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The Effect of Rain on Player Performance
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 (by Jonathan Bales, the author of Fantasy Baseball for Smart People - a guide to winning at daily MLB.)

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
I had a friend who moved from our hometown (outside of Philly) to L.A., and he complained all the time about how he missed the rain and that the weather was “too nice” in California.

I think he’s out of his mind because rain is awful. Granted, I stay inside pretty much all day anyway, but I do sit by a window most of the time, so it ruins my entire work-and-watch-TV ambiance. How am I supposed to tackle a subject as exhilarating as how a light drizzle affects walk rates in Major League Baseball if it’s dark and gloomy outside?

I don’t like it to rain wherever I’m located, but from the months of April to October, I hope for as much precipitation as possible everywhere else in the country. I’m a huge advocate of utilizing the weather in daily fantasy baseball decisions, and understanding how rain affects player projections is really, really important. Rain can also lead to a big edge, which is why I love it.

As you know, it’s extremely risky to roster pitchers who are in a game that could see rain. Even if the game doesn’t rain out, any sort of delay can be devastating to your lineup since starters almost always get pulled if they need to sit for any significant period of time. I might take a chance on a pitcher in a game with a small chance of rain in a tournament—although even that’s rare—but you simply can’t take unnecessary risks with your arms in cash games.

Batters are another story because they don’t get pulled if there’s a delay. Actually, a rain delay (or perhaps the precipitation itself) might actually help your bats. For one, the starter could get pulled early. Second, it could be the case that pitching itself is more challenging in the rain; I’m not a professional baseball player, but a wet baseball seems like it is more difficult to throw accurately than a dry one.

Stats in the Rain

Using Baseball Reference’s Batting Game Finder, I was able to examine every game played since 2000, which I broke up into three buckets: no precipitation, drizzle, and rain/showers. What’s considered a ‘drizzle’ and what’s considered an actual ‘shower’? I have no freaking idea, but let’s go with it.

Here’s a look at five different stats sorted by precipitation.

Stats in yellow are the ones that are best for hitters, while blue is the worst. You can see the only stat that improves for batters in games with no rain is HR/AB. That makes some sense since you’d think rain might knock down fly balls so that they don’t travel as far as they would otherwise. Still, those results are all similar: 0.27 HR/AB in rain, 0.28 in a drizzle fo’ shizzle, and 0.29 in clear skies. Basically no difference.

After HR/AB, however, every batter stat is best when a game has some form of rain—and the more rain, the better. Batters get on base 33.1 percent of the time in rain compared to 32.0 percent of the time in clear skies.

When I saw the OBP numbers, it made me think that perhaps a lot of this has to do with a lack of control from pitchers, which would be reflected in both walk and strikeout rates. And indeed, pitchers walk significantly more batters and strike out fewer in rain.

With all of those numbers, it shouldn’t be surprising that teams have historically scored 3.6 percent more runs in games with rain than in those without any precipitation. The biggest effects are on walks and strikeouts: 9.6 percent more walks and 10.1 percent fewer strikeouts in rainy games.

That’s a big deal.

Using Precipitation to Your Advantage

I think that there’s a general misunderstanding of how to use the likelihood of precipitation to your advantage in daily fantasy baseball. A greater likelihood of rain—and thus more risk—isn’t always a negative.

While I wouldn’t roster a stack of hitters in my cash lineup if they’re in a game with a 70% chance of rain, I might do just that in tournaments to help separate from the pack. Users get scared off when there’s a high likelihood of rain, even in in GPPs. Although lots of games experience delays, not too many are actually postponed—certainly not enough to make up for sharp drops in usage that we see in games considered “high-risk.”

Rostering batters in games with a high likelihood of rain but a low probability of getting postponed is probably a really underrated tournament strategy. It’s something I like to do a lot, targeting high-upside offenses whose ownership will be down due to perceived risk. The reduced usage combined with the expected improvement in batting stats—due both to wet conditions and the potential for the starter to get pulled after a delay—combine to form the perfect storm ( You like that?) for daily fantasy baseball players.

And at this point, I think we need to change the old nursery rhyme.

Rain rain go away,
Just kidding stay around for a little while and force the opposing pitcher out of the game but don’t get out of hand because we need to get this game in I have the Blue Jays at five percent ownership.
I’ll be singing that one to my kids for years to come.



