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Daily DraftKings Matchups: Monday, July 21
Mon, 21 Jul 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.

C: Yan Gomes (CLE) @ K. Johnson (MIN) — $3,700
1B: Eric Campbell (NYM) @ R. Elias (SEA) — $2,700
2B: Hidden
3B: Anthony Rendon (WAS) @ F. Morales (COL) — $4,600
SS: Ian Desmond (WAS) @ F. Morales (COL) — $4,500
OF: Jayson Werth (WAS) @ F. Morales (COL) — $5,000
OF: Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) @ F. Morales (COL) — $4,800
OF: Hidden
SP: Julio Teheran (ATL) vs. T. Koehler (MIA) — $9,400
SP: Hidden

Chris Sale is too pricey to select, Cliff Lee is just coming back from injury (I’d like to give him a start before paying a premium for his services) and the rest of the mid-tier options are shaky at best. Teheran is pitching at home against a Marlins team that’s dead last in the majors in wOBA over the last 14 days, and the Braves ace has shut Miami down twice already this season.

Kris Johnson isn’t very good. In fact, the only thing going for him is his left-handedness, which the Indians struggle against. That is, Indians not named Yan Gomes. Gomes is batting .359 with 4 HR in 92 AB against LHP this season and has dominated southpaws for the entirety of his brief MLB career. If recent stats are more your thing, he also has 9 hits and 2 HR in his last 5 games.

Campbell bats in the heart of the Mets lineup against LHP. For the price, I’ll roll the dice on his .340/.386/.447 slash line for a hot Mets offensive attack.

And that brings us to today’s stack: Washington against Franklin Morales in Coors Field. So far this season, Morales has allowed 18 HR in just 87.1 IP. Fourteen of those homers have come against right-handed batters, who have compiled an impressive .292/.370/.533 slash line against Colorado’s starter. For reference, Miguel Cabrera is slashing .309/.365/.532 this season, so Morales makes your average right-handed batter look like a reigning two-time MVP. Toss in Washington’s righty-heavy lineup that already tools on left-handed pitching as well as Coors Field’s atmosphere, and you get what will likely be one of the day’s most popular selections. Rendon, Desmond, Werth, Zimmerman, Span, and Ramos are all great plays today.

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.



Turning the odds in your favor
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 (by Mike McClain)

Baseball is the most efficient wagering market in the United States, more efficient then the NFL, NBA, and NHL. In fact MLB games are among the most efficient markets in the entire world. Yikes. Sport books are out there and they aren’t wrong very often. Sounds like a huge asset to the fantasy player… Something is not right here; it’s the sounds of crickets chirping. I don’t understand, how can’t this information be plastered all over every fantasy site on the net? Perhaps it’s the unscrupulous nature of sports betting that maintains an eternal low profile. I don’t have these answers. While it’s not uncommon for overall game totals to be referenced by fantasy players and web sites, the reality is that an overall total provides a very limited range of benefit for the fantasy player. So let’s just call this what it is. A misunderstanding between the handicapping community and the fantasy community, one I intend on correcting for the benefit of mankind.

Overall totals reflect the partnership of two teams together, cute wording, but that’s what it reflects as well as: two bullpens, two defenses, two starting pitchers, one umpire, one park, one set of weather conditions, two turtle doves…. Sure, one could say I know the overall total is 7, then weigh out fifteen separate games, thirty team offenses, all of the variables I mentioned. You could drive a truck thru the range of accuracy that method would provide. If you really knew what you were doing, you could probably shrink the range of accuracy a considerable amount. But using an overall total isn’t even asking the right question! We need to know individual team run scoring environments, not the combination of two teams together. If that was analyzed correctly, it would provide value not only in isolating offensive selections, but also in starting pitcher evaluation. The interesting thing is that individual team run scoring environments, which is probably the most valuable number any fantasy baseball player could possibly have, is nowhere to be found! You don’t see it on any fantasy sites; you don’t see it on any handicapping sites. It’s free information, available to anyone, and the most accurate resource in the world providing this information!

Growing in popularity over the years, TEAM TOTALS offer fantasy players the best of both worlds. It provides a combination of probability and run scoring environment combined, which gives the fantasy player an independent and insanely accurate run value for every single team, in every single game this year. So where can you find this information? Like I said, I’ve never seen a team total referenced on any fantasy website and handicapping sites tend not to have it, that’s strictly totals/sides. Well if you need to see the man, you man up and go knock on his door. The place you can find team totals posted is the sports book itself. If you don’t like the idea of knocking on the man’s door, a great site called PickMonitor (www.pickmonitor.com) acts as a free fantasy sports book. Pickmonitor pulls a direct feed from the odds at 5 dimes, which is one of the world’s leading online sports books. (To find the team totals at PickMonitor, start with this link, and then under Options in the right hand panel, turn team totals on.) Unfortunately for those of us that like to work into the wee hours, the team totals don’t typically open until between 9-10am Eastern/US.

Mike McClain is cat loving, prematurely bald man, that one day aspires to write for Cat Fancy. Until then he serves as a professional baseball handicapper specializing in totals. Mike enjoys talking about baseball and needs somebody else to talk to besides his cat. He can be contacted directly here, by e-mail at mikie2times@gmail.com or can be followed on twitter @McClainSports, which he promises will be updated more than once a year. Look for daily updates on play suggestions, as well as fantasy options, and general thoughts.



