The Daily Grind: 5-24-14 – Presented by FanDuel

Agenda

  1. Which do you prefer?
  2. Daily DFs
  3. Sunday Sauce
  4. Table

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1. Which do you prefer?

Let’s cover a standard fantasy topic today. On Thursday I penned a trade strategy piece which has evoked some debate. One of the points that interests me relates to home runs and steals. One commenter stated he preferred a player to produce five home runs and 50 steals compared to 20 of each. This runs counter to my own preferences, so I thought it would be worth a closer look.

A steal is a steal. It’s a one category benefit. You can also think of it as a fraction of a run, since the basestealer is now more likely to score, but we don’t count fractional, hypothetical runs in roto leagues. A home run is really a run, home run, one to four RBI, and a hit. Three of those categories are more common than stolen bases, so we can’t say a home run is worth four times as much as a steal. We can probably guestimate a home run is worth about two to 2.5 times a steal. On that basis, our two options aren’t very different.

Which brings me to my preferences. In a vacuum, I’ll take slightly above average production in five categories over a one category stud every day of the week. There’s a reason I never drafted Billy Hamilton this season – balance. A deep roster with multiple redundancies can better weather the season. When your top player inevitably hits the disabled list, balance can keep you afloat until he returns. If you’re a waiver hawk like me, you can also target the best available players rather than focusing all your attention on a particular stat to the detriment of others.

From the alternative viewpoint, if you own the guy who steals 50 bases, you can pick up a 40 home run basher without worrying about him swiping a base. In today’s power depleted league, it’s easy to say you’ll do that but much harder to actually do it.

2. Daily DFS

Early: We have nine games in the early bin.

Does it get more tempting than an all-lefty matchup between Vidal Nuno and John Danks at U.S. Cellular Field. No, probably not. Right-handed hitters enjoy a 28 percent boost to their home run rates AND they get the platoon advantage.

While some pop up storms might dampen this game, look to stack Dodgers against Phillies righty David Buchanan. It will be his major league debut. Perhaps you have not heard of Buchanan. Perhaps you are a Phillies fan and still haven’t heard of Buchanan. This is because he profiles as an organizational soldier rather than a major league asset.

The Tigers draw mediocre righty Nicholas Martinez, who’s otherwise known as Nick to people not using the FanGraphs player linker. A low strikeout rate and high walk rate characterize two of the reasons you’ll want to target him today.

While we hardly go to Miami for the offense, Jacob Turner is really struggling to be a major league pitcher. He faces the Milwaukee Brewers today.

Late: We’re left with six games late.

Jaime Garcia and Tony Cingrani are not typically targets, but they’re lefties pitching at Great American Ballpark, which is roughly as favorable to right-handed hitters as the much vaunted U.S. Cellular Field.

Samuel Deduno will face Ryan Vogelsong. If you expect offense, remember AT&T Park is death to all offense. If you expect run prevention, remember Deduno and Vogelsong aren’t very good. Which force wins?

Brandon Maurer is somehow still taking turns in the rotation while Taijuan Walker and James Paxton inch their way back from the disabled list. If he were facing any offense more reliable than the Astros, I’d be embedding HTML fireworks.

You may recall Billy Buckner from years ago with the Diamondbacks. Well the Padres have the 30-year-old making a spot start. He’s no great shakes. In fact, he’s probably bad shakes. Cubs lefties should be happy.

3. Sunday Picks

Pitchers to Start: Drew Pomeranz is a trendy choice so I’ll mention him. Personally, I’m avoiding him. I worry about his fastball heavy repertoire, the Blue Jays offense/park, regression in his .236 BABIP and 99.2 percent LOB%. In other words, if you want to find a reason to take a pass, they’re out there.

Trevor Bauer passes my eye test and a statistical smell test. But how does he taste (phrasing)? The drawback to Bauer is his tendency towards fly balls. Camden Yards can be rather unforgiving to balls in the air.

