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Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for September 16
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the day is Corey Kluber. He is the favorite to win in Houston today and he is coming off two really strong starts so let's look for him to stay dominant tonight.

Some other pitchers I like are Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Morton. Kazmir and Morton are heavily favored to win today while Cueto only has a slight edge. I still think all three of them have a great chance to pick up a win and put some strikeouts on the board tonight.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Buster Posey. He will be facing Josh Collmenter today, who he is 9-14 (.643) against with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 3 XBH. He has also been playing extremely well recently so let's look for him to get on base a few times tonight.

Some other notable hitters are Matt Holliday (vs. Wily Peralta, 8-18 (.444), 2 HR 5 RBI, 2 XBH), Corey Dickerson (vs. Dan Haren, 4-5 (.800), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 XBH) and Albert Pujols (vs. Roenis Elias, 2-6 (.333), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Yunel Escobar. He will be facing Michael Pineda today, who he is 6-12 (.500) against with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 3 XBH. He has also been hitting very well recently and I think he has a great shot to pick up a few hits tonight.

Today's punt hitter is Jean Segura. He will be facing Lance Lynn today, who he is 7-15 (.467) against with 2 RBI and 2 XBH. The Brewers are Cardinals are in a bit of a division race right now so this game should make for an exciting one for sure. Let's hope Segura can spark Milwaukee's offense tonight.

Stacking options

It should be fairly obvious that the Dodgers righties and Rockies lefties are on the radar as possible stacking options tonight. They are both facing pitchers of the opposite hand tonight. The Dodgers starter, Haren, has always struggled with giving up the long ball and playing in Coors is not a good place to remedy that situation. The Rockies starter, Matzek, has had a really tough time against righties this season. Either way I think both teams are going to have big nights, it's just a matter of who is going to score more runs.

Another team I like is the Angels, once again. I feel like I'm turning into a broken record but the Angels are the best team in baseball right now and they are facing a very young, volatile lefty. Targeting the righties like Trout, Pujols and Kendrick should be your goal tonight as there are a few cheap pitchers that can allow you go for those expensive guys today.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Athletics lefties. Oakland is a huge favorite to win against Texas today and the Rangers starting pitching this year has been some of the worst I've ever seen. A lot of Oakland's players have also dropped in salary due to their underwhelming performance recently so this is a pretty cheap stack today with huge potential. You can't ask for much more than that.

[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 DraftKings Matchups: Monday, September 15
Mon, 15 Sep 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: A.J. Ellis (LAD) @ C. Bergman (COL) — $2,500
1B: Hidden
2B: Dee Gordon (LAD) @ C. Bergman (COL) — $4,600
3B: Danny Valencia (TOR) @ W. Chen (BAL) — $3,000
SS: Hanley Ramirez (LAD) @ C. Bergman (COL) — $4,600
OF: Carl Crawford (LAD) @ C. Bergman (COL) — $4,400
OF: Matt Kemp (LAD) @ C. Bergman (COL) — $4,500
OF: Hidden
SP: Jacob deGrom (NYM) vs. Jarred Cosart (MIA) — $10,900
SP: Hidden

Last week I ignored deGrom at home against the Rockies because I just didn’t want to pay $10K+ for him regardless of the matchup. deGrom went on to score 38.20 points and dominate an overmatched Colorado lineup. The road Rockies are worse than the road Marlins, but the road Marlins are still pretty easy. In his last 10 starts, deGrom has faced the Marlins twice and he’s scored 21.30 and 29.60 points. I think he’s a safe bet for 20+ with good potential for much more.

Tonight’s lineup is heavy on Dodgers who will travel to Colorado and face Christian Bergman. Once Bergman inevitably gets pulled, he’ll be replaced by a Rockies bullpen that has a 4.97 ERA over the last month. If you’re familiar with our Daily SP Rankings, you probably have seen we included atmospheric data from BaseballVMI.com in our rankings.

Quick lesson: When we think of hitters traveling to Coors, we often think of the thinner air allowing the ball to fly farther. That’s true, but it’s only part of the Coors Effect. The thin air also affects pitchers by preventing their pitches from moving as much. This makes it easier for batters to hit because straighter pitches are generally easier to hit than less straight pitches. Compounding that effect, when batters are coming from cities where pitches move more and now they’re seeing pitches that move less, the pitches become even easier to hit because the relative change in pitch movement is greater.

So that’s why I have five Dodgers in tonight’s lineup. Not only do they have an easy matchup against Bergman, but they’re traveling to a fantastic hitting environment. Ellis is there because of his cost, but Gordon, Ramirez, Kemp, and Crawford are in there for their upside. Gordon has hit safely in his last eight and has been a 10 point player for the last week, Ramirez has a ton of upside and hasn’t struck out in five games, Crawford is the cheapest of LA’s three starting outfielders (OK by just $100, but they’re all good bets today) and has been raking of late (12 hits, including five doubles, in his last five games), and Kemp has averaged 10 points over his last 10 games. Note that this will likely be a very popular stack tonight.

