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LineupRaw: Favorite picks for August 21
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 (by LineupRaw.com)

Premium Pitching

Corey Kluber is our top selection of the day. Kluber’s last 3 away game has been averaging 10K’s per 9 and only allowing 2 Earned Runs. The Twins have the 8th worst strikeout rate VS RHP. Kluber is worth the money and will get 8 plus K’s vs Twins. Kluber picks up the win, Start him!

Hitting

Atlanta Braves: Evan Gattis, Justin Upton, and Chris Johnson should ALL be in your lineups. The Braves are red hot over the past 7 days, Gattis is hitting lefties .414/.433/.741.

LA Angels: Rubby De La Rosa is getting drilled by lefties this year, .284/.347/.477, Calhoun should be in a few of your lineups.

MLB free 2star** PLAY OF THE DAY* Under 9 NYY vs HOU

Notable BVP today
Chris Carter vs B. McCarthy (2-3/2HR’s/2RBI’s)
Chris Dickerson vs P. Hughes (2-2 /2HR’s/2RBI’s)
Anthony Rendon vs W. Miley (5-6/1 2B/1.000SLG)
Starlin Castro vs M. Bumgarner (10-24/1 2B/.417AVG)

Fanduel option 1* 1:05PM Start
P C. Kluber
C E. Gattis
1B M. Morse
2B J. Baez
3B C. Johnson
SS E. Aybar
OF J. Upton
OF K. Calhoun
OF J. Hamilton

LineupRaw: We do the research so you don't have to!



Roto Rants for August 20
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 (by Zach Harbison, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

Winning cash Wednesday! Lots of options and lots of contests to make money off of on the split schedule. Today means we have lots of options on the type of games we play- full day, early, late, midday! Let our algorithm help you. I’ll be giving you a preview from our algorithm’s suggestions. For a full analysis and viewing of the top plays, visit the Premium Plays section at RotoRants.com by clicking here.

Dog days of Summer- Day Slate:

You’re going to pay! And you need to for the morning slate. DFS is all about anchoring your team with top projected players, and finding value in players you expect to perform higher than their salary. That is exactly what our algorithm does. However, sometimes it still projects a player to perform well, but under their salary. Today happens to be one of those days. While the A’s Samardzija presents a slight value in the number two spot, our top ranked player is going to make you pay! Cole Hamels comes in as the mornings top priced player, but also comes in at a negative value. He’s not alone as Stanton, Bautista, Encarnacion, and Yelich all clock in as top 10 projected hitters, but are projected to under-perform their salary.

Still- you have to pay up! There is a reason why certain players hold those price tags and our top rated pitcher and hitter are worth it. Why?! Well, Hamels comes in with a cool 2.44 ERA and has pitched 7 innings in each of his last seven starts. Plus, he’s provided at least 5 K’s and as many as 10 in a game over that time. Hamels has held this Mariners lineup to a .275 batting average with only allowing 14 hits in 51 at bats. No Smoak, Bloomquist, or Hart (who have all registered hits against Hamels) and the Mariners struggling add up for a pretty good situation for Hamels. Yes, there’s a tough pitcher on the other mound, but Vegas likes the Phillies as a slight favorite in a low scoring game!

As for hitting, Giancarlo Stanton comes in first and is projected for more points than half of the pitchers! Shouldn’t be surprising as every homerun he hits goes 5,000 feet! Now he faces a young, struggling pitcher in Nick Martinez. Martinez has a 5.27 ERA, has given up 25 hits over his last four games, and has given up a home run in three of his last four games. Stanton, however, has been hitting .409 this past week, has a five game hitting streak, and is always hungry to improve on his 32 homers so far this season. You’re going to have to pay, but he’s worth it.

How about a bonus cheap play for a little more taste before you head over to RotoRants.com and check out our Premium Plays- Gerardo Parra provides great value with a $3,000 salary on DraftKings.

A Hard Day’s Night

There is relief in sight! While the day was all about paying up, the night offers you some options. No, don’t worry about squinting and hoping they pay off, there are some legitimate plays everywhere that our algorithm likes for cheap. We will look at a few, but be sure to check out RotoRants.com for the rest!

Pitching has some great choices to look at- Garrett Richards and Johnny Cueto have been studs and are worth fitting in if you can. Our algorithm likes someone else as the biggest value more though, and that someone is Tanner Roark. Roark doesn’t have much experience against the Diamondbacks, but what he does has been stellar. In his seven at bats, the D-Backs failed to register a hit. That’s not enough to go on though, so why does our algorithm like him so much? Well, his under 3 ERA helps. Against a team that strikes out a lot, you love to see a pitcher like Roark who is registering nearly 5 K’s per game. In their last 10 games, the D-Backs are 3-7, and tonight should be no different as Vegas likes Roark as a -190 favorite to lock in a win.

Bats can be cheap too, and one of our top ranked batters tonight comes from a position that can be difficult to fill, catcher. Mr. Yan Gomes clocks in as our top rated value for the night, and as one of the top projected batters. In his four plate appearances against Nolasco, Gomes has went 2 for 4 with both hits being long balls. Gomes is hitting at his season average this past week, batting .286, and has hits in seven of his last ten. You can bet he’s excited to get Nolasco on the mound and our algorithm likes his success in this matchup to continue! Get him while he’s cheap.

