I love the commenters on this site. I write elsewhere, and the audience is more interactive here than anywhere else I’ve seen. And it’s not just that they’re involved; it’s that
their they’re smart. I’ve gotten several ideas for posts from commenters, and they frequently point out things that I miss. But I think they may have one thing wrong. Or at least there may be something upon which they’re placing too much weight.
When picking pitchers, the first thing I look at is the quality of the pitcher’s opponent against pitchers of the same handedness. Well, I take that back. The first thing I look at is whether the pitcher is any good or not. But I don’t usually have to look that up. After those initial hurdles are cleared, I look at conditions. I’m looking for cooler temperatures and winds blowing in (with a few exceptions). All of these factors generally go toward run prevention.
But commenters often point out a pitcher’s strikeout ability and/or the strikeout percentage of the opposing team. They note the importance of strikeouts on Draftstreet. I myself used to look at the opposing team’s K% as one of the more important factors, but I seemed to have more success when I placed most of my attention on run prevention. But was I right to favor run prevention over strikeout potential? Or are the commenters right? Is strikeout percentage the most important factor?
To answer that question I simply tested the relationship between average points per game for pitchers in Draftstreet scoring to both ERA and strikeouts. Below are two charts showing the two relationships with the relationship with ERA on the left and the relationship with strikeouts on the right.
Any time I start messing around with correlations and scatter plots and R2 numbers, there’s a chance I’ve done something horribly wrong. I’m trying to catch up on the whole statistics thing because I paid very little attention in stats class in college. But assuming I’ve done this correctly, it seems like earned run prevention has a much stronger correlation with Draftstreet points that strikeouts do. But that’s assuming I’ve done this correctly and assuming I’ve not missed something obvious. But if I have missed something, I’m sure the commenters will set me straight.
The Daily Five
Left-handed Colorado hitters, varying prices – Colorado is good for hitters. Hot weather is good for hitters. Right-hander Tom Koehler and his 4.70 ERA is good for hitters. Here is a list of the Rockie hitters that will be hitting from the left side (if they’re in the lineup) and who will be facing Tom Koehler in Colorado with a game time temperature in the high 80’s: Carlos Gonzalez (OF, $10,918), Todd Helton (1B, $7,215), Dexter Fowler (OF, $9,074), Jonathan Herrera (SS, $5,397), and Charlie Blackmon (OF, $6,674).
Right-handed Miami hitters, varying prices – The conditions are the same for the Marlins in Colorado today. The only difference is that the Rockies have a left-hander on the hill, Drew Pomeranz. Here are the right-handed hitters to consider using for Miami today: Adeiny Hechavarria (SS, $4,671), Marcell Ozuna (OF, $6,675), Giancarlo Stanton (OF, $8,074), and Justin Ruggiano (OF, $6,312). Stanton and Ruggiano seem like good values at those prices with their power. And Hech is so cheap that it’s going to be hard to pass on him.
Max Scherzer, $18,806 – Another thing the commenters don’t like is spending this much money on a pitcher. And it’s a valid concern. If you can find good pitchers with good matchups with a lower price tag, you should. But the options aren’t great today. All of the best matchup teams are either facing a bad pitcher or are facing a pitcher of the handedness that the team happens to be better against. And a lot of the better pitchers today have bad matchups. So I’m paying for the safety of Scherzer against a bad White Sox lineup.
Matt Garza, $15,741 – The roof in Arizona should be closed so as to avoid the 90 plus degree heat. And cooler temperatures are always good for run prevention. It’s also a good matchup for Garza against the D’Backs who have the 6th worst wRC+ vs. RHP.
Julio Teheran, $12,366 – Reasonable price? Check. Good conditions? Check. Temperatures in the high 70’s and the wind projected to be blowing in from right. Good matchup? Check. The Mets have the 8th worst wRC+ against RHP. They also have the 3rd highest K% vs. RHP, which I’m sure the commenters love.
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