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Postseason Post
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 (by RotoGuru)

DBD will continue in operation throughout the MLB playoffs. Hopefully, all reports will continue to operate normally, although there is always a risk that some reporting will be glitchy, since scheduling is always in flux during October.

Article posting from correspondents will be more limited during October. Some correspondents do plan to continue to post as long as daily (or bi-daily) contests are in play.

Looking ahead, I am considering developing a similar site for Hoops (NBA only), although this might not be activated until sometime after the start of the NBA season. Sortable stats and DFS point recaps will, of course, be available through the RotoGuru "channel", and some sort of daily stats summary will be produced. Beyond those, if you have ideas for useful reports related the the NBA, please send me an email (davehall@rotoguru2.com), and I'll consider them.



Article 22 - Visual Memory; Index Accuracy for 2014
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 22nd in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

Since this is the last week of the regular season, I will share the effectiveness of the Visual Memory Index. The numbers are complete enough to share, even though there are still a couple games left in the season. These rating may be of help during the post season and for next year.

Index Range: The visual memory index ranges from 0.00 to well above 25.00 on the plus side. A plus index means that the team and all the individuals on that team are used to seeing more movement on the pitch than will be available to the pitchers in the upcoming game. The higher the index; the larger the deviation from that which the team is familiar. A plus index indicates that the team should equal or exceed 9 hits for the game. The accuracy rating is based on both the number of hits actually generated and the sit/play advice given on the membership roster page which cautions that too high an index means that the member should sit this player, because he is adjusting.

When the index is in the negative ranges from 0.00 to well above -25.00; this means that the team and all the individuals on that team are used to seeing less movement on the pitch than in today’s game. A minus index indicates that the team should get 8 hits or fewer in the game. The accuracy rating is a combined rating between the actual number of hits generated and the sit/play advice given on the membership roster page which cautions that too high an index means that the member should sit this player. It also takes into consideration that very low indices which mean the ball is not moving much differently than normal for a team, can actually have some effect on the focus (or lack thereof) of the hitter.

Here is the statistical breakdown of our 2014 website predictions, as well as the things to consider regarding the sit/play advice at each VMI range:

Index Range Website Description and Sit/Play Advice Accuracy Rating of VMI as Applied to the Team’s Actual Performance
+15.00 and Above Even though the ball will have far less movement than the hitters are used to, there is enough adjustment to be made that the pitcher may throw the right pitches and the hitters may need a day to adjust. This index range, the member should simply sit the players, because one cannot determine what the pitcher will do.
-15.00 and Greater Even though the ball will have far more movement than the hitters are used to, there is enough adjustment to be made by the hitter that the pitcher may throw the wrong pitches and the hitters may hit the off-speed pitches just fine. This index range, the member should simply sit the players, because one cannot determine what the pitcher will do.
+7.00 to +14.99 The hitter is advantaged by having recently seen more movement than expected for today and the team will get 9 hits or more in the game. 61.1% accurate - Remember, this is without giving any consideration to talent, win percent, pitcher or hitter – just the air resistance and the teams’ familiarity with it.
-7.00 to -14.99 The hitter is disadvantaged by having recently seen less movement than expected for today’s game and the team will get 8 or fewer hits in the game. 65.8% accurate - Again, this is without giving any consideration to anything else than the air resistance and the teams’ familiarity with it.
+3.00 to +6.99 The hitter performs normally, and as stated in the website he will most likely achieve his hitting averages, because the pitcher has no hidden advantages. 63.7% accurate - without any qualifiers.
-3.00 to -6.99 The hitter is highly challenged and he will most likely lower his hitting averages, because the pitcher has a hidden advantage. Some teams were able to focus and overcome this additional amount of movement. Teams that consistently overcome a ball movement issue this unfamiliar are considered very focused and possibly very talented, except where the pitcher had below average speed. 64.2% accurate - without any qualifiers.
0.00 to +2.99 When a team stays in the same or similar environment for several days, its focus can begin to wane even though they are very comfortable with the amount of movement available to the pitcher. Only the focused teams-- those with a higher win percent--consistently achieved above average hitting. 68.9% accurate - the adjacent sit/play advice appears extremely accurate.
0.00 to -2.99 The small amount of additional movement, will only serve to motivate the hitter to focus, so the pitcher had better be on the top of his game. No doubt the teams in the post-season will all be highly focused, but the index will continue to be similarly valid. 74.6% accurate - the sit/play advice appears extremely accurate.

