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Barrel Leaders - Statcast Hitter Studs and Duds (Week 8)
Mon, 20 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

We're back to revisit Barrels this time but with a slight twist. Back in Week 4, I looked at players at the very top and bottom of the Statcast leaderboard for Barrels per Plate Appearance. To check out that analysis and a detailed explanation of what makes a Barrel so valuable, click here.

To differentiate a bit, I will look at the leaders by Barrels per Batted Ball Event (BBE). I'm also upping the ante by setting the threshold to 50 BBE in order to remove those small-sample outliers that aren't fantasy-relevant like Gordon Beckham. As usual, you won't see any All-Stars listed at the top or no-names listed at the bottom. Instead, we will analyze some questionable fantasy assets in order to find the best course of action. It was very tempting to add the Big Panda, as he finds himself in the Top 30 of this list and is one of the Sweet Spot leaders, but I couldn't convince myself he was fantasy-relevant.

Now, let's take a closer look at some of the early barrel leaders and losers to find buy/sell/add/drop candidates for 2019 fantasy baseball leagues.

Surprising Chart Toppers

All stats current as of May 19, 2019 and display leaders among hitters with at least 50 BBE.

C.J. Cron (1B, MIN)
17.2 Barrels/BBE%

Cron has as many Barrels (20) as Cody Bellinger, Gary Sanchez, and Franmil Reyes. If that doesn't catch your attention, I don't know what will. Cron is tied for 15th in Brls/BBE and jumps up to ninth when looking at Brls/PA. His .557 xSLG also ranks in the eighth percentile. Cutting to the chase, the good news is that everything here looks completely legit.

Cron finally broke out last year with 30 home runs playing for Tampa Bay and seemed to get a slight boost moving out of Tropicana Field. This year, Target Field has dropped down to 26th in HR Park Factor though. Cron has seen a dead-even home-road split in power numbers, with six HR in each setting and a difference of one RBI. He's seeing the ball well and crushing it whenever he gets a chance. The shift hasn't affected his batting average either, as his wOBA is within 16 points either way. Cron may slow his roll at some point but this isn't a fluke. Selling high might be unwise; Cron could go for 40 HR this year.

Derek Dietrich (1B/2B/OF, CIN)
14.9 Barrels/BBE%

Dietrich didn't start on Sunday afternoon but it didn't stop him from going yard again as a pinch-hitter. Dietrich now has 10 homers and 25 RBI on the season as a part-time player. Fantasy owners have somewhat bought in, as he's owned in 27% of leagues. His power numbers are fully backed by the fact he ranks 24th in Brls/BBE.

Look a little closer and his 87.3 MPH exit velocity places him 210th, along with a 33.3% hard-hit rate that is 216th out of 295 batters using our criteria. The lack of regular playing time is already enough to make him useless in 10 or 12-team leagues. Add in the fact that Scooter Gennett should be back soon and Dietrich's 15 minutes are all but up. He's a name to watch if injury strikes the Reds again but this is a case where the Barrel rate seems unusually high and unsustainable.

Chris Davis (1B, BAL)
13.4 Barrels/BBE%

First of all, let's not get carried away and say that Davis could make a run at the All-Star game. Bad as the O's have been, Trey Mancini has that spot locked up. Davis has been better since he broke out of his historic slump but that's not saying much. Davis is hitting .184 and has gone deep twice in the month of May. So how is he on the Barrel leaders when his bat barely makes contact with the ball at all?

Davis still has one of the highest strikeout rates in the league (36.2%) and won't steal bases or score runs like Wil Myers. His average still stinks too. It just so happens that on the rare occasion he does hit the ball, he does it quite hard. Davis only makes contact inside the zone less than 80% of the time but that's his highest mark of the Statcast era, as is his 10.4% Solid Contact rate. He's striking the ball hard but it isn't going as far, with an average HR distance of 387. Sadly, these juicy Barrel rates are resulting in a lot of long singles. Even if you bank on a home run surge by Davis based on these results, it's not worth the total tanking of every other roto category imaginable.

Alarming Bottom Dwellers

. . .

[click here to read the rest of the "Barrel Leaders - Statcast Hitter Studs and Duds (Week 8)" article on RotoBaller.com]



Cold Weather BP
Sat, 18 May 2019 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the fifth of a series of articles about the impact of air density on baseball performance.

