The Daily Grind: 5-20-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Reviewing Yesterday
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Tilts of Tomorrow
  4. Table

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1. Reviewing Yesterday

There was some hullabaloo yesterday over the content of this very section. In this case, it was not my intention to bash the winner. I merely meant to demonstrate an alternative approach to DFS and state how I would use said approach. If you were offended, sorry.

If you disagree with my tactics of avoiding down-order home team hitters, that’s fine. Different strokes and whatnot. DFS baseball is not unlike traditional fantasy – quantity can often trump quality. With normal fantasy, owners who maximize plate appearances are most likely to win the hitting stats. A similar concept applies to DFS. In both cases, the effect is small on a given day, but large over the course of a season. I’ve consulted a couple quants/DFS experts who have assured me maximizing plate appearances subject to matchup quality, park, and weather conditions is the percentage play.

2. Daily DFS

We have 15 games in the late bin today. Huzzah for full contests.

The Pirates lack a ferocious lefty stack, but they still get to face homer prone Miguel Gonzalez. While PNC Park stifles offense, Gonzalez could counteract the park effects. Ultimately, this is probably a useful game for patching your roster rather than stacking.

The money game of the day is in Boston, where J.A. Happ opposes Felix Doubront. We’ll see a ton of right-handed hitters taking pot shots at the Monster this evening. It will be a touch chilly for the game with a temperature in the low 60’s, which is just about the only drawback.

If we’re to judge by one game, Anthony DeSclafani has a reliever’s repertoire. He threw his 94 mph fastball early and often, with a slider as his only other noteworthy pitch. He did throw one lone changeup in his 93 pitch outing. He could beat up the Phillies lineup, but it’s never a bad idea to go after youngsters who lean very heavily on one pitch.

Left-handed Athletics should enjoy facing Jake Odorizzi, even if Tropicana Field isn’t the most inviting to hitters.

The Mariners lefty-heavy lineup draws Colby Lewis. The Mariners are visiting hitter friendly Arlington, Texas which almost makes them look usable today.

Right-handed Giants are in a fantastic spot. They’ll face Rockies lefty Franklin Morales at Coors Field. Morales has been inconsistent this season, but the bad outings outweigh the good.

3. Wednesday Words

Pitchers to Start: Chase Whitley had a strong debut, but my concerns over the longevity of his outing were warranted. The Yankees lifted him after 4.2 innings and 74 pitches. I don’t know if there’s a specific plan or pitch count in place, but we’ll probably find out tomorrow against the Cubs.

Alfredo Simon isn’t striking out enough batters. Combined with a fortunate BABIP of .216, it’s only a matter of time before the wheels fall off the bus. The ground baller is facing a righty-heavy lineup, so he’s still favorable for tomorrow.

Here’s the good – Brandon McCarthy will face a scuffling Cardinals lineup at Busch Stadium. Here’s the bad – he’s opposed by Michael Wacha.

Phil Hughes and Tyson Ross both face weak lineups in San Diego. Petco Park is now somewhat friendly to left-handed hitters, which is a problem for Hughes. Ross’s problem stems from difficulty controlling his heavy sinker.

Pitchers to Exploit: Chris Young has one of the largest splits between his ERA and FIP. Unfortunately, it’s the bad kind of split. He has a 1.06 K/BB ratio which all but guarantees a terrible FIP. Currently, a .199 BABIP against is saving his bacon.

Wandy Rodriguez is battling a home run demon. With a HR/FB ratio of 26.5 percent, it’s no wonder his ERA and FIP are just a shade below 7.00. His 4.11 xFIP tells a different story, and he’s never been anywhere close to this homer prone.

The Blue Jays have a few left-handed hitters who should enjoy a game against Clay Buchholz. Fenway saps lefty power, so beware.

Because the game is to be played in Colorado, I recommend streaming against Matt Cain and Jhoulys Chacin.

Hitters (power): Adam Lind and Juan Francisco will have the platoon advantage against Buchholz.

Try Chase Headley and Seth Smith against Hughes.

It’s one of those days where Danny Valencia and Justin Maxwell should play. Maxwell sometimes gets shafted on these games.

Go ahead and give Sean Rodriguez a whirl against Tommy Milone.

Hitters (speed): Anthony Gose will probably start and bat ninth tomorrow. He’s a low OBP speed guy.

Craig Gentry sometimes leads off against left-handed pitching.

Leonys Martin is worth a try at home.

4. Table

The table below indicates which stadiums have the best conditions for hitters today. The color coding is a classic stoplight where green equals go for hitters. The weather conditions are from SI Weather’s home run app. A 10/10 means great atmospheric conditions for home runs. A 1/10 means lousy atmospheric conditions.

Chicago has a 60 percent chance of storms, so keep an eye on the Yankees-Cubs contest.

The Link. Well color me yellow. Or red. Certainly not green. If you’re a fan of playing the colors, it looks like you have two parks from which to choose.

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

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Brad is a former collegiate player who writes for FanGraphs, MLB Trade Rumors, The Hardball Times, RotoWorld, and The Fake Baseball. He's also the lead MLB editor for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.

6 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 5-20-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. dwdavis3 says:

    Just a heads up. Maxwell got DFAed with the Royals. Also pretty sure the Royals have now committed to a straight platoon between Moustakas and Valencia.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Yea the platoon’s finally happening. I don’t get why they ran Maxwell out of town. Maybe there’s something going on off the field.

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      • dwdavis3 says:

        Yeah I really couldn’t figure it out. I know Aoki doesn’t have much of a platoon split but it’s not like they were getting outstanding production out of him anyways. It is the Royals though, so whatever.

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  2. dwdavis3 says:

    Is there a specific side of the Boston/Toronto matchup you would favor? I’m trying to create my stack and can’t really fit or afford both of them.

    I’m either going with Reyes/Cabrera/Bautistia/Lawrie or Gomes/Dustin/Napoli/Boegarts

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Both sides are attractive, I usually prefer the away team.

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      • ldavidjm says:

        Hey Brad
        Could you maybe give some numbers on why you prefer away teams? The fact that ~50% of the time you play the bottom of the 9th anyway, plus its probably ~35% of those times where a guy might get an extra PA equals about 0.175 extra PA per game.

        How rigid are you in your stacks/individual players for home/away? It seems like crossing off half the players on your list might be overlooking value (of course I don’t know that you do that).

        Additionally I seem to remember reading a few articles here that there’s some sort of home field advantage for defense- knowing the fences and lines and such so that would also mitigate the away team top of the 9th advantage a bit.


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