So far most of our selections have been very expensive. That’s where Valencia comes in. He’ll face the left-handed Wei-Yin Chen and is a good bet for a hit and maybe 4-8 points. It’s not a ton, but I can’t afford more than that!

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 20 - Visual Memory, Michael Cuddyer and the Grand Junction Rockies
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 20th in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

On Sunday, August 17, 2014, Michael Cuddyer hit for the cycle - - again; his second career cycle.

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, Michael Cuddyer began a rehabilitation assignment with the Pioneer Rookie League, Grand Junction Rockies in a game against the Billings Mustangs in Montana at 3,119 feet elevation. After two games in this location, he moved with the Rockies to Great Falls, Montana. Here, he played the Great Falls Voyagers at Legions Park.

DateCityAltitudeConditions
Aug 6BILLINGS, MT 3119 FT 84o F, 50 ADI
Aug 7BILLINGS, MT 3119 FT 90o F, 48 ADI
Aug 8GREAT FALLS, MT 3334 FT 85o F, 49 ADI
Aug 9GREAT FALLS, MT 3334 FT 79o F, 51 ADI
Aug 10GREAT FALLS, MT 3334 FT 81o F, 50 ADI

Cuddyer went 3-for-3 and 2-for-4 in Billings and then amassed 6-for-12 in the three games in Great Falls August 8th through August 10th, before playing 3 games in Tulsa, Oklahoma in preparation for his games against the Cincinnati Reds on the 17th at Coors Field.

DateCityAltitudeConditions
Aug 12TULSA, OK 697 FT 83o F, 60 ADI
Aug 13TULSA, OK 697 FT 85o F, 59 ADI
Aug 14TULSA, OK 697 FT 88o F, 58 ADI

The interesting aspect of his decision to rehabilitate at the Rookie League level and the Double A level is the ensuing cycle, the second in his illustrious career. In breaking this performance down to the facts, it exemplifies the Visual Memory aspect of hitting. Since he had been injured for several weeks prior to playing in Montana, it is difficult to analyze his performance there as related to his past visual memory. It is much more straightforward to see how visual memory led to his having hit for the cycle. The visual memory he brought back to Coors Field from five games played in Montana and in Tulsa is extremely telling. It certainly was not the level of competition that prepared him for Cincinnati.

It could be argued that the level of MLB competition he played before his injury, which he then carried with him to Montana and Tulsa, allowed him to perform well there. He is a Major League veteran, so the average Major League hitting instinct is absolutely part of his visual memory that he will carry with him for a lifetime. The Neeley Scale places the average Major League ball movement being available at 61 air density index (ADI). In Montana he was regularly exposed to 50 ADI, which provided movement on the 4-seam fastball 1 inches less than that of average Major League ball movement and then moved to Tulsa at 59 ADI.

If you’ve been doing the reading - - 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, go here and wait while it downloads the first time (then the speed will pick up for a good visual).

Remember the chart below? (Recognize that certain pitches, especially slower ones, will travel above a straight line before gravity and air resistance causes 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” Lift
9” Tail Off
6” Lift
8” Tail Off
5” Lift
7” Tail Off
4” Lift
5” Tail Off
3” Lift
5” Tail Off
95mph 2-Seam 4” Lift
11” Side-to-Side
3” Lift
10” Side-to-Side
2” Lift
9” Side-to-Side
2” Lift
7” Side-to-Side
1” Lift
7” Side-to-Side
85mph Curve 14” Downward
7” Side-to-Side
14” Downward
6” Side-to-Side
13” Downward
5” Side-to-Side
11” Downward
3” Side-to-Side
11” Downward
3” Side-to-Side
90mph Slider 8” Downward
6” Side-to-Side
8” Downward
5” Side-to-Side
7” Downward
5” Side-to-Side
6” Downward
3” Side-to-Side
6” Downward
3” Side-to-Side
95mph Cutter 6” Downward
9” Side-to-Side
6” Downward
8” Side-to-Side
5” Downward
7” Side-to-Side
4” Downward
5” Side-to-Side
4” Downward
5” Side-to-Side
90mph Sinker 9” Downward
0” Side-to-Side
8” Downward
0” Side-to-Side
7” Downward
0” Side-to-Side
6” Downward
0” Side-to-Side
5” Downward
0” Side-to-Side

Cuddyer’s Games in Montana and Oklahoma:

DateCityAltitudeConditionsPerformance
Aug 6BILLINGS, MT 3119 FT 84o F, 50 ADI3-for-3 (1.000)
Aug 7BILLINGS, MT 3119 FT 90o F, 48 ADI2-for-4 (.500)
Aug 8GREAT FALLS, MT 3334 FT 85o F, 49 ADI1-for-3 (.333)
Aug 9GREAT FALLS, MT 3334 FT 79o F, 51 ADI1-for-3 (.333)
Aug 10GREAT FALLS, MT 3334 FT 81o F, 50 ADI4-for-6 (.667)
Aug 12TULSA, OK 697 FT 83o F, 60 ADI1-for-4 (.250)
Aug 13TULSA, OK 697 FT 85o F, 59 ADI1-for-3 (.333)
Aug 14TULSA, OK 697 FT 88o F, 58 ADI0-for-4 (.000)

He returned to Coors Field on August 17th and in his second game at 5205 feet elevation hit (temp in the 80's, ADI=41-42) for the cycle for the second time in his career. His VMI for that day was a +8.75, which is very close to +9.00, the optimum for Major League Baseball performance.

Michael Cuddyer’s hitting eye was 2¼ inches above the center of the fastball for the first game back (which means he may have had a little adjusting to do) and 1¼ inches above for the second game, which allowed him to bring the barrel of the bat down to the center in perfect form and fashion. Good call Cuddy! Had he rehabbed at Colorado Springs at Triple A, he would have been playing at 37 ADI, which would have put his eye ½ inch below the center of the ball in the same Coors Field games. While the plan may have been accidental, it certainly worked in his favor.

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.



Chuseph’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, September 12
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

Madison Bumgarner ($11,700) is my top ace for the day. The Dodgers might seem a scary opponent, but they’re rather pedestrian against lefties, evidenced by their .694 OPS against them this season, right around the NL average of .688. After a rough patch in late June/early July, he’s put up a QS in 9 of his last 10, with 5+ Ks in 8 of those games. He’s also got the potential to put up the HUGE win (25+ points in 4 of his last 6, 45+ in 2 of those games). He’s oddly struggled at home this year in a pitching-friendly park, but this isn’t in line with his career norms, so I’m ignoring it and giving him my full endorsement. With Giancarlo Stanton (ouch, get well soon) out of the lineup, Cole Hamels ($10,600) is my 2nd place guy.

I’m back on the Vidal Nuno ($6,800) train again this week, this time because he’s facing the Padres, who, like I say seemingly every week, can’t hit. They’re especially bad against lefties, with an almost unbelievable .569 OPS against lefties. By comparison, only 2 players in all of MLB (who qualify for the batting title) have an OPS under .600 this season – Jean Segura and Zack Cozart. Only 7 SPs have allowed an OPS under .600 against them. They include Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, and Chris Sale. In other words, the average Padre, when facing LHP, hits like Jean Segura. The average LHP who faces the Padres looks like Adam Wainwright. I’m not saying Nuno will put up numbers like those guys. I’m just trying to indicate how awful the Padres are against lefties.

Quickly, I’m also high on Gio Gonzalez ($8,700) (NYM awful against LHP, and he’s seeming to rebound a little), Jose Quintana ($7,500) (19 K and only 4 ER in 18 IP against Twins this year), and Alex Wood ($9,100) (Rangers stink - .643 OPS in August, September hasn’t been any better).

Hitting

Arizona Righties – Hey look, it’s Eric Stults! That means we get to start some righties. To make it even juicier, we get to start some righties. (Yes, I said this exact same thing last week, and 2 of those guys hit a HR. Stults is predictably awful against RHH, and we love him for it). Mark Trumbo ($3,700) and A.J. Pollock ($4,200) the big tickets that I see, but check the lineup for Chris Owings ($2,700), Nolan Reimold ($2,900), Aaron Hill ($3,800), and Cliff Pennington ($2,400). They’re all capable of big things against Stults.

Royals Hitters – Letting it ride has been a theme so far, and it isn’t stopping here. Allen Webster is not very good, particularly against RHH who like facing RHP (like Bautista and Encarnacion last week, who both took him deep). The Royals don’t have anyone like those two bats in their lineup, but Salvador Perez ($3,500) and Lorenzo Cain ($3,700) both have decent numbers against RHH and are priced to move. Webster hasn’t been that good against lefties either, so if you wanted a mini stack, Alex Gordon ($4,600) could hit a bomb for you (he’s been doing that lately).

For the record, I also like TOR Hitters (some kid is making his first MLB start, and his AAA numbers aren’t that good), STL RHH (I also seem to pick on De La Rosa every week), LAA RHH (Oberholtzer gives up hits to RHH, LAA has some really good RHH you might have heard of), in no particular order.

Hope your real and fantasy teams are still in (and stay in) the hunt. Unless you’re a Royals fan. Go Tigers.

