The Daily Grind: 7-22-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Feed Me Your Thoughts
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Wednesday Pick
  4. Table

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1. Feed Me Your Thoughts

I usually like to use this section for small, but interesting strategy topics. Unsurprisingly (since I’ve written over 100 of these), I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel on mini-strategy topics. Some days I’ll use this space just to talk shop. Lucky you, it’s one of those days.

I’ve added a couple new bits and pieces. The Rapid Fire subheading will be used whenever a pitcher pick doesn’t require more than one sentence of explanation. The other wrinkle is much more useful. We can learn as much from the players we don’t pick than the players we do pick. As such, I’m going to regularly highlight a pitcher who I’m not targeting and explain why. Usually, ballpark, matchup, and potential for positive regression will be the chief culprits. But I’m sure some other factors will come into play like with the guy I featured today.

2. Daily DFS

Yesterday’s Grind – use this for hitters and pitchers to start

Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez are both exploitable at Yankee Stadium due to the short right field porch. However, Martinez makes for a much better target due to his terrible peripherals. He’s walked more batters than he’s struck out. He’s never had a problem with free passes before this season, so the issue could regress away. However, he’s also an extreme fly ball pitcher, which doesn’t work well in New York. For his part, Whitley’s 5.10 ERA hides good peripherals.

Yusmeiro Petit has pitched very well out of the bullpen and struggled in the rotation this season. I mention him not because I think the Phillies are a good stack against him, but rather because he’s not really stretched out for a full start. The Giants’ bullpen hasn’t been particularly effective of late and Petit’s been one of the best in there.

Jake Peavy and J.A. Happ are a part of the lower-middle class of pitchers. They do a job, usually reliably, but they aren’t particularly good. They both allow about a run every other inning and sometimes meltdown entirely. They also give up enough fly balls to occasionally allow way too many home runs – which is exactly what DFS owners want.

Eric Stults is pitching just like last season when he was thoroughly decent. The one exception – home runs. His HR/FB rate has more than doubled this time around. His ERA and FIP have both increased over one point since last season. His xFIP is up only 0.24 points. The Cubs don’t have a lot of righty thump, but the ballpark likes summer time home runs and the unstable weather could push everything over the wall.

If the game isn’t interrupted by storms, Bruce Chen and Scott Carroll make for two of the most obvious targets in fantasy land. They’re so hittable and White Sox Cell Tower Park is great for offense (have I drilled that into you yet?).

The Nationals were pretty quiet during their first game at Coors Field. A matchup against Yohan Flande is too good to resist. Mr. Flande is a non-elite command and control lefty who definitely doesn’t have the stuff to survive in Colorado.

Rapid Fire: Danny Salazar may still have a walk problem. Yohan Pino is pretty mediocre, but Target Field pushes him down the list of top stacking targets. Hector Santiago is very exploitable for the Orioles offense, but there are equally exploitable pitchers at much better hitter venues. The same goes for Erasmo Ramirez.

Why I didn’t listRoberto Hernandez: Hernandez throws plenty of stinkers, but his high ground ball rate can cut down on the multi-base damage necessary to put up big points in DFS. If you can find a lefty slugger who can hit sinkers well, go for it, but a full stack is not advisable.

3. Wednesday Picks

Tomorrow is a bit weird. It’s stuffed full of pitchers who I’d neither use nor consider an obvious target.

Pitchers to Start: Trevor Bauer is your typical waiver wire pitcher with a good matchup. He’ll face the Twins offense at Target Field, which should allow his combination of strikeouts and fly balls to play up.

The Royals are one of the worst teams against left-handed pitching, and they’ll face Jose Quintana tomorrow. It’s too bad the game is to be played in Chicago – this would be an excellent matchup for Quintana in Kansas City.

Tsuyoshi Wada will make his second major league start. He should be a permanent fixture in the Cubs rotation after a strong season at Triple-A. Wada generated a bunch of swinging strikes in his first start, and he has the benefit of facing the Padres.

Pitchers to Exploit: Keep on stacking the Nationals against the Rockies lefty patrol. Tomorrow is Jorge de la Rosa‘s turn, aka the “good” one.

Trevor Cahill has the misfortune to face the Detroit Tigers. Tough break guy.

The Mariners acquired TBA from the Rockies. I’m guess that will be Tom Wilhelmsen? Any Mariners fans have a lead on this?

The Athletics possess a difficult offense to stymie, but that’s exactly what Brad Peacock will be asked to accomplish. Good luck fellow Brad.

Hitters (power): John Jaso and Jed Lowrie are nice options at the thin positions. Neither is much of a power hitter, but they can pop the occasional deep shot.

Matt Joyce‘s latest opponent is lefty-prone pitcher Lance Lynn.

Wilson Ramos is the obvious pick against de la Rosa. Danny Espinosa and Scott Hairston are the less obvious options. Assuming Hairston can even get into the game.

Hitters (speed): Leonys Martin now bats near the middle of the order, so a start at Yankee Stadium could yield a multi-run homer. It’s an unlikely “could.”

Chris Denorfia will start against Wada, although it’s been a disappointing season for the outfielder.

Tommy La Stella should remain available due to very low home run and stolen base totals. He’s a good major league player, but it’s hard to use this profile in fantasy.

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.

Atlanta and both games in Chicago are at risk of thunderstorms today.

The Link. Don’t ask me why the weather ratings are different at the two Chicago venues. Chicagoans, do the north and south sides really experience different atmospheric conditions?

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: 7-22-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. Dave says:

    On 1., maybe some DFS myth busting ?
    On Chicago weather, looks like different start times are driving the different predictions
    You may feel like you’re running out of ideas, but I love the column and rely on it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      re chicago: the games are separated by just 5 minutes today. I also have an hourly breakdown and they’re completely different for the two parks. Wind isn’t factored in as far as I’m aware (but maybe it is, the calculations are opaque).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • David says:

        sorry, I was confused by time zone mismatch — for some reason daily baseball data is listing one in Eastern time and the other in Central — maybe they have it messed up?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. DanBC says:

    Peripherals might be there, but Whitley is a deer in the headlights. How many more times will the Yanks let him get shelled before they wreck him for good? He’s a career reliever, being asked to start. He’s miscast, obvious to everyone but Joe Girardi.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David says:

      Well, they may be starting Whitley as the least bad option given an entire rotation on the shelf. Other than going shopping, who would they start instead?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      I don’t really agree with this assessment. I see a starter who needs more seasoning to become consistent. He might not be the prototypical Yankees starter, but he is more than good enough to start in the big leagues.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Will says:

    Only concern with Nats is that they pretty much stink against sinkers but yeah, otherwise should be interesting.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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