The Stack

Breakfast should be served up with a full helping of Marlins! Sure, not the sexiest of stacks, but if you’re looking for that than go with the Brewers. However, the Marlins get a roughed up pitcher at home during the day. Vegas likes them at a -161 favorite in an 8 run line.

You could portion out your dinner in a few mini-stacks, but one big helping of the Royals wouldn’t hurt either. They are facing De La Rosa at the favorable Coors field in a 9.5 run line game. This is the highest projected game, and it wouldn’t hurt to throw a few Rockies in your meal too!

Zach Harbison is a fantasy sports nut and full-time DFS player. He is also the Marketing Director at the new DFS site, RotoPop, helping grow the DFS offerings with a new twist. He has been a player, coach, scout, and writer in the sports community. You can ask him any questions @onceharby and find his writing at RotoRants, TheFakeBaseball, numberFire, and more. He lives for figuring out the best ways to help the fantasy sports community grow.



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for August 19
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

It's my favorite day of the week for MLB daily fantasy. Why? Because the games on Tuesdays always start at night, which means that the variance in the lineups is the largest it can be since the contests tonight include all the games. Plus, we've got all day to do research and make sure we can find the best possible plays.

The weather also looks good across the board. There are a few forecasts that call for a small chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms before the game in that area begins, but in all of those cases it looks like it should clear up and not cause any issues.

Pitchers

My favorite starter of the day is Stephen Strasburg. He's coming of a very strong start and is a big favorite to win. Let's not also forget to mention that his numbers against Arizona over his career are phenomenal. Let's look for him to go really big tonight.

Some other pitchers I like today are Scott Kazmir, Max Scherzer and Hisashi Iwakuma. Scherzer and Iwakuma have been pitching extremely well lately while Kazmir is another huge favorite to win today. I've got a feeling each of them are going to have strong outings today.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Justin Morneau. He will be battling against James Shields today, who he is 15-44 (.341) against with 4 HR, 11 RBI and 10 XBH. Morneau is also batting .459 over the past 14 days so I suggest you starting playing this guy before he slows down.

Some other notable hitters are Mike Napoli (vs. Jered Weaver, 10-29 (.345), 3 HR, 3 RBI, 5 XBH), Adrian Beltre (vs. Jarred Cosart, 4-6 (.667), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 XBH) and Starling Marte (vs. Aaron Harang, 2-5 (.400)).

Today's value hitter is Rickie Weeks. He will be facing off against J.A. Happ today, who he is 8-17 (.471) against with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 5 XBH. I have a feeling the Brewers are in store for a big game tonight so let's look for Weeks to be a big contributor to their offense.

Today's punt hitter is Andre Ethier. He will be facing Ian Kennedy today, who he is 11-34 (.324) against with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 4 XBH). The matchup between SD/LAD is looking pretty even right now so I think the game could go either way. Let's hope Ethier can get on base a few times tonight and give the Dodgers offense a nice boost.

Stacking options

My main focus is going to be on the TOR/MIL game today. The Brewers are facing a lefty who struggles against right handed bats. No brainer. On the other hand, Fiers had a phenomenal start his last outing, but I'm not convinced he can repeat that performance again tonight. I think the Blue Jays bats will get to him tonight.

Another focus is mine is going to be the Angels. It seems like they get a good matchup every single night and I see no reason why I shouldn't be playing them. They are also facing a pitcher with an alarmingly high walk ratio so let's look for plenty of base runners in that matchup for the Angels.

Lastly, I like the Royals right handers tonight. They are facing a lefty who has struggled on the season and they are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. Let's look for them to go real big in Colorado tonight.

[For more expansion on Philip's analysis for today, follow this link.]

Philip Nacamuli is a New Jersyan mathlete who lives, eats and breathes baseball. When he is not watching a Mets game he is usually sitting at his computer tinkering with his spreadsheets. After being part of the daily fantasy community for several years Phil decided that he would combine his love of math and baseball and his Daily Batter vs. Pitcher and Last 14 Days Analysis was born! Since the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, Phil has been helping newcomers to the daily fantasy sports scene by posting his critically acclaimed Daily Batter vs. Pitcher and Last 14 Days Analysis on Reddit and answering any questions that newcomers may have. You can find Phil on Twitter as @phillyCHEEEEEZ, on Reddit as /u/phillyCHEEEEEZ or at bars in the North-Central Jersey area proclaiming how this year is actually going to be the Mets' year.



The Kansas City Royals' Offense Is Fueling Their Hot Streak
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: August 15)

Uh, some things are happening with the Royals right now.

Yes, there are big doings afoot in Kansas City, where our new Royal overlords just took three of four games from the best team in baseball, the Oakland Athletics. They've won 18 of their last 22 games, and they're in first place by a half game in the AL Central over the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers.

The Royals appear to have a good shot at sustaining this hot streak, thanks to a favorable schedule the rest of the way. Oakland was the last team Kansas City will face this season that currently has a better record than them, and they are about to embark on a nine-game road trip that will take them through Minnesota, Colorado and Texas. Not exactly a murderer's row.