Getting through a cold spring of baseball can be a challenge. Day after day, game after game a baseball player never knows what is coming his way in terms of cold, wind, rain or snow. (And in the old days, there were no advance warnings of weather systems hitting locally.) Furthermore, there are only so many days of preparation each week for the game day schedule, so every day to work out is important. Players and coaches just have to work through the cold weather whatever comes.

However, these weather systems can make or break a hitter and/or a pitcher. One of our better pitchers was called upon to pitch live game day for practice, in preparation for an important contest for the conference championship. That day probably prepared us in a way none of us--coach, hitter or pitcher--could possibly have imagined. That pitcher, Robert Durant, had a good fastball and generally threw a two-seamer as often as a four-seamer. The two-seamer gets about 40% of the lift that a four-seamer gets, but close to twice the tail-off of a four-seamer. He was tough to hit, even on a good day of hitting. But the pitch I remember the most got my attention for running far into my hands in cold weather hitting practice.

I didn’t know it at the time, but since then I’ve done studies on air density, and the cold air that day may have prepared us for two of the best pitchers we ever faced. During preparation, Robert was tough. After a couple 4-seamers and a curve or two, and a couple fouled off pitches, he threw me a devastating two-seamer toward the inside corner. I just about took a hack at it. That pitch moved inside in a heartbeat. I had to bail out in a hurry, and I’ve never seen another two-seam pitch break like that since. For those of you who understand precisely what I’m speaking of, this was not a pitch turned in the hand to create a one-seamer cutting inside; this was a true two-seamer. I didn’t have time to pull out my tape measure, but I would guess that pitch broke by as much as 14 inches. Had I swung at that pitch, I may have missed the rest of the season with broken fingers.

All the pitches he threw that day had a lot of movement. It was cold but not blustery. Since they all had good movement, we got some of the best practice during that week of any I can remember. But none of us understood what was happening.

Game day, Saturday comes and it blossoms into a hot May afternoon for a double-header at our home stadium at 6,000 feet elevation. Now, keep in mind, we were fully conformed to the normal pitches at that altitude, but had not seen two pitchers of the caliber this team sported. They were both left handed and were eventually drafted. Our pitcher went on to pitch for two colleges, so he was good, as well. Our opponent that day was from a baseball city about 160 miles away at 4,000 feet elevation, and they had nice weather all week for the upcoming contest. They couldn’t believe what transpired that Saturday.

They had traveled upward by 2,000 feet to our stadium, making the air that much lighter. They had been in warm to hot conditions all week, whereas we had been practicing in cold weather out of doors, making our preparation for movement on a pitch better than we would normally have seen. We were wide-eyed and competing against a formidable foe. They were confident and talented. We won both of those hard fought games, but that hot day flattened those pitchers’ fastballs like Coors Field flattens the best pitches available in the MLB. We went on to the state playoffs and they went home.

To this day, those two pitchers, if asked, would probably shake their head and say - I have no idea how that happened.

Speed is the friend of the pitcher and the enemy of the hitter. Hot air and high altitude are enemies of a pitcher. Cold air and low altitude are also enemies, but of the hitter. So what about humidity? To be continued…..

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and author of 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.



Champ or Chump: Jose Ramirez
Fri, 17 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

Owners who drafted Jose Ramirez expected elite production have received nothing close to it. Exactly who is Jose Ramirez moving forward?

Keep in mind, our Champ / Chump conclusions are based on whether we think a player will outperform their expectations. For example, a pitcher we view as "Tier 2" can be a Champ if they're seen as a Tier 3 pitcher, or they could be a Chump if they're perceived as a Tier 1 pitcher. All ownership rates are from Yahoo! leagues unless otherwise noted. Let's take a closer look at Ramirez, shall we?

Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, CLE)
To date, Ramirez's surface stats have been awful: .195/.290/.312 with four homers and 10 SB. This is not what fantasy owners were expecting when they spent a first-round pick on Cleveland's superstar, and at this point doubt is probably creeping in. Thankfully, Ramirez is better than this, though probably not quite as good as his 2018 (.270/.387/.552 with 39 HR, 34 SB).

