fantasy success
Last week, we discussed pitcher-selection strategy for the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com from DraftKings. In summary, you may be able to improve your win probability by targeting pitchers with a high ceiling and strikeout potential.
A similar mindset is key to maintain when choosing hitters. Certain batters excel in specific areas -- such as hitting for power or reaching base often -- so it's important to know how particular traits are rewarded in the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com.
One thing to keep in mind: The Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com from DraftKings awards many points for power. When a hitter goes yard, you get 10 points for the home run, two points for the run scored and two points for each RBI. A solo shot is worth 14 points, for example, while a grand slam is good for 20 points. Compare that to three points for a single.
The obvious conclusion is that you should pay for power. In most situations, you should load up on hitters who have a chance to go deep at any given time. Home runs are relatively low-frequency events, but homer rate is one of the most consistent stats in baseball. The same hitters continue to belt the long balls; a 30-homer hitter might record 20 or 40 homers in a given year, but he probably isn't going to hit three. Over the long haul, the home runs will even out, and you'll be rewarded for seeking power in your hitters.
In addition to power, one may also be rewarded for seeking out basestealers. The Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com dishes out five points for each steal -- 50 percent of the points for a home run, but not a small number. And, like home runs, stolen bases are often consistent across the long run. Further, certain players -- think Dee Gordon and Jacoby Ellsbury -- have a great deal of upside with stolen bases. They swipe bags more often than any power hitter goes deep, and they often do so multiple times in the same game.
When you're selecting hitters for the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com, the numbers suggest that you should first seek power. If a batter doesn't have a decent chance to go yard, then he should be able to steal a base or two. When you're considering hitters who lack both power and speed, there's perhaps not enough upside to justify rostering them unless the value is clear.
A final interesting note is that the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com doesn't deduct points for strikeouts. Many power hitters hit for pop at the cost of whiffing often. Batters such as Ryan Howard and Justin Upton have a little extra value in the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com because you aren't penalized for their strikeouts; a K counts the same as a deep fly-ball out.
So keep in mind: Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy owns a .400 on-base percentage on the year, but he has just two home runs and two steals. Despite his real-world worth, he hasn't been as valuable to daily fantasy players as someone such as Upton, whose 13 home runs and five stolen bases more than make up for the fact that he has a slightly lower on-base percentage (.380) with a fair share of K's.