Usually I don’t talk about myself very much. At least I try not to, mostly because I’m a shy person. I’m going to today, just for a second, though. I’m assuming sabermetrics – Fangraphs, specifically – changed the way you played fantasy. The first few years I played fantasy baseball, I knew nothing about sabermetrics. That changed three years ago. I stumbled onto Fangraphs, thanks to Twitter. I was quickly enamored with the numbers and principles behind them; learning about FIP, BABiP, small sample sizes, and their nuances forced me to do a complete 180 degree turn in the way I thought about the game.
For example, Pablo Sandoval was dreadful in April. In earlier years, I might have sold low. I would have essentially thrown out his entire body of work for a minuscule sample. Learning more about the game changed me. FIP is a go-to statistic for me now. Without it, or Carson, I would not have known a thing about Corey Kluber last year. I would have seen his ERA around draft time this year and said: “Oh cool, another mediocre pitcher.” Once again, I would have been pissed for either missing out on him, or worse, dropping him.
You’re on Fangraphs, so I’m preaching to the choir here, but learning something new is awesome. In this case, learning something new made a hobby into something even more fun.
If you’re wondering where this came from, I was in my cube at work yesterday thinking about the first year I played fantasy baseball – a salary cap league on Sporting News. It was 2003, Runelvys Hernandez posted a 1.58 ERA during the first month of the season. He struggled in May, got hurt, and his owner dropped him. I thought: “Man, what an idiot,” – I was 12, so cut me some slack. (sorry if that makes you feel old) – and picked him up in preparation for his return. In his final eight starts, he posted an 8.15 ERA while striking out 10.9% of the batters he faced. That guy knew more than me. He knew he didn’t miss bats, among other things. Damn shame it took me so long to figure out that it wasn’t hard to look for signs of a fluke. And granted, now that I’m older, with a career, fantasy takes up a little more of my time because I can’t sit at home and play Final Fantasy VII all summer or play wiffle ball with friends like I did was I was 12. Fantasy is an escape. And thanks to Fangraphs, I’m a little better at fake life.
A.J. Burnett hasn’t been very good since the calendar turned to May. Since then, while pitching through a hernia, Burnett has posted a 5.50 ERA and a 4.79 FIP. He’s allowed homers at a high rate and has had trouble limiting free passes. I like Washington today. John Danks has a tough draw today. Over the past two seasons, Danks hasn’t discriminated; serving up cookies to lefties and righties, alike. The Dodgers can run out a ton of right handed bats, including lefty masher Scott Van Slyke.
Josh Collmenter is pitching a mile above sea level tonight; Jordan Lyles too. Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his way back into a starter’s role today. He’s performed well in the bullpen this year, but his track record at a starter isn’t so good.
Over his last four stars, Tony Cingrani has had the same issues as A.J. Burnett, minus Burnett’s strikeout numbers. Cingrani’s struggled to get deep into games, thanks to free passes and home runs. The Giants, like the Dodgers, can run a ton of right handed bats out there.
The Daily Five
Outside of Laroche, the Nationals’ lineup doesn’t feature a ton of left handed pop. What these three feature, however, is patience and pop – excluding Desmond on the patience part. Burnett’s had trouble finding the zone. These three men will make him find the zone, and they have the ability to punish him if he misses his spots.
Scott Van Slyke – $4,684
If I mentioned him directly I have to pick him, right? Van Slyke’s always hit lefties well – .365 career wOBA. If he’s in the lineup tonight, make sure he’s in yours.
Tom Koehler – $13,269
This is more about the Rays’ offense than about Koehler. Over the past 30 days, the Rays’ offense ranks last in wOBA, with a .278 mark. Evan Longoria seems lost right now. Matt Joyce isn’t hitting very well. And Wil Myers is hurt. If we can’t start Koehler today, I’m not sure we can ever start him.
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