Ramirez's pop is completely missing in action, so let's start there. He has increased his FB% each year since 2014, going from 28.4 to 36.2 to 36.3 to 39.7 to 45.9 to 47.3 in that time frame. Since he currently sports a career-best FB%, that's not why he stopped hitting for power. Similarly, his 93.3 mph average airborne exit velocity is Ramirez's second-highest mark in the Statcast Era, handily beating his 2018 mark (92.4 mph). A lack of oomph isn't the problem either. Ramirez pulls a solid 27.9% of his flies (28.6% career), providing another metric that looks similar to his history.

Somehow it has only added up to a 6.6% HR/FB (16.9% last season, 10.8% career). His rate of Brls/BBE (7.7%) is down relative to 2018's 8.5% mark, but the difference isn't that stark. Baseball Savant's xStats have Ramirez as deserving a slugging percentage of .436 vs. his actual .312 mark, so owners have to be patient. Pushing 40 long balls again is probably not in the cards, but his volume of flies and decent raw power should land comfortably in the 25-30 range for the foreseeable future.

Ramirez's .195 batting average might be even more puzzling. A quick glance at his profile reveals that the problem is a microscopic .206 BABIP (.287 career), and there are a lot of contributing factors. Guys with extreme fly ball profiles tend to post lower BABIPs, so regressing Ramirez to .300 is almost certainly incorrect. However, there is no obvious reason for his BABIP on line drives to be .440 (.656 career). Similarly, his LD% of 19.4 is a hair shy of his career 21 percent rate. LD% is a notoriously fickle stat especially in small sample sizes, so regression should be expected here.

Ramirez has also been shifted in 94 of 126 opportunities despite the fact that his 55.8% pull rate on grounders is nowhere near high enough to justify it. His .256 BABIP on grounders is actually higher than his career mark of .245, so he appears to be making use of the extra space. He's currently not hitting whether the shift is on (.204) or not (.219), but Ramirez figures to get a lot more singles soon if opposing teams keep treating him as a dead pull hitter.

Ramirez also still boasts strong plate discipline numbers, walking at a 10.8% clip against a strikeout rate of 14.2%. Both his chase rate (27.4% vs. 25.5% career) and SwStr% (6.7 vs. 5.1%) are slightly worse than his norms, but neither could be called a problem with a straight face.

Ramirez is 10-for-12 on the bases in 2019, so his running game is exactly what his owners were expecting. He also continues to hit second or third in Cleveland's lineup despite his struggles, so the counting stats should be there when he rights the ship. It's tough, but selling Ramirez for pennies on the dollar is simply not the right thing to do.

Verdict: Champ (based on likelihood he rebounds to a 20+ HR pace with speed)

The above analysis was extracted from the following article at Rotoballer.com:
Champ or Chump: Keston Hiura and Jose Ramirez



DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks (5/16/19): MLB DFS Lineups
Thu, 16 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

Thursday brings us another 10 game slate, but frustratingly once again with a split, and weirdly with one game (BAL @ CLE) missing off both slates entirely. The "main" slate starts at 6.40 pm and contains five games. There is also an earlier four game "featured" slate, but with the bigger prizes and more games on the later slate that is the one we will focus on.

There are no overwhelming favorites on the late slate, with the Reds the largest favorites of the day at -125. The biggest totals of the day come in the games in Atlanta and Seattle, so expect to see a couple of names from both of those games appearing below. The lowest total of the day is in San Diego, and on a slate with questionable pitching both of those options are in play today.

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for DraftKings on 5/16/19.

DraftKings DFS Starting Pitchers

Trevor Williams, PIT (@ SD) - $8,300 (Late)
This is a gut feel as much as anything. Luis Castillo is definitely an option, but the Cubs have the ability to cause any pitcher damage. Therefore, I would rather go for two cheaper options and then bulk out my hitting, especially in GPP. Williams has been solid this season, mostly keeping opponents to three or less earned runs, generally pitching six or more innings and bringing four plus strikeouts to the party. There have of course been blips but the overall picture is solid. The Padre are one of the more inconsistent teams in the majors, ranking 24th, 27th and 23rd in batting average, OBP and runs respectively. They do have the ability to deal some damage, as demonstrated by them currently sitting sixth in home runs. However, in a park that favors pitchers, with currently predicted helpful weather conditions, I am going to back Williams to have success in this one.

