Leveraging Platoon Splits in MLB DFS

Finding batters based on platoon splits is one of the most effective MLB DFS strategies.

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: April 25, 2024
Leveraging Platoon Splits in MLB DFS

Understanding platoon splits can provide a significant advantage to MLB DFS players. This strategy involves choosing hitters based on their performance against pitchers of the opposite hand—typically, left-handed batters facing right-handed pitchers and vice versa. It's the same thought process an MLB manager has when he's preparing his lineup in the dugout.

The rationale behind this is grounded in the performance discrepancies that arise from these matchups.

What are Platoon Splits?

Platoon splits refer to the statistical difference in a player's batting performance against left-handed pitchers compared to right-handed pitchers. You'll often see this play out in games where a team has a stacked lineup full of lefties, or there's a lefty on the mound.

As you probably know, hitters often perform better against opposite-handed pitchers. This is due to visibility and the angle of the ball's approach, which can make pitches seemingly easier to hit. 

We can quantify this advantage by looking at splits in batting metrics such as batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), slugging percentage (SLG), and on-base plus slugging (OPS).

Let's take a run-of-the-mill left-handed batter, Riley Greene (OF, Detroit Tigers), and see how his numbers stack up.

In 2023 he had a BA against RHP of .291 and .279 against LHP. Not a huge difference, but it paints the picture. If you look at SLG, there's more of a split with .473 against RHP and .361 against LHP.

That's just one example, but if you go through more players you'll see that the trends are generally the same.

Leveraging Platoon Splits in DFS

So, how do you go about using these gems in your DFS lineups? Well, there is a method to the madness, and we've outlined exactly how we set our lineups using this strategy.

  1. Identifying Key Players. Certain players exhibit extreme platoon splits, making them particularly valuable in DFS when they face favorable matchups. For instance, some hitters might have a significantly higher OPS against left-handed pitchers compared to right-handers. Identifying these players and understanding the context of their matchups can lead to more informed, strategic choices in your DFS lineup.
  2. Strategic Player Selection. Using data-driven insights like OPS differentials, DFS players can select hitters who are more likely to excel against pitchers of a specific hand. For example, a player who has a .200 or more OPS advantage against left-handers should be considered when they are facing a left-handed pitcher in the game lineup. All of this information is available on just about any score site.
  3. Real-World Application. In practical terms, using platforms that provide daily MLB projections and tools that analyze weekly hitter projections can enhance decision-making in fantasy drafts and DFS contests. Analyzing historical performance data and projections allows players to optimize their lineups based on matchups and potential performance outcomes.

For the most part, that's exactly how we dig into the players in our lineups when we're leveraging platoon splits. Once you find some key players, you'll continually use them when you see who they're batting against. 

Here are a couple we regularly follow because their numbers tend to be better than the rest—

  • Paul Goldschmidt. As a right handed batter, he is hitting .162 against RHP and .318 against LHP in 2024. Not bad. SLG and OPS are about the same.
  • Kelly Carpenter. Although he throws right, he actually bats left. In 2024, he had a .125 BA against LHP but a staggering .309 against RHP. His SLG is out of this world, though. He has a .574 against RHP and .125 against LHP.

Find a set of batters that really shine against the opposite hand and keep them in your back pocket. These two batters should be added to your kit for when you know they're up against the opposite hand. We recommend finding a set of 5-7 that you regularly keep an eye on.

Tools and Resources for Analysis

There are several tools and resources available for DFS players looking to integrate platoon splits into their strategy. Some of these tools have various features that are welcomed, but sometimes we just like to go old-school and dig into the platoon splits at baseball-reference.com.

  • Fantasy Baseball Websites. Sites like FantraxHQ and FTN offer detailed analyses of platoon splits, providing lists and breakdowns of players with significant disparities in their performance against left-handed or right-handed pitchers.
  • Advanced Metrics and Projections. Leveraging advanced statistical tools and databases like those offered by RotoGraphs and Baseball Reference can help in deep diving into players' historical performances and expected future outputs based on platoon splits. These do require a bit more manual labor to get the stats you want.

On top of those, watch a game or two and see what the managers do. They know their team and the opposing team well. Later in the game, you'll often see a manager put in a lefty or righty based on who is on the mound, as they know their success rate increases based on that. In fact, that's how we came across Goldschmidt and Carpenter.

Find the Platoon Splits and Draft Like a Pro

Understanding and applying the concept of platoon splits is just one of the many strategies when it comes to DFS. It's easily one of our favorite strategies, but in general, they're a bit harder to find. That's why we recommend you find the players that excel against opposite-handed pitchers and keep them in your back pocket to use when you see a favorable matchup.

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.