Daily Fantasy Strategy – 7/5/13 – For Draftstreet

Last week I wrote about hitters who might be undervalued because of poor recent performance that was being caused by something other than a decrease in skill. Today I’d like to take a quick look at the pitchers whose xFIPs were the farthest below their ERAs over the last thirty days. The idea again is that recent performance seems to be weighted too heavily in pricing, and these guys might have a little extra value in the immediate future.

Name ERA xFIP Gap
Justin Grimm 9.31 5.14 -4.17
Jerome Williams 6.84 4.54 -2.3
Lance Lynn 6.16 4.18 -1.98
Scott Diamond 6.26 4.32 -1.94
Matt Moore 6.54 4.64 -1.9
Shelby Miller 5.04 3.16 -1.88
Edinson Volquez 5.06 3.18 -1.88
Jon Lester 6.37 4.55 -1.82
Rick Porcello 5.22 3.45 -1.77
Roberto Hernandez 5.08 3.51 -1.57
Tom Koehler 6.18 4.94 -1.24
CC Sabathia 4.7 3.59 -1.11
Doug Fister 4.69 3.64 -1.05
Chris Sale 3.47 2.44 -1.03
Kyle Kendrick 4.78 3.78 -1
Mike Minor 4.5 3.54 -0.96

The first five names on that list are not all that intriguing. Sure, they’ve pitched better than their ERA indicates, but they haven’t pitched all that well. Past that point, all the guys on that list have shown some skill in the last 30 days aside from Lester and Koehler. But we also have to be careful with Volquez, Porcello and Hernandez because their career ERA is quite a bit higher than their career xFIP.

That leaves us with Miller, Sabathia, Fister, Sale, Kendrick, and Minor who could potentially be a bit under priced in their next couple of starts. This is probably the worst day to have this idea and to write about it because none of these guys pitch today. In fact, Porcello is the only one on the full list starting today. That being said, let’s move on and talk about some guys that are playing today.

The Daily Five

Jeremy Hellickson, $13,123 –  I’m a huge proponent of spending big on pitching and trying to lock down some big individual point totals, but none of the most expensive options today have a great match up. Of the six most expensive starters, none is facing an opponent that is below average against pitchers of their handedness. Hellickson, on the other hand, will be facing the White Sox who have the third worst wRC+ against right-handed pitching. And I like what Hellickson has done this year. He has increased his strikeout rate and deceased his walk rate, but a 66.1% strand rate is masking those improvements.

Andrew Cashner, $11,710 – Cashener gets the Nats today who are much worse against left-handed pitching. But they’re still below average against right-handers like Cashner. And like Hellickson, I like what Cashner has done so far this year. Admittedly, his strikeout rate is way down, and that is where many thought his fantasy value would come from. And it still might. But the reason that his strikeout rate being down may be a good thing is because it’s also come along with a corresponding drop in his walk rate. It’s down to 6.2%, which is safely better than league average. Any pitcher with above average control and the 8th best ground ball rate is always useful.

Tim Hudson, $10,218 – Cashner numbers actually look quite a bit like Hudson’s, especially the walk and ground ball rates. Hudson’s match up isn’t as good as Cashner’s, but the Phillies are slightly below average against right-handers.

Mitch Moreland, $5,760 – Because I normally spend big on pitching, I usually have a little less than six grand to spend per position player. But with the cheap pitching, I’ve got a little over seven grand per player today. You probably don’t need help picking studs, so I’m going to go ahead and give you the cheaper hitting options I chose. And Moreland is the cheapest guy on my roster. He’s had a rough go off it since returning from injury, but this is a good match up against right-hander Lucas Harrell. He’s going to break out of it at some point. Today is as good a day as any.

Howie Kendrick, $6,573 – What’s up with this? Kendrick is hitting .319 and has contributed solid numbers in each of the other roto cats. Not that this is a piece on good roto players, but the point is that he can score points in several ways. And today he’ll be facing a left-hander in Felix Doubront. There shouldn’t be 19 more expensive second base options.

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This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs will maintain complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in our continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.

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You can find more of Brett's work on TheFantasyFix.com or follow him on Twitter @TheRealTAL.

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