Daily DraftKings Matchups: Monday, April 27
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 (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: Brian McCann (NYY) vs. N. Karns (TB) — $3,900
1B: Mark Teixeira (NYY) vs. N. Karns (TB) — $4,600
2B:Hidden
3B: Miguel Cabrera (DET) vs. T. Milone (MIN) — $5,100
SS: Billy Hamilton (CIN) vs. J. Nelson (MIL) — $4,500
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) vs. N. Karns (TB) — $4,800
OF: Brett Gardner (NYY) vs. N. Karns (TB) — $4,800
OF:Hidden
SP: Jason Marquis (CIN) vs. J. Nelson (MIL) — $4,700
SP:Hidden

Yes, that’s right — I’m backing Marquis. So far this season he’s struck out 21 batters in 15 innings, and it’s not all just sample size luck. I’m sure that’s a portion of it, but he’s refined a pretty nasty sinker that he unveiled in 2013, and he’s inducing whiffs on 59% of all swings. In one start against Milwaukee this season Marquis fanned eight Brewers, and while you could definitely make the argument that they’ve seen it now and will be ready to hit it the second time around, the fact remains that Marquis’ price is too good to pass up. In two of his three starts this season he’s topped 15 points, and that’s enough of a performance to turn a solid profit on his price tag. With pitchers in a GPP I’m mostly looking for three points per thousand dollars spent, and that means I’m looking for at least 14.10 points from Marquis. Pitching at home against the lowly Brewers, he has a good shot at a win and my target “breakeven” point total.

Today I’m stacking Yankees at home against Nathan Karns. There’s a moderate wind blowing out to right field in Yankee Stadium, and I’m going with four of New York’s best left-handed batters in an attempt to tally a few homers. Teixeira has homered five times over the last week and has done a fantastic job of putting the ball in play (15.1 K%), even if his BABIP is terrible (.163). McCann for $3,900 at home against a right-handed pitcher is always a good gamble, and I’ll grab New York’s 1-2 batters as well in Ellsbury and Gardner. Check the lineup as Ellsbury is a little banged up, but from what I’ve read he should be in there.

Alex Rodriguez for $4,200 would be a good fifth Yankee to add, but I went with the cheap Marquis so I have some money to spend, and I’m spending it on a premium third baseman. That third baseman is Cabrera, who had slowed of late until teeing off on Carlos Carrasco and the Indians’ bullpen for three hits, including a homer, on Sunday. Against a left-handed Tommy Milone, Cabrera has a good shot at 20-plus points, and I’d be somewhat surprised if he didn’t collect at least nine points (maybe a double, a run, and an RBI?).

As I said, I have money to spend so I can afford a semi-premium shortstop, and Hamilton has as much upside as anyone because of his ridiculous rate of thievery so far this season (12 SB in 15 games). Jimmy Nelson has been good for the Brewers this season and I’m buying the potential breakout, especially with his new curve, but he’s not someone I’d avoid yet.

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.



Shifting Weather
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 (by RotoGuru)

The Weather Dashboard is one of the most active pages on the DBD site, accounting for more than one-third of all pageviews. As such, I've been doing some work behind the scenes to ensure that my underlying weather feeds are as stable and as current as possible (within reason). I've just released an updated version of the Weather Dashboard, which probably looks almost the same as what you've seen before. But there are several notable changes:

  • The weather forecast data feed now comes from Weather Underground, and each game link now leads to the associated weather forecast page at wunderground.com.
  • During the day, the current day's weather forecast feed will be updated twice as often as before (every 10 minutes, rather than every 20 minutes). If you scroll to the bottom of the dashboard, you can now see the time of the last data feed in the lower right.
  • Forecasts for the next week will all show hourly data, rather than daily summaries. I realize that hourly precision becomes spurious as the horizon extends, but this is still more complete information than what was available before.
  • There are some technical adjustments in the infrastructure that should make data access more reliable (note that I said "reliable", not "accurate.")
One thing that I've noticed is that the new data shows precip probabilities that use all integers from 0-100. The previous feed tended to round to 10% increments. That's neither good nor bad, but just something to be aware of.

I've done my best to assure that the new framework is all debugged, but if you notice any apparent glitches, please let me know.



Chuseph’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, April 24th
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 (by Scott Chu)

The Mets are on fire, Kris Bryant is in the majors, and the Royals can’t stop brawling. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

Anyway, we’ve got a great slate of games tonight, so let’s see what’s out there for us that other major sites may have missed. That’s how we get the edge, you see – find fun facts that the average Joe with ESPN bookmarked might have missed. That’s the money we’re trying to win.

Pitching

I count 20 SP today that could post an average or above average start. That’s insane, but also explains the fairly high cost for SP tonight. I think it’s clear King Felix Hernandez ($11300) is the one who looks best on paper against a lousy Twins lineup, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

Gerit Cole ($8200) is going to be a stud. He’s looked fantastic this year (I watched him straight up dominate the Tigers for 6 IP and 8 K’s earlier this season), and the Diamondbacks have struggled against RHP this year as evidenced by their wOBA of just .300 (to better understand this VERY helpful stat, go here. They’ve also struck out at a 21.7% clip with only a 5.3 BB%. Cole has the arm to go the distance against the free swingin’ snakes, and is priced very well. I also like the Pirates to win tonight, which is a bonus.