If you write comments directly to me at clifton.neeley@baseballvmi.com I will select the 10 best comments and provide a free post-season membership to those participants. We will, of course, request that we may publish those comments (negative, positive or suggestions) on our Visual Memory website.

The 2014 Post Season

As the MLB regular season ends and we prepare for the post season, BaseballVmi.com will continue the Visual Memory Index (VMI) air resistance gauge analysis throughout each matchup. Separate pricing is required because scheduling is the biggest issue our website faces. Since the regular season is scheduled far in advance, our website is automated so periodic weather website errors are the only hand generated repairs to be made. However, in the post season we will need to generate repairs to the weather report from weather sites, and also watch for changes in the scheduling by MLB due to Game Seven’s. Most of the matchups will be known more than a day in advance, but, as you know. . .. We will continue to attempt to be one day in advance of the game and will have the scheduling, VMI and Air Density Index complete by noon of the day prior to the game. When scheduling does not allow us to be a day ahead, we will provide the numbers by no later than 9:00 a.m. EST of game day so that those who wish to utilize our numbers for the Odds may do so.

Needless to say, when one mixes automation with hand generated numbers, they must be double and triple checked--so, we will stay on top of the issue and provide the same service you have come to expect.

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 26
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

Corey Kluber ($12,300) is a great selection today, regardless of price. The Rays don’t very well at home (.684 OPS) or against RHP (.685 OPS), and have not hit well all month (.663 OPS). Kluber is an absolute stud, and could go 9 innings in any game, and strike out 7+ in any game. I like him in all formats today. If you want to spend a few thousand less, Jered Weaver ($9.800) is also a really strong option against a flailing and dejected Mariners lineup.

Ryan Vogelsong ($7,000) gets the Padres tonight in San Diego. Vogelsong isn’t great, but you’ve seen me (and pretty much every other writer in this space) pick on the Padres all year, and it is successful far more times than it isn’t. Padres can’t hit, PetCo is pitcher-friendly, and Vogelsong has had mostly useable starts over the last few weeks (except for one in Coors, but, I mean, c’mon, no one pitches well there).

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of using Drew Hutchinson ($7,500) against Baltimore today. He’s already faced them three times this season, and he’s posted very good numbers. Weirdly enough, even in his worst start (he gave up 6 ER in 6.1 IP) he posted 20.1 points on DraftKings thanks to a whopping 11 punch-outs. Hutchinson is a risk/reward kind of starter thanks to his propensity to give up home runs, but he can really rack up the strikeouts (10+ in 2 of his last 3). His primary weakness is lefties. They’ve got a .818 OPS against him, and about 75% of the HRs he’s given up have been to southpaws. Luckily for Drew, Baltimore doesn’t really have any strong lefties to put in their lineup outside of Nick Markakis. Start him in your GPP and larger tournaments, and you could get a HUGE reward.

Hitting

Cardinals Lefties: Trevor Cahill has been miserable against LHH, giving up a ludicrous .942 OPS to them. Additionally, he’s got a miserable 6.84 ERA at home in 9 starts. Matt Adams ($3,900), Kolten Wong ($3,900), Matt Carpenter ($4,400), and Jon Jay ($3,300) should find a place in your lineup if you need a stack (but make sure Jon Jay is back with the team before you plug him in).

Tigers Righties: The Tigers have a chance to clinch today (hooray!), and face a very weak starter in Anthony Swarzak, who gives up contact and power to folks on both sides of the dish and is even worse outside of Minnesota, followed by a weak bullpen. The Tigers are extremely likely to win this game, and I’m willing to bet they do it by a large margin against a team with really not much left to play for. I won’t list all the players, I’ll just say focus on the top half of the lineup. If I had to pick my favorites, I’d say the 3-4-5 combo of Miguel Cabrera ($5,500), Victor Martinez ($4,700), and J.D. Martinez ($4,700) will be how this one breaks open. Pricey, but likely worth it.

Good luck everyone, enjoy the final series of the season.

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.



How the Baltimore Orioles Beat the Odds in 2014
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: September 22)

7 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles clinched the AL East title and carried that momentum to the ALCS, losing to the Indians. The organization and franchise probably didn’t think they’d struggle to sniff the playoffs again until 2012, or not win the division title until this season. But here we are.