Roto Rants for July 18
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 (by Zach Harbison, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

Fantasy baseball is back and it’s a beautiful thing! With a full slate of games today, we have a lot of choices for plays. 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.

Pitching:

A lot of aces take the mound today in very interesting matchups. Ian Kennedy has the strikeout king Mets. Samardzija takes the mound with his new A’s teammates against the powerful Orioles. Yu Darvish goes against a dangerous Blue Jays team that is a little beat up and he has dominated before. Of all the matchups, our algorithm favors Jered Weaver to come back blazing against the Mariners. In his two matchups against the Mariners this year, Weaver has given up 3 earned runs in each. However, he has kept the hits down and gotten five+ strikeouts in each. If the Angels’ bats stay as hot as they were before break, Weaver should be in line for a win.

While Darvish is enticing to play against the Blue Jays, our algorithm actually favors five pitchers under 9k to put up similar, or better numbers. You can definitely load up on those pitchers and save the money, but if you want to plug in Darvish or Strasburg, our algorithm likes Feldman to outperform his salary and provide great value for the cheap pitchers. Feldman has held the current White Sox lineup to a great .233 batting average over 120 at bats. At a (DraftKings) salary of 5,800, it’s hard to deny he provides great potential and a lot of salary relief.

Batting:

While Madison Bumgarner is a stud pitcher, it’s no surprise that our algorithm has Giancarlo Stanton predicted as one of the top bats tonight. He has owned this matchup in the past, hitting .636 (7-11) with five doubles and no strike outs. Stanton has been a beast at the plate, and he’s shown against lefties with a wOBA of .482 and an isolated power of .301. Expect a homer against Bumgarner soon!

With the great pitching going tonight, you will need to find value with your bats. While he’s not super cheap, Victor Martinez’s price has dropped significantly due to his injury. He’s in line to come back tonight against his former team, the Indians, and is definitely worth a look. On DraftKings, Martinez is projected as the top first baseman by our algorithm. Martinez is a switch hitter, but has produced 14 homers and 42 RBIs as a leftie against right handed pitching this year. He also has a .383 wOBA in those situations. While not a large sample size, Martinez has fared well against Bauer going 2-5 with a homer. He should be fully healthy now and you know he’s going to want to come out with a splash.

Stacking options:

The Cubs/Diamondbacks is the highest line on the day at 9 for good reason. Both Cahill and Jackson sport ERAs over 5 on the season. While the Diamondbacks are favorite at -130, all left-handed bats should be in play here. Cahill has given up a .362 average and .987 OPS against lefties, while Jackson has given up a .328 average and a .904 OPS. In the Arizona heat, expect the balls to be flying!

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.



Free Rain
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 (by RotoGuru)

Itching to get back into daily contest action? Looking for a site to replace DraftStreet? Or is this perhaps a good time to look at alternative sites in general?

All five of our affiliated contest sites have freerolls scheduled for Friday. With plenty of time to evaluate your lineup in advance, maybe this is a good time to try them all!

Here are some links that should send you in the right direction:

FanDuel
$1,000 prize pool, top 200 scorers win $5
$1,000 prize pool. Standard payout structure
$3,000..this is the big kahuna!

DraftKings - four prize-paying freerolls are currently available.

StarStreet - Freeroll(s) to win $27 Ticket to Playboy Fantasy Baseball Championship 8/5

DraftDay - Freeballin' contest with up to 1500 entries

FanThrowdown - 50/50 Freeroll with 200 entrants - win a nickel! ( or enter other contests with entry fees from 5-25 cents

Rather than waiting for the automated update tonight, I just manually pushed the July 18 salaries for all sites into the sortable stats, so you can begin your analysis for Friday's contests now.



Breaking it all down
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 (by RotoGuru)

MLB regular season action resumes on Friday with 15 night games. Player data (including July 18 salaries and positions) will be updated Thursday night for all six five of the affiliated daily sites.

As you’ve probably heard, there was a major consolidation over the break, as DraftStreet was acquired by DraftKings, thereby turning two DBD affiliated sites into one. I have nothing to offer on the terms or motivations for the transition that you can’t find published elsewhere. In fact, I only heard about this at the same time it was made public to everyone. I expect to lose some of my ongoing revenue stream, as I expect that some of my DraftStreet referrals were already registered at DraftKings. C’est la vie! It’s not the first time I’ve had a stream of referral income diminished or extinguished as a consequence of a buyout. Probably the 4th or 5th time, actually!

I did make one change to the Batter vs. Pitcher report in response to the change. Previously, I provided the option to highlight players by position eligibility for either FanDuel or DraftStreet. With the latter now out of the picture, I bit the bullet and added that capability for the other four affiliated sites. It took some reprogramming to accommodate those sites that offer some players at two alternative positions, but I think I’ve got it working – although please let me know if you think something doesn’t look right. As of today, positions still reflect those listed on July 13. Friday’s positions should update Thursday night.