Eric Lauer, SD (vs. PIT) - $6,800 (Late)
Picking two pitchers going against each other is not ideal but this slate is pushing me to consider it. Lauer is a scary proposition, as he currently sits with a 5.75 ERA on the season. However, prior to the last outing in Colorado he had given up just two earned runs in each of the last three outings. Additionally, he should provide you a solid five innings, with the likelihood of five or six strikeouts. Those numbers will not blow you away but they would be a nice return on this cost. The Pirates are also a team who have had trouble offensively this season. They currently rank 28th in both runs and home runs, as well as 25th in slugging percentage. They have shown some signs of life lately, but in San Diego, with those potentially useful weather conditions for pitching, Lauer should be able to have a nice day.

DraftKings Infielders

. . .

[click here to read the rest of the DraftKings Daily Fantasy Picks article on RotoBaller.com]



FanDuel MLB DFS Lineup Picks (5/15/19): Daily Fantasy Baseball Advice
Wed, 15 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

There are 14 games on the schedule today, with Fanduel being split into an early slate and main slate. We will include players from both of the slates.

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for FanDuel on 5/15/2019. These picks will range from some of the elite players to mid-priced options and value plays.

FanDuel DFS Pitchers

J.A. Happ: NYY vs BAL ($8,700) (Early)
Happ seems to finally be settling into a groove, putting up scoreless outings in two of his last three starts. His best start of the year came last game at the expense of the Mariners, as he went five scoreless innings with one hit and seven strikeouts. He looks to have another good outing tomorrow against the Orioles who have only been able to manage a .287 wOBA so far this season against left-handed pitchers with a 27.3% Strikeout Rate.

Justin Verlander: HOU at DET ($12,000) (Main)
I usually stay away from pitchers who have this high of a price, but the matchup could be too good to ignore in this spot. Verlander has been lights out in his last six games, allowing one or fewer runs in five of those six starts while striking out 49. He will head back to the mound he knows so well in Detroit to face a team that has an abysmal .284 wOBA with a 25.7% Strikeout Rate against right-handed pitching. You will need to fit in some value bats if you want to play Verlander.

FanDuel DFS Infielders

. . .

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



DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks (5/14/19): MLB DFS Lineups
Tue, 14 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

Tonight's featured slate starts at 7:05pm eastern and covers 12 games. An exciting Tuesday night of baseball!

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for DraftKings on 5/14/19. The lineup picks will range from some of the elite players to mid-priced options and value plays.

DraftKings DFS Starting Pitchers

Danny Duffy, KC (vs. TEX) - $7,700
If you're looking for a large investment at starting pitcher, Chris Sale is your guy. But as a cheaper option, I'm going with Duffy, who has a 3.06 ERA through his first three starts of the year. He's got a lot of strikeout upside against the Rangers, as their 28.4% K-rate against lefties is third-highest in all of baseball. Their .306 wOBA versus left-handers also puts them in the bottom-third of the league. Additionally, the Rangers are less scary when they are away from their hitter-friendly park, so Duffy has the advantage in Kansas City.

Trent Thornton, TB (at SF) - $7,300
Thornton is another interesting value option at starting pitcher. He gets to face one of the weakest lineups in all of baseball in the Giants, who have just a .293 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Thornton is also in an extreme pitcher's park and won't have to face a designated hitter thanks to interleague play. While his results this year have been ugly, Thornton does have a 24.7% K-rate and could fare well in this matchup.

DraftKings Infielders

. . .

[click here to read the rest of the DraftKings Daily Fantasy Picks article on RotoBaller.com]



FanDuel MLB DFS Lineup Picks (5/13/19): Daily Fantasy Baseball Advice
Mon, 13 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

Today's main slate begins at 6:35 pm eastern and covers seven games. Since it's Monday, we have a shortened schedule, but as always we'll try to find you the best plays of the day in this space.

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for FanDuel on 5/13/2019. With a very interesting 6-game slate on our hands, I'll be touching on both superstars and value options. Let's take a deeper look at tonight's slate.

