The Daily Grind: 8-28-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Are Matchups Important
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Friday Picks
  4. Table

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1. Are Matchups Important

Excellent work by Brett Talley to quantify something that’s bothered me for awhile – namely that pitching matchups aren’t terribly important. It’s probably weird to say that in a column about exploiting matchups, but I focus most of my energy on stadium and weather. Rationally, you can still expect to find value by targeting the worst offenses. When Mike Leake pitches in Petco Park, we have to expect better results. The park is vastly more pitcher friendly than in Cincinnati and the Padres lineup is terrible.

I emphasized this a lot in the early going – waiver streaming and picking DFS lineups is like rigging your hand in Hold ‘Em. Even if your starting hand is solid, the cards may not go your way. Or you could hold a bad hand and spike the flop.

2. Daily DFS

Yesterday’s Grind

Early: Of today’s nine games, three are early.

Dylan Axelrod appears to be an excellent target today. While his minor league stats on the season are palatable, he’s a soft-tossing, right-handed, fly ball specialist pitching at Great American Ball Park. There’s a lot of scope for home runs and the newly young Cubbies have the power to provide them.

It’s never really good to see pitchers allow high BABIP’s in the minors. Kyle Lobstein has consistently delivered elevated hit rates. It could be a fluke, or it could speak to a pattern of throwing too many hittable pitchers (i.e. Edwin Jackson). Lucky for the left-hander, the Yankees don’t have any particularly dangerous righties, so he could survive the outing. His minor league peripherals can best be described as “acceptable.”

Late: Six games are late. There are a lot of pitchers who aren’t quite ideal targets.

Nick Tepesch is always a target. A low strikeout rate, average walk rate, and plenty of home runs leave him exposed to meltdowns. He’s against the Astros.

C.J. Wilson could be an interesting target today based on his addiction to walks. He’s skizzled out of danger in his last few outings despite high quantities of baserunners. The Athletics have a nice group of righties to deploy against him.

Rapid Fire: John Danks blows up occasionally, but the Indians haven’t been very good against southpaws. Mike Minor has looked better of late, so maybe don’t go out of your way to add Mets.

3. Friday Picks

Pitchers to Start: I thought Mike Leake was generally owned, but he’s available in over half of all leagues. He’s a nice target with PNC Park in his back pocket.

Pitchers to Exploit: Well, Trevor May got his walks in order during his last start. He handed out zero freebies. What he did deliver over his 5.1 innings was 11 hits. He’ll face a potent Orioles unit at hitter friendly Camden Yards.

Anthony Ranaudo has a 4.50 ERA and 7.13 FIP through two starts. The prospect could become a useful major league pitcher, but his early results are not promising. His 3.9 percent swinging strike rate explains a tiny 2.25 K/9. He’s walked 3.75 BB/9, which explains the terrible FIP. We’ll see if he can post some numbers closer to his 3.87 FIP from Triple-A. He’s against the Rays.

Justin Verlander versus Scott Carroll promises runs on both sides. It’s weird to say that about Verlander. His FIP is around 4.00, so he’s still a useful mid-rotation guy. Carroll’s FIP is at 5.04. His ERA is 5.05. So clearly he’s been a luck neutral type of bad.

Don’t bother trying to predict Danny Salazar. You’ll get a headache.

Besides the basic reasons as to why Scott Baker is exploitable, the Rangers have a pretty lousy bullpen. So even if Baker happens to allow one run over five innings like his last outing, there are still plenty of chances to score runs. The Rangers face an explosive but strikeout prone Astros team.

Chase Field isn’t remotely similar to Coors Field, but it’s still somewhat hitter friendly. As a fly ball pitcher with an 89 mph heater, Bergman doesn’t appear to have the right stuff to be a Rockie.

Hitters (power): Seth Smith is still around. He’ll face Dan Haren.

You may recall I had big expectations for Josh Reddick this season. He’ll have the platoon advantage against Jered Weaver.

Robbie Grossman, Jason Castro, and Jon Singleton are all viable against Baker.

Danny Valencia has a nice matchup with Chris Capuano.

Hitters (speed): Sam Fuld is back in action after missing a couple games.

David Peralta and Ender Inciarte could swipe a couple.

Arismendy Alcantara and Chris Coghlan are the under-the-radar Cubs.

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.

Inclement weather appears unlikely to influence today’s games.

The Link. The parks skew average to above average for hitters today.

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Talking about tomorrow, but am I alone in thinking that Weaver’s nothing more than a spot starter nowadays? His stats are trending the wrong way, and unless his command is perfect teams could very easily tee off. And I want to say especially against a team like the A’s that are patient and familiar with him, but he did well against them last time.

I don’t know, Weaver scares me going forward, and especially tomorrow.