Daily Fantasy Strategy – 7/11 – For Draftstreet

The Astros, Mets and Pirates all have Thursday off. That’s three of the four most strikeout-prone offenses in baseball unavailable to pick on with a streamer or a starter in daily fantasy leagues. The Braves remain, but Mat Latos is going to come at a hefty price. So should we throw up our hands and give up on trying to find strikeouts Thursday?

Well thanks to some hard work from Steve Staude, we have a better idea of how strikeouts develop based on pitcher and hitter profiles. I encourage you to download his tool and play around with it, as I have for today’s match-ups.

Based on some complicated methodology, we can plug in league, player and pitcher strikeout rates and get an expected strikeout rate. As an example, the Twins strikeout at a roughly average 20.2% rate (20.7% against lefties), while Matt Moore strikes out 22.8% of hitters he faces. You may think he’d then be expected to strikeout roughly 21.5% of Twins batters, splitting the difference, and you’d be right – Steve’s formula spits out 21.9% as the expected strikeout rate (using the Logistic method – the other methods are more bullish on Moore).

However, consider the case of Andy Pettite’s 17.6% strikeout rate against the Royals and their 17% strikeout rate against lefties. Based on the Moore example, you’d expect roughly a 17.3% result. However, as Staude’s work aims to illustrate, Pettite strikes out the league at that rate, but the Royals are much harder to strikeout – he’d only have a 14.3% expected strikeout rate in that match-up. If Pettite were facing the Astros, his expected K-rate would be 22.3% even though they have a 27$ strikeout clip against southpaws.

All of that is to say that assuming a pitcher will get strikeouts or a team will strikeout isn’t always as easy as sorting the leaderboards.

The Daily Five
Kyle Kendrick – $9,974
I’d highly recommend jumping on the early start time pools for tomorrow as the night games get pretty thin. Consider that Kendrick is one of the few cheap options with a decent match-up available and you get my point. Kendrick’s 3.90 ERA is basically backed up by the peripherals, and even though his K-rate is somewhere south of sexy, he limits free passes and keeps the ball on the ground. The Nationals should allow for a few whiffs and are middle of the pack against righties, making them a decent match-up in neutral weather without much wind.

R.A. Dickey -$11,260
Homer alert called on the Jays fan? Perhaps, but consider that Cleveland will have a very strong wind blowing inward and a low game-time temperature, further supressing offense. Dickey has been up and down and is a major boom-or-bust pick but I have a feeling that his improved knuckleball velocity of late can help move him back towards respectability.

Gerardo Parra -$6,740
Yovani Gallardo continues to struggle and has such an extreme gopher problem over the past few seasons that it’s tough to call out for regression. Throw in near-100 degree heat at Chase Field and some D-Backs who smash righties, and I don’t like his chances of surviving (or having a successful “audition” for Arizona). Dial up Parra, the cheapest ‘Back who can hit righties (.359 wOBA) or invest more with an Aaron Hill or Paul Goldschmidt if your budget allows.

Evan Longoria – $7,652
Mike Pelfrey . Inexplicably average price for Longoria.

Dexter Fowler – $7,522
You could just as easily pick on Drew Pomeranz on the flip side of this match-up, but the Dodgers don’t have any inexpensive options who hit lefties well. Enter Dexter Fowler, who will be coming off the disabled list and comes at an injury-reduced price. Fowler struggled in a short rehab stint but this is a guy who has been consistently solid for a few years now. Late update: Realized later on that the Dodgers supress the running game pretty well and Fowler’s injury (hand) may sap some power. I’m still playing him, but that’s full disclosure in the event you want to avoid him.

Author’s Note: I realized later that DraftStreet has Baltimore Orioles priced as if they’re facing Yu Darvish, not Ross Wolf. Adjust accordingly.

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This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. 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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Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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