Daily Fantasy Strategy – 8/14/13 – For Draftstreet

While strikeouts from a hitter’s perspective may not mean a whole lot to the sabermetric community (OK, that’s amazingly oversimplified, but they generally have near-zero linear weights), getting docked 0.75 points for them in Draftstreet (or your non-Ottoneu points leagues) is kind of a big deal. So if we’re trying to decide between a few hitters, one thing we may want to take a look at is opposing pitcher strikeout rates.

# Name K% BB% SIERA
1 Shelby Miller 26.8% 7.1% 3.22
2 Tim Lincecum 25.1% 8.9% 3.49
3 Francisco Liriano 24.4% 10.1% 3.57
4 Ivan Nova 23.9% 7.4% 3.2
5 Patrick Corbin 21.3% 6.6% 3.61
6 Matt Garza 20.9% 6.1% 3.76
7 Brandon Beachy 20.8% 5.6% 3.77
8 Chris Tillman 20.4% 8.8% 4.13
9 Jon Lester 20.0% 7.6% 3.91
10 David Price 19.9% 3.4% 3.47
11 Jered Weaver 19.7% 5.8% 3.96
12 Ervin Santana 19.4% 5.7% 3.71
13 Jordan Zimmermann 18.6% 4.7% 3.67
14 Rick Porcello 18.2% 5.2% 3.41
15 Chris Capuano 17.9% 5.2% 3.9
16 John Danks 17.8% 4.8% 3.99
17 Jacob Turner 17.7% 8.8% 4.4
18 Dillon Gee 17.0% 6.2% 4.19
19 Tyler Thornburg 16.9% 7.7% 4.14
20 Jarrod Parker 16.7% 8.7% 4.58
21 Chris Rusin 16.2% 8.1% 4.44
22 Jorge de la Rosa 16.1% 8.6% 4.39
23 Aaron Harang 16.1% 5.2% 4.29
24 Andrew Cashner 16.1% 7.7% 4.21
25 Esmil Rogers 15.2% 7.0% 4.22
26 Bronson Arroyo 14.5% 4.3% 4.26
27 Kyle Gibson 12.4% 8.3% 4.76
28 Carlos Carrasco 11.7% 9.8% 4.93
29 John Lannan 11.5% 7.5% 4.71
30 Jarred Cosart 10.6% 12.9% 5.31

The list is sorted by 2013 K% but also includes SIERA over in the right-column. Huh, it looks like there’s some sort of correlation between strikeouts and performance. Tell me something I don’t know, Colin! OK, I agree. But I’m not telling you “guys going up against Matt Harvey will probably perform poorly, guys going up against Kevin Correia will probably rake.” Too obvious, and any “inefficiency” is quickly gobbled up (Draftstreet, guys on your wire in daily leagues, etc.). However, maybe there is something to be had with guys on extreme ends of the spectrum having good/bad matchups.

For example, strikeout-prone guys almost certainly have their strikeouts priced into their “base” Draftstreet value (or their point total for the season-long fantasy leaguers). A 35% K% guy may have the same “non-strikeout” production as a 15% K% guy (remember, strikeouts are near-zero linear weights), but the first guy will almost certainly come cheaper (ignoring opposition for a second) than the second based on his prior track record.

Now, for leagues where a player’s salary is “adjusted” (such as Draftstreet), the quality of the opposing pitcher is taken into effect. However, there is likely still an arbitrage for players playing against opposing pitchers at the tail end of the bell curve (assuming K% looks kind of like a bell curve). High K% guys going against low K% starting pitchers are likely to come slightly on the cheap side because the delta in the daily valuation likely doesn’t completely override their penalty for having a high whiff rate to begin with. The opposite may be true for a low K% guy going up against Yu Darvish.

Do not base your lineup decisions solely on this type of analysis, but these are the kind of things that can help break ties without resorting to flipping that commemorative 2002 “Everybody wins!” all-star game token you bought at that tag sale.

Here is all of today’s probable starters in patented (maybe not) Fangraphs sortable leaderboard style for your personal perusal.

The Daily Five

Yoenis Cespedes – $7,314

Guy whose value has been suppressed by poor 2013 numbers? Check. Guy who has shown signs of bring back 2012 Cespedes since the break? Check. Guy with a high K% going up against a pitcher with one of baseball’s lowest K%? Check. Love the value at this price point.

Jason Heyward – $7,590

Another moderately high-strikeout guy going up against a weak pitcher, Heyward also has the benefit of the lefty/righty matchup and has been one of the National League’s better hitters over the last few weeks.

Troy Tulowitzki – $8,511

Tulo has slumped since returning for the disabled list a few weeks ago, and that’s caused his value to drop into the realm of mere mortal shortstops. However, he has a juicy matchup on tap with a day game at Coors versus a guy in Andrew Cashner who has seen his velocity and whiffs drop as he approaches a career high in innings.

Chris Tillman – $14,421

I can’t believe I’m recommending Chris Tillman. However, his K/9 over the last month is a balmy (for him) 9.21 which has helped him to a 3.27 xFIP over the same time frame. The SwStr% remains rather unimpressive but I’m OK with paying a bit to see if some of the improvements Tillman has made as the season has gone along are sustainable.

Esmil Rogers – $2,742

I can’t pass up a bonafide starting pitcher at sub-$3,000 cost. Rogers got beat up last time out and faces a fairly potent Red Sox lineup, but he’s home and has an xFIP and SIERA near 4.00. Using him instead of Andrew Cashner (at Coors) is the difference between being able to afford Miguel Cabrera and settling for Trevor Plouffe at the hot corner.

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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 will maintain complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in our continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.

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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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It looks like Heyward is going against John Lannan (lefty).