[click here to read the rest of the article on numberFire.com]



No One Can Cool Down Mike Fiers
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: August 15)

After being up and down from the minors throughout the past four seasons, Mike Fiers is starting to show that he belongs at the big league level. He was given a chance earlier in the season, but was sent back down to Nashville 15 days after he was called up. During that span, he went seven innings and allowed two runs while striking out four and walking three. Each of those four outings came late in games, and he held down the fort in each outing, except one where he went four innings and took the loss in a 16-inning battle against the Nationals.

[click here to read the rest of the article on numberFire.com]



Article 16 - Visual Memory vs Muscle Memory
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 16th in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

Muscle memory is known to remain quite stable in most sports. In the 1970s coaches in varied sports told their athletes that practice makes perfect. They referred, of course, to the need to repeat a physical movement over and over in order to become proficient at a skill in any sport. In the 1980s coaches updated the saying to practice makes permanent, referring to the concept that if one repeats an imperfect mechanical movement over and over, he or she will not improve his/her skill to the level of perfection, but will instead become “locked in” to poor mechanical skills. In more recent years, we have heard about “muscle memory,” which is based on the same concept. But each of these phrases mean athletes must be exposed to correct physical movement over and over prior to competitive events in order to perform at peak levels during subsequent competition.

Basketball free-throw shooters exemplify muscle memory stability. Their accuracy is over 90% for top shooters. The Guinness World Record for consecutive free-throws is mind-blowing.

In my studies in mechanical kinesiology at the University of Northern Colorado, I utilized the fast-pitch softball pitch in a study of muscle memory. For fast-pitch accuracy, much of the muscle memory is in the fingers; the shoulder and elbow are more restricted in movement than in the overhand baseball pitch movement. By confining the muscle memory study to the wrist, hand and fingers, we found muscle memory to be quite stable, as most researchers in the field would agree.

Over the past several decades, baseball coaches have been focused on muscle memory in the mechanics of the hitter’s swing to alleviate slumps and keep the hitter’s eye on target. However, in baseball visual memory is more likely the reason for the hitter’s eye getting off target, since muscle memory is quite stable. If a hitter has difficulty when he changes venues, it is most likely due to changes in the amount of ball movement from that which he recently experienced.

Air resistance is the only thing a hitter cannot see or feel. Speed for each type of MLB pitch deviates by only about 10 to 15 mph. Wind is detectable. Temperature is detectable. Hitters soon get used to the pitcher’s delivery. However, air density is invisible, permeates the skin and body, pushes humidity onto the skin, and confuses ball players because they feel only the humidity. The invisible, undetectable air resistance is a much bigger issue for baseball players to adjust to, only because no one has taught them the science nor given them a gauge.

Recent memory is also commonly known to be more accurate than more distant memory, since memory fades over time. This concept is also valid in baseball visual memory. Distant memory of seeing and reacting to ball movement in a particular venue must be replaced by recent memory of ball movement and ensuing reaction, which then allows muscle memory to be as accurate as that of the opponent in the opponents’ home venue. Therefore, the concept of daily exposure to “heavyweight” air venues in a variable-pressure batting cage holds extremely high competitive potential for major college baseball and professional baseball.

Complementing this daily exposure, the air density gauge, which on a “hundred scale” helps the athlete to relate the degree of visual ball movement amount to a particular number--and associate it with the appropriate mechanical muscle memory reaction.

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and the web-site www.baseballvmi.com. Clifton pitched and played baseball and fast-pitch softball in the mountainous southwest Colorado area (from 4,000 feet in Grand Junction to 6,000 feet in Durango to 9,000 feet in Telluride) prior to his college experience in baseball.



Chu’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, August 15
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

The more I play on DraftKings, the more I realize that nailing a top SP, regardless of price, can pay HUGE dividends. Scoring 150+ points will generally lead to you cashing in any format, which means you need to average 3 points for every $1k you spend. This is pretty tough to do with hitting, but a good day from a SP can heal most wounds.

For today’s games, I’ve got a tie at the top of my rankings. Both Cole Hamels ($10,800) and Madison Bumgarner ($8,600) have very favorable matchups in extremely pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park. The Giants haven’t hit the ball well all year at home (.662 OPS) and the Phillies have been equally bad on the road (.666 OPS). Neither team hits lefties very well, and Hamels and Bumgarner happen to be among the best lefties around. The biggest thing separating them is price. I like Bumgarner more if I can only afford one, but I won’t be surprised if I end up with both in a majority of games.

Scoring big on a cheap pitcher is one of the best feelings in DFS, and today, for some reason, I have a good feeling about Travis Wood ($5,900). Maybe it’s because the Mets are in the bottom 5 in all of baseball against lefties in the following categories: Runs, 2B, HR, TB, RBI, XBH, AVG, SLG, and OPS (and usually the Padres are the only team that’s worse). Maybe it’s because Wood has shown signs of life the past few weeks, including 23 K’s in his last 23 IP. Maybe it’s because in 66 AB (yeah, I know, BvP data is fluky and weird and unreliable, but I really want a 3rd thing to say) the Mets have slashed just .197/.284/.348 against Wood. Anyway, he’s worth a shot if you’re looking to strike gold.

Other guys I like include (in no particular order): Tyson Ross ($9,400), Zack Wheeler ($8,500), Tanner Roark ($8,800), Alex Cobb ($8,200), and Clay Buchholz ($6,500). Not a lot of slam dunk value plays today, I’m afraid.