Some of my correspondents tended to focus on the DraftStreet format, so they’ll need to adapt, as the DraftKings lineup is slightly different (two pitchers instead of three, and no utility hitter). The point formulas also differ, as follows:

Comparison of Point Formulas: DK vs DS
Hitter
Stat
DraftKings
Points
DraftStreet
Points
1B 3 1
2B 5 2
3B 8 3
HR 10 4
RBI 2 1.5
R 2 1.5
BB 2 0.75
HBP 2 0.75
SB 5 2
CS -2 -1
SO na -0.75
Pitcher
Stat
DraftKings DraftStreet
IP 2.25 1
H -0.6 -0.25
ER -2 -1
K 2 1
BB -0.6 -0.25
HB -0.6 -0.25
CG 2.5 2
W 4 2
L na -1
S na 3
Shutout 2.5 na
No hitter 5 na

I threw this together manually, so hopefully I did it correctly. DK hitter points are roughly 2.5 times higher for hits & walks, but only one-third higher for runs and ribbies, and there is no penalty for striking out. Pitching points at DK are also roughly 2-2.5 times higher, although there is no penalty for a loss and no benefit for a save (which I presume renders relievers irrelevant, even though they are available to roster). DK also offers bonus points for CG shutouts and no hitters.

DraftKings also has the useful feature that players in your lineup can be exchanged right up until their individual game times, regardless of when the contest begins. Copied from the MLB rules at DraftKings:

Contest entry will close approximately one minute before the start of the first game included in the contest. You can edit your roster as many times as you like before the contest closing time, and you can continue to edit players after contest start time that have not started playing yet. Once an MLB game begins, all players on participating teams will lock and can no longer be edited.
This obviously reduces the risk of including players from late starting games, as you can make adjustments if a player turns out not to be starting. Of course, you can only swap into other players who also haven't started yet, and the salaries must still fit - but it is a nice flexibility, and may give you more confidence to enter contests with a wide range of game stating times.

Article 12 - Visual Memory, Extreme Focus in MLB
Sat, 12 Jul 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

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

One of the most necessary traits in MLB hitters is the ability to focus. It is this focus that allows hitters to pick up the spin and identify the type of pitch quickly, as well as to determine where the pitch will be at the strike zone. Yet this same focus, which allows these players to be successful, is the “Achilles Heel” that betrays them when the climate changes dramatically.

In my studies I have found that it takes three to four games for a team of players to adjust to an unfamiliar track the baseball takes to the plate, particularly in the higher speed ranges. This is because the pitch is in the air only four-tenths of a second. Decisions must be made so quickly at these mid-90 mph ranges that hand-eye coordination gives way to visual memory. That is, at these speeds hitting is more of an instinct developed from previous exposure than simply “see ball; hit ball.”

The focus causes a hitter to zone-in on the new pitch-track so thoroughly that he quickly becomes accustomed to the track the air resistance allows the opposing pitchers in the new climate. This is why hitters quickly adjust to a very small amount of movement differential, but struggle more when the amount of movement is significantly different. They can see the ½ inch of additional lift on a fastball, and it causes them to focus more thoroughly. This small amount of additional lift on a fastball can also keep them from guessing which pitch it will be, and simply keeps them focused. Guessing is the most common cause of a hitter getting off balance, which is obviously why pitchers mix their pitches.

Given these tendencies, when a larger differential in air density is available to the pitcher, say one to two inches of additional lift on the four-seamer, the hitter is taken out of his comfort zone immediately. Then, considering the MLB schedule typically plays a three or four game series before a team moves to another location, the hitters focus so well that they appear fully adjusted to the new climate by the end of the series. It makes for a great rubber game matchup. In fact, it appears that a team adjusts so thoroughly within a series, that when moving forward to the next matchup, their statistics tend to mirror the historical win percent, not of their own team, but of the home team they left behind. In other words: When the St. Louis Cardinals move from a series in Coors Field, their win percent in the next series will often mirror Colorado’s statistics when Colorado has travelled to the same venue directly from Coors Field. It can become mesmerizing to track all of MLB unless one has an air density index to track team movement; thus the Visual Memory Index and website.

Additionally, a team that gets a large number of hits in one particular series conforms more completely to the pitch track than if they were less successful. This is the most probable reason a team from lightweight air can be so dominant at home, but suffer the consequences on the road.

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 Draft$treet on Friday, July 11
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

I don’t often like to use BvP stats. However, today’s stood out at me. Zack Wheeler ($15,900) has faced the various batters of the Marlins for 85 AB. Together, those batters are slashing .153/.250/.165. The Marlins have mustered 1 XBH. That’s actually kind of incredible. He’s toed the rubber for 3 starts against the Marlins this season. In those starts, he’s has 21 IP allowing 9 H, 1 ER, and 9 BB while racking up 25 K, including a CG shut-out in his last start against them. Best of all? He gets to face the Marlins in their away uniforms. They’ve only managed a .676 OPS on the road.

His opponent, Henderson Alvarez ($15,402) also has a strangely parallel yet similar match-up. You see, he’s a righty facing the Mets. I go out of my way every Thursday night (when I write my Friday article) to see if a righty is facing the Mets. Why? The Mets have a line of .237/.310/.364 against RHP, each of those starts being ranked in the bottom 10 in the MLB against RHP. Henderson has been on quite a roll lately, having 2 ER or less in each of his last 9 starts. He’s also managed to put up great starts against the Mets this season. In his 3 starts against them, he has 21.1 IP and has allowed 19 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 16 K, and like Wheeler, has a CG shut-out. Plus, the Mets are at home, where they’ve only got a .669 OPS.

