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By JOE PISAPIA
The "56″ is a look at the trends of player productivity and how they effect pricing in daily fantasy baseball contests on FanDuel. Let's take a trip around the diamond and look at someone from each offensive position who's current face value may be misleading. Some are flying under the radar and producing at a higher rate than perceived by the masses, while others may cost you big dollars, while getting little in return.
Catcher: Kyle Schwarber, CHC (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
In a rookie class that has offered once-in-a-generation talent level, Kyle Schwarber is yet another sterling example of the MLB's youth movement.
Schwarber was billed as an advanced college bat, and his 1.042 OPS over a brief 147-game minor league career indicates he's ready for The Show. His 2.9 average FanDuel point per game average heading into Tuesday night's games was second to only Buster Posey. The sample size is obviously small, but the potential is real, especially since Posey's salary is sitting at $4,300 and his is nearly $2,000 less.
From an RPV per Dollar perspective, Posey costs you $1,482 per AVG FPPG, while Schwarber is nearly half that amount ($862 per AVG FPPG). His salary will continue to rise ala Carlos Correa if he maintains his current pace. This is the best time to own Schwarber. The power, the plate discipline and the hype are all for real!
First Base: Billy Butler, OAK (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Earlier in his career with the Kansas City Royals, Billy Butler held the moniker of being a "professional hitter." Despite a limited power ceiling, Butler reached 29 homers in 2012, only to fall off the map the following two seasons in that department. Things haven't gotten off to a stellar start in Oakland, but he's historically been a second half player.
His AVG FPPG is just a meager 2.1, but that number has jumped to 3.1 over the last 10 games, which puts him in the range of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder from a productivity angle. The plus side is Butler will cost you at least $1,000 less than those guys. If he stays hot over the next few weeks, he could be a sneaky good play with the right matchup.
Second Base: Jason Kipnis, CLE (FanDuel Price: $4,000)
There's no denying Jason Kipnis has had a very strong season...so far. I mention this because historically, he falls off the map every year in the second half. His career first half OPS is a strong .816, but once we hit the midway point, that number disintegrates to a wretched .686 mark. Kipnis currently sits as the no. 2 overall second baseman in salary ($4k) and in AVG FPPG (3.2). Over his last 10 games, that average is really standing at two FanDuel points per game.
That's nowhere near worthy of his salary. History says this is a trend that could linger over the rest of the season, making Kipnis a dangerous daily fantasy baseball second baseman.
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Third Base: Nolan Arenado, COL (FanDuel Price: $5,000)
Entering 2015, the knock on Nolan Arenado was he couldn't produce enough outside of Coors Field. Well, he's answered that bell this season.
Here's the interesting part: Arenado is usually less expensive, like most of his teammates, when he's playing on the road. Yet, 15 of is 24 homers have come in that situation. Not only has he been more productive, but much more cost-efficient. If you are going to maximize Arenado's RPV per Dollar right now, it will be by owning him when the Rockies are not in Colorado. A perfect example of how the obvious play is not always the best one.
Shortstop: Jung-ho Kang, PIT (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
With Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison both on the disabled list, Kang will have an open look at shortstop for the Pirates. So far, the Korean import has delivered. Entering Tuesday's action, he's been averaging a whopping 3.8 FPPG, and he's done that while only hitting one homer. That means he's putting the ball in play and making things happen. It would be hard to imagine him staying quite this hot, but Kang's the perfect example of riding the wave. At a weak position like shortstop, this is even more true — he's an absolute bargain right now being priced under $3,000.
Outfield: Hunter Pence, SF (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Injuries have stunted Hunter Pence's salary to around the $3K range for the entire season. However, Pence has still been his regular old super productive self, statistically speaking. From a talent standpoint, he should really be in the next pricing tier right now, which would be around $4,000. Daily fantasy baseball players should be taking advantage of this before he regains that normal semi-elite status and the rate eventually rises. Currently, Pence is a middle-of-the-order bat who's going for mid-tier money. That won't last much longer.