Hitting

There are 2 very exploitable pitchers taking the mound tonight – Nick Martinez v LAA, and Franklin Morales v CIN. Both of them are pitching at home in hitter-friendly parks (like REALLY friendly, maybe the 2 friendliest in baseball in terms of outfield dimensions and conditions).

Against Martinez, you can use RHH or LHH, since he’s given up tons of hits to guys on both sides of the plate. Mike Trout ($5,500), Albert Pujols ($4,600), and Kole Calhoun ($3,800) have been the best against RHP, with C.J Cron ($2,900), Erick Aybar ($3,700), and Efren Navarro ($2,100) being the lower-cost options that have a chance to make some noise. Seriously, though, pretty much everyone’s got a chance to hit the ball hard against this guy.

Against Morales, focus on Cincinnati’s righties. Morales has always been bad against RHH, and this year is no exception. Devin Mesoraco ($4,900), Todd Frazier ($4,800), Kris Negron ($3,500), Ramon Santiago ($2,500), and Ryan Ludwick ($3,600) are all fine choices.

If you just need a guy to bring that third team into your lineup, look at Jose Bautista ($5,200). He faces Hector Noesi in that little matchbox of a park they’ve got on the south side of Chicago. Noesi is a guy with reverse splits—he’s much more effective against lefties than righties, despite being a RHP. Jose Bautista happens to be a righty who loves hitting RHP, making him an ideal player in every lineup.

Other potential stacks include BoSox RHH, Royals LHH, and Braves LHH. Of those, I probably like the Royals against Ricky Nolasco the most.

Scott Chu is just happy to have the chance to do this once a week. You can find him on Twitter as @DrChuseph, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chuseph, shamelessly rooting for the Tigers, or playing video games in his apartment while listening to baseball.



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for August 14
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

We've got a short slate today with a little less than half the games starting early. Normally I would suggest you avoid the early set but I think it may be actually be safe to play in some early only or all day contests today. There enough games in the early set that you would be able to make a team with players mostly starting in those games. Also, Max Scherzer is only available in the early only or all day contests and he's my favorite pitcher today by far.

Pitchers

As I said, Max Scherzer is my favorite pitcher. He's the biggest favorite of the day and is coming off a string of 4 really good starts. Let's look for him to keep the ball rolling tonight.

Some other pitchers I like are Stephen Strasburg and John Lackey. Each of them are also favored to win today and are facing some very weak offenses. I think they've both got a great chance to pick up a win tonight.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Victor Martinez. He will be facing Francisco Liriano today, who he is 13-27 (.481) against with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 7 XBH. I have a feeling the Tigers are going to have a big day against the Pirates today so let's look for Martinez to do some real work from the cleanup spot today.

Some other notable hitters are Adrian Gonzalez (vs. Aaron Harang, 8-20 (.400), 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 XBH), Miguel Cabrera (vs. Francisco Liriano, 9-29 (.310), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 XBH) and Mike Napoli (vs. Scott Feldman, 12-29 (.414), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Alex Avila. He will be facing Francisco Liriano today, who he is 4-8 (.500) against with 2 RBI and 2 XBH. As I said before, I think Detroit is primed for a big game so let's look for Avila to be a big part of the Tigers offense tonight.

Today's punt hitter is Mark Ellis. He will be facing Eric Stults today, who he is 6-13 (.462) against with 1 RBI and 2 XBH. I think the Cardinals have a great chance to go off tonight against Stults. Let's look for Ellis to contribute a lot to their offense tonight and provide us with some great value.

Stacking options

One of my favorite stacking options today is the Tigers. They are gigantic favorites today and are facing a lefty who hasn't really done anything that special in his last 2 starts. I'm expecting Detroit's right handed bats to have a big night tonight so look to get those guys in your lineup.

I also really like the Cardinals right handers today. They are facing Eric Stults today, a weak lefty who has given up 20 HR in his 23 starts this season. The Cardinals haven't really shown much power this year but I wouldn't be surprised if they are able to send a few over the wall tonight.

Another focus of mine is going to be the Red Sox. They are the favorites in a game with a very high O/U and are facing a pitcher who is, in my opinion, just terrible. He doesn't strike many people out so let's look for the Red Sox to put the ball in play a lot day.

Lastly, keep an eye on the Rockies. They are one of the best hitting teams at home and are facing Alfredo Simon today. He may have been pitching very well in the beginning of the season but he's really slowed down in the past few weeks. Simon also hasn't won a game since July 9th and his numbers are starting to trend toward his career averages so let's look for Colorado to have a big game today.

[For more expansion on Philip's analysis for today, follow this link.]

Philip Nacamuli is a New Jersyan mathlete who lives, eats and breathes baseball. When he is not watching a Mets game he is usually sitting at his computer tinkering with his spreadsheets. After being part of the daily fantasy community for several years Phil decided that he would combine his love of math and baseball and his Daily Batter vs. Pitcher and Last 14 Days Analysis was born! Since the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, Phil has been helping newcomers to the daily fantasy sports scene by posting his critically acclaimed Daily Batter vs. Pitcher and Last 14 Days Analysis on Reddit and answering any questions that newcomers may have. You can find Phil on Twitter as @phillyCHEEEEEZ, on Reddit as /u/phillyCHEEEEEZ or at bars in the North-Central Jersey area proclaiming how this year is actually going to be the Mets' year.