Josh Beckett draws an inconsistent Phillies offense. “Inconsistent” is code for usually bad but sometimes surprisingly good.

Pitchers to Exploit: As opposed to Pomeranz, it’s easy to pop J.A. Happ on the exploit page with little to no explanation. Did you require an explanation?

Colby Lewis‘s starts have been characterized by a short duration a tendency towards crooked numbers. His FIP and xFIP are substantially better than his 5.40 ERA, but the Tigers are not your garden variety offense.

Hey, I found both Randy Wolf and Jimmy Nelson. And I’m not really sure where to put them. Nelson is mildly interesting as a guy you might want to own. He’s struck out a bunch of minor leaguers while limiting walks this year. Wolf you should know as somebody who isn’t really worth the trouble of rostering. He recorded his first career save recently. Tomorrow he tries to become the first pitcher since Jenrry Mejia to record a win and a save in the same season.

Walks, fly balls, and home runs have killed Rafael Montero. He’s a talented, high upside arm, but those factors need to become less extreme for him to succeed. He’s opposed by Bronson Arroyo and the Diamondbacks. After a terrible start to the season, Arroyo is back to his usual steady work.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Indians have a very left-handed lineup. They face Miguel Gonzalez – a homer prone pitcher – at home run friendly Camden Yards

Because you haven’t targeted enough Yankees hitters this weekend, whip out the lefties against Andre Rienzo.

Hitters (power): Chris Johnson has a platoon advantage. Too bad he no longer bats cleanup. Well, at least it’s too bad for fantasy owners, Braves fans must be pleased.

C.J. Cron faces another lefty. Lucky guy.

If you want to dig very deep, I bet Scott Hairston will start tomorrow. I know Tyler Moore will be on call. Francisco Liriano is tough competition.

Lonnie Chisenhall appears to be the cleanup hitter, while David Murphy still toils lower in the lineup.

The Brewers lineup really well against left-handed pitchers. In terms of free guys, your choices are Mark Reynolds and Rickie Weeks.

Hitters (speed): Oh what the hell, use James Jones and Michael Saunders against Scott Feldman.

Gerardo Parra could draw some walks against Montero. Or maybe he’ll find a gap.

Craig Gentry may bat leadoff for the A’s tomorrow.

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.

Philadelphia has a risk of isolated showers. New York has a slightly greater risk to see those self-same showers. As always, monitor accordingly.

The Link. Of all the green contests on the board, only Cincinnati’s is in the evening. You know what to do.

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.


8 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 5-24-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. Kickpuncher says:

    Your point about PNC Park is clearly correct, but Deduno and Vogelsong won’t be pitching there.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. BB says:

    I drafted Billy Hamilton for his speed well aware of his other deficiencies. The main reason is that in my roto league, the number of steals required to win that category is much lower than the number of homeruns and far lower than RBI or runs. A single steal is more valuable incrementally towards gain another roto point than a homerun is.

    So, Hamilton’s 50-60 steals can single-handedly get me several more points whereas a single 30-40 homerun hitter may not even if that hitter is more valuable across categories. (I currently lead my league in steals AND homeruns, so this strategy has worked out very well for me.)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. dwdavis3 says:

    I’m fairly deep at 1b in a standard 5×5 roto league and a little thin at pitching. I was just offered Wacha for Pujols. Any thoughts on that deal?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. AF says:

    I agree with you about balance, and I also agree that part of the value of HR is a boost to R and RBI, but your calculations are seriously overstated. While it’s true that every HR results 1 run, 1-4 RBI, and 1 hit, that doesn’t mean that player A with X more HR than player B is necessarily going to have X more runs, 1-4X more RBIs, and a X/500 higher AVG. And even if it did, it would be clear to everyone that player A is more valuable than player B in 4 out of 5 categories, so the HR v. SB question would be irrelevant.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. aaronklaw says:

    So would you avoid marlins tmrw because of Nelsons potential? From what I’ve read, he’s had trouble transitioning up. When the Marlins are good they’re good, when they’re bad they’re bad.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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