FanDuel DFS Pitchers

Aaron Nola, PHI (vs. MIL) ($9,300)
When looking at today’s slate of games, a few things stand out. For one, there is only a single game with an over/under below 8. The Brewers @ Phillies. The Phillies also happen to be the biggest favorites on the board at -190, with the second biggest favorite coming in at -152. Vegas clearly likes the Phillies tonight and they think Aaron Nola will slow down the Brewers. They’re known as a solid hitting team, but rank 16th vs righties in terms of wOBA and they strikeout 26.8% of the time (2nd behind just the Marlins). Nola struggles to start the season, but has given up just one earned run in each of his last three starts. He’s struck out 17 batters in the last 17 innings and has looked a lot more like the Nola we are used to. The Brewers certainly have some scary bats, but they strike out a ton and should be contained from doing damage on the other side, giving Nola an easy W.

Robbie Ray, PIT (@ ARI) ($8,800)
Robbie Ray is always a volatile pitcher, but he gets an ideal match-up tonight and is the second biggest favorite on the slate. So far this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates rank dead last against lefties with a .259 wOBA and 28.5% strikeout rate. Those are numbers that are just embarrassing for a franchise. Robbie Ray doesn’t go deep into many games, but it’s because he works deep counts looking for the strikeout. He should get up close to that double-digit number rather quickly as long as he can avoid damage from the Pirates right-handers. Ray strikes out well over a batter per inning and this ideal match-up gives him an insane ceiling. He’s $500 cheaper than Nola and will be about half as heavily owned. I love both of these guys in every format.

FanDuel DFS Infielders

. . .

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



Demoralization in Telluride
Sun, 12 May 2019 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the fourth of a series of articles about the impact of air density on baseball performance.

On the 4th of July every year in Telluride, Colorado, there was an exhibition game of baseball during this period of my fast-pitch and baseball playing days. Shortly after my baseball team competed in a state playoff tournament, we were asked to face in this exhibition the same team we had surprised to get to state during the regular season. We had beaten this quality team in a double header 1-0 and 2-1 to win our conference that year. On a hot 4th of July day a few months later we beat the same team of mostly the same players by a score of somewhere around 21 to 12 with very few errors being committed by either team.

As I recall, there was an exhibition game in Mexico City some years ago between MLB teams that had a similar result. Our game was at 9,000 feet on a hot day in Telluride. Their game was at 7,000 feet on a similar day in Mexico City. The all-time highest score in MLB’s Minor Leagues was a game played on a hot day in Amarillo, TX, at over 3,000 feet elevation. What do they all have in common?: Air Density and the teams’ ability to hit the straighter pitches. The maximum movement generated by any pitcher is that which the environment allows on that day.

Remember that fast-pitch team that got beat in the hot temperatures at mid-day only to win later that evening with the same pitcher throwing the same rise-ball to the same team? That same talented pitcher was asked to play an exhibition game at the same 4th of July celebration mentioned earlier in 9,000 foot Telluride. After that game he had decided he should retire. He related this story to me, although I was not present for the game:

Still being one of the top tier fast-pitch pitchers in the State he experienced another game where he could not get the ball by a team he had played previously at 4,000 feet with success. Demoralized, he said he didn’t know what was wrong with him as a pitcher. During the game he had thrown his very effective rise-ball, but that pitch must be thrown toward the waist of the hitter and toward the center of the zone and then end at the outside top of the strike zone to be effective. That is because if the rise-ball angles downward from the release point at the pitchers’ knee level, it will never recover from gravitational forces to rise above its lowest point and therefore becomes ineffective as a pitch.

In this case he said he couldn’t reach the top of the strike zone with his rise-ball and the hitters could get both their eyes and their bats squarely on the ball. He began to throw the ball about 6 inches higher to reach the top of the zone, but the hitters would not swing because they recognized it would be too high. Further complicating the issue was the umpire. He could also see that the ball was coming toward the top of the strike zone and was not calling the strike. The pitcher was fooling no one.

On the way home he decided to retire. He was washed up, too old, and no longer effective as a pitcher. Depressed that the younger players had now caught on to his rise-ball, he realized he still had to somehow get through the remainder of his schedule during July and August for his team. He was the only pitcher.

He went home, pitched in his own environment, and realized he was nowhere-near washed up. He pitched another ten years before finally giving it up.

Some of the demoralization that is apparent in Major League Baseball comes from pitching at either Coors Field at 5,000 feet elevation or from pitching against a team in warmer temperatures than the pitcher is used to. When the two aspects of air resistance gang up on a pitcher everyone thinks that pitcher should retire. To be continued…..