Roto Rants for August 13
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 (by Zach Harbison, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

What’s up, Wednesday?! Lots of options and lots of contests to make money off of on the split schedule. Today means we have lots of options on the type of games we play- full day, early, late, midday! Let our algorithm help you. I’ll be giving you a preview from our algorithm’s suggestions. For a full analysis and viewing of the top plays, visit the Premium Plays section at RotoRants.com by clicking here.

There are many ways to win DFS contests, but one of the most tried and true ways is to find the picks with history and those with the best matchups and stack them. For instance, yesterday you wanted Chris Sale, Josh Donaldson, and an A’s stack. The Astros were good, but the A’s produced 20 hits and 11 runs and carried most of the teams at the top of the DFS leaderboards. So who does our algorithm have to be those guys today?!

Come Sale Away

Only four day games running on most sites due to Indians and Diamondbacks playing a double header, so the pitching choices are very selective, but there are some interesting ones. Quintana, Kennedy, and Peavy all perk my interest at first glance, but who does our algorithm like to be the Sale of the morning? Look no further than Ian Kennedy. Kennedy hasn’t been a stud by any means this year, but he’s been very consistent. In his last 4 games, he has averaged giving up 4.5 hits, and has held his opponents to 9 runs over those games. Kennedy is also on his way to setting a career best strikeout number, and has averaged over six K’s per game. Not Sale enough yet? Fair enough, but consider that Kennedy has held this Rockies lineup to a .283 batting average over 99 at bats, and has a strikeout rate of over 21%. Don’t forget that this lineup is without some of their biggest run producers in Tulowitzki, Cuddyer, and Gonzalez and is struggling mightily. Vegas has this line set at a low 6.5 and has the Padres as a heavy -173 favorite behind Kennedy. Expect a win and some good strikeouts from him!

The night pitching slate is interesting. There are lots of appealing options, but many of them have difficult or sub-par matchups. Chris Archer could be interesting against a struggling Rangers offense, Santana, Lohse, Ryu, and Zimmerman all seem to provide good value, but I’m going to stick with the algorithm and cover our top projected pitcher- Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma faces a tough Blue Jays offense, so this is a little scary, however it is comforting to know that Vegas has this line marked at a low 7. It also has the rolling Mariners marked as a -170 favorite. Why is that? Our algorithm would tell you a large part plays into the fact the Iwakuma has held this Blue Jays lineup to a .175 batting average over 40 at bats. He’s also held them to a .182 BABIP. He’s basically dominated this lineup. No Encarnacion or Lawrie and this lineup looks a little weaker anyway. Add in Iwakuma’s 2.86 ERA, the fact that he’s went 7+ innings in his last seven games, only yielded 12 runs while producing 42 strikeouts over that time and you can see why our algorithm likes him Sale style tonight!

The Dong-alson effect

Homeruns don’t come cheap every day, and I’m going to focus on one of our algorithm's top projected hitters. How about none other than rookie Jose Abreu? Abreu doesn’t have many at bats against Peavy, so it is hard to pull data from that, but the right-hander has been hitting nearly .300 this past week and has shown power all year. Against right handed pitching, Abreu has a wOBA of .404, and isolated power of .304, and has produced 24 home runs this year. He hasn’t produced a homerun this week, but I think he’s been saving them for today. Peavy hasn’t been the model of pitching this year, bringing in a 1-12 record and a 4.73 ERA. He’s also allowed 20 homeruns, a number our algorithm believes could increase today.

There are some big names at the top of our algorithm tonight, and I’m going to single one out that may be very lightly owned. It’s not often you’ll hear me say go against a top pitcher like Ryu, but Freddie Freeman may be worth it. In his six at bats against Ryu, Freeman has produced three hits and two walks. His only extra base hit was a double, but anytime a hitter of Freeman’s caliber has seen a pitcher this well it is only a matter of time before they go yard. Freeman is hitting .455 over the past week, and has been on fire. I understand if the southpaw matchup scares you, but Freddie is going to be under owned and our algorithm likes him to set your team apart in GPPs.

The Stack

Early stack is a tough one. The highest line is 8 and it’s really a toss-up game between the Astros and Twins. Our algorithm likes both teams to have some producers. Check the Premium Plays to see which one to stack.

If Vegas likes it, it normally means you should. While it may seem crazy to play an underwhelming Rays stack, Vegas like the Rays as a -139 favorite in a 9 run game. That Texas heat can produce crazy games. Come check out our Premium Plays at RotoRants.com to see if this is our stack of the day or not!

Zach Harbison is a fantasy sports nut and full-time DFS player. He is also the Marketing Director at the new DFS site, RotoPop, helping grow the DFS offerings with a new twist. He has been a player, coach, scout, and writer in the sports community. You can ask him any questions @onceharby and find his writing at RotoRants, TheFakeBaseball, numberFire, and more. He lives for figuring out the best ways to help the fantasy sports community grow.



A Case for Yan Gomes as the Best Catcher in Baseball
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: August 11)

In his first full season behind the plate, Yan Gomes has quietly emerged as one of the most productive catchers in all of baseball. The 27-year-old exhibits all the necessary tools to flourish behind the dish for the foreseeable future, too. And no, I’m not referring to the “tools of ignorance” – his equipment. Gomes is a well-rounded athlete who renders a good glove, an above average arm, decent speed and a plethora of power.

