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My Dinner With Andre

Does Playing the Matchups/Benching Guys Actually Work? Or Just in Theory?

Does Playing the Matchups/Benching Guys Work?   49 members have voted

  1. 1. Does Playing the Matchups/Benching Guys Work?

    • Yes -- Proven Results
      19
    • In Theory -- A Mix of Hits and Misses
      30

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This is a question I've pondered for a while, but I've never come out and just asked it in this fashion.

Does playing the matchups and benching guys actually work? Or does it just work in theory? For it to work, I would say the stats that you book from a player has to be better than that player's actual line. In frequenting these boards I these comments every day:

"D@mn, figures today is the day I sit him"

"On my bench, but the performance is encouraging"

It seems to me that people are making an even mix of good and bad decisions on daily sit/start decisions. And that's not a knock on them; that's just the nature of baseball.

Also, it appears that a lot of people just seem to be content to have a quality asset/player on their roster. Whether or not they actually accumulate high quality stats from the player seems to be secondary.

It's a tough question to prove with evidence either way since an end-of-season team log, i.e. the record of stats (hits and misses) accumulated from the players rostered during the year, would have to be furnished to make a good case. For me personally, I've evolved over the years into having a buy-the-end-of-season-line mentality.

Thoughts?

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Even if it is a mix of hits and misses, I think that overall, playing matchups will give you better results than not paying attention to them.

This isn't anything profound, but just a simple example to prove my point. If you have 3 lefty outfielders for 2 positions, if you sit the guy with the toughest matchup(i.e. the one facing a lefty or the one facing the toughest lefty) you will most certainly come out at the end of the season with 3 lines that are better than the players' actual stats.

I'm not speaking to BVP stuff because that is absolutely useless. I see people all the time on here saying something like "he was 4-6 against this guy in his career so I started him". Just don't look at that stuff.

In the end, you're always going to leave a HR or two on your bench. The key to playing matchups is being confident in your decisions. If you are, then even when Jedd Gyoko hits 2 HR off of Jose Fernandez for your bench, you can be comfortable knowing that that was the correct decision. I cannot stress enough how crucial this is to playing matchups. You have to be consistent in your process.

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Of course. You have to remember to stick to the better match up though. It's tempting to ride the hot hand but odds are the good pitcher that guy is facing today is about to end his hot streak.

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Rabbit makes a lot of good points, I don't think I'm going to break any new ground here.

I do think there's some value in bat vs pit but agree that'd it's very overrated. I like to avoid lefty vs lefty, pitchers' parks and ace righty vs a righty that I shuffle in and out. Again, nothing ground-breaking there. I also like when a hitter has a worse sp on his side, leading to higher scoring and sloppier games. A ton of other little factors as well.

It won't work every time, but will give an advantage if done smartly and consistently. And always start your studs, but be careful who you call a stud.

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I'm wondering, are people even aware of which teams are good and which teams are bad offensively?

For example, 3 of the 5 teams in the dreaded AL East suck. I think people are starting to realize that the Yankees and Red Sox aren't tough this year.

Two, are people actively benching their pitchers against the teams like the Pirates and Brewers?

6-19-20147-17-46PM_zps73f12b90.jpg

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Most shocking thing from that is the Pirates. And they are near the top in OBP, its not like the OPS is SLG driven.

I knew the Red Sox and Rays suck but didn't realize the Yankees were that mediocre.

Thought the Rangers an D backs were worse then they are.

Also some teams are way better vs RHP or vice versa. Dodgers for example are anemic vs lefties and crush RH.

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Most shocking thing from that is the Pirates. And they are near the top in OBP, its not like the OPS is SLG driven.

I knew the Red Sox and Rays suck but didn't realize the Yankees were that mediocre.

Thought the Rangers an D backs were worse then they are.

Also some teams are way better vs RHP or vice versa. Dodgers for example are anemic vs lefties and crush RH.

True, Yankees are good at home for example.

But that just makes them even more streamable against on the road.

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Well Context is Ball Parks

Rockies have a .913 OPS at Coors. Next best in A's at .796. Give you a context about the merits of benching at Coors.

I do believe people here over-think themselves a lot of times. In a Roto innings cap. It does have merit to play the higher% plays for pitchers that are not apart of their "circle of trust". Even if percentages between most don't seem like "much" from an overall perspective.