Much more briefly, I also like Chris Archer ($14,555). Toronto is a scary match-up for many, but not to Mr. Archer. In 103 AB, the Jays are slugging a mere .301. He’s faced them twice so far this year, and in each start he’s gone 6 innings with 2ER and 7 K’s. I like him to continue that little streak. In his last 10 starts, 7 have been QS and 6 have had 5+ K. He’s been a very good pitcher this season, and very good pitchers rarely cost less than $15k. Take advantage of the friendly price.

Hitting

Colorado Batters – I don’t know who Kris Johnson is, but I know he’s a guy with 4.1 IP this season in the majors and he walked 6 batters. The Rockies are a tad notorious for this habit they have of crushing baseballs at home, and I am willing to bet that Kris Johnson is not quite ready to deal with that. Troy Tulowitzki ($10,294) is obviously the crown jewel, considering his 1.302 OPS against LHP and his 1.281 OPS at home. Beyond that, I’d probably just look to see exactly how that lineup shakes out and stack accordingly. Drew Stubbs ($7,121) is on a 5 game hitting streak with 3 HR during that stretch. There are cheaper options available as well, if you need to plug some holes.

Los Angeles Angels Lefties – Nick Tespesch has a bit of a reverse split going on, giving up a .836 OPS to RHH despite being a RHP. If you decided to pass on Tulo, consider Mike Trout ($9,996) as an anchor for your lineup, as he’s a RHH who loves seeing RHP. C.J. Cron ($6,617), Eric Aybar ($6,361), and the hot-hitting Howie Kendrick ($6,046) are also righties (or in Aybar’s case, a switch-hitter) who bat well against righties.

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 locked away in the dungeon that is his apartment as he prepares for the Michigan Bar Exam.



LineupRaw: Favorite picks for July 10
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 (by LineupRaw.com)

Pitching

Homer Bailey is our top (affordable) pitcher of the day. Our number 1 pick is Clayton Kershaw VS San Diego but he’s very expensive on most sites, so we are rolling with Bailey in a few of our lineups. Bailey is 3-1 in his last 4 starts at home posting an ERA of 2 averaging 6K’s per 9 innings. Over the past 3 seasons, Bailey has owned the Cubs with a 7-1 record. This season the Cubs have posted a batting average of .253 VS Cincinnati and hitting .240 on the road. The Cubs are among bottom 5 in strikeouts per 9 vs RHP and landing rock bottom in wOBA VS RHP. Enough said, He picks up the win today, start him.

Value Pitching

Drew Smyly is our Value pitcher of the day. Smyly’s record isn’t pretty but today he’s facing a team that he’s had success with. The Royals are hitting .184 against him and Smyly had a tremendous outing last time at Kauffman Stadium. Smyly is 3-0 vs KC averaging 11.2 K’s per 9. Smyly’s a great option today, pick him up.

MLB free 3star** PLAY OF THE DAY* Washington Nationals @ -105

Hitting

We are targeting Mets’ hitters today VS Harang. Harang pitched well in the beginning of the season but has fallen since then. Today plug in Granderson, Duda, Murphy, and Abreu. Harang is posting a .314 batting average to lefties this season, .388 OBP, and .436 SLG.

St. Louis Cardinals hitters are all in play today. Volquez is posting a 5.36 ERA VS St. Louis and posting a 9.36 ERA at Busch Stadium. In this match up, Matt Carpenter is our favorite hitter.

TOURNAMENTS: Colby Lewis is coming off his 2 best outings of the year, but today will not be easy for him. We recommend stacking Rangers/Angels. Angels are coming off a huge win over the Jays, Angels have won 8 of their last 10, put some halos in your lineups. Also, Rangers righties are all in play. You cannot go wrong with Beltre and Rios in your rosters.

Notable BVP today:
M. Holliday VS E. Volquez (10-27, 2HR’s, .370 AVG)
M. Cabrera VS J. Guthrie (14-43, 3HR’s, .923 OPS)
I. Kinsler VS J. Guthrie (12-34,.876 OPS)
D. Wright VS A. Harang (11-26, 4 2B, 1.192 OPS)

Fanduel option 1* 12:35PM Start
P H. Bailey
C H. Conger
1B L. Duda
2B D. Murphy
3B M. Carpenter
SS A. Cabrera
OF C. Granderson
OF B. Hamilton
OF J. Bruce

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



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for July 8
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

We've got a full slate of games today, and then some. The Cubs and Reds have a doubleheader today but I would be careful about grabbing players from both of those games today. The weather in Cincinnati looks absolutely horrendous. The weather for a few of the other games looks questionable as well, so keep an eye out for any changes in the forecasts. Other than that, we've got some great matchups today so let's dive right into them!

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the day is Masahiro Tanaka. He has a great matchup against the Indians today, as the Yankees are favorites to win and the O/U is one of the smallest of the day, currently sitting at 7.5. It's also fairly common knowledge that Tanaka has been one of the best pitchers so far this season so let's look for him to have another great outing today.

Some other pitchers I like are Sonny Gray, Brandon Workman and Wily Peralta. Each of them are also favored to win and are facing teams who are struggling right now. Let's look for each of them to have solid outings as well.