Carlos Martinez ($7200) is coming off 2 very successful starts for the Cardinals and now runs into the struggling Brewers, who have scored more than 3 runs in just 5 of their 16 games. They rank 28th in the Majors in runs scored with 46, and 10 of those runs came in one game earlier this week (which they still lost). They’re dead last in wOBA, batting an abysmal .263. I could keep going, but then I’ll just feel bad. They’re injured and struggling, so it’s a good time to pick on them with a young righty K artist like Martinez, considering that everyone mon their team is a righty (with Adam Lind being the only notable exception). A quality start and a win is probably the floor for this kid, so buy him up everywhere you can.

Quick Hits – Jordan Zimmerman ($8300) is still a very good pitcher, I don’t care what the numbers this year say. The Marlins are better than they were last year, but still aren’t that good. Everyone is trying to dissect Shane Greene ($7100), and we still aren’t any closer to finding out what he is long term. Lucky for us, all we care about is tonight, and the Indians have not started the season well. I’m not going to come out and openly suggest Aaron Harang ($6600), but only because I’m spiteful and I’ve tried to pick against him multiple times. He’s facing a soft lineup at home, and the Braves will strike out. That’s all.

Hitting

SF LHH: A game is being played in Coors, so you might as well buy part of it. DK pumps prices way up for batters in the thin air above Colorado, but even that doesn’t make the Giants hitters too expensive. Throw in that Eddie Butler is past due for a visit from the regression monster, and guys like Nori Aoki ($4400), the still-healthy-somehow Angel Pagan ($4600), and the always-undervalued Joe Panik ($3900) look like great options.

CHC Lefties: Mike Leake let lefties get the better of him last year, allowing an .801 OPS to southpaws. The Cubs happen to have a plethora of potent bats from that side of the dish, such as Anthony Rizzo ($4800), Dexter Fowler ($4500), and Chris Coghlan ($3400). I won’t stop you from using Kris Bryant ($4600) either, because he looks like the Truth.

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



What Should We Expect From Addison Russell?
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: April 22)

You know, it's just not fair.

Last year, the Chicago Cubs traded two starting pitchers, one of them a low-end number-one starter in Jeff Samardzija and the other a number-three or four starter Jason Hammel, both on the final years of their contracts, to the Oakland A's for their prized infield prospect Addison Russell.

Keep in mind Chicago already had a star shortstop in Starlin Castro, and were bursting at the seams with position player prospects like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, not to mention a young and established Major League first baseman in Anthony Rizzo.

The Cubs acquiring Russell was like Jay Leno buying a new Bentley. He doesn't need it, but he got it anyway.

Well, on Tuesday, Chicago decided it was time for that new luxury item to start paying dividends, ....

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



Player Cards from FantasyPros.com
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 (by RotoGuru)

I've added pop-up player cards, supplied by fantasyPros.com, on the Pitcher vs Batter report and also on the RotoGuru Daily Fantasy Point Summary. Click on the small icon to the right of any player name and a small panel with recent player news will pop up. From there you can also access more detailed player info at fantasyPros.com.

I briefly introduced this feature several days ago, but then had to pull it back when it caused a conflict with the position highlighting capability on the PvB page. I believe that conflict has now been overcome.



Daily DraftKings Matchups: Monday, April 20
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 (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: Derek Norris (SD) @ J. De La Rosa (COL) — $3,800
1B: Hidden
2B: Yangervis Solarte (SD) @ J. De La Rosa (COL) — $3,400
3B: Will Middlebrooks (SD) @ J. De La Rosa (COL) — $3,900
SS: Troy Tulowitzki (COL) vs. O. Despaigne (SD) — $5,900
OF: Matt Kemp (SD) @ J. De La Rosa (COL) — $5,400
OF: Wil Myers (SD) @ J. De La Rosa (COL) — $4,500
OF: Hidden
SP: Edinson Volquez (KC) vs. K. Gibson (MIN) — $6,600
SP: Hidden

Starting on the mound, today it’s Volquez against the Twins, which is the same team he put up 21.7 points against in his last outing without picking up the win. Everything I said about Volquez last time holds true this time. He’s a quality start machine and I believe in his resurgence.

On offense, it’s a lot of players from the SD@COL game! Frequently (perhaps too frequently) I talk about how I hate Rockies on the road because the atmospheric transition of moving from Colorado to any other park messes with incoming pitches, making them move more than the players have most recently seen. This is a major reason why Colorado ranks as both the best home offense and the worst road offense in baseball over the last three years. Conversely, though, as much as the transition from Colorado to not-Colorado is devastating for offensive production, the inverse is also true. The transition from not-Colorado to Colorado means big numbers are likely to come.

