2012 Fantasy Baseball Preview: The Importance of Splits

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There's no place like home. Someone said that one time, I think grandmother maybe, I don't remember. It's true though. Nothing beats the comfort of home. I used to be obsessed with Jack Kerouac's “On the Road.” Which is a great book, but I'm talking cliché 20 year old college kid, fixated on the idea of an adventure and convinced I should set out for the life of a rambling man. Idiotic, I've since realized.

Last year, I spent five days in Mexico, south of Cancun on a picturesque peninsula, sleeping in a hut on the prettiest beach I've ever seen, literally in paradise. By day four I was openly talking about how much I was looking forward to laying on my couch watching TV and eating Chipotle. Really, daydreaming about McDonalds’ Americanized version of Mexican food, within shouting distance of outstanding and authentic Mexican food.  What can I say? The draw of familiarity is strong.

Baseball players know what I'm talking about. Maybe not my rambling diatribe about some vacation I was too boorish to fully appreciate, but they do understand the familiarity of home. This is especially true for hitters who play half their games in a launching pad of a ballpark like Texas, or pitchers who benefit from miles of foul ground in Oakland.

Splits matter from a fantasy perspective. Particularly in daily leagues where you are constantly managing your lineup and looking for an advantage. So, I dug into the splits data on fangraphs.com and found some players you'll want to monitor. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, if you take them out of your lineup on the road. Just make sure you end it on a positive note, with a pat on the butt and a healthy spit of tobacco juice. That is, if you fantasize that you're Jim Leyland every time you set your lineup online.

Here are 10 pitchers with big home/road splits over the past three seasons (2009-2011).

Tim Stauffer – Home xFIP 3.51, Road xFIP 4.26
Home: 2.55 ERA, 127 SO, 6.9 K/9, 1.15 WHIP
Road: 3.89 ERA, 115 SO, 5.89 K/9, 1.34 WHIP

Johnny Cueto – Home xFIP 3.85, Road xFIP 4.44
Home: 3.32 ERA, 193 SO, 7.36 K/9, 1.21 WHIP
Road: 3.64 ERA, 181 SO, 5.88 K/9, 1.28 WHIP

Tim Hudson – Home xFIP 3.37, Road xFIP 3.95
Home: 2.46 ERA, 204 SO, 6.61 K/9, 1.05 WHIP
Road: 3.89 ERA, 123 SO, 5.31 K/9, 1.33 WHIP

Ian Kennedy – Home xFIP 3.53, Road xFIP 4.09
Home: 3.02 ERA, 191 SO, 7.9 K/9, 1.06 WHIP
Road: 3.61 ERA, 176 SO, 7.95 K/9, 1.23 WHIP

Brandon Morrow – Home xFIP 3.49, Road xFIP 4.01
Home: 4.38 ERA, 231 SO, 10.11 K/9, 1.31 WHIP
Road: 4.79 ERA, 213 SO, 10.11 K/9, 1.44 WHIP

Jered Weaver – Home xFIP 3.58, Road xFIP 4.08
Home: 2.20 ERA, 330 SO, 8.76 K/9, 1.02 WHIP
Road: 3.88 ERA, 275 SO, 7.45 K/9, 1.19 WHIP

Joel Pineiro – Home xFIP 3.64, Road xFIP 4.14
Home: 3.03 ERA, 142 SO, 4.68 K/9, 1.16 WHIP
Road: 5.23 ERA, 117 SO, 4.41 K/9, 1.41 WHIP

David Price – Home xFIP 3.54, Road xFIP 4.02
Home: 2.86 ERA, 292 SO, 8.71 K/9, 1.13 WHIP
Road: 4.06 ERA, 216 SO, 7.49 K/9, 1.29 WHIP

Scott Baker – Home xFIP 3.67, Road xFIP 4.11
Home: 3.80 ERA, 215 SO, 7.77 K/9, 1.15 WHIP
Road: 4.36 ERA, 218 SO, 7.66 K/9, 1.32 WHIP

Justin Masterson – Home xFIP 3.62, Road xFIP 4.02
Home: 3.28 ERA, 213 SO, 6.85 K/9, 1.26 WHIP
Road: 4.91 ERA, 204 SO, 7.47 K/9, 1.55 WHIP

Here are 10 hitters with big home/road splits over the past three seasons (2009-2011).

Ian Kinsler – Home wOBA .407, Road wOBA .316.
Home: .298 Avg., 40 HR, 174 R, 117 RBI, 124 BB and 86 SO
Road: .227 Avg., 32 HR, 121 R, 91 RBI, 80 BB, 119 SO

Corey Hart – Home wOBA .399, Road wOBA .322.
Home: .301 Avg., 42 HR, 126 R, 113 RBI, 82 BB, 153 SO
Road: .256 Avg., 27 HR, 109 R, 100 RBI, 57 BB, 193 SO

Billy Butler – Home wOBA .395, Road wOBA .333.
Home: .333 Avg., 34 HR, 128 R, 148 RBI, 100 BB, 129 SO
Road: .274 Avg., 21 HR, 101 R, 118 RBI, 93 BB, 147 SO

Dexter Fowler – Home wOBA .373, Road wOBA .311.
Home: .283 Avg., 10 HR, 130 R, 81 RBI, 107 BB, 159 SO
Road: .246 Avg. 5 HR, 100 R, 34 RBI, 85 BB, 191 SO

Michael Young – Home wOBA .391, Road wOBA .331.
Home: .335 Avg., 36 HR, 160 R, 150 RBI, 78 BB, 132 SO
Road: .292 Avg. 18 HR, 103 R, 115 RBI, 66 BB, 151 SO

Alex Rios – Home wOBA .338, Road wOBA .280.
Home: .272 Avg., 32 HR, 113 R, 99 RBI, 54 BB, 121 SO
Road: .237 Avg. 19 HR, 103 R, 104 RBI, 48 BB, 147 SO

Andre Ethier – Home wOBA .389, Road wOBA .332.
Home: .306 Avg., 44 HR, 128 R, 138 RBI, 88 BB, 159 SO
Road: .262 Avg., 21 HR, 102 R, 112 RBI, 101 BB, 162 SO

Jay Bruce – Home wOBA .376, Road wOBA .321.
Home: .276 Avg., 48 HR, 119 R, 125 RBI, 79 BB, 187 SO
Road: .239 Avg., 31 HR, 92 R, 100 RBI, 88 BB, 182 SO

Justin Upton – Home wOBA .402, Road wOBA .348.
Home: .308 Avg., 42 HR, 143 R, 133 RBI, 100 BB, 198 SO
Road: .268 Avg., 32 HR, 119 R, 110 RBI, 78 BB, 217 SO

Starlin Castro – Home wOBA .355, Road wOBA .310.
Home: .320 Avg., 5 HR, 84 R, 53 RBI, 42 BB, 68 SO
Road: .289 Avg., 8 HR, 60 R, 54 HR, 22 BB, 99 SO

Written by Ryan Coombs exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Ryan on Twitter @RMCoombs

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