[click here to read the rest of the article on numberFire.com]



Daily DraftKings Matchups: Monday, August 11
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 (by Bryan Curley of baseballprof.com)

Monday’s Optimal DraftKings Lineup

Note: Lineup subject to change due to weather and released MLB lineups. Check back before contest lineups lock for our final lineup.

On Monday we have our typical shortened slate, but it’s still mostly full (11 games) and we can choose from 10 games in today’s contests. As of this writing it’s too early to say anything definitive about the weather, but Daily Baseball Data is reporting 40-50% chances of rain in the DET@PIT, MIL@CHC, and LAD@ATL games. I won’t be avoiding picking pitchers in those games yet, but if you select anyone in them keep an extra close eye.

C: Stephen Vogt (OAK) @ Y. Ventura (KC) — $2,900
1B: Kennys Vargas (MIN) @ B. Peacock (HOU) — $3,400
2B: Brian Dozier (MIN) @ B. Peacock (HOU) — $4,200
3B: Josh Harrison (MIN) vs. J. Verlander (DET) — $4,400
SS: Danny Santana (MIN) @ B. Peacock (HOU) — $3,900
OF: Gregory Polanco (PIT) vs. J. Verlander (DET) — $3,900
OF: Hidden
OF: Hidden
SP: Shelby Miller (STL) @ T. Koehler (MIA) — $6,100
SP: Hidden

Walks were Shelby Miller’s problem early in the year as the disappointing Cardinal posted a whopping 11.4 BB% during the first half. Since the All-Star break, though, Miller has walked just 2.8% of batters with a slightly improved strikeout rate (16.9%). In his last three starts he’s allowed just five earned runs across 18.2 innings (2.41 ERA) against the Cubs, Red Sox, and Padres. Those aren’t great offenses (the Padres have been a top five offense over the last two weeks!) but Miami isn’t any better. At just $6.1K and currently pitching his best baseball of 2014, Miller makes for a nice upside pick in GPP contests.

Vogt found himself in out Official Lineup on a near daily basis not long ago, but a rough stretch that saw him slump through an 0-for-23 stretch has ended abruptly; in his last four games Vogt has five hits, including two homers. The price is hard to beat.

Brad Peacock has allowed 15 ER in his last two starts! Vargas has 20-25 HR pop over a full season with attractive walk and strikeout rates in the minors. Paired with Peacock, his sub-$3.5K price tag is appetizing. While we’re capitalizing on Peacock, why not put Dozier and Santana in our lineup, too? Dozier is associated with success against LHP, but he’s actually done just as well against RHP this season — .337 wOBA vs. LHP and .339 wOBA vs. RHP! I’ve never been a huge fan of Santana, pretty much regarding him as the 15th best SS in fantasy, but there aren’t many great options in Monday’s games and Santana has been great at avoiding strikeouts and posting solid point totals over the last few weeks.

Justin Verlander has turned a small corner over his last few starts, but the strikeouts are still down and he doesn’t scare me. Harrison and Polanco are strong plays due to their prices and recent performance. Harrison’s batting nearly .500 over the last two weeks, and Polanco has curbed his mid-season strikeout problem while putting up some great stats in the process. Over the last 10 games he’s tallied 15 hits, including six doubles and a homer, with more stolen bases (three) than strikeouts (two). You can have this player, one with one of the most talked-about skill sets in the minors, for under $4K.

Baseball Professor is sabermetric-slanted fantasy baseball blog with fresh content updated daily. Their fantasy analysts provide you with everything you need to run your team on a daily basis, including their SP Matchup Ratings, Fantasy News and Notes, and a no-fluff daily podcast (or as they call it, a Profcast). Get the fantasy info you want at www.baseballprof.com.



Article 15 – Visual Memory: The World Baseball Classic
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 15th in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

It is little wonder that a team such as Japan (sea level in dome) can win the World Baseball Classic (WBC) against a US MLB team that has been recently exposed to ball movement in Arizona and Florida during Spring Training. Arizona is approximately 1200 feet elevation and warm, where ball movement corresponds to an Air Density Index (ADI) of approximately 61 on the Neeley Scale. Florida is basically sea level, but in March the temperatures are a little warmer than Arizona, so the ball movement is associated with an average 63 ADI for those teams training there.

Japan has twelve professional teams and half of them play in domes at 72 degrees; this lands them on the Neeley Scale at 66 ADI. The open stadiums play between sea level and a maximum of 390 feet elevation at temperatures between 65 and 75 for most of the season, which corresponds to 65 ADI. Only one stadium, that of the Chiba Lotte Marines, is located in colder air at sea level--at an air density on the Scale at 71 when it is (often) 55 degrees. Therefore, Japan’s players are used to seeing approximately one inch more movement on the four-seamer than the US Spring Training teams are used to seeing. All the other pitches are similarly more effective in Japan than in Florida or Arizona during Spring Training, as well--creating good preparation for Japan in the WBC.

