Sorare MLB Strategy
The upcoming 2023 MLB season marks the first full-season with Sorare MLB contests. The game officially launched last year, however, only half the season was played because the Sorare Partnership with Major League Baseball was not announced until May.
With the introduction of NBA contests and major additions to the Sorare Soccer product, such as the partnership with the English Premier League, the popularity of Sorare has exploded over the last year. Baseball doesn’t have the international popularity like Soccer and still ranks behind the NBA and NFL in terms of fan engagement, however, the growing popularity for new NFT-style sports games, and Baseball’s summer-schedule lending to limited competition from other sports, ultimately makes me bullish on the product.
With the introduction of the game just last year, limited strategic content currently exists for Sorare MLB. I want to use this article to get players familiar with how the scoring works and early strategies that can be deployed to hopefully give players an early edge. Players coming from Daily Fantasy Baseball might find enjoyment in the added marketplace strategy that comes with NFT-based Fantasy Sports games.
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In this article I’m going to break down the roster construction required for Sorare MLB by breaking down strategy for each position. Lineups in Sorare MLB consist of seven cards and require the following positions:
- Starting Pitcher
- Relief Pitcher
- Corner Infielder (1B, 3B, DH)
- Middle Infielder (2B, SS, C)
- Extra Hitter
Sorare MLB pitching scoring is as follows:
Choosing the right starting pitcher is one of the most important decisions users will make when assembling their team. With negative points granted for Hits allowed, Earned Runs, and Hit Batsman, a poor outing from a pitcher can quickly sink one’s team. On the flipside, starters have the highest floor among all positions and can skyrocket a team to the top with a double-digit strikeout game or a complete-game shutout.
For example, a complete-game shutout with eight strikeouts, two hits allowed, and one walk would give a player 46 Sorare points. A hitter would need a stat line such as 3 for 3 with three solo homers to surpass this number, in this case with 48 points. A pitcher is much more likely to reach his floor with a moderate outing than a hitter who can hit three home runs one day and go 0 for 4 the next.
With three points for an inning pitched and five for a win, users will want to make sure to prioritize pitchers that can go deep into games and who play for teams with good offenses. Wins is a somewhat random statistic, but odds can be improved by picking a pitcher on a team who’s offense can help get them a win. Braves’ pitcher Kyle Wright would benefit from this, as he led the league last year with 21 Wins despite having the twenty-first best ERA. Atlanta had the third-most wins in 2022 with 101.
People who are familiar with Daily Fantasy Baseball know that they never had to mess with bullpen arms. I personally like the addition of relievers because one, it allows for the inclusion of every position in the game, and two, it adds a new strategy element.
Each MLB team typically holds around 7 or 8 relief pitchers which would be about 240 total players added to the player pool for fantasy players to choose from. Choosing the right relief pitcher is difficult because unlike starting pitchers, they are not guaranteed to play every game, however with Sorare’s Game Week’s spanning a 3-4 day cycle, it’s likely that the reliever will see at least some game action.
To make up for the lack of innings pitched that relievers face, Sorare scoring puts a heavy emphasis on points earned for a save and a hold. A hold or “HLD” is a lesser known statistic but it is a metric used to credit late-relief pitchers who are not closers. Relievers/Closers will earn 10 points for a save and five points for a hold.
The high-upside strategy for picking relief pitchers is to choose closers from teams that are heavily favored to win. A two-strikeout save in the ninth will produce 17 Sorare points. Picking a long-reliever from a bad MLB team is a losing bet because they will most likely be brought in for mop-up duty in a game that is already out of hand, canceling out any chance for the coveted Win.
The most important metric when evaluating which hitters to roster is power. The number of points scored for a home run is 16, and this doesn’t include any points from extra RBIs or Run(s) if you also rostered someone who was on base. To put this into perspective, a player who went 1-4 with a solo homer still outscores a player who went 3-3 with three doubles, the latter still being a highly respectable real-life performance.
The Corner Infield position is going to provide a surplus of credible power-hitting options. For reference, within the top 25 home run leaderboard from last season, 15 were either a third baseman, first baseman or designated hitter. With this being a position of high priority, and with the absence of any salary restrictions when building teams, it makes sense to utilize both the Extra Hitter and Flex spot with a Corner Infielder.
Middle Infielder is a much weaker position, however choosing Middle Infielders comes with a bit more strategy. At second base, Jose Altuve has both the highest floor and highest ceiling day-to-day, followed by a considerable drop off. Short Stop provides some decent options, however, only Corey Seager and Willy Adames finished inside the top 25 in home runs last year, and neither of those guys should have great RBI and Run opportunities in 2023.