Today that means I’m stacking Padres, who have done some hitting of their own this past week — they’ve scored the 10th-most runs over the last seven days — and now get to take their modestly hot offense to the thin Denver atmosphere. While stacking Rockies against Odrisamer Despaigne is just as good of a move as stacking Padres against Jorge De La Rosa, the Padres are cheaper and their bats have a good combination of home run upside and low cost that I look for in a GPP lineup (which this is).

Kemp is a machine and seems to hit well, and often, regardless of where he plays, but it’s Norris, Middlebrooks, and Myers that will make or break my lineup. Using the Expected SLG analysis I debuted last week, here’s how the five Padres in my lineup shape up, adjusting for both the left-handed De La Rosa and the park:

  • Norris — Expected SLG: .634 | 2015 Steamer: .386
  • Solarte — Expected SLG: .482 | 2015 Steamer: .359
  • Middlebrooks — Expected SLG: .554 | 2015 Steamer: .371
  • Kemp — Expected SLG: .627 | 2015 Steamer: .453
  • Myers — Expected SLG: .337 | 2015 Steamer: .412
That’s a lot of opportunity for overproduction in this matchup with the notable exception of Myers. For his career, Myers has really struggled against ground ball pitchers, posting a .189/.281/.262 slash line against them. That’s pathetic, and for $4,500 it’s a major risk. For the same price I could also have someone like Starling Marte (vs. Jake Arrieta) or J.D. Martinez (vs. C.C. Sabathia), so I’m still in the process of deciding how valuable Myers is as a part of the Padres stack and whether I want to take the risk given what I know about his matchup. I won’t decide on this until close to game time.

For Tulo, well, it’s Tulo returning home to face an average starting pitcher. What’s not to like?

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.



Chuseph’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, April 17th
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 (by Scott Chu)

Shorter post today, folks. Got wrapped up in other things.

Pitching

In terms of value, Corey Kluber ($9800) is my top ace. The Twins as a team have an abysmal .562 OPS and have almost as many strikeouts (41) as they do total bases (51) in their 170 AB’s against RHP. Kershaw and Scherzer obviously have great matchups, but I’ll save the $2K and get the same, if not better, numbers.

The Pirates have not hit well to start the season (they got shut out for 8 innings last night against the very average Alfredo Simon), so there’s big time boom potential for the darling of Milwaukee, young Jimmy Nelson ($6600). The Pirates have only swatted a .259 wOBA against RHP to start the season with a whopping 24.2% K rate, and 7 innings of these numbers were against Nelson. ZiPS projects a K/9 of over 8, and he had a great K outing his last time up (9 k, 2BB, 2H, 0ER), and for less than $7k, I don’t see anything better.

Jered Weaver ($7500) and Drew Hutchinson ($7200) have great matchups, but I don’t trust either one yet (velocity for Weaver, control for Hutchinson). If you’re trying to win a GPP, these are sneaky plays. If you’re in 50/50’s and small leagues, I might play it a little safer.

Hitting

I’m starting any and all CLE lefties today (Carlos Santana ($4700), Brandon Moss ($4500), Jose Ramirez ($3700), Jason Kipnis ($4700) for sure, and probably anyone else). Mike Pelfrey has a career .344 wOBA allowed to LHP, and he’s the living definition of a replacement level 5th starter. Michael Brantley ($5200) remains injured, and for that price, I’d avoid him anyway.

I’m going to keep picking on Kyle Kendrick until he proves to me he’s not just Kyle Kendrick. LAD lefties would be the ideal guys (red-hot Adrian Gonzalez ($4900 . . . how is he not over 5k yet?!), Andre Ethier ($3100, but make sure he’s starting), and Joc Pederson ($4100)), but make sure you REALLY check that line-up. Lots of guys are dinged up for the Dodgers, so it’s hard to say who will start. Don’t ignore the righties, either. They’ll do fine too.

Oh, and before you die, listen to Vin Scully. Just do it.

(Scott Chu is really sorry for the brief post today. Feel free to vent your frustrations at his picks to @Chuseph_Esquire, or just give him a shout)



The Effect of Carlos Martinez's Changeup in Fantasy Baseball
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: April 14)

23-year-old Carlos Martinez looked great in his first start for the Cardinals against the Reds, and it can probably be attributed to his increased usage of a changeup. He’s almost reached his changeup total from last year, and he’s only had one start and one relief appearance thus far in 2015.

Take a look at the chart below -- albeit a tiny sample size -- showing Martinez's changeup numbers....

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



Daily DraftKings Matchups: Monday, April 13
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 (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: Hidden
1B: Albert Pujols (LAA) @ R. Detwiler (TEX) — $5,400
2B: Robinson Cano (SEA) @ B. McCarthy (LAD) — $4,100
3B: David Freese