Of course people often fail to evaluate K worth. In Roto innings Cap. I always start my high K/9 no matter what (well okay Coors gives me pause because of the repression of K's sometimes)

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I'm wondering, are people even aware of which teams are good and which teams are bad offensively?

For example, 3 of the 5 teams in the dreaded AL East suck. I think people are starting to realize that the Yankees and Red Sox aren't tough this year.

Two, are people actively benching their pitchers against the teams like the Pirates and Brewers?

6-19-20147-17-46PM_zps73f12b90.jpg

Great points about perception vs reality.

Additionally, I will typically look at these types of stats broken down by handedness. For example:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2014&month=14&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=15,d

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2014&month=13&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=15,d

Further, you can use the adjacent field, wRC+, as a reference for which teams are more of a product of their environment(check out the Rockies wRC+- it's just slightly above league average, but they're first in wOBA).

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The thing that people often forget is that while playing the match-ups does give you an edge, it's only a slight edge in baseball. That's obviously because the difference in a great hitter and a terrible hitter is only about 7.5% (.075). So people will almost certainly inaccurately recall these instances over the long term, even if they do work. The perceived benefit is viewed as small, whereas people remember the 47% where it failed spectacularly.

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The thing that people often forget is that while playing the match-ups does give you an edge, it's only a slight edge in baseball. That's obviously because the difference in a great hitter and a terrible hitter is only about 7.5% (.075). So people will almost certainly inaccurately recall these instances over the long term, even if they do work. The perceived benefit is viewed as small, whereas people remember the 47% where it failed spectacularly.

What do you mean by : "the difference in a great hitter and a terrible hitter is only about 7.5% (.075)."

Anyway, I think the point is that if you can be right anywhere more than you would be otherwise-- so in your example, 53% instead of 50% of the time-- then that difference will add up over the course of the season.

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If i was in a daily league, yeah id barely play matchups. But in a weekly H2H league hell yeah i play matchups with my SPs. But im thinking this thread doesnt apply to that scenario. I can only start 6 SPs. I typically start my three studs every week and my last three spots i rotate based on matchups and/or double starts. How do i decide whats a good matchup? I usually goto ESPN and sort by team OPS vs R/L, at home/road, and last 7 days. I then compile those numbers to make my final decisions. Does it always work? No not really but typically I feel good about my decisions. I tend to over rate double starts too much and despite saying i wont do it i cant help myself. For example, this week i started jon neise, ervin santana, and roenis elias all with double starts and benched guys like eovaldi, arrieta, and morton all who had one start with an easy matchup.

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For me at least, pitching matchups are alot easier to figure out. My failure rate is about 90% when trying to be cute with hitters. Like i would sit morse in the midst of a slump against Teheran and he homers. Or I would sitDee against a lefty and he is 4 for 4. Start him vs righties and he is 0 for 4.

i have already lost about 7 hrs this yr from daily lineup moves and the starting hitters that i bench due to long slump or uncertainty if they will play are hitting abt .600 on the bench. Just this wk Dee and Altuve had 4 hit gms on bench.

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I have gotten destroyed this year playing matchups with pitching, but in past years have had a lot of success with it. In innings cap roto as alluded to earlier it makes sense in theory to avoid rough matchups- your trying to get the best 1400 innings (whatever limit you use) you can get, so you don't want a marginal pitcher in a bad pitching environment.

The problem is that marginal pitchers are often marginal pitchers because they are consistently inconsistent. They take the mound and have nothing more often the elite guys, and whether they are pitching against the Padres or the Rockies they are going to get smoked that day. And there is no possible way to predict what days they will have their stuff and what days they won't.

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I'm in a roto league with unlimited moves. The easiest and most important matchup to remember is to always bench your studs/pitchers against the Rockies at home. If you need to remember one thing, remember this. I'm starting to play this rule against the As as well, but they generally have a pitcher friendly ballpark.

You may catch lightening in a bottle, but more often than not you get burned.

Edit to clarify that by unlimited moves, I mean I can stream as much as I can until I hit the player position limits.

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The thing that people often forget is that while playing the match-ups does give you an edge, it's only a slight edge in baseball. That's obviously because the difference in a great hitter and a terrible hitter is only about 7.5% (.075). So people will almost certainly inaccurately recall these instances over the long term, even if they do work. The perceived benefit is viewed as small, whereas people remember the 47% where it failed spectacularly.

