DFS Primer: American League Versus National League
March 31, 2016 | Jason Bales
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Welcome to Spring Training, rookie! This article is intended for novice daily fantasy baseball players. If this does not describe you, this article will probably not be very useful. The information presented throughout this series may be rather obvious for the experienced fantasy player, but, again, this is not the target audience. If you are experienced, feel free to read through this article as a refresher prior to that start of the season, or to hear some opposing opinions regarding previously held game strategy. Now, let’s get you in shape for this fantasy season!
The NL and the AL are two very different monsters. They both come with different sets of rules. So, can we exploit these rules to make better decisions in regards to picking the best possible fantasy player on a specific night? Let’s find out.
Does NL versus AL really matter for pitchers? How about for hitters?
The answer to this question is yes. It matters for both pitchers and hitters. Here are a couple of examples to explain why. Madison Bumgarner is pitching against Matt Harvey tonight. Both of these teams play in the National League, which means that the pitcher has to hit. Every ninth batter, Madison Bumgarner strikes out Matt Harvey and gains extra fantasy points. Matt Harvey is hitting around .100 on the season, so perhaps he sneaks in a hit, but it is unlikely. In another game, Chris Sale is pitching against Corey Kluber. Both of these teams play in the American League, which means that a hitter hits from the pitcher. Instead of striking out Kluber four times throughout the game, Sale is going to pitch to Carlos Santana, who has power and hits for a better average than Matt Harvey. Do you see the advantage? For hitters, it is not quite so obvious, but there are benefits. For example, the Indians are still playing the White Sox. Tyler Naquin is hitting eighth. He is up and there are two outs. He hits a double off the wall. Next up is DH hitter Carlos Santana. Naquin is sitting on possible fantasy points; all he needs to do is score. If the same situation happens in the NL, Harvey is going to strike out and the inning will be over. The bottom of the order for the AL gets a huge advantage over the bottom of the order for the NL. That’s all for now.
AL vs. NL makes a big difference for pitchers due to the rule differences between the leagues. NL pitchers get to face off against the opposing pitcher, which is essentially a free out each time through the lineup. Meanwhile, their AL counterparts have to face the DH instead. That’s a huge advantage for NL pitchers. I don’t usually pay much attention to league for hitters. Instead, I focus on the best matchup for each day. The only thing I’ll say about hitters and league is three of the top hitter parks, Coors Field, Miller Park, and Chase Field are all in the National League.
I also agree that AL v. NL makes a huge difference in fantasy. Pitchers are more valuable in the NL because they get to face a pitcher every ninth batter. Generally, pitchers strikeout more than hitters. It also could end a rally. For instance, let’s say your NL pitcher walks the bases loaded with two outs and the opposing pitcher comes to the plate. More likely than not, he’s going to get out. If that happens in the AL, your pitcher is going to have to face another hitter, who is much more likely to get a hit. You can flip the script on this, as well. If you’re using hitters from the NL and they load the bases with two outs, and the pitcher comes up, you likely won’t be getting the fantasy points for those runs. If you’re stacking an AL team, you have a much better chance to get those fantasy points.