Another pitcher to keep in the back of your mind is Johnny Cueto. He is scheduled to start the early game of the doubleheader between the Cubs and Reds today. He would have taken the cake as my favorite starter today, but not every DFS site has a contest going today that includes that early game. If they do, make sure you start Cueto though. He's undoubtedly going to have a great game today.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Ben Zobrist. He will be facing Jason Vargas today, who he is 11-26 (.423) against with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 5 XBH. The Rays have really been struggling this year but Vegas has this matchup looking pretty even. Let's look for Zobrist to get on base a few times tonight and earn us plenty of points.

Some other notable hitters are Ryan Braun (vs. Kyle Kendrick, 9-19 (.474), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 XBH), Nick Markakis (vs. Doug Fister, 8-19 (.421), 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 XBH) and Todd Frazier (vs. Travis Wood, 6-17 (.353), 2 HR, 6 RBI).

Today's value hitter is Chase Headley. He will be facing Franklin Morales today, who he is 2-4 (.500) against with 1 RBI. The sample size is small but I think the Padres will put together another win tonight. Let's hope they can cover the O/U today because yesterday was a bit of a let-down.

Today's punt hitter is Lyle Overbay. He will be facing Kyle Kendrick today, who he is 2-3 against with 1 RBI and 2 XBH. Again, the sample size is fairly small but I think the Brewers will put up some runs tonight. Let's look for Overbay to be a big part of that.

Stacking options

My main focus for today is going to be the Padres lineup. Yesterday was a bit of a let-down but I'm hoping the Padres can put up a lot of runs tonight. They're facing another lefty so let's look to stack some of those cheap right handed bats.

Some other teams to focus are the Angels, Red Sox, Rangers and Marlins. Each of these teams are either favored to win or look to have a great matchup in a game with a high O/U. Let's hope that each of these teams can put plenty of runs on the board for us 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.



Daily DraftStreet Matchups: Monday, July 7
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 (by Bryan Curley of baseballprof.com)

Monday’s Optimal DraftStreet Lineup

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

C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (MIA) @ C. Anderson (ARI) — $5,315
1B: Mike Napoli (BOS) vs. S. Carroll (CHW) — $5.977
2B: Dustin Pedroia (BOS) vs. S. Carroll (CHW) — $7,385
3B: Hidden
SS: Xander Bogaerts (BOS) vs. S. Carroll (CHW) — $2,757
OF: Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) @ C. Anderson (ARI) — $8,910
OF: Christian Yelich (MIA) @ C. Anderson (ARI) — $7,803
OF: Hidden
UT: David Ortiz (BOS) vs. S. Carroll (CHW) — $8,967
SP: Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) vs. K. Correia (MIN) — $15,079
SP: James Shields (KC) @ J. Odorizzi (TB) — $11,656
P: Hidden

Today’s pitcher selections are low-cost veterans Iwakuma and Shields. Iwakuma was slowed over the last couple weeks with a minor neck injury, but he finally bounced back last time out (6 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 7 K, 0 BB, 12.25 points @HOU) and is set to face an average Twins offense at home. Iwakuma has scored at least 12.25 points in three of his last six so the upside here is massive. Shields has been in a major funk and has seen his price fall all the way to under $12K. True, Shields has topped 5.25 points just once in his last eight outings so the low price is deserved, but he’s still not walking a ton of batters and it’s really just been the long ball that’s killed him. On the down side, the Rays have hit 18 HR over the last two weeks, the 2nd-most in baseball, so perhaps Shields is catching his former team at the wrong time, but I can’t ignore the upside at that price.

Our Official Lineup features two stacks (plus two hidden players). The first is a three-player stack against Chase Anderson in Arizona. Chase Field is one of the game’s best home run hitting parks and Anderson is an extreme fly ball pitcher who’s already allowed 9 HR in 48.1 IP this season, so you had to know Stanton would be in today’s lineup. Yelich is pricey at nearly $8K so I don’t think a ton of people will select him, but he’s collect two hits in four straight games and would be a big beneficiary of a Stanton blast. Saltalamacchia has home run pop and serves as a major boom-or-bust option, but I’ll take the risk in this GPP-style lineup.

Stacking Boston’s offense isn’t for the faint of heart as they’ve been average or worse for most of the season, but Chicago’s Scott Carroll makes everyone look like an elite offense. Napoli is coming off a four strikeout game (in six PA, mind you) and hasn’t exactly been flashing the power of late (zero HR and two doubles in his last seven games), but his price is just under $6K and Carroll isn’t exactly a threat to strike him out. Ortiz has seven hits, including four doubles, and just one strikeout in his last three games, and he’s on pace for a 35-38 HR season. Pedroia has five three-hit games in his last eight. Bogaerts has been depressingly-bad over the last month or so, but he did collect two hits in his last game, he should be able to put the ball in play, and his price is too low to ignore. In the event Carroll gets chased after just two trips through the lineup, which is very likely, he’ll be replaced by a bullpen that has a league-worst 4.16 SIERA on the season, though they’re slightly better over the last month (3.50).

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 11 - Visual Memory, Humidor Baseball Physics
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

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

In 2002, the Humidor for storing baseballs got a lot of national baseball attention. The question for most people is: What does the humidor do to offset the altitude of Coors Field? How does anyone put the humidor into their equation to help analyze a player or a team?

In July of 2001 I wrote a letter to the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club owners and General Manager entitled, “The Climate Control Theory.” At the time, everyone was wondering, “What in the world is the reason the Rockies could win almost 60% of their home games, but lose over 60% of their road games?”. Everyone knew it had to do with the altitude and the thin air of Colorado, but what did the distance a baseball flies in Colorado have to do with the road game win percentage?