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and author of 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.



System glitch on Saturday morning
Sat, 11 May 2019 (by RotoGuru)

I had a brief system glitch from about 11:00-11:40am this morning that caused all active MLB rosters to appear empty. In particular, this impacted the Batter vs Pitcher report - but possibly any report that relied on showing only active players. As a result, a lot of reports were full of nothing.

I have temporarily restored all active MLB roster data to the status as of earlier this morning. This should resolve the reporting issues for now - while I do some further work on debugging the issue.

If you panicked when you saw empty reports and thought you needed to pay for a subscription to get the data back, you may have subscribed for no valid reason. As noted in all subscription announcements, a subscription is only needed if you wish to receive data in text files suitable for download into spreadsheets or other analytical platforms. If you only look at the formatted data in your browser, you do not need a subscription. So if you subscribed this morning under duress and would like a refund (because you don't really need it), please send an email to me at davehall@rotoguru2.com.



Premium text data for 2019 season requires subscription starting Friday
Thu, 09 May 2019 (by RotoGuru)

Effective Friday, May 10, accessing various RotoGuru/DBD files in text format (i.e., CSV, SCSV, etc.) will become a premium service, subject to a one-time subscription fee of $38 for all files related to the 2019 season.

The primary file is the MLB DFS master file for 2019, including game-by-game data for each MLB player, with all sorts of information - opposing pitcher, weather conditions at game time, umpire, batting orders, DFS salaries, DFS positions, and DFS points. It is updated each morning, and also shows DFS salary and position data for the current day's games.

Text versions of several other reports are also included in this subscription, including the daily point reports, daily BvP data, and RotoGuru sortable stats data. HTML versions (i.e., formatted for browser display) of each of these pages will continue to be free. The subscription is only for text data files (i.e., CSV or SCSV formatted)

For more information on the various files available and to subscribe, see this page:
RotoGuru/DBD text file subscription information for 2019 season.

2018 Season
Files for the 2018 season continue to be available for a separate subscription fee of $37. To subscribe to the 2018 files, go here: subscription information for 2018 season.

2017 Season
Files for the 2017 season continue to be available for a separate subscription fee of $36. To subscribe to the 2017 files, go here: subscription information for 2017 season.

2016 Season
Files for the 2016 season continue to be available for a separate subscription fee of $35. To subscribe to the 2016 files, go here: subscription information for 2016 season.

Special note about ADI and VMI values: ADI (Air Density Index) and VMI (Visual Memory Index) values are proprietary measures developed by baseballVMI.com. For 2019, in order to see these values displayed on the weather dashboard, you do not need a premium subscription to DailyBaseballData. However, as of today, you must have an active paid membership at baseballVMI.com. Membership information is available at baseballVMI.com. (If you do have an active paid membership at baseballVMI.com and the values are not displayed, please send an email to davehall@rotoguru2.com for instructions on how to release the display of these values.)



Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 4 - Batted Ball Distribution (Hitters)
Wed, 08 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

(Originally published 1/21/19)

Fly balls can turn into home runs. Ground balls never do. It would seem as though fantasy owners want their batters to hit nothing but flies, yet this is not the case.

Why would this be? The answer, of course, comes down to batted ball distribution and the manner in which batters make contact.

In this article, we'll continue evaluating the most effective ways to use sabermetrics to get an edge in your fantasy baseball leagues.

How to Interpret Batted Ball Distribution

Let's first look at how all major leaguers fared on each of the major types of batted ball in 2018. Grounders generated a BABIP of .236. Flies were not as productive, posting a .117 figure. This makes sense, as popups almost never fall in, cans of corns to the outfield are only slightly better, and homers are considered out of play and do not count toward BABIP. Line drives turned into base hits far more frequently than either of the others, posting a .672 BABIP. The difference between liners and anything else is startling. Batters want line drives.

Matt Kemp's resurgence provided a good illustration of what a few extra liners can do in 2018. He posted a .290/.338/.481 triple slash line thanks in part to a 26.8% line drive rate. Kemp was an afterthought in real and fantasy baseball terms heading into 2018 but ended up surprisingly productive in both areas.

A player's LD% tends to bounce around the league average with random spikes and drops, none of which offer much predictive value moving forward. Kemp has a 22.5% LD% over his career, so luck was almost certainly the primary driver of his 2018. When BABIP is driven by luck, LD% is usually why.