Coming into the season, the Orioles were definitely not the team everyone was focused on in the AL East. The Red Sox were riding high with their newly-shaved faces after their World Series win in 2013. The Yankees spent the offseason buying veterans to make up for their lack of a farm system. The Rays were getting praise for their pitching and ability to make a run with their low payroll. The Blue Jays were trying to figure out why they couldn’t win in 2013 with big names like Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista.

The Orioles’ major storylines entering the year were the fact that they didn’t resign Jim Johnson or acquire Grant Balfour, and many wondered what would happen with Nelson Cruz in his return from the PED suspension.

Baltimore moved past all of this, ...

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



RotoRants for September 24
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 (by Braden Horn, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

Winning Wednesday’s Advice for Fanduel MLB DFS. We have a 15 games on tap for today with 4 being early. What I want to focus on is the 4 pitchers that have a fantastic chance at dominating their opponents. There are so many different combinations of DFS lineups you can pull, I would like to help you anchor those lineups with the pitching position. Let’s break it down:

Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.74 ERA) vs. Mets
Gio has really pitched better than his record would lead you to believe. He just hasn’t had as much run support as other Nationals starters. Regardless, he has a terrific matchup against a swing-happy depleted Mets team. Lifetime, Gio has held the Mets to a .200 BA, allowing only 13 XBH while striking out 48 batters. He will probably be under-owned as we have multiple Aces taking the mound.

Jon Lester (16-10, 2.41 ERA) vs. Angels
Lester has dominated all season, although while a member of the Red Sox, he was pitching on a team that has been in a funk all season and couldn’t muster up any run support for him. Since going to the A’s, all he’s done has been to dominate. He gets a juicy matchup against the Angels who are batting only .235 with 12 XBH, and 33 strike outs. The A’s are fighting for a playoff spot as the Angels have already clinched. We should see a great matchup tonight with a W for Lester.

Jake Arrieta (9-5, 2.65 ERA) vs. Cardinals
Arrieta might just be the surprise of the year for pitchers. He has really pitched like an Ace as he came 1 inning away from a no-hitter a couple weeks ago. He gets to face division rivals in the St. Louis Cardinals and lifetime has held them to a .259 BA with only 6 XBHs and 21 Ks. He’s a completely different pitcher than he was just a year ago in Baltimore.

Clayton Kershaw (20-3, 1.80 ERA) vs. Giants
Like I said last week, any time Kershaw or Hernandez are pitching, they are ALWAYS in contention to be rostered. If his 1.80 ERA isn’t enough to convince you, he has held the Giants to a .204 BA with 15 XBH, 13 which are doubles, and 82 strike outs! He will cost you a ton, but he is well worth his price tag tonight.

Batters to Target:

Victor Martinez vs. Chris Sale
I don’t know what it is but V-Mart loves facing the White Sox Ace. Lifetime, he is 15 for 28 with 3 doubles, 3 HRs, and a .536 BA. He is the BvP of the day for me.

Jose Abreu vs. Justin Verlander
For whatever reason, Verlander hasn’t been himself in over a year. He continues to struggle and Abreu has taken advantage. In his first MLB season against Verlander, Abreu is batting .583 while going 7 for 12 with a double and 2 HRs. I’m looking for another BOMBpop from him tonight.

Adam LaRoche vs. Dillon Gee
Unfortunately Gee plays for a team that can’t manufacture runs for him and his 7-8 record reflects that. LaRoche has been on fire against RHP lately and lifetime is 7 for 29 with a double and 3 HRs off Gee. I look for his dominant streak against righties to continue tonight.

Robinson Cano vs. Mark Buehrle
Buehrle started the year out hot and has fizzled down the stretch. The Mariners are a hot-hitting team searching for a playoff spot and Cano has been the main offensive reason. Lifetime against Buehrle, Cano is 9 for 26 with 2 doubles, 3 HRs, and 11 RBIs. I’m predicting a BOMBpop for him tonight.

TEAM TO STACK: Mariners vs. Mark Buehrle
Robinson Cano: 9 for 26, 2 doubles, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, .346 BA
Austin Jackson: 9 for 21, 2 doubles, .429 BA
Corey Hart: 3 for 5, 2 HRs, .600 BA (contingent on if he starts, which he should with the small sample size he has against Buehrle.)