Neeley Scale - Maximum Lift and Tail Off from straight line on ¾ arm slot on 95 mph four-seam fastball

Air Density Heavyweights Welterweights Lightweights Featherweights Bantamweights
Neeley Scale 70’s 60’s 50’s 40’s 30’s
Max Lift 7 inches Lift 6 Inches Lift 5 Inches Lift 4 Inches Lift 3 Inches Lift
Max Tail Off 9 Inches Tail Off 8 Inches Tail Off 7 Inches Tail Off 5 Inches Tail Off 4 Inches Tail Off
Venues California teams
Seattle
Philly
Boston
Washington
New York
Baltimore

Japan (Open)
the Midwest up to 1,000 feet and sea level warmer temps plus Domes in Florida, Houston, Arizona Atlanta
Arizona
Texas
Kansas City
Denver
Coors Field

Mexico City
South Africa
Denver
Coors Field

Mexico City
South Africa

The competition between the US and Japan in March is very similar to the Central Division playing against the Eastern Division in much of the MLB season (See article 8). The US is simply not ready to handle San Diego’s “heavyweight” ball movement. They may find it difficult to compete in upper “welterweight” environments like Los Angeles against teams from other sea level locations. Japan is used to seeing the same ball movement in its native country venues.

The other teams in the World Baseball Classic finals are mostly from Latin American countries that lie at sea level and have warm climates very similar to Florida. Many of these teams are populated with MLB players who have also been recently exposed to Florida and Arizona during Spring Training; the US can readily compete with many of those teams.

If the US MLB wants to win the World Baseball Classic regularly, it must expose players to ball movement in three to four games at 68 to 70 ADI, instead of 61 to 63 ADI in Florida and Arizona. Alternatively, they could use batting cage sessions for three to four days at an ADI of 68 or above prior to competing against some of these teams who are typically exposed to 65 to 70 ADI. The issue for the US team in the World Baseball Classic is not the level of talent; it is the recent exposure to lesser ball movement than the opponent has recently faced.

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and the web-site www.baseballvmi.com. Clifton pitched and played baseball and fast-pitch softball in the mountainous southwest Colorado area (from 4,000 feet in Grand Junction to 6,000 feet in Durango to 9,000 feet in Telluride) prior to his college experience in baseball.



Chu’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, August 8
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

For those of you inclined to spend big bucks on a pitcher, let me point you to Stephen Strasburg ($9,900). He’s been inconsistent this year, and that’s putting it gently. Despite some of the best stuff in baseball, he’s been prone to blow-ups. His matchup with the Braves should help keep him on track. The Braves have a meager .663 OPS against RHP, good enough to be ranked 28th in all of baseball coupled with the 2nd most strikeouts against RHP with 740. He’s probably worth the $ today, and is my top rated pitcher. I also like his odds to get a win today, because the Braves have been awful lately.

For those of you looking to win the lottery with a cheap option, I’d probably recommend (*gulp*) Miles Mikolas ($5,400). I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you he’s good. He’s nothing special. But his matchup with the Astros is exploitable, as they have an awful .666 OPS against righties. They’ve also struck out in bunches against righties – 3rd most K’s in the majors against RHP. He’s turned in quality starts in 2 of his last 3, and will be on the road, where he’s actually got a sparkling 0.92 WHIP and 13 K’s in 19.2 innings (compared to much, MUCH worse numbers at home). He’s got a lot of good things going for him today, so he might be worth a look if you need to save money.

For my 3rd recommendation, I’m going to keep picking on teams that struggle against RHP and go with Bartolo Colon ($7,200) against the Phillies. They’ve been pretty bad against RHP, slashing just .240/.301/.357. Big Fat Bartolo has actually been very good against LHP this season, which represents the vast majority of the good bats in Philidelphia’s lineup. Bartolo is a control master, and is always a threat to pitch deep into a game and post serviceable strikeout numbers. To make things even better, both of his starts against the Phillies this year have gone at least 7 innings with at least 5 K’s and 2 ER or less. That’s more than good enough for me.

Hitting

Oakland Lefties – Kyle Gibson has this thing where he gets blown up sometimes. Of his last 7 starts, 3 have been terrible, giving up 6+ runs in each. Lefties give Gibson a lot of trouble, and Oakland has some lefties he like to throw in their lineup just for these kinds of situations. John Jaso ($3,600), the versatile Stephen Vogt ($3,000, because he hasn’t been very good the last week or so) the slumping-but-talented Brandon Moss ($3,900), the switch-hitting Jed Lowrie ($3,900, but check to make sure he’s over that finger injury), Coco Crisp ($4,200), and the red-hot Josh Reddick ($4,300) are all valid options to fill out your lineup.

Cincinnati Lefties – Nathan Eovaldi gets rocked even more frequently than Gibson, and the reason why is similar – left-handed hitters. They’ve slugged .469 against Eovaldi this season. Put another way, Eovaldi makes the average LHH he look like Robinson Cano (.463 SLG this season). Billy Hamilton ($4,400), Jay Bruce ($4,000), and Brayan Pena ($2,900) can all swing from the left side of the dish, giving them a chance to put up big points for your team.

Other stacking options include LAA lefties, ARZ righties, and Brewers from either side of the plate.

Scott Chu is just happy to have the chance to do this once a week. You can find him on Twitter as @DrChuseph, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chuseph, shamelessly rooting for the Tigers, or playing video games in his apartment while listening to baseball.



