Splits are all the rage in daily fantasy, and one of the most popular involves hitters facing opposite-handed pitchers (i.e., right-handed batters against left-handed pitchers.) While it doesn't always work out this way, right-handed hitters generally fare better against southpaws than against righties, and vice versa.
While it's still early in the season, a handful of batters have excelled against left-handed pitching; some, like Nolan Arenado and Jose Abreu, are capable hitters no matter who's pitching, so the edge is less obvious. But there are six hitters who are raking against lefties - and might make for some under-the-radar fantasy plays in these situations (minimum 50 plate appearances):
Yunel Escobar, Los Angeles Angels
Stats vs. LHP: .420/.442/480, 4 RBIs in 50 at-bats
Escobar fits the category of "empty calories" when it comes to daily fantasy - and even though he is absolutely crushing left-handed pitching, even his slash line feels a bit lacking. Escobar isn't going to win you many tournaments with his lack of pop, but he might make for an interesting choice in cash games against lefties by virtue of his high floor (as long as you're happy with singles.)
Ryon Healy, Oakland Athletics
Stats vs. LHP: .408/.431/.816, 5 HRs, 15 RBIs in 49 at-bats
Healy possesses one of the most extreme splits of any player you would consider a regular daily fantasy option, humbling lefties on a regular basis but slashing a dismal .249/.278/.450 against right-handers. With 46 strikeouts against seven walks in just 169 at-bats against righties, Healy is virtually unstartable in most leagues unless he is matched up against a left-hander.
Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees
Stats vs. LHP: .352/.429/.630, 4 HRs, 13 RBIs in 54 at-bats
Hicks has looked rejuvenated in the Yankees outfield, and the switch-hitter has been nearly as capable against righties on the season, slashing .314/.445/.547. Now is the time to jump on the Hicks bandwagon, while his price remains reasonable; he's likely to see more playing time as long as he's red-hot at the plate, and he's stealing bases as well (seven swipes on 10 attempts).
Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays
Stats vs. LHP: .347/.397/.528, 8 2B in 72 at-bats
On the surface, Dickerson looks like he has things figured out against southpaws - but don't get too comfortable slotting the lefty hitter against same-side pitchers. Dickerson has traditionally struggled vs. lefties, suggesting that his performance to date might be unsustainable. And with just one home run against southpaw pitchers, he isn't a reliable power source in this split.
Guillermo Heredia, Seattle Mariners
Stats vs. LHP: .347/.407/.469, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs in 49 at-bats
Heredia has laid waste to lefty pitchers so far, and has scored five more runs against left-handers than he has in 112 at-bats versus righties. Heredia continues to see regular at-bats in the Mariners lineup, and is a sneaky good pick by virtue of his consistency at the plate and his low price tag; he won't win you a large-field tourney jackpot, but he's a great cash-game option.
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Stats vs. LHP: .340/.436/.766, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs in 47 at-bats
The deterioration of McCutchen's performance over the years has been startling, but he has at least been a star against lefties. And while it hasn't done enough to mask a .199/.272/.311 slash line against right-handers, it makes him an intriguing play as a former star whose salary has been suppressed by his overall stat package. Trust him against lefties, at least for now.