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
Blog: fantasysportsadvice.sportsblog.com



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for September 23
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

It's Tuesday which means we've got a full slate of night games ahead of us. We've got all day to do our research and I see plenty of great matchups to choose from today. The weather also looks good right now for all the games on the schedule so let's hope it stays that way. Another thing to note is that a lot of the games have over/unders that are 7 or below right now. Don't be surprised if tonight is a very low scoring night.

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the day is David Price. He is a gigantic favorite to win today (moneyline currently at -293) and I fully expect him to mow down the White Sox. He is coming off a pretty weak start though, so let's hope he can turn it around today.

Some other pitchers I like are Tanner Roark, Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez. Each of them are favored to win and I really like their chance of having strong outings. None of the over/under in their matchups are above 7 as well so hopefully we'll see some low run totals by the opposing teams.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Michael Brantley. He will be facing Yordano Ventura, who he is 5-13 (.385) against with 1 HR and 2 RBI. Brantley has certainly had a great year so let's look for him to wrap up the final days of the season with a big bang.

Some other notable hitters are Mike Trout (vs. Sonny Gray, 4-11 (.364), 2 HR, 2 RBI), Ian Desmond (vs. Bartolo Colon, 4-10 (.400), 2 HR, 3 RBI) and Jose Altuve (vs. Nick Martinez, 4-7 (.571), 3 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Alcides Escobar. He will be facing Danny Salazar today, who he is 4-9 (.444) against. There is not much else to say about this matchup other than I think Escobar has a great shot to get on base a few times. If he does so, he should provide us with some great value.

Today's punt hitter is Gerardo Parra. He will be facing Johnny Cueto today, who he is 6-14 (.429) against with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 5 XBH. Those are some very impressive numbers for such a small sample size and I think Parra has a great shot of delivering some bit points tonight. If you're looking to save some salary then this guy can definitely help you do that today.

Stacking options

My favorite stack of the day is Tigers hitters in general. They are not only huge favorites to win today but they are facing a terrible pitcher as well. I'd be very surprised if the Tigers to pull off an overwhelming win against the White Sox today.

Another option to keep in mind is the Mariners lefties. They are facing R.A. Dickey who has had his good days and had his bad days this season. Let's look for tonight to be another bad day as they are playing in the hitter friendly Rogers Center.

The Athletics hitters are getting throw into the mix tonight as well. They have been showing some signs of life as they make their final playoff push and I really like the matchup they get against Wade LeBlanc. They are also pretty big favorites to win tonight so that's a plus.

Lastly, keep a very close eye on the Yankees lefties tonight. Currently the wind is blowing out to right field at 15 MPH at Yankees Stadium. This bodes extremely well for those lefties facing a very short porch on that side of the field. The Orioles pitcher, Jimenez, has also not had the best season so far. Let's look for the Yankees to push his 4.90 ERA above the 5.00 mark 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 DraftKings Matchups: Monday, September 22
Mon, 22 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: Russell Martin (PIT) @ A. Harang (ATL) — $4,500
1B: Hidden
2B: Neil Walker (PIT) @ A. Harang (ATL) — $4,500
3B: Josh Harrison (PIT) @ A. Harang (ATL) — $4,300
SS: Hidden
OF: Andrew McCutchen (PIT) @ A. Harang (ATL) — $5,000
OF: Starling Marte (PIT) @ A. Harang (ATL) — $4,900
OF: Jonny Gomes (OAK) vs. C. Wilson (LAA) — $2,500
SP: Danny Duffy (KC) @ C. Carrasco (CLE) — $7,800
SP: Hidden

On a short day there’s generally fewer good pitching options to choose from. With Adam Wainwright, his low K rate, and his struggles against the Cubs listed as the day’s top option, that’s especially true. I do like a few of today’s mid-range gambles, though, and the best risk is Danny Duffy. He hasn’t pitched since August 26 with a sore shoulder sidelining him for the past month, but he’s starting tonight and will face an Indians lineup that both he and fellow left-handers have succeeded against this season. On the year Duffy has pitched 21.2 IP against Cleveland with 21 K and a 2.08 ERA, and the Royals need this game badly.

Oh what do you know, we have a Pirates stack! I won’t stack Rockies away from Coors so Eric Stults goes to waste (from a “who can we stack against perspective”), Arizona doesn’t have enough bats to exploit Ricky Nolasco, and I don’t trust the Cardinals’ power against the Cubs, so that leaves the Pirates against Aaron Harang, the White Sox against Kyle Lobstein, the Tigers against Chris Bassitt, or maybe one of the day’s riskier stacks like the Yankees against Wei-Yin Chen. I’m partial to Pirates batters because they have huge upside potential, and Harang doesn’t scare me. Interestingly, the five Pirates I selected — Martin, Walker, Harrison, McCutchen, Marte — have 52 AB combined against Harang yet have struck out just four times! Put the ball in play that often and good things will happen.