Catcher is the most difficult position to fill but the good news is that we don’t have to roster one. JT Realmuto and Will Smith offer decent power, however, they are still subpar plays as Catchers don’t play every day. With most Catchers getting a routine weekend rest, the Friday-Sunday Game Weeks should almost never include a Catcher. Exceptions would be guys like Alejandro Kirk or MJ Melendez who often DH when they are not behind the plate.
It’s not a surprise to see the Outfielder pool contain a multitude of players to choose from as each team deploys three per game, tripling that of the other individual positions. Some of the best power hitters in the game play in the Outfield including Aaron Judge, Kyle Schwarber, and Yordan Alvarez, just to name a few. Sorare MLB roster construction is unique in that lineups only require a minimum of one outfielder, whereas many players in DFS are used to rostering a minimum of three. Although unlikely to repeat, Aaron Judge was the Outfield cheat code last year with his record-breaking 62 home runs, sixteen more than anyone else.
Below shows the leaders in Isolated Power (ISO) amongst Outfielders last season
One of the most interesting things about the Sorare roster construction is that it allows users to roster a second starting pitcher in the flex spot. This differs from what most people are probably used to in Daily Fantasy contests. Plugging a starting pitcher into the Flex is a high-floor strategy, however, based on the scoring for power hitters, the high-upside play is to search for homers in this spot. This of course will vary week to week based on matchup, but it is more likely to get multiple homers from a hitter over the course of a three or four-day Game Week than a complete game shutout from a pitcher.
A case could be made that rostering a pitcher in the Flex is more optimal on the Weekend Game Weeks than it is on the Monday-Thursday ones. With one less game to accumulate points, the odds of a pitcher surpassing a hitter’s points increases significantly. This could change somewhat in the hot summer months, however, with Sunday day games often experiencing enhanced offense.
It is important to note that Shohei Ohtani is the only player not eligible to be rostered in the Flex spot. Since Ohtani pitches and is also a DH, he can either be played in the Pitcher spot and accumulate Pitcher points, or played in the Corner Infield spot and accumulate hitting points.
The first thing anyone learns when playing Daily Fantasy Baseball is that “stacking”, or rostering multiple hitters in succession from an offense, is a winning tournament strategy. This works for obvious reasons, however full stacking in Sorare MLB might not be the optimal strategy due to a couple things:
- With no salary cap, Sorare players don’t have to deal with being forced to roster mediocre players in order to jam in some studs. With this in mind, lineups are eligible to have the best hitters from each offense. One could make the case that mini-stacking two or three quality players from an offense is the preferred strategy over trying to squeeze in the whole lineup. Obvious exceptions occur for teams such as the Blue Jays or Astros who’s core offense has power and can fill up infield positions. Some good two-man stack options could be Aaron Judge/Anthony Rizzo or Shohei Ohtani/Mike Trout.
- This could also be suboptimal due to the size of the Game Weeks. It is likely for a team to strike gold in a single game if conditions are favorable such as, facing a struggling pitcher, facing a taxed bullpen, or experiencing favorable weather conditions. With the Game Weeks spanning three or four days worth of games, it is more likely that the two or three best hitters hitting in the middle of a good lineup outperform a fringe player who benefitted from his entire offense going off in a single game.
It is still unclear if Sorare MLB will implement a “salary cap” style tournament, similar to what certain Sorare NBA contests do with the Points Cap. This is something I can see Sorare players wanting added to the product, and doing so would allow for more strategy through value-hunting.
A sneaky-good strategy to deploy is to prioritize players who have high steal-upside. A single, stolen base, and a run, equals 10 Sorare points. This metric is ever important this season with the new rule that pitchers will be limited to “two disengagements from the mound” per batter when a runner is on base. This new rule will limit a pitcher’s pickoff attempts to first and thus is expected to increase the overall number of steals in the 2023 season.
Although uncommon, finding a player who has both speed and power upside will be the key to winning contests. Some players who fit this mold the most are Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve, and Julio Rodriguez. Altuve didn’t crack the top ten in steals last season but he stands out because he can be played at the weak Middle Infielder position.
The two types of contests in Sorare MLB are All Star and Pro.
All Star tournaments have a flat payout structure and players are able to win more cards of that scarcity that was used to enter that contest. A more risk-averse strategy can be deployed in these types of contests because they have a more flat payout.
Pro tournaments have fewer cards to win but players can win cards of higher scarcities and progress to competing in even more tournaments. This is where a more risk-heavy strategy is preferred because higher scarcity cards can be won by only the top finishers.
Now that you have an understanding of the basic strategy that goes into building teams, the next step would be to start grinding the stats and picking up guys from the Sorare Marketplace that are undervalued and can hold value over the course of the entire 162-game season. With Baseball being such a statistic-heavy game, there are countless resources out there to research players and gain an edge before the market reacts. My favorites are Fangraphs and Baseball Savant. Now that you have an understanding of how to play on Sorare MLB, I hope to see everyone at the top of the leaderboards.