What do you mean by : "the difference in a great hitter and a terrible hitter is only about 7.5% (.075)."

Anyway, I think the point is that if you can be right anywhere more than you would be otherwise-- so in your example, 53% instead of 50% of the time-- then that difference will add up over the course of the season.

Well a .230 career hitter is terrible, a career .305 hitter is great. Good post btw. Second part is spot on. People don't notice the slight edge, basically.

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For me at least, pitching matchups are alot easier to figure out. My failure rate is about 90% when trying to be cute with hitters. Like i would sit morse in the midst of a slump against Teheran and he homers. Or I would sitDee against a lefty and he is 4 for 4. Start him vs righties and he is 0 for 4.

i have already lost about 7 hrs this yr from daily lineup moves and the starting hitters that i bench due to long slump or uncertainty if they will play are hitting abt .600 on the bench. Just this wk Dee and Altuve had 4 hit gms on bench.

yeah just set it and forget it with bats. Especially when its impossible figuring out what bullpen pitchers they will face.

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First off, I'm not considering H2H in this response.

That said, of course it's advantageous to play the odds. It always is. It's like asking "is it advantageous to carefully consider all of the answers on a multiple choice question, or does it make more sense to have a superficial read and guess at the answer?"

I'll never ever understand the "if I own him, he starts" mentality especially as it relates to pitchers in innings cap leagues. I think a big part of the problem is that people who start every SP every time very often do get out in front in Ks and Ws in the first 3/4 of the season. This may help put them in a good position in the league at that point, giving a positive reinforcement to the "start the every time" approach. But once the slow and steady matchup players get caught up in innings, they drop in the standings. It's one of my favorite things actually. I'm almost always working from an IP deficit until about August. Then, once I'm very certain about which guys are actually having good years, and what their matchup numbers look like with a decent sample size for the season, and which teams actually have good or bad hitting numbers....that's when I really make up innings, and make a charge up the standings in Ks and Ws. Also, at the end of the season you get a lot of teams bringing up guys for their cups of coffee. You can really rack up good numbers there.

Finally, starting anyone not named Felix, Clayton, Wainwright, or Yu in Coors Field is idiocy.

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Always start your aces no matter what.

Set and forget your big name hitters.

For my pitchers that aren't aces I usually always start them for a two start week, but just choose matchups for one start weeks.

If I am rotating any of my hitters I always look at ballparks they are hitting in, and how many games they play doing the week. If someone isn't a set and forget kind of guy and plays only 5 games, I would rather put in the bench guy that plays 6 games during that week.

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First off, I'm not considering H2H in this response.

That said, of course it's advantageous to play the odds. It always is. It's like asking "is it advantageous to carefully consider all of the answers on a multiple choice question, or does it make more sense to have a superficial read and guess at the answer?"

I'll never ever understand the "if I own him, he starts" mentality especially as it relates to pitchers in innings cap leagues. I think a big part of the problem is that people who start every SP every time very often do get out in front in Ks and Ws in the first 3/4 of the season. This may help put them in a good position in the league at that point, giving a positive reinforcement to the "start the every time" approach. But once the slow and steady matchup players get caught up in innings, they drop in the standings. It's one of my favorite things actually. I'm almost always working from an IP deficit until about August. Then, once I'm very certain about which guys are actually having good years, and what their matchup numbers look like with a decent sample size for the season, and which teams actually have good or bad hitting numbers....that's when I really make up innings, and make a charge up the standings in Ks and Ws. Also, at the end of the season you get a lot of teams bringing up guys for their cups of coffee. You can really rack up good numbers there.

Finally, starting anyone not named Felix, Clayton, Wainwright, or Yu in Coors Field is idiocy.

I would always start my pitchers because of the counting stats.You're not just playing to maximize your ratios. You're trying to count the positive things as well. So if you are more selective in your starts, you *might* end up with better ratios but you're probably still worse off overall.

And baseball is a funny game. I have Strasburg and Felix. I think their worst starts were Miami and Houston. Both of those were matchups that looked like setting the stage for dominating days with 12Ks. Instead, they got shelled. And you just can't predict that stuff. Instead, I'd rather just not worry about it, plug them in, and get their end of the year stats in my sheet.

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It is all 100% luck

A career .300 hitter can bat under .200 for a week and a career .230 hitter can bat .350 for a week.