The Pittsburgh stack is a little expensive so I need to cut costs in a couple spots. One of those is my third outfielder where I selected Gomes against C.J. Wilson. Wilson was great last time out and “great” isn’t a word that we can use for Gomes unless we’re quantifying his clubhouse contributions, but that’s going to put points up on the board for us. It’s an extremely risky pick, but $2,500 is a bargain basement price, Gomes generally plays against LHP, and he’s seen success against Wilson (7-for-22, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 6 BB, 4 K). I always, always, always take BvP data with a grain of salt because of sample size (small) and context (when did these AB take place?) but in Gomes case we know Wilson is the kind of pitcher he hits so I’m not surprised to see good numbers here.

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 21 - Visual Memory; Physics of the Inexplicable Knuckleball
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 21st in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

Many have tried to describe and define the forces of air resistance acting against the threads and the cover of the knuckleball, but each description has weaknesses. Shortly, I will have the opportunity to film a demonstration of the following description of the forces acting against the knuckleball cover.

Here are the simple aspects of what we all know to be true: We know that air flows on all sides of the ball. We know that threads on a baseball hold the ball steady during flight. We also know that air causes movement on the ball when the threads are turned in such a fashion as to create a Frisbee sort of flight on particular pitches. Some have described this disc-like flight as a two-seam fastball turned slightly into a one-seam fastball that creates a cutting action. Whatever the description, one thing is certain: air resistance against the cover and threads of the ball cause movement. The denser the air, the more movement it causes. Let’s look at what certain industries know about the air as it relates to the knuckleball, but that we don’t think about very often.

Some years ago, Mike Nelson, a Denver area media meteorologist, explained something about air, which may be of help in understanding this. He said, “. . . Imagine a one cubic foot block of air. If a molecule of hydrogen enters this block of air as humidity is being created, another molecule of air must be expelled from this block.” He explained; because air molecules repel each other, if this molecule of hydrogen enters the block of air, the additional molecule will force an equalization of pressure with the surrounding air. Therefore, a molecule of nitrogen must be kicked out of the block, allowing the pressure to equalize, thus creating a more humid block of air as two molecules of hydrogen link up with one molecule of oxygen (H2O). Pressure is caused by too many molecules within the imaginary block of air, causing the repelling forces between air molecules to “push back” or pressurize.

In World War II, U.S. fighter planes had straight wings with rounded leading edges set perpendicular to the fuselage. This caused erratic flight and even downed some planes, due to air molecule build-up on the leading edges. So, how does the air cling to the leading edges? Well, it doesn’t. Actually, a certain number of air molecules are knocked directly back by the wing into the front of the wings’ leading edge, requiring the leading edge to hit these and many more molecules a second time, a third time, etc. causing air build-up to a pressure point. To solve this problem, aeronautical engineers developed the backward slanting wings of fighter planes to wipe the air molecules off the leading edges of the wings.

What is pertinent to the baseball and the airplane wing flying through the air and knocking molecules backward is the pressure build-up. An air compressor is made of sealed, strong steel for a reason. Forcing air molecules closer to each other creates a powerful force, allowing jets to fly and tornados and hurricanes to form. The drawings you may have seen of smooth lines depicting the air flowing around the ball, are only an attempt to describe a much more complicated subject in a simple fashion. They do not account for the molecules pushed directly into the front of the ball that cannot flow smoothly around it. Neither do they account for the molecules that hit the seams precisely on the spot of the seam, which glances those molecules directly back into the front of the center of the ball. This action is real. Remember the 13 quintillion molecules of air at sea level that are in a box the size of a baseball? (See article 13.) The action of the buildup of molecules that are spaced too close to each other for the natural air pressure creates substantial pressure in front of the flying object. In the physical and the aeronautical world this is called a pressure point. This pressure point buildup needs only to deflect a 6 oz. ball off its course to create additional quick movement.

