The Daily Grind: 7-31-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Deadline Madness
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Friday Picks
  4. Table

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1. Deadline Madness

Just a word of caution for the DFSers today – make sure your players are starting. You should always be checking lineups, but July 31 is dio de los scratches. Pay especially attention to the early games. It’s uncommon for a guy to get pulled early – usually the team knows ahead of time to hold him out – but it’s not unheard of.

2. Thin Thursday

Yesterday’s Grind

Early: Three games are in the early batch, although today’s column might be out a little late to help you with those. That said, there are plenty of options for everyone.

Pedro Hernandez is a soft-tossing lefty who doesn’t excel in any way. He’s been smoked in a couple brief major league stints, and he was pounded in the PCL this season. The Cubs have a surprisingly potent lineup against lefties. Adding to the fun, Hernandez appears to be a fly ball pitcher.

Drew Smyly has some of the craziest platoon splits I’ve seen. This season, lefties have a .201 wOBA. Righties are at a whopping .378 wOBA. His career numbers are nearly as extreme. The White Sox don’t have a ton of potent, right-handed bats, but they have enough of them.

John Danks has to survive a Tigers lineup that feasts on lefties. Detroit will put a lot of balls in play today.

Dave Cameron earns props for being the first writer to call Shelby Miller broken. I thought that was a bit of hyperbole at the time – he certainly was out of sorts, but young pitchers sometimes suffer a few blips now and then. The Padres have just a couple hitters worth targeting.

Late: Eight games are to be played late.

The Orioles have a few notable hitters with the platoon advantage tonight. The game is at Camden Yards, which makes Tyler Skaggs a decent target.

The Mariners lefty-heavy lineup will face Zach McAllister at Progressive Field. We’ve gone over this before – Cleveland’s home field is sneaky good for lefty power.

Cliff Lee has not been close to his normal self since returning from the disabled list. The Nationals have quite a few lefty bashers in their kit, which could make this another ugly outing for Lee.

The Royals have the opportunity to face a pitcher who loves balls in play. That sounds almost dirty – I guess it sabr-dirty. In any case, Kevin Correia may allow a lot of hits.

Jarred Cosart makes for a decent target against the Blue Jays. More interestingly, some teams are trying to acquire Cosart, which would put the Jays up against TBA – possibly the bullpen.

3. Friday Picks

Pitchers to Start: Wei-Yin Chen shutdown the Mariners last week. He’ll face them again tomorrow, this time at Camden Yards.

T.J. House has pitched well except for a 21.9 percent HR/FB ratio. His strikeout rate is low for fantasy owners, but a start against the Rangers and Jerome Williams looks like a good place to hunt a win.

Jon Niese is a decent option at home against the Giants. San Francisco has a solid offense, but Niese can keep hitters off balance. He’s opposed by Ryan Vogelsong, who’s been suffering from virus-related fatigue.

Pitchers to Exploit: Williams is your quintessential replacement level starter. He’s always been homer prone, which could be a problem against the lefty heavy Indians.

The Rockies are visiting the Tigers this week. Detroit is yet another team that should benefit from Colorado’s super-lefty rotation. Tomorrow is Franklin Morales‘ turn to get spanked.

Speaking of Rockies lefties, Chris Capuano was very briefly one of them. Now he’s a Yankee, and he’ll be up against Yoenis Cespedes and the Red Sox. Boy that looks weird.

Jeremy Hellickson is an acceptable target for two reasons. First, he may pitch poorly. He’s been fine through two starts, but he hasn’t made it past five innings yet. Which brings us to point number two, the Rays are liable to hit the bullpen early. They have a good ‘pen, so that’s not necessarily a good thing.

I honestly don’t know much about Logan Darnell. His minor league numbers look like an exploitable pitcher.

The Braves hit lefties well, which is just one reason to use them against Eric Stults. The park factor for right-handed home runs is identical to Turner Field, so you can treat them as you normally would.

Hitters (power): Chris Johnson is probably the only freely available Brave. Maybe Andrelton Simmons.

Gaby Sanchez has decent numbers against lefties. Vidal Nuno is pretty mediocre.

David Peralta – Senger Peralta to ottoneurs – has the platoon advantage against Edinson Volquez. He’s not really a power or speed threat, but he does often bat first.

Dayan Viciedo See A Lefty is the latest installment in our children’s book series. Viciedo looks like this, which makes him perfect for scaring children.

Is Matt Joyce still a Ray? He is according to MLBTR.

Lucas Duda and any other freely available, left-handed Mets are a good idea against Vogelsong.

Try any lefty Indian you can scrounge up, like Lonnie Chisenhall.

Last but not least, Steve Pearce is a nice lefty masher. Trot him out against Roenis Elias. For what it’s worth, I thought for sure Elias would be on a new team by now. Maybe it’ll still happen.

Hitters (speed): Arismendy Alcantera and Justin Ruggiano could be worth another look against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Obviously he’s a good pitcher, so the platoon advantage might not be worth it.

With the Lester-Cespedes trade in the books, look for Billy Burns to play more frequently than originally expected. Think Jarrod Dyson with a poor man’s Billy Hamilton upside.

Rajai Davis also sees a lefty. That’s not as scary of a story since he might not play.

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.

Detroit and Chicago once again have a small chance for storms.

The Link. No weather ratings today. I get the ratings from a phone app, and my phone is currently being used to berate deserving idiots.

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, RotoWorld, and Rotoballer. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.

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“With the Lester-Cespedes trade in the books, look for Billy Burns to play more frequently than originally expected.”

Not now that the A’s have also picked up Sam Fuld.