5 DFS Metrics to Watch Closely in MLB Games

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: February 21, 2024
5 DFS Metrics to Watch Closely in MLB Games

When it comes to baseball DFS, having a winning strategy is about much more than just picking your favorite players or going with your gut. Success in DFS, especially in MLB games, requires a deep dive into various metrics that can provide insights far beyond basic statistics like home runs and strikeouts.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of sabermetrics you can use to understand the performance of MLB players.

For those looking to gain an edge, here are five critical metrics that can help you make smarter picks and increase your chances of winning.

  • wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average).
    • Provides a comprehensive view of a player's offensive value.
    • Assigns different weights to various methods of reaching base.
    • Focus on hitters with high wOBA values for significant contributions to team performance.
  • FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching).
    • Estimates a pitcher's effectiveness at preventing home runs, walks, and hit-by-pitches while causing strikeouts.
    • Isolates the pitcher's performance from fielding defense.
    • Pitchers with low FIP are robust DFS options as their performance relies less on defense.
  • BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play).
    • Measures the percentage of a batter's balls in play that become hits, excluding home runs.
    • Indicates potential trends in player performance.
    • Understanding BABIP can identify players due for a performance change, positive or negative.
  • ISO (Isolated Power).
    • Evaluates a player's raw power by assessing extra-base hits.
    • High-ISO players are likely to contribute significant points through home runs and doubles.
    • Consider ISO after accounting for other metrics like hits and strikeouts to boost fantasy points.
  • SB Success Rate (Stolen Base Success Rate).
    • Assess the efficiency of players in stealing bases.
    • High success rates are valuable in DFS, especially in formats rewarding stolen bases heavily.
    • Reduces the risk of negative points for being caught stealing, enhancing overall lineup performance.

Understanding wOBA

Weighted On-Base Average is a comprehensive metric that accurately represents a player's overall offensive value.

Unlike traditional batting averages, wOBA assigns different values to different methods of reaching base, recognizing that a walk is not as valuable as, for example, a home run.

For DFS players, focusing on hitters with high wOBA values can be a strategy for selecting players who are likely to contribute significantly to their team's performance.

From 2023, these are the top 5 players with the highest wOBA. So you can see, there are some serious names here.

Shohei OhtaniLAA.433
Ronald Acuña Jr.ATL.428
Corey SeagerTEX.419
Mookie BettsLAD.416
Matt OlsonATL.413

The Significance of FIP for Pitchers

Fielding Independent Pitching is a metric that estimates a pitcher's effectiveness at preventing home runs, walks, and hit-by-pitches while causing strikeouts.

The beauty of FIP is that it isolates the pitcher's performance from the fielding defense, providing a clearer picture of how the pitcher alone is doing.

In DFS, pitchers with a low FIP are generally considered to be strong options, as their performance is less reliant on the defense behind them.

On our list of the pitchers with the best FIP, Sonny Gray tops it all.

Sonny GrayMIN2.82
Spencer StriderATL2.85
Kevin GausmanTOR2.97
Zach EflinTBR3.00
Justin SteeleCHC3.02

BABIP and Its Implications

The Batting Average on Balls In Play measures how many of a batter's balls in play go for hits, excluding home runs.

While some may consider this metric to be heavily influenced by luck, it can also indicate trends. Although we don't like to rely on it when it comes to DFS, we'll never turn down a hint of luck on our lineups.

A very high or low BABIP may suggest a forthcoming regression, meaning a player's performance is likely to return to their career norm.

For DFS enthusiasts, understanding BABIP can help in identifying players who might be due for a change in performance level, either positive or negative. Just like other stats and metrics, it's one of the many indicators to help you decide if a player is worth adding to your lineup.

Here are the top 5 players for BABIP from the 2023 MLB season.

Freddie FreemanLAD.370
Yandy DiazTBR.367
Luis ArraezMIA.362
Bo BichetteTOR.355
Bryce HarperPHI.352

ISO Puts Power in Perspective

Isolated Power is a simple yet effective metric for evaluating a player's raw power.

By subtracting the batting average from the slugging percentage, ISO provides insight into how often a player hits for extra bases. When selecting players for your DFS lineup, high ISO players are more likely to contribute significant points through home runs and doubles, making them valuable assets.

So, if you already have your H, SO, and other metrics accounted for, then ISO would be the next thing to look for. It's an easy way to sneak in a few additional fantasy points.

Tristan GrayTBR.600
Alejo LopezCIN.500
Jasson DominguezNYY.419
Forrest WallATL.385
Sean BouchardCOL.368

Leveraging SB Success Rate

The Stolen Base Success Rate is crucial for assessing the base-stealing ability of players.

While the total number of stolen bases can provide some insight, the success rate offers a deeper look into how efficient a player is at stealing bases. Sure, if the player isn't great at taking a bag, they most likely won't attempt it; however, additional factors play into the attempts. That's why we like this metric.

In DFS, players with high SB success rates can be valuable, especially in scoring formats that reward stolen bases heavily. These players not only increase their chance of scoring runs but also reduce the risk of negative points for being caught stealing.

Ronald Acuña Jr.ATL73
Estuery RuizOAK67
Corbin CarrollARI53
Bobby Witt Jr.KCR49
CJ AbramsWSH47

Set Your Lineups Using These Metrics

In MLB DFS, the difference between winning and losing often comes down to the details. We've seen it happen over and over again. You have to dig deeper than simple SOs, HRs, and Rs. There's a lot more to the game.

Incorporating advanced metrics like wOBA, FIP, BABIP, ISO, and SB Success Rate into your analysis can uncover valuable insights beyond traditional statistics.

This approach allows you to identify undervalued players, predict performance regressions, and build a more strategic lineup that maximizes your chances of success.

The key to DFS success is not just in selecting the best players but in understanding the nuances of the game and the underlying metrics that drive performance.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.