The knuckleball spins very slowly, and in my observation and experience, the most varied movement by a knuckleball comes from being thrown completely still coming off the hand, and then begins to turn during flight, due to the friction of the air. The circular configuration of the threads acts much like a parachute. It holds the air pressure point within the circle, more so than where the threads on the baseball reverse direction and form the “crotch” of the ball, that is, the location where the threads are closest to each other, but there is no seam to close the larger circle. When the pressure builds up in front of the ball enough to push the ball off course; the ball moves around the pressure point. When the ball slides around this air pressure, it will slide off in the direction of least resistance, often at the “crotch” of the seams. This allows for several different directional movements on the same pitch.

The pressure point is why the ball can and does periodically dance upward during part of its flight, i.e., when the crotch or other smooth surface is at the bottom of the ball and turned such that the balance of the threads keep the ball from sideways movement. This quick movement is not by any means “perception only,” as some have said.

As one pressure point pushes the ball in one direction, another pressure point is building and pushes the ball in a different direction depending on the rotation.

As I stated earlier, I will soon have an opportunity to film this action and reaction in a controlled environment using high speed film and coloring in the air. This will be an on-going topic for quite some time in my estimation.

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 19
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 (by Scott Chu)

Pitching

As the pricing indicates, Jon Lester ($12,300) is probably everyone’s #1 guy tonight. The Phillies are terrible and Lester is good. I could use stats to show you that, but I don’t think I need to. You can take my word on it. It’s a safe play for 50/50’s and 2-10 player contests, but you might want to look elsewhere in the GPP’s simply because everyone else will have him too.

Doug Fister ($8,700) should be in for a good day. His last two starts have been pretty serviceable after a run of 3 bad starts. He’s catching a Marlins team with pretty much nothing left to play for that’s missing its best slugger. Starting pitchers have a 2.44 ERA against the Marlins since they lost Stanton, and all 7 have pitched over 6 innings and all but 2 have posted 5+ Ks. Fister could easily put up a Fister-like line of 7 IP, 1-2 ER, and 5+ K’s, and that’s a pretty good day.

The Boston Red Sox are nearing the end of a nightmarish season, but not before they face the surging Kevin Gausman ($7,500), who has pitched 7+ innings in each of his last 3 starts and has 7 Ks in 4 of his last 5. Boston has been bad against righties, posting only a .672 OPS against them. They’ve actually been awful in general since the All-Star Break, with only a .659 OPS in that time. They really don’t have any good lefty bats outside of Big Papi, so they struggle to challenge RHP. Gausman fanned 7 BoSox hitters in 5.1 innings the last time he faced them, and based on his recent improvement in efficiency, I expect him to go longer this time out. He’s also got the K upside you’re looking for in a GPP tournament.

Briefly, I also like Julio Teheran ($8,800), Justin Verlander ($7,400), and Tim Hudson ($7,000), in that order. I might like Teheran as much as or more than Fister, but I suspect he’ll be a more obvious and popular play, so I tried to write about someone a little more sneaky.

Hitting

Colorado Lefties – They’re at home, where as a team they sport a .894 OPS, which is just plain silly. They’ve been blasting the ball recently, scoring 10, 16, and 7 runs in their last 3 games, which is just plain silly as well. Chase Anderson, the opposing pitcher, has a reverse split going on this season, allowing a .831 OPS to RHH, despite being a RHP. Michael McKenry ($4,300), Drew Stubbs ($4,200), Michael Cuddyer ($4,500), and Brandon Barnes ($2,400) all have a decent history against RHP, and if they play, should have some pretty hard hits.

St. Louis Righties – I can’t admit to knowing who David Holmberg is, but he’s pitching for the Reds tonight, he throws about 89 MPH, and he’s given up 5 HRs in just 18 innings this season. 2 of his 3 starts have lasted just 2.2 innings because he was getting shelled (11 ER and 4 HR in those 5.1 innings). While his last two appearances (1 start and 1 5.2 inning relief appearance) have been much smoother, picking on unproven pitchers can be a lucrative move. Matt Holiday ($4,800), Jhonny Peralta ($3,900), Jon Jay ($3,000), and Yadier Molina ($3,500) are the best bets, but you might also consider Daniel Descalso ($2,200), if he starts (which is pretty unlikely). It’s a really small sample size, but Holmberg has given up 6 hits (including 2 HR) to LHH in 17 AB. Descalso, a lefty, is 12/32 against lefties this season with a .912 OPS. Again, this is really small sample size stuff, so it’s not to be entirely trusted, but if you REALLY need a cheap option at 2B/SS, he could be your guy.