Basically, I told the Colorado Rockies organization that even though they could do nothing of a practical nature for game time about the thin air of Colorado, they could control their environment off the field for exposure to competing stadiums’ heavier air resistance, thereby improving road performance.

After a September game in Arizona, Colorado pitching coach René Lachmann was asked about why there was such a difference in the home/road record for the Rockies. His reply was essentially that he didn’t know, but he suspected one of the problems was the slickness of the baseball cover in the low humidity. He said this would naturally cause problems for the pitcher’s grip at Coors Field and the ensuing amount of spin that was generated.

Between September and November of that year a decision was made to build a humidor to store baseballs at a 44% humidity level. In explanation, this story was told: An employee of the Rockies noted how his leather boots shrunk after being wet while hunting; shrinking the leather on a baseball would make it slicker and harder to grip. (In Triple A baseball, some teams are now using the humidor and storing at higher humidity levels.)

Has the humidor helped the home/road win percent? No. Win percentage without the humidor for 9 years netted a win % of .543 and a road win % of .413. Since the humidor was put into play (12 years) the home win % has been .548 and their road win % is .386. From a competitive standpoint, the humidor has done nothing. The Rockies wanted to knock down the scoring at Coors Field to a more normal level and thought it would make a bigger win percent difference on the road.

What the humidor can’t change is the track the pitch takes to the plate in thin air resistance in comparison to the track the same pitch takes when the team is exposed to road venues.

Essentially, the humidor does help the pitcher grip the ball, however it benefits both Colorado’s pitcher and the opposing pitcher. The result is very little or no difference in the win percentage, as there is little difference in the pitch track in thin air for the pitcher based solely on a slightly higher RPM rate due to grip. The other positive thing it does is make the ball slightly more spongy, so it shortens the distance of the flight when hit and knocks down the scoring somewhat.

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.



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for July 1
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

The makeup of the White Sox/Angels game that was postponed last night has been rescheduled for today. Since today's contests were most likely already created before the game was postponed last night, this means that you will not see this makeup as an eligible game in most contests. However, on the off chance that it is part of a contest on some site, I've included the stats and matchups from that game. As with earlier cases of doubleheaders, I've appended the player's names with an "E" to indicate that those numbers are in reference to the early game of the doubleheader.

Other than that, tonight looks like it's going to be quite a high scoring affair. I see plenty of games where either team can just explode for a whole bunch of runs. The weather also looks decent except for the ARI/PIT game. The forecast for that area currently calls for a 60% chance of rain about an hour into the game so keep a close eye on that situation.

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the night is Stephen Strasburg. He's got the best matchup of the night, without question. The Nationals are gigantic favorites to win against the Rockies and their lineup has just been really underwhelming away from home. If Strasburg can get into an early groove I see no reason why he can't hit double digits in strikeouts tonight.

Another pitcher I really like tonight is Mike Minor. The Braves are favored to win against the Mets and, let's face it, the Mets are just a horrible baseball team. Minor is also sporting a 26.2% strikeout rate against the Mets in his career and has held them to an OBP of only .303 through 84 at bats. All of this has me thinking that Minor will have a very strong outing tonight.

Some other pitchers to focus on are Clay Buchholz and David Price. The Red Sox are big favorites to win against the Cubs today and I think Edwin Jackson will struggle against some of the lefties in Boston's lineup tonight. Let's look for the Red Sox to put plenty of runs on the board for Bucholz to secure a win tonight. As for David Price? Well, this is a bit of an interesting situation. If he was facing any other team than the Yankees he would be my favorite pitcher of the night. His month of June has been absolutely astounding. Last month, in every single start he had gone at least 7.1 innings and struck out at least 10 people. Unfortunately, he was only able to pick up 2 wins, but those numbers are still phenomenal nonetheless. I'm a bit wary about playing him tonight, though. I'm not sure how long he can keep up this stretch of dominance, especially facing a team tonight who he has had some struggles against in the past. My gut is telling me that his outing may not be too great tonight, but as a numbers guy, I can't really ignore them. I'll probably end up only playing him in a few cash games tonight, just to see how he performs.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is David Ortiz. He will be facing Edwin Jackson tonight, who he is 9-20 (.450) against with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 4 XBH. The Red Sox are favorites to win their matchup tonight so let's look for Ortiz to be at the heart of Boston's offense tonight.

Some other notable hitters are Ben Zobrist (vs. Hiroki Kuroda, 5-15 (.333), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 XBH), Jose Altuve (vs. Hisashi Iwakuma, 6-16 (.375), 3 RBI, 1 XBH) and Brian Dozier (vs. James Shields, 7-20 (.350), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Joe Mauer. He will be battling against Jamies Shields tonight, who he is 14-40 (.350) against with 1 HR, 8 RBI and 3 XBH. If the Twins can get something going I expect Mauer to be at the center of it tonight.

Today's punt hitter is Brian Roberts. He will be facing David Price tonight, who he is 6-22 (.273) against with 4 RBI and 2 XBH. Part of me really thinks that Price may struggle tonight against the Yankees. If that's the case, let's look for Roberts to get on base a few times tonight.

