Fantasy platoons: Earning a lot with a little

Matt Joyce is an unsung hero for Fantasy gamers. (USATSI)
Matt Joyce is an unsung hero for Fantasy gamers. (USATSI)

In this day and age, major-league managers use lefty-righty platoons as one of the many tools in the toolbox of advanced statistical knowledge to create advantageous matchups based on opponents' pitching rotations. In an ironic twist, these crafty real-life managers have surpassed many of their Fantasy counterparts with the strategy of platooning. Are you in a league with bench spots and not using them to platoon hitters? For shame.

In Fantasy baseball, platooning works a little differently than it does for major-league managers. While they by necessity need players who can take advantage of left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers, Fantasy owners need only concern themselves with players who do well against right-handers. Why? Because more right-handers will pop up on the schedule, and when making daily, or especially weekly, lineup decisions, a platoon starter will be the best left-handed hitter (in most cases) with the righty matchup.

For example, take Matt Joyce. No, seriously, take him. He's owned in just 36 percent of leagues, with one of his owners being yours truly. I have him in my dynasty league with weekly lineups (plus one offensive sub per week), and I absolutely love it. I realize he's not going to hit .408/.529/.673 against right-handers all season, but his established track record makes him worth the investment anyway. In 2013, he hit .246/.348/.436 with 16 home runs against righties, solid considering he dealt with a .263 BABIP in that split. For his career, Joyce has hit .265/.360/.488 against righties. That's an impressive line for a readily-available player on the waiver wire.

Joyce isn't the only potential platoon gem sitting unowned in many leagues. Here are a few others:

1B Adam Lind. He's on the disabled list currently, but Lind was excellent against right-handers last season, hitting .309/.389/.539 with 20 home runs in just 369 at-bats. He owns a quality .853 OPS against righties in his career.

OF Jason Kubel. The Minnesota slugger in the midst of a nice rebound season after struggling in 2013, but he's been particularly excellent against righties, hitting .383/.453/.553 in 47 at-bats (albeit with a sky-high BABIP). It's not all a mirage, as he owns a .826 OPS against righties in his career.

OF Andre Ethier. File this one away for later in the season, because while Ethier has struggled in the first few weeks of this season, he's been a monster against righties throughout his career, hitting .308/.386/.515 in more than 2,900 at-bats. If the outfield logjam ever clears up in L.A., Ethier could be a sneaky-good play during righty-heavy portions of the schedule.

There are even more nice platoon options who could make for nice trade targets if you think you can pay a discounted price in relation to the value you'll get from platooning. Guys like Brandon Moss and Adam LaRoche could make for very nice acquisitions if the price is right. Are you successfully platooning at a position this season? Let us know below.

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