SEA LHH, BAL LHH, CWS RHH, and ARI LHH are also decent options too, if you need to fill some lineup spots.

Good luck folks. Hope you’re enjoying September baseball. It’s a beautiful thing. Oh, and hey Tigers, c’mon. I landed playoff tickets for the ALDS, don’t rob me of this opportunity.

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.



RotoRants for September 18
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 (by Braden Horn, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

Winning Thursday’s Advice for Fanduel MLB DFS. We have a 10 games on tap for today with one being early. What I want to focus on is the four pitchers that have a fantastic chance at dominating their opponents. There are so many different combinations of DFS lineups you can pull, I would like to help you anchor those lineups with the pitching position. Let’s break it down:

Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.92 ERA) vs. Red Sox
Cole hasn’t faced the Red Sox much and only 2 current players have faced him. This bodes well for his record and chances at going against a team that is unfamiliar with him and the Red Sox have been in shambles all season. Looking for Cole to go at least 7 innings, with 7 strike outs and get the win.

Doug Fister (14-6, 2.55 ERA) vs. Marlins
With Stanton not in the lineup, the Marlins are absolutely dead in the water. Doug Fister has been dominant all season with his 14-6 Record and gets a great matchup in Miami. He’s faced the Marlins a few times and has dominated. Miami is batting only .289 with 10 Ks and only 1 HR. He’s got a great matchup and could be used for both Cash-Games and GPPs.

Zack Greinke (15-8, 2.64 ERA) vs. Cubs - Contrarian GPP Pitcher
Greinke has been dominant just like normal and gets to face a Cubs team that has been a surprise down the stretch. Greinke has faced the Cubs numerous times as he pitched for Milwaukee. Lifetime against the Cubs, Greinke has held them to a .297 BA and 14 Ks. Looking for him to improve his record to 16 wins as the Dodgers have been hitting the ball well. With these sorts of numbers, I think Greinke will be over-looked with a lot owners for DFS and that’s exactly what we need for a GPP. The least owned players with the ace status such as Greinke, could be the difference between a big payday and not cashing at all.

Felix Hernandez (14-5, 2.14 ERA) vs. Angels
Anytime Hernandez or Kershaw are on the bump, you have to roll with them. Felix and the Mariners are going against Weaver who they have owned in the past, and they are trying for a playoff spot. Look for the Mariners to jump out early and Hernandez to mow down the competition.

HITTERS TO TARGET
Brian McCann vs. R.A. Dickey
Lifetime against Dickey, McCann is 6 for 26 with 1 HR, 5 BBs, and he’s hit most of his HRs at Yankee Stadium. He’s easily a GPP option tonight.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia vs. Doug Fister
Lifetime against Fister, Salty is 5 for 11 with 2 doubles and 1 HR. He could make a very cheap option so we could afford Hernandez tonight.

Jose Altuve vs. Danny Salazar
Altuve is only 1 for 3 off Salazar with an RBI, but he’s been on fire and just broke the single season hits record last night. One that was held by none other than Astro’s great, Craig Biggio. Altuve is just on a hot streak and has to be in contention for rostering every night.

Team to Stack: MARINERS against the Angels (Jered Weaver)
Justin Smoak - He’s 10 for 34 lifetime off Weaver with 3 doubles, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, 3 walks, and 6 Ks. He’s the low cost/high reward option for GPP that allows us to get an ace pitcher.
Dustin Ackley - Lifetime against Weaver, he’s 9 for 26 with 3 doubles and a HR. He has come off his hot streak he was on a few weeks ago and his price has been adjusted accordingly. Look for him to be under-owned and under-valued tonight.
Robinson Cano - If you don’t want to go with Altuve, Cano is the next best option. He’s hit Weaver well in his career on both the Yankees and Mariners to a tune of 15 for 38 with a triple.
Kendrys Morales

If you would like full DFS Lineups for the 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
Blog: fantasysportsadvice.sportsblog.com



How Legitimate Are the Kansas City Royals?
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: September 16)

The Royals haven’t seriously been in the playoff hunt this far into a season since 1995. Last year, they were much improved and gave their fans new reason for hope with their small push for the wild card, even though they came up short and finished third in the AL Central.

Now they are in an arms race with the Tigers, with the Indians' hopes almost completely erased. Kansas City also finds themselves as the second place team in the wild card race, with the Mariners only one game behind them, too.

How will the final stretch of their season shape up?

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



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.




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