This is not to suggest that no one consistently posts above-average LD% rates. For example, ...

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



DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks (5/7/19): MLB DFS Lineups
Tue, 07 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

For Monday's slate of Major League Baseball games, I'll focus on the nine evening contests (first pitch of 7:05 PM EST and later). Be sure to double-check the weather and the lineups before finalizing your roster.

Today's weather: Precipitation shouldn't be a problem at most Major League Baseball venues on Tuesday, although the rains will move in at Wrigley Field right around first pitch. The forecast calls for 30 percent precipitation, rising to 45 percent by the later innings. If they are able to squeeze in the game, the winds will be blowing in from left-center field to home plate at an 11-14 mph clip. The Giants and Rockies will also be dealing with a 30-40 percent chance of precipitation for their game at Coors Field.

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for DraftKings on 5/7/19. The lineup picks will range from some of the elite players to mid-priced options and value plays.

DraftKings DFS Starting Pitchers

Steven Brault - P, PIT vs. TEX ($6,700)
The Rangers head into this one with just 17 wins over their past 53 road outings, and they're just 8-20 in the past 28 on the road against left-handed starting pitchers. In addition, they're 2-5 in RHP Adrian Sampson's past seven outings, and 1-5 in the past six following a day off. That bodes well for Brault, who comes on the cheap for DFS owners. The Bucs are 4-1 in their past five outings, and they're 4-0 in the past four vs. RHP. In addition, they're 4-1 in Brault's past five home outings, and 7-3 in his past 10 starts overall. It's a favorable matchup for Brault, and his low price will allow you to squeeze in plenty of high-priced hitters.

Hector Velazquez - P BOS at BAL ($7,100)
Velazquez will make the start Tuesday at Oriole Park in place of the injured LHP David Price (elbow). The Mexican righty is 0-2 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.40 WHIP across four starts and six relief appearances, and he has walked nine with 19 strikeouts across 19 1/3 innings. He threw a season-high 57 pitches in a start on April 15 against the O's, and the reason he didn't last longer was because he got himself into trouble with the walks. If he can avoid the free passes he should hang around long enough to qualify for a win in a favorable matchup.

DraftKings Infielders

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[click here to read the rest of the DraftKings Daily Fantasy Picks article on RotoBaller.com]



DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks (5/6/19): MLB DFS Lineups
Mon, 06 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

For Monday's slate of Major League Baseball games, I'll focus on the nine evening contests (first pitch of 7:05 PM EST and later). Be sure to double-check the weather and the lineups before finalizing your roster.

The weather forecast looks very favorable across most MLB venues, as the winds should be rather neutral at 8 mph or less, and the precipitation forecast is for 20 percent or less chance of rain across all venues. The only place where wind will play a factor will be the Marlins-Cubs battle at Wrigley Field, with a 9-12 mph wind blowing in from left-center field to home plate. The Mets and Padres will face 8-11 mph winds, also blowing in from left-center field.

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for DraftKings on 5/6/19. The lineup picks will range from some of the elite players to mid-priced options and value plays.

DraftKings DFS Starting Pitchers

Cole Hamels - P, CHC vs. MIA ($9,000)
Hamels takes the ball against the Marlins in the series opener, as the Cubs put their seven-game winning streak on the line. Miami has managed a dismal 1-6 record against left-handed starting pitchers this season, so it's a very favorable matchup for Hamels and the Cubbies. Miami is also 0-4 in the past four starts by RHP Sandy Alcantara, so there is a more than good chance Hamels comes away with the victory and plenty of DFS points.

Miles Mikolas - P STL vs. PHI ($7,500)
The Cardinals have won 12 of their past 14 games at home, and they're 9-2 in the past 11 starts by Mikolas at Busch Stadium. In addition, they're 20-6 in his past 26 starts overall, and 10-1 in his past 11 starts against teams with a winning overall record. They're also 6-0 in his past six at home vs. winning teams. On the flip side, the Phillies are just 3-11 in the past 14 road outings by RHP Vince Velasquez, while cashing in only seven of their past 23 against winning teams. Roll with Mikolas, a tremendous medium-priced starter.

DraftKings Infielders

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



Day and Night
Sat, 04 May 2019 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the third of a series of articles about the impact of air density on baseball performance.

