Last Sunday in this space, I spoke about not being too clever in daily formats. My point was that you have a daily budget, not one that spans a week or month or season. If you think an ace is going to have an ace-like game, then select him, and ditto for hitters. There’s no point in leaving money on the table just to show that you’re clever.
At the same time, it also doesn’t make sense to spend money just because it’s there. It’s certainly possible that what you see as an optimal line-up for the day only fills about 90% of your budget. Consider the following example where you have a $100 to spend on two pitchers.
Pitcher A: 2.50 ERA, 2.50 FIP, facing average offense in neutral park with average weather, $60
Pitcher B: 4.00 ERA, 4.25 FIP, facing strong offense in hitter’s park with average weather, $40
Pitcher C: 4.00 ERA, 3.75 FIP, facing poor offense in neutral park with favorable weather, $30
Well, it certainly doesn’t make sense to select A and B just because you don’t want to leave money on the table – A and C appear to be the best options.
Just like you shouldn’t get too clever looking for sleepers if there are obvious answers in front of you, you shouldn’t get too focused on spending all of your money just because it’s there. The optimal strategy is probably somewhere in between those extremes.
The Daily Five
Dan Straily – $13,919
Straily draws the White Sox in Chicago for this turn. While he’s been inconsistent start to start, I’ve loved what I’ve seen, and his FIP disagrees with his ERA and xFIP by a run or more, coming in at 3.17. This speaks to his strikeout versus walk ability in the early going, and we saw just last weekend what Straily can do against this outfit, punching out eight without a walk and allowing one run over six innings. This time he’ll get a friendly environment at The Cell, checking in around 57-degrees, and the wind appears to be blowing towards the right field line rather than out into the bleachers.
Jason Castro – $7,239
Castro’s shown the nice pop some others and myself predicted for this year, hitting eight dingers in the early going. On Thursday he’ll face Miguel Gonzalez in an extreme 90-degree heat in Houston, helping the ball fly with little wind to stop it. He’s been especially strong against right-handed pitchers, though Gonzalez has reverse platoon-splits this year and was neutral last season. It’s not always wise to predict a homer for a second straight day for a batter, but I’m confident Castro will continue to wield a hot bat.
Alex Gordon – $8,301
Mike Pelfrey? Please say it’s so. The fly-ball prone righty has been downright awful through 11 starts, and Alex Gordon is just the lefty to take advantage (I mostly say that because I’m tired of betting and losing on Hosmer and Moustakas, though). Gordon is playing as well as he has for a few years now and has previously bashed righties even better than lefties. And finally, not that these kind of stats should ever be enough to convince you, but Gordon is 2-for-2 off Pelfrey lifetime with a single and triple. I’m pretty sure that’s the average line against Pelfrey right now, so grab any Royals you might like.
Justin Morneau – $7,665
You thought I was going to pick on Pelfrey without disparaging his opposition, the maddeningly-bad Wade Davis? C’mon son. Davis has only been serviceable if you believe his HR/FB rate is more bad luck than bad pitching, which I disagree with in this instance. That .404 BABIP won’t last but with a near-30% line drive rate, hits are going to fall in. Oh, the hitter, yeah…Davis feeds lefties. So have your pick. I personally went with Morneau of the bunch because I recommended a catcher already and Canadian pride. If there’s such a thing as due, Morneau is it.
Nate McLouth – $9,053
Given the hot hot heat in Houston, and that I don’t trust that Bud Norris has suddenly figured out how to keep the ball in the park, I’m happy to jump on an Oriole as well. It’s also a commentary on Castro, who has thrown out just north of 18% of base stealers this year and last. McLouth cooled off in May but still offered category juice, which is king in daily leagues. Expect a steal, and maybe one leaves the park, too.
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