An ace can get bombed by the Padres and almost daily a journeyman pitcher throws a gem and generates thousands of posts asking if they should pick him up or if he is for real

There is no rhyme or reason to the madness...just get lucky and hope you drafted consistent players

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I have tried this but found it discouraging more often than not due when players get hot on the bench....they end up being a sunk cost

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I'll never ever understand the "if I own him, he starts" mentality especially as it relates to pitchers in innings cap leagues. I think a big part of the problem is that people who start every SP every time very often do get out in front in Ks and Ws in the first 3/4 of the season. This may help put them in a good position in the league at that point, giving a positive reinforcement to the "start the every time" approach. But once the slow and steady matchup players get caught up in innings, they drop in the standings. It's one of my favorite things actually. I'm almost always working from an IP deficit until about August. Then, once I'm very certain about which guys are actually having good years, and what their matchup numbers look like with a decent sample size for the season, and which teams actually have good or bad hitting numbers....that's when I really make up innings, and make a charge up the standings in Ks and Ws. Also, at the end of the season you get a lot of teams bringing up guys for their cups of coffee. You can really rack up good numbers there.

This describes me exactly. Every year I am pretty choosy with my matchups and run an innings deficit, whereas several other guys in the league are way over on innings, and have big gains in the pitching counting stats. Then, starting in maybe late July or August, it starts to catch up to them, and meanwhile, I'm making huge gains in those same stats. By that point in the season, you can easily identify a few pitchers who went undrafted and end up becoming solid middle of the rotation guys, and by the end of the season, its usually pretty easy to stream guys off the wire as well.

In roto leagues, there is just no reason at all to pay for pitching. I always wait on pitching in the draft, and I try to flip hot pitchers every year. When you have the whole season to be smart with matchups, you just don't need to have tons of studs. There will always be tons of pitching available throughout the year, and no one makes you start them every single game!

Playing the matchups with pitching is definitely effective over the course of a season, using many of the tricks mentioned already in this thread. I frequently am checking team OPS/wOBA for all of the matchups, and definitely the vs L/R and also the discrepancies for home and away for a given team. The ballpark effects are huge, and I weigh those heavily into my decisions. Teams' performances vs Right and Left handers is big as well. If you can manage it, sweeping through the daily lineup thread can be clutch as well. Sometimes, you may be on the fence about a pitcher, but you check the lineups and find out they are throwing out a righty heavy lineup with one of their studs given a day off against your right handed pitcher. That's good info. Sometimes, if I am really torn and need a tie breaker, I will check the Vegas lines on the matchup. If Vegas says your pitchers team is -140 to win and the over/under is 7 or lower, then that seems to indicate a low scoring game and a decent shot at a W.

Playing the matchups with hitters is much harder, however. I generally try to get studs at the scarce positions that I don't have to think about to much, and I am usually only focusing on matchups for a few positions, like my last OF spot or the DH position. You can have success there, but it's tricky. BvsP stats are useless, as mentioned. There are so many factors that affect those numbers, and they are often from different season where they might as well have been two different players. Ignore them. Unfortunately, I feel like recent performance is often the best indicator for a batter, but I haven't done any empirical analysis to support that.

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This is a hard question I face when playing deeper redraft (or very small) and pickup a guy who goes off, but you know he won't keep it up or is due to blow up a ratio or three any day now.

It's even harder with SP than hitters for me. On rare occasion I bench my studs if the matchup is horrible, but honestly? I think that's a crapshoot- and 0-15 lifetime could go 4-4 randomly on your bench and I won't watch that unless it's from forgetting to set my lineup that day...

Now for SP? I avoid even #2- some #1 pitchers, esp when struggling- if the matchup doesn't suit them. Examples: I would have benched both Verlander and Scherzher against KC either way- even if Verlander went off- and in daily leagues each day I went nuts in stacking my lineups with KC batters. Not because KC is hot, not Dale Sveum, none of that..... those two DET aces have been hit hard- Butler is hitting .430w/ a .500OBP and 14 RBI against Verlander on his career. There were/are more and it goes for Scherzer, just not so bad. But I've benched starters plenty to keep IP down, and ratios in check. I've been burned (a Shelby Miller 5-hitter for example) this year already but if it's in my gut...

Cool post and I'm sure some interesting theories to read though. Though I feel like matchups are best used or utilized in daily (one-day, as in a FD format) leagues as opposed to seasonal- even if redraft.

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