Stacking options

My main focus is going to be the Blue Jays lineup. Their matchup against the Brewers today has one of the highest O/Us of the day, currently sitting at 9.5. Marco Estrada is starting for the Brewers tonight, and he's given up 24 home runs through 16 starts so far this season. Yes, that's right, I did not make a typo. 24 home runs, 16 starts. Given that the game is in Toronto today, I expect the Blue Jays to completely unload on Estrada. The only issue I see here is that some sites don't create GPPs if there is only one early game. However, if you do come across a GPP that starts early you should hop right in it and stack some Blue Jays.

Some other teams to focus are Detroit, Boston and Washington. Each of these teams are favorites to win their game and are facing a pitcher who is either not having a great year or is relatively young and inexperienced. Let's look for each of these teams to put up plenty of runs for us 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.



Daily DraftStreet Matchups: Monday, June 30
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 (by by Bryan Curley of baseballprof.com)

Monday’s Optimal DraftStreet Lineup

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

C: Wilson Ramos (WAS) vs. Y. Flande (COL) — $5,679
1B: Steve Pearce (BAL) vs. J. Saunders (TEX) — $7,847
2B: Ian Kinsler (DET) vs. S. Kazmir (OAK) — $7,993
3B: Anthony Rendon (WAS) vs. Y. Flande (COL) — $8,062
SS: Yunel Escobar (TB) @ D. Phelps (NYY) — $3,601
OF: Adam Jones (BAL) vs. J. Saunders (TEX) — $8,392
OF: Nelson Cruz (BAL) vs. J. Saunders (TEX) — $9,360
OF: Hidden
UT: Hidden
SP: Zack Wheeler (NYM) @ A. Wood (ATL) — $12,456
SP: Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) vs. J. Saunders (TEX) — $8,849
P: Hidden

In a GPP-style lineup like this the idea is always to get as much bang for your buck as possible, and it’s OK to go big or go home. With my two pitchers today, that’s exactly my mindset. Wheeler has the potential to dominate on any day and he comes at a pretty low cost. Atlanta’s offense has some big bats in Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman, but the rest of the lineup looks pretty anemic. Wheeler has a very strong ground ball rate and doesn’t allow a ton of homers, and he’s actually pitched better on the road in both of his brief MLB seasons thus far. In his last six starts he’s failed to reach 3.00 points three times and topped 12.00 points three times, so that’s the kind of boom or bust play we’re looking at here. Jimenez has serious control problems but he has strikeout stuff and can fill up a stat sheet on any given day. He scored 7.67 points in a start at Texas earlier this year, and the Rangers’ lineup is the weakest it’s been in years. They also have a lot of free-swingers, which should help a pitcher like Jimenez. Regardless, Jimenez costs less than $9K so there isn’t a ton of risk invested in this pick.

Today I’ll be picking on two susceptible starters on teams with two of the worst bullpens over the last month — Yohan Flande and Joe Saunders. Against Flande I’ll select Ramos and Rendon. Ramos is affordable compared to other options at catcher ($6,293 for Chris Gimenez?), has struck out just once in his last seven games, is better against LHP, and has home run pop. Rendon is the only standout third baseman to choose from on Monday, especially given his numbers both against LHP (.352 BA on the year) and recently (eight hits, one K, two extra base hits over his last four games).

Facing another bad starter and bullpen are the Baltimore Orioles, so I had to get some of them in my lineup. Jones and Cruz are expensive but worth it given their massive upside, and I’m going with two-hole hitter Pearce as well. Pearce is very pricey so I doubt many people will select him — he costs significantly more than Joey Votto, Mark Teixeira, Brandon Moss, and Adam LaRoche and a touch more than Freddie Freeman — but he’s a monster against LHP. For his career, he’s a .277/.360/.480 hitter with 14 HR in 411 PA against southpaws, and much of that production comes from seasons in which Pearce wasn’t hitting this well. Saunders has allowed a .431 wOBA to right-handed batters this year and a .409 wOBA last year.

Kinsler can’t be overlooked right now and he’s the only second baseman I like (Jose Altuve costs way too much). Honestly, Kinsler was the first batter I selected.

Escobar is a cost-saving measure; the guys I’ve written about thus far are pricey and I still have a hidden SP!

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 10 - Visual Memory, Today’s Index
Sat, 28 Jun 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

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

Since air density changes hourly, then it makes sense to measure pitch, pitcher and hitter effectiveness with it as a mathematics tool.

The “Neeley Scale” provides only a gauge that is sufficiently spread apart so that one can readily see the differences in air density and therefore anticipate the correct amount of pitch movement. The Visual Memory Index takes into account that; what a hitter has been used to seeing recently (in terms of how much the pitches have been moving) will have an effect on the hitter in today’s and tomorrow’s games. Furthermore, the pitcher must be precise, and if he threw his most recent game or his most recent pen work was done in a substantially different climate, then his accuracy will be affected.

Although the action is different, each type of pitch will react in similar percentage differences based on how much air resistance is available. For a visual of some of these pitches, see the composite image to the right. (You may need to wait while it downloads the first time, then the speed will pick up for a good visual.)

The chart below will give you a general movement gauge assuming a 75 degree arm slot against a straight line. (Recognize that certain pitches, especially slower ones, will travel above the straight line before gravity and air resistance cause them to fall below it.)

