The Daily Grind: 6-4-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. A reminder about relievers
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Thin Thursday
  4. Table

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1. A reminder about relievers

This is for the traditional fantasy owner out there. Relievers are often the answer to a pitching slump. Lately, several spots starts have gone wrong for me, so it’s time to reinvest in a deep bullpen. The advantage of relievers is they usually post an ERA, WHIP, and strikeout rate several deviations better than starters. If you pick the right ones, they can also catch the occasional save and record a wins per inning rate similar to waiver wire starters. The downside is a single bad outing can ruin their value to you. And even Craig Kimbrel can have one bad inning.

Using relievers to improve pitching stats is a process, not a guarantee. You can pick the right guys and still get unlucky. If you want to know which guys to pickup, I recommend taking a look at the K%-BB% leaderboard.

2. Daily DFS

Early: There are two games to be played before the usual 7:05 role call. They aren’t included in any FanDuel contest. Hisashi Iwakuma would have made for a smart start. Oh well.

Late: That leaves us with 13 games in the main contest. Rain mucks up a couple choices today.

The Athletics have a couple lefty mashers to target against Vidal Nuno. He seems to avoid clunkers by the skin of his teeth, which tells me it’s only a matter of time.

Nicholas Martinez hasn’t struck out many batters (12 percent) and he’s walked nearly as many (10 percent). As such, it’s no surprise his 4.66 FIP and 5.30 xFIP are out of line with his 2.75 ERA. The Orioles offense is mid-tier against right-handed pitching, but that includes a lot of time without Chris Davis.

Speaking of guys outperforming their peripherals, Daisuke Matsuzaka has some real luck on his side. His BABIP is just .186 and he’s managed to post a 2.45 ERA despite a whopping 16 percent walk rate. Of course, the Cubbies feature the league’s worst offense, so this isn’t a great target.

Maybe you’ll to look at the perpetually “unlucky” Edwin Jackson. They say we make our own luck, and it does seem Jackson makes too many mistakes. The Mets feature a lot of left-handed hitters and Wrigley Field starts to play a lot smaller in the summer months.

The Angels welcomed Josh Hamilton back yesterday. Now they’ll face the Astros and Jarred Cosart with an extra weapon in the lineup. The game is at Houston, which is slightly hitter friendly.

Josh Collmenter is visiting Coors Field. He gets by on deception, which bodes well for a Piss Water Field visit. He’s a fly ball pitcher, which does not bode well.

The Dodgers feature several dynamic lefty bashers. I usually wouldn’t target John Danks too aggressively, but a Puig-Ramirez pairing sounds highly productive.

3. Thin Thursday

We have 11 games tomorrow, so it isn’t the thinnest Thursday on record. I have a feeling we’ll see a doubleheader in Cincinnati add to the options.

Pitchers to Start: Jacob deGrom draws the Cubs matchup tomorrow. He’s been rather sharp in his brief career, although he has walked too many batters. Eventually those are going to catc up to him.

He’s not available in your league (at least he probably isn’t), but Yordano Ventura makes his return from the not-disabled list today.

Pitchers to Exploit: The Tigers very right-handed lineup will finally face another lefty – J.A. Happ.

Tropicana Field isn’t usually a place to target hitters, but tomorrow’s starters require the (bad) spotlight. Jacob Turner and Jake Odorizzi both feature ERA’s above 5.00. With Odorizzi, the issue is mostly BABIP related. His 3.44 FIP and 3.64 xFIP hint at better times ahead. Turner’s peripherals are less inspiring, but even he has a 3.86 xFIP.

I like Tyler Skaggs well enough (actually I haven’t rostered him once all season, so maybe I don’t). However, I do worry about his performance against a fairly powerful Astros lineup. Perhaps Brad Peacock is the better target in this game, since he faces the Angels’ juggernaut.

The Rangers are a little short on lefties to send against good old homer prone Miguel Gonzalez. Too bad. The Orioles are also short on freely available lefties for the Colby Lewis Advantage.

Let’s see if Bronson Arroyo can pull off his right-handed Jamie Moyer thing at Coors Field tomorrow. He’s been pretty solid since a very shaky start to the season.

Hitters (power): Austin Jackson and J.D. Martinez looks pretty saucy for tomorrow, assuming the former is available and the latter starts.

Adam LaRoche will bat in the middle of the lineup against Kyle Kendrick.

If he starts, Corey Dickerson will be a good play. Big if.

Matt Joyce, David DeJesus, and Jake Dietrich seem like solid plays in the Tampa game.

Hitters (speed): Rajai Davis is definitely a high value target.

Gerardo Parra isn’t a fantasy stud, but I’ll take him in Denver.

Scooter Gennett has an easy matchup against Kevin Correia, and he seems to be back in the two-hole against righties.

Leonys Martin bats down in the order, but he’s worth a look against Gonzalez.

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.

Cleveland has a high chance for rain and Cincinnati is supposed to get hammered. Detroit and Washington D.C. aren’t free from risk either. Keep a look out around the league, the weather is unstable right now.

The Link. Even if you’re avoiding the rain, there are a few good hitting stadiums to target.

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.

7 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 6-4-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. chri521 says:

    On the flipside of the Mets matchup, Travis Wood’s always killed us and should be a low scoring affair given both teams inability to hit with RISP?

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      I don’t give much credence to the whole RISP thing since the concept has been disproved by The Book and follow up studies. I didn’t mention Wood because I like the matchup but he’s been shaky recently.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Dave says:

    On relievers and the k-bb% leaderboard, any sense of a minimum innings for the stat to be useful? potential quality relievers may not show up on the default (I’m trying to look at you Neil Ramirez).

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  3. Pablo says:

    Curious on your thoughts re: southpaws Hamels v. Ryu ROS?


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  4. Jay says:

    CarGo on the DL, which I expected this morning, so Dickerson should be safe against RHP going forward.

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