LineupRaw: Favorite picks for August 7
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 (by LineupRaw.com)

Premium Pitching

Jon Lester is showing tremendous value today as he faces the Twins who have scored the fewest runs and fewest hits in the AL versus the A’s. Lester is in a good spot Thursday as he holds hitters to a .208 AVG in his new home at Overstock.com Coliseum. Thursday’s seem to be tough on pitching due to lack of Aces on the mound but Lester holds a 1.82 ERA in his last 10 starts with a strikeout rate of 9.1 K/9. Lester will pick up 5+ K’s and the win today, Start him!

Value Pitching

Roenis Elias gets the nod as one of our 2 value pitchers of the day. Elias has pitched very well in his last 3 starts allowing just 1 Earned Run and having 6+ punch outs. Today the Chicago White Sox are coming in fairly hot in the past 7 days being the top MLB team with the most hits and RBI’s. That will not matter today; Seattle is coming off a 2 game series sweep over the Braves outscoring them by 2 or more runs and versus 2 of Atlanta’s top pitchers. CHW ranks top 3 in strikeouts in the majors and bottom 10 versus lefties (.260/.311/.403). Elias will get 5+ strikeouts, great starter for a tournament lineup. Start him.

MLB free 2star** PLAY OF THE DAY* OVER 8 ARI VS KC

Notable BVP today
D. Murphy vs J. Zimmermann (13-41/3HR’s/.967OPS)
D. Wright vs J. Zimmermann (11-36/2HR’s/.899OPS)
J. Ellsbury vs R. Porcello (7-10/2HR’s/2 SB/ 2.127OPS)

Fanduel option 1* 12:35PM Start
P R. Elias
C M. Montero
1B A. Gonzalez
2B J. Altuve
3B P. Sandoval
SS J. Mercer
OF Y. Puig
OF J. Bautista
OF B. Gardner

LineupRaw: We do the research so you don't have to!



Roto Rants for August 6
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 (by Zach Harbison, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

Split schedule Wednesday! Today means we have lots of options on the type of games we play- full day, early, late, midday! Let our algorithm help you. I’ll be giving you a preview from our algorithm’s suggestions. For a full analysis and viewing of the top plays, visit the Premium Plays section at RotoRants.com by clicking here.

Pitching

Only four day games running, so pegging the top pitchers will be very key to winning. Looking across the board, three pitchers will stand out to everyone: Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, and Julio Teheran. All of these pitchers have at least 10 wins this year, and an ERA in the 2’s. They also all have matchups against middling or struggling offenses. So who is the best choice? Well our algorithm wants you to wipe last night’s memory of a vintage Rangers team putting up massive amounts of runs, and see that Chris Sale has clearly been a dominating pitcher this year and will continue to be. While Adam Dunn (not a typo! Go watch if you haven’t) coming in last night for the White Sox may be the only memory you can maintain of Chicago right now, don’t forget that Sale has kept this Rangers roster to a .230 batting average over 61 at bats. During that time he’s stuck them out at a 32.86% rate. Here’s the guys who have had some success against Sale: Adam Rosales and Adrian Beltre. Yeah, he’s the safest play today.

Lots of unappetizing pitching choices in the night game. Our algorithm and I suggest finding value at pitcher and paying up for hitting during the night games! Sure, there are some big names who have done decently this year like Chen, Fister, Latos, Gallardo, and Vogelsong, but how about that Jake Arrieta? Sporting a 2.11 ERA, Arrieta has been a stronghold for this Cubs pitching staff. While he’s cooled off on the 7+ innings outings, Arrieta hasn’t given up more than 3 runs since May 27th. He’s only given up 13 runs in his past 10 games too. Yes, pitching in Colorado is never easy. However, the last time Arrieta faced the Rockies he pitched 7 innings, had 7 Ks, and only gave up 3 hits and a run. The Rockies have been struggling to put up runs their past few series, but have also mainly been away from home. A trip back could revitalize them, but our algorithm likes the risk of Arrieta.

Batting

Since the top pitchers for the day games all come with a higher price tag, how about going the opposite way and giving you our algorithm’s biggest value play who also comes in as the top projection at his position. Let me introduce you to none other than Kenny Powers! Wait… wrong Kenny! Kennys Vargas! Vargas comes in as our largest value, projecting to provide $2,247 more than his $2,600 price tag. Yes, Vargas comes with some risks as he only has four major league games under his belt this season. However, these last four days have been solid. Vargas is batting .333 and has a .405 wOBA. He’s also provided 7 RBIs, and finally showed his power with his first homerun last night. He’s a great option to counter spending up on pitching today.

He’s no cheap bat, but our algorithm loves Giancarlo Stanton tonight. Anytime a big bat is projected for way more than his high salary, you need to pay attention. I shouldn’t need to do much convincing to inform you that Stanton is a stud, but lets just look at his BvP stats against Jeff Locke. Stanton has an amazing .667 batting average (6-9) with a double, two homers, and two walks. Too small of a sample? Against southpaws, Stanton is batting .388 with a .505 wOBA and an isolated power of .325. Not sure what that all means? Put him in! You’ll see. For more top plays, come check out our Premium Plays at RotoRants.com

Zach Harbison is a fantasy sports nut and full-time DFS player. He is also the Marketing Director at the new DFS site, RotoPop, helping grow the DFS offerings with a new twist. He has been a player, coach, scout, and writer in the sports community. You can ask him any questions @onceharby and find his writing at RotoRants, TheFakeBaseball, numberFire, and more. He lives for figuring out the best ways to help the fantasy sports community grow.




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