Air Density Heavyweights Welterweights Lightweights Featherweights Bantamweights
Neeley Scale 70’s ADI 60’s ADI 50’s ADI 40’s ADI 30’s ADI
95mph 4-Seam 7 inches Lift 6 Inches Lift 5 Inches Lift 4 Inches Lift 3 Inches Lift
9 Inches Tail Off 8 Inches Tail Off 7 Inches Tail Off 5 Inches Tail Off 4 Inches Tail Off
95mph 2-Seam 4 inches Lift 3 Inches Lift 2 Inches Lift 2 Inches Lift 1 Inches Lift
11 Inches Side-to-Side 10 Inches Side-to-Side 9 Inches Side-to-Side 7 Inches Side-to-Side 6 Inches Side-to-Side
85mph Curve 14 inches Downward 14 inches Downward 13 inches Downward 11 inches Downward 11 Inches Downward
7 Inches Side-to-Side 6 Inches Side-to-Side 5 Inches Side-to-Side 3 Inches Side-to-Side 2 Inches Side-to-Side
90mph Slider 8 inches Downward 8 inches Downward 7 inches Downward 6 inches Downward 6 Inches Downward
6 Inches Side-to-Side 5 Inches Side-to-Side 5 Inches Side-to-Side 3 Inches Side-to-Side 2 Inches Side-to-Side
95mph Cutter 6 inches Downward 6 inches Downward 5 inches Downward 4 inches Downward 4 Inches Downward
9 Inches Side-to-Side 8 Inches Side-to-Side 7 Inches Side-to-Side 5 Inches Side-to-Side 4 Inches Side-to-Side
90mph Sinker 9 inches Downward 8 inches Downward 7 inches Downward 6 inches Downward 5 Inches Downward
0 Inches Side-to-Side 0 Inches Side-to-Side 0 Inches Side-to-Side 0 Inches Side-to-Side 0 Inches Side-to-Side

It is certainly no wonder why a player on a Welterweight team accustomed to 6 inches lift would have difficulty adjusting to a Featherweight 2-seam fastball. His muscle memory in this case would put his eye 4 inches above the center of the 2-seamer, until he adjusts.

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 Draft$treet on Friday, June 27
Fri, 27 Jun 2014 (by Scott Chu)

It was not a great week for me last week. Heck, one of my guys wasn’t even the starter. I’m accepting disparaging looks in public for the debacle, so have at it if you see me. Let’s see if I can’t turn it around today.

Let’s start off with a guy pitching a team that’s already been no-hit this week – Brandon McCarthy ($12,115). The Padres are slashing a miserable .175/.241/.269 in June, and haven’t hit much better than that all year against righties (.613 OPS). McCarthy has faced the Padres twice this year already, with one good outing and one bad outing. Overall, though, he’s got 10 K’s in 13.2 IP and a 3.29 ERA. This is a pure match-up play, and this season’s numbers will tell you to stay away. I’m going for it though, since he’s a guy that can strike out batters and pitch deep into games. And the Padres are not very good. And it’s in PetCo.

I also like Kevin Gausman ($12,442), who pitches in the 1st game of the TB/BAL doubleheader. Since being recalled in June (he was recently sent down, but that was not a performance-based move, and he’s being recalled to pitch today), he’s made 3 starts, giving up 1 or 0 ER and going 6+ innings in each. He last pitched on June 18th against these Rays, going 6 strong innings with 5 hits, 5 K’s, and 0 ER. The kid is a top prospect with swing-and-miss stuff, and the Rays are far from intimidating with the bat.

Speaking of young top prospects with strikeout potential, let’s look the Rays’ own Jake Odorizzi ($14,777). He’s been on a great run lately, throwing at least 5 K’s in every start since May 9th. The K is king at DraftStreet, so that’s a big deal. He doesn’t go super deep into games (his longest outing this season is 7.1 innings, which he’s done in 2 of his last 3 starts), but that’s largely due to his high K rate. The O’s don’t strike out with great regularity, but they practically refuse to walk (ranked 29th in BB this season). I’m riding the recent hot streak.

Hitting

Atlanta Lefties – Kyle Kendrick takes the mound for the Phillies, and the lefties for the Braves are thrilled. See, lefties have a scorching .903 OPS against Kendrick, and Kendrick only strikes out 5.44 batters per 9. That’s not very good. Tommy La Stella ($4,086), Freddie Freeman ($7,777), and Jason Heyward ($6,343) are all poised for a big day. If you need a catcher, Evan Gattis ($7,254) has mashed RHP this season as well, and has a massive 1.064 OPS in June.

Detroit Hitters – The potent Tigers offense takes on Brad Peacock tonight, who is coming off extended rest due to an illness. Peacock has been vulnerable to RHH this year (.807 OPS against), but in prior years was much weaker against LHH. Either way, There are some Tigers to take advantage of. No hitter in baseball is hotter than the righty-mashing J.D. Martinez ($5,750) right now, and he’s hitting right behind two of the best hitters in the game in Miguel Cabrera ($9,777) and Victor Martinez ($8,899). Until J.D. starts costing real money, I’m buying him every day. Alex Avila ($4,364) could be a bargain in your catcher slot, as he’s been much better against RHP and away from home this season. He’s also got a nice little 4 game hitting streak, going 6/13 in the last 7 days.

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 locked away in the dungeon that is his apartment as he prepares for the Michigan Bar Exam.




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