A few weeks after my championship game, I was invited to pitch in a regional fast-pitch game with a Colorado State top level fast-pitch team. I was feeling strong coming off my championship run. I was confident. I was throwing better than I’ve ever thrown before or since.

In those days if a pitcher could throw a rise-ball he would use it regularly and on occasion throw a changeup or drop ball to keep the hitter honest and struggling to hit off him. That is the way I started this game. I lasted about a half inning, but then I learned something by sitting on the bench and watching some extremely talented teams.

The team I was on was a top tier fast-pitch team that regularly won the regionals and moved into contention for a state title at the top level of men’s fast-pitch. On this particular regional weekend our team (without my help) got to championship day without a loss. Since all the other teams had been beaten out of the tournament, our opponent had one loss and therefore had to beat our team twice to win the championship.

It was an extremely hot day in the middle of the summer, and as I’ve mentioned before, the altitude was over 4,000 feet elevation. The schedule called for us to play the first game at about 2:00 in the afternoon, which was scorching hot. One of the better pitchers in the state couldn’t get his rise-ball past this team. He tried all of his tricks--drop ball, knuckleball, curveball, change of speed (with each type of pitch), and of course his normally effective rise-ball. This team of young, quality players bounced the ball off the fence regularly and won the game handily. That set up the final game between the same two teams for that evening at 7:00 p.m.

The same team that had pounded the ball in the afternoon swung under the rise-ball the entire game and could not touch the ball from the same pitcher they had just faced a few hours earlier. Some of us shook our heads in wonderment; the others just said “that’s fast-pitch.”

Now in Colorado at 4,000 feet or above, the evening cools down quickly. So by game time the temperature had dropped by 30 degrees from about 98 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Little known to baseball people at that time was that a drop in temperature of that magnitude would change the air density enough to allow a ball larger and lighter than a baseball to rise an additional 4 to 6 inches. Scientists know this is true, but baseball and fast-pitch people are performers, not very scientists. Our pitcher was taken advantage of in the hot temperatures, and then he turned the tide on them in the much cooler air and won the tournament championship.

Scientists use a scale that measures from sea level to the very edge of the atmosphere. You may have heard that this scale in pounds per square inch measures 14.7. That creates a scale that is jammed together with few measureable points between. Yet the surface of the earth varies from sea level to 29,000 feet—and many sports and activities take place within this vast geographical spectrum. So scientists can put “0.0067 pounds per cubic foot” for example into their formulas and make sense out of it for weather and for rocket launch and trajectory purposes.

Baseball players, on the other hand, would need to know what the effect might be in their ability to perform between say “0.0067 and 0.0068,” and yet those numbers are meaningless to them and the gap appears harmless. To be continued…….

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and author of 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.



FanDuel MLB DFS Lineup Picks (5/3/19): Daily Fantasy Baseball Advice
Fri, 03 May 2019 (by contributed by RotoBaller.com)

It's Friday, so we've got nearly every team in action, with lots of different lineups for us to build. The all day slate starts at 2:20pm eastern, while the main slate starts at 7:10pm and covers 13 games.

In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for FanDuel on 5/3/2019. The lineup picks will range from some of the elite players to mid-priced options and value plays.

FanDuel DFS Pitchers

Matthew Boyd: DET vs KC ($10,400)
Boyd has put together an incredible season so far, posting a 31.8% K-rate with a 6.6% walk-rate. His 2.21 FIP is second to only Max Scherzer out of all qualified starting pitchers. Boyd gets to face a Royals lineup that is bottom-five against left-handed pitching with their .284 wOBA. On a night with lots of high-end pitching to choose from, Boyd stands out from the crowd because of his extreme strikeout upside and his easy matchup at home.

Kevin Gausman: ATL at MIA ($8,100)
Gausman has an ugly 4.80 ERA entering Friday, but his 3.14 Deserved Run Average suggests that he's pitched much better than his results have shown. Gausman has 33 strikeouts in 30 innings and faces an awful Marlins lineup that has just a .276 wOBA versus righties. Gausman also gets to take advantage of a very pitcher-friendly park in Miami. If you aren't willing to pay for an elite pitcher, Gausman is a nice pick.

FanDuel DFS Infielders

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




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Monday's Starting Lineups

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