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



Pigskin Points
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 (by RotoGuru)

Although this site is dedicated to baseball, I thought I'd point out that there are some football resources at RotoGuru.net that are comparable to some of the baseball resources that you may be used to.

Each week, I publish a listing of points by position for each of the affiliated games (FanDuel, DraftKings, DraftDay) plus Fireleague. As is the case for baseball, note that these are my independent point calculations, and may not always tie exactly to the points processed at the related game sites. But they usually do agree.

I also have sortable stats for the same game formats. As of now, there is no opportunity to export values in CSV format, although maybe I'll get that built in at some point. (No promises.)

Both of those reports include links to individual player pages which list week-to-week points and prices.



The Reverse Closer: A Next Step in Specializing Pitchers
Wed, 10 Sep 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: Sept. 8)

“People are going to think I’m crazy, but we’re just going to try it.”

That’s what Lou Piniella had to say when he announced he was going to use relievers to start the game back in 2005 as manager of the Rays. His idea was centered around his scuffling bullpen that had just suffered another “implosion.” Piniella’s decision may have been predicated on the wrong reasons, but he may have come up with an idea the league just wasn’t ready for.

Recently, I've covered the importance of late-game relievers, along with starting pitchers who can’t get through the first inning smoothly. Making sure the right man is on the mound has become a huge part of a manager’s job more than the game has ever seen. Maybe Piniella’s idea is the last piece needed in the specialization of pitching; but his thought process may have been his problem.

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



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for September 9
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the day is Jon Lester. He's the biggest favorite to win and he's got a great matchup against the White Sox today. I'd be surprised if he doesn't have a really strong outing.

Some other pitchers I like are Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann. I've got a good feeling that these guys are all going to pick up wins today and rack up a good amount of strikeouts while doing it. Let's look for dominant outings from all of them.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Buster Posey. He will be facing Wade Miley tonight, who he is 9-20 (.450) against with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 4 XBH. Posey has also been the hottest hitter in recent weeks batting .511 with 5 HR, 17 RBI and a wOBA of .626 over the past 14 days. This recent performance coupled with his numbers against an opposite handed pitcher tonight makes him look like an auto-lock at catcher tonight.

Some other notable hitters today are Alex Gordon (vs. Max Scherzer, 14-34 (.412), 3 HR, 5 RBI, 7 XBH), Denard Span (vs. Ervin Santana, 12-30 (.400), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 XBH) and Matt Holliday (vs. Mike Leake, 12-30 (.400), 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Salvador Perez. He will be facing Max Scherzer today, who he is 9-23 (.391) against with 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 XBH. Although Scherzer is looking like the favorite to win this game I still think the Royals can put together some offense tonight. Let's look for Perez to be a part of that.

Today's punt hitter is Juan Uribe. He will be facing Andrew Cashner today, who he is 5-11 (.455) against with 1 RBI and 2 XBH. I like the Dodgers to win at home today against the weak Padres offense. Let's look for Uribe to be a big contributor tonight.

Stacking options

My favorite stack of the day is the Athletics. They are huge favorites to win against the White Sox and are facing a left handed pitcher who struggles against righties. 21 of his 24 HR given up this season are against right handed bats so look to get guys like Donaldson and Norris in your stack tonight.

Another team I like is the Angels. I'm picking on the Rangers pitching staff once again here and for good reason. They're awful and the Angels have been one of the best teams in baseball recently. Look for them to get an easy win tonight.

I'm throwing the Mets lefties into the mix tonight again. They are big favorites to beat Colorado and are facing a young righty who has not had the best go of it in his few first major league starts. They are playing in Citi Field, which is a pretty spacious park, but I still think they have a great chance to put some runs on the board tonight.

Lastly, the Indians lefties are looking mighty fine tonight. They are at home against a young righty whose numbers are even worse than the kid from Colorado. I think Cleveland is going to have a fun time knocking this kid around tonight so let's look for a big showing from their offense.

[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 DraftKings Matchups: Monday, September 8
Mon, 08 Sep 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: Travis d'Arnaud (NYM) vs. J. Lyles (COL) -- $3,600
1B: Hidden
2B: Anthony Rendon (WAS) vs. M. Minor (ATL) -- $4,400
3B: Hidden
SS: Ian Desmond (WAS) vs. M. Minor (ATL) -- $3,800
OF: Jayson Werth (WAS) vs. M. Minor (ATL) -- $4,600
OF: Jose Bautista (TOR) vs. J. Turner (CHC) -- $5,700
OF: Christian Yelich (MIA) @ Y. Gallardo (MIL) -- $4,500
SP: Marcus Stroman (TOR) vs. J. Turner (CHC) -- $6,800
SP: Hidden

Stroman has a fascinating matchup at home against the Cubs. On the one hand Chicago has been a league average team in terms of wOBA over the last two weeks (.321) but they're also striking out a massive 27% of the time. This is very much a risky pick as the Cubs could connect for two or three homers off a fly ball pitcher like Stroman, but the Blue Jays rookie should post good K totals and has the potential to dominate for under $7K.

d'Arnaud has been a completely different hitter over the last few months. Jordan Lyles has been the same below average pitcher. Over his last 10 games d'Arnaud is slashing .400/.425/.617 with five doubles, a homer, and just two strikeouts, so he's putting the ball in play a lot and seeing a lot of positive outcomes. I like this matchup.

Mike Minor has turned things around after spending the first few months of the year serving up batting practice to opposing offenses. Interestingly, the normally fly ball prone Minor has done a great job of inducing grounders, and that's fueled his success. If that continues against Washington he could have a good outing, but the Nationals are known for their ability to crush lefties and that means Rendon and Werth have to be in there. I debated between Desmond and Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop but eventually decided on Desmond because he costs a little less and has more upside, though Cabrera is definitely safer. When released lineups come out I may look to add another National or two.

Bautista is pricey at $5.7K, almost prohibitively so, but he's the surest thing in daily fantasy and we can pencil him in for 8-15 points fairly reliably. There are those that think Jacob Turner will turn things around with the Cubs due to his skill set and Chicago's recent successes with Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta, but only Turner's last start was really any good. I still think you can stack Blue Jays against him, but it's an expensive stack.

Yelich is quietly having a monster rookie season. He's slashing .335/.395/.405 over the last 10 days and specializes in scoring runs with the occasional homer or steal. For $4.5K he provides a lot of security and has averaged 8.5 points on the year and 8.1 over the last 10 days.

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 19 - Visual Memory; Peyton Manning, the Ultimate Professional
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 19th in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

Many people involved in sports have told me I’m making too much of a small thing. Well, here’s an example of the difference between those who consider the big picture without dealing with the small things.

Consider the real difference between Tim Tebow’s performance with his first NFL team and Peyton Manning’s constant performance. I love Tim Tebow, but he was seeing the big picture, i.e. winning –even if he must do it by himself - and he did that in an exciting fashion. However, he wasn’t taking care of the little things, like his release time and controlling all of the potential variables that help all the members of the team function at a high professional level. In other words, no one knew what he was going to do, so they couldn’t fit into his play and do their part. On the other hand, the consummate professional Peyton Manning controls everything he can think of, and repeats the tiniest thing over and over to perfection. His teammates are in awe and know exactly what to expect from him. They know how to react and how to help the play develop into success. The coaches and high level management trust Peyton Manning to carry out the plan and not deviate to the point of causing the team to be ineffective.

Of course football has little to do with baseball, but there are similarities, such as when the quarterback makes a long throw. In a 2013 matchup between New England’s Brady and Denver’s Manning in Denver, the thin air added a few feet to Brady’s throws at crucial times. If those several throws had been on target, the game may have had a different outcome. Yes, air density has an effect on football too, but on a lot fewer plays than in baseball. Basketball? Of course--on the three-point shot. Why would it not? Soccer? Absolutely--just ask EAS video game developers who have now included air resistance within their trajectory visuals.

In baseball the Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs are considering the big picture, but are ignoring the Peyton Manning effect. For example, they have amassed talent by the boatload, but fail to realize that accurate exposure to future ball movement on the road is the essential issue for hitters striving to be within 1/16th of an inch of the center of the ball. I’ve explained to two of these teams’ owners and GM’s precisely how much ball movement the players must adjust to in each environment, and how moving the Rockies from Tucson (2400 ft) to Scottsdale (1200 ft) for Spring Training in 2011 affected the team, both psychologically and physically, as they subsequently begin each regular season in various stadium venues. This “lack of ball movement” issue in Coors Field affects the subsequent performance of the hitters on the road, causes them to worry about their performance, and leads to trying harder, which in turn puts additional pressure on the joints and muscles. Any hitter who swings a bat and misses puts additional torque on the joints, tendons and muscles. If that player misses more than he should, injury can occur. If the same player has a heavy body and tries harder and harder to lead his team “out of the basement,” diving at ground balls and bases and pushes himself to the very limit, something is going to give. On the other hand, if the player is given the tools to hit the ball square, he is relaxed, has fun, and makes good decisions--and the pressure is off.

Some team, somewhere, needs to save Troy Tulowitzki’s career.

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.



Chuseph’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, September 5
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

I’ve got Chris Sale ($13,300) and Stephen Strasburg ($11,100) at the top of my rankings, and the difference in price is for consistency. Strasburg has struggled with his fastball this season and has been susceptible to implosions as a result. In his last 6 starts, he’s either been brilliant (29.2 IP, 4 W, 2 ER, 30 K in 4 starts) or dreadful (9 IP, 0 W, 12 ER, 12 K in 2 starts, where he also gave up 6 HR). Sale is far less volatile. Since June, he’s gone at least 6 innings in EVERY START, and has struck out at least 6 in every game but 1 (@BAL on 6/23). CLE has an OPS of .668 against LHP, while PHI has a .667 OPS against RHP. Just food for thought. You should own one of these guys today, though.

A good guy to pair those pricey pitchers with is Jarred Cosart ($6,300) against the Braves. Despite the lefty bats at the top of their lineup, as a team they have a .666 OPS against righties. They’ve faced Cosart twice (6/26 and 8/30), and have mustered 13 hits, 3 BB, 7 K, and 1 ER in 14 innings. Cosart probably won’t blow you away with strikeouts, but in each of his last 4 starts he’s pitched 6+ innings and collected 3 wins. The Braves are missing Justin Upton due to injury, further increasing my faith in Cosart for this start.

Bartolo Colon ($8,700) is almost always a safe play in any format, since he goes deep into games, strikes guys out, and never walks anyone. The Dodgers have a very lefty-heavy lineup, and you can try to take advantage of it with Vidal Nuno ($6,700), who has been excellent in his last 3 starts. He’s also got a 3.23 ERA and 0.93 ERA since he became a Diamondback. Bet ya hadn’t noticed (I know I hadn’t). Jeff Samardzija ($9,600), whose name I can almost spell without looking it up, is a fine bargain, even at his higher price point, against an Astros team he faced 10 days ago and lit up the DraftKings scoreboard with 33.8 points. That’s decent, right?

Hitting

Colorado Righties – Hey look, it’s Eric Stults! That means we get to start some righties. To make it even juicier, we get to start some righties who happen to be playing in Coors Field. This will be a popular pick in just about every format, as it well should be. Nolan Arenado ($4,400), Drew Stubbs $4,000), Josh Rutledge $(3,300), and Michael McKenry ($3,000) will be the guys I target. These prices are extremely reasonable. Fun Fact – All 4 of these guys have a .900+ OPS against LHP, and all but Rutledge have a .900+ OPS at home (Rutledge’s home OPS is .800).

Blue Jays Hitters – Allen Webster has been pretty awful this season. He’s given up 6 ER in consecutive starts against the non-intimidating Rays and Mariners’ lineups. Webster also has a bit of a reverse split going on, giving up more hits and more power to righties than lefties, despite being a righty. The Blue Jays also have 2 guys who sport a reverse split – Jose Bautista ($5,600) and Edwin Encarnacion ($4,600). They are both righties who feast on righties. See where I’m going with this? Get them in your lineup.

For the record, I also like SEA LHH (Endy Chavez ($3,500) and Logan Morrison ($3,000) are sneaky plays if they start), MIA LHH, WAS LHH, and SD RHH, probably in that order.

Best of luck to everyone in their fantasy baseball playoffs. Hopefully you’re still in them (or caressing a trophy) when I write again next week.

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



Why Are the Milwaukee Brewers Falling Apart?
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: Sept. 3)

Hey, Until Tuesday's loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Milwaukee Brewers had spent every day since April 4th with at least a share of the National League Central lead.

But now, following Wednesday's defeat once again at the hands of the South Siders, the Brewers have lost seven in a row and have fallen two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central. The Brew Crew appear to be in a free fall, having lost 10 of their last 12 after a brief five-game winning streak put them 2.5 games up on August 19.

However, the Brewers really haven't played all that well for a while now. After a 53-43 first half, they've gone 20-22 since the All-Star Break, with a 9-16 July and a 13-14 August. They're 0-2 to start September, while the Cardinals have won four in a row, and gone 23-19 since the All-Star break.

So what is causing the slide?

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



RotoRants for September 3
Wed, 03 Sep 2014 (by Braden Horn, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

Winning Wednesday’s Advice for MLB DFS. We have a full slate of games on tap for today with 5 early games which include: Phillies @ Braves, Pirates @ Cardinals, Nationals @ Dodgers, Giants @ Rockies, and Mariners @ Athletics. We’ve got some Aces going in the early games with King Felix, Jordan Zimmerman, and Ervin Santana. And we have 10 other games starting at 7 EST. It’s shaping up to be a great day and I’m here to bring you some Advice to help you win some COLD-HARD-CASH.

We have a great math-based algorithm that takes into effect the pitchers, batters, BvP, wOBA, right/left splits, past match-ups, and current streaks these players are on and gives us data to help us build that winning DFS lineup for the night. If you haven’t checked out our Premium Plays head on over to Rotorants.com.

Pitchers to Focus On:

Marcus Stroman (8-5, 3.88 ERA) vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.94 ERA) vs. Miami Marlins
Jason Vargas (10-7, 3.27 ERA) vs. Texas Rangers
Jered Weaver (15-7, 3.57 ERA) vs. Houston Astros

These are pitchers I would focus on for GPPs because they have High Ceilings and strike out rates against these teams.

STACKING Options:

Yankees vs. Ranaudo:
Ellsbury (if healthy)
Gardner
Beltran
McCann

Remember these are merely suggestions to help you, this isn’t a guarantee but our algorithm has over an 80% success rate and we work hard to bring you this. Other sites charge over $200 for algorithms like this and we have great feedback!

If you would like full DFS Lineups for that day, you’ll have to head on over to Roto Rants to check out our options. Think about it, you could turn $.99 into $2,000 playing the Fanduel MLB Squeeze using our Projected Lineups.

(Also please note, we do everything we can to update the lineup in case of scratches. If a scratch occurs late or you don't agree with a player we've suggested use the players listed in the charts above to find a valuable replacement.)

Remember to hit the subscribe button and get the full articles to fast-track your way into the money! Good luck tonight and bring home the bacon.

Braden Horn has been writing fantasy sports for 5 years and daily fantasy sports for 3. He is a Yankees fanatic, and a Peyton Manning fan. When he’s not working his daily job, he can be found over at www.rotorants.com as the MLB/NFL Fanduel Premium Play writer, the MLB Content Manager at Roto Rants, and he also owns his own fantasy website called Fantasy Sports Guru where he gives his own take on Daily Fantasy Sports. He’s turned $500 into $5,000 playing DFS on Fanduel in 1 month and turned another $100 into $5,000 using the Premium Plays on Roto Rants. Be sure to check out his websites or email him any fantasy sports question at fantasysportsguru22@gmail.com.

Twitter: @FantasyAdvice22
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FantasySportsGuru22



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for September 2
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the day should be fairly obvious. I'll give you a hint. His initials are the same as the founder of a large American fashion house. Give up? It's Clayton Kershaw, of course! He is the biggest favorite of the day and really hasn't pitched a bad game since the All-Star break. I see no reason for him not to have a strong outing tonight so let's look for him to shut down Washington.

Some other pitchers I like are Adam Wainwright, Jake Arrieta and Wade Miley. Wainwright is really the only significant favorite of these three but I still like Arrieta because he has been pitching very well lately and I like Miley because, despite his struggles on the season, he's good a good matchup in an extreme pitcher's park tonight. I would only use Miley in GPPs though. There are much more reliable options for cash games tonight.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is David Wright. His numbers against Brad Penny are very good as he is 12-20 (.600) against him with 4 HR and 10 RBI. He has not been hitting that well recently but I still think Wright has a good chance to do some damage tonight.

Some other notable hitters are Freddie Freeman (vs. Kyle Kendrick, 8-24 (.333), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 XBH), Mike Trout (vs. Brad Peacock, 3-8 (.375), 1 RBI, 2 XBH) and Jose Bautista (vs. Jeremy Hellickson, 8-26 (.308), 3 HR, 4 RBI, 5 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Marcell Ozuna. He will be facing Jonathon Niese today, who he is 4-7 (.571) against with 2 RBI and 1 XBH. The Marlins were able to capitalize on a bunch of errors commited by the Mets yesterday but I think they have a good shot of picking up a decent amount of hits tonight. Let's look for Ozuna to be a big contributor to that total.

Today's punt hitter is Alexi Amarista. He will be facing Wade Miley today, who he is 3-5 (.600) against with 1 XBH. I think Miley has a good chance to have a strong outing against the Padres today but let's still look for Amarista to get on base a few times and provide us with some great value.

Stacking options

My favorite stack of the day is the Angels. They are undoubtedly facing the worst pitcher of the day and are getting a huge park factor boost as well. That coupled with the fact that they are big favorites in a game with a large over/under is making them look like a really good play tonight.

Another team to focus is the Blue Jays. They too are facing a weak righty who has struggled on the year and I think they have a great chance to send a lot of balls over the fence today.

The Giants are also on my radar tonight. They are facing the Rockies in the game with the highest over/under of the day and are pretty big favorites as well. Both teams were able to put up a lot of runs yesterday so let's look for another high scoring affair tonight. Lastly, I'm going to throw the Braves left handers into the mix. They are facing Kyle Kendrick tonight and he has struggled with lefties quite a bit over his career. You should definitely be focusing bats like Freeman and Heyward but don't count out some of the righties like Upton because some of them have been playing pretty well lately.

[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 DraftKings Matchups: Monday, September 1
Mon, 01 Sep 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: Buster Posey (SF) @ F. Morales (COL) -- $5,200
1B: Hidden
2B: Hidden
3B: Pablo Sandoval (SF) @ F. Morales (COL) -- $4,100
SS: Matt Duffy (SF) @ F. Morales (COL) -- $1,900
OF: Hunter Pence (SF) @ F. Morales (COL) -- $5,100
OF: Angel Pagan (SF) @ F. Morales (COL) -- $4,500
OF: Lorenzo Cain (KC) vs. C. Lewis (TEX) -- $4,100
SP: Yordano Ventura (KC) vs. C. Lewis (TEX) -- $8,000
SP: Hidden

Monday's schedule presents an atypical layout of games with 4:00 pm EST the latest contest lock time. It also happens to be a shortened slate, so as we do every Monday this will be a late-game lineup -- that late game just happens to lock earlier than usual! On the mound, Ventura will face a weak Texas lineup that he held to 1 ER over 6 IP (23.30 points) his last time out. Ventura hasn't been the high-flying strikeout act we all expected, but he's been more reliable than we could have hoped for; he's consistently around 15-25 points with few blowups in the middle. While I'd like a little more upside for an $8K pitcher, I'll gladly trade that upside for security on a shortened day.

Today's lineup features a ton of Giants as San Francisco travels to Colorado to take on Franklin Morales. Posey and Pence are both over $5K, but Posey has averaged 15.6 points over his last 10 games and maintains that reputation for crushing lefties while Pence has averaged 11.7 points with three 19+ point efforts.

Sandoval and Pagan fall into the next tier of San Fran sluggers, both costing a little over $4.5K. Over his last four games, Sandoval has seven hits and seven runs scored with just two strikeouts, and Pagan has nine hits, four runs scored, and two steals over that same span.

Then there's Duffy, the $1.9K shortstop who often plays against LHP. While Duffy's power upside is limited -- he only has 12 HR in over 1,000 minor league at-bats -- it's hard to go wrong with such a cheap player getting the start at Colorado against Morales. We just have to make sure he's in there.

Because the rules state we must have players from other teams in our lineup, let's also make room for KC's Cain. Colby Lewis is an easy opponent to stack against, so siding with a bunch of Royals is a good Monday strategy as well, but Cain has averaged 9.0 points in his last 10 with four 12+ point games. For $4.1K, he presents a good high-upside buy in a great matchup.

More Best Values coming by 2:00 pm EST!

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 18 - Visual Memory, How Can a Team Change Its Historical Win Percent?
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 18th in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

In July of 2001 I sent a letter to the Colorado Rockies entitled The Climate Control Theory. I told the Rockies that even though the ball movement was less in Coors Field and limited the Rockies hitters’ exposure to good ball movement for too long a period, there was a way they could create good movement for a while each day in a batting cage. Using this method would keep the visual memory fresh--and they would not even need to be exposed to any pitch other than the primary pitch in baseball – the four-seamer.

In September of 2001 Dan O’Dowd, GM of the Rockies, called me into Coors Field to talk about my proposal of a pressurized hitting cage. I met with an assistant to the GM, Jon Daniels (now GM of the Texas Rangers), and he seemed to play devil’s advocate with me. Later, privately, he told me the ball movement issues were well known to the Rockies, but I would need to develop this pressurized facility on my own and provide the Rockies with a cost estimate in order to move forward.

I completed the assignment for the Rockies within 60 days and revealed it to them through Dan O’Dowd. By mid-July of 2002, a Colorado company submitted a patent application on a facility that is able to contain both positive and negative pressure.

The pressurized facility can contain extremely high pressure, so the doors are able to contain airplane- type pressurization. The walls are strong enough to contain thousands of pounds, but it feels about the same as flying in an airplane and landing at sea level.

A team can rotate all the players through the batting cage in less than one hour and keep their visual memory sharp for more than one playing environment identified by the air density index (ADI). Most of their games and current batting cages use artificial light, so the lighting is something they are used to. The only unique aspect is the air pressure. The air pressure utilized in this batting cage is mild compared to hyperbaric pressurization.

This facility would be extremely useful to any baseball team needing to change from venue to venue across any elevation or temperature differential. Since 1940 the historical winning percentages of all the major leagues across the country and all the teams located at high altitude or hot climates match the MLB teams’ winning percentages. Major college teams, summer semi-pro leagues, the Little League World Series, and fast-pitch competitive teams are all subject to the same visual memory issues, and many of the higher altitude and hot climate colleges have given up on their baseball teams. The very best winning percentages over a 40-year period in the entire US have occurred in Alaska near sea level, and their visual memory is set to extremely good movement.

Any team desiring to match the over 60% winning percentage of the Alaska semi-pro teams would benefit from the pressurized hitting/pitching cages developed by that Colorado company.

The Colorado Rockies and the Texas Rangers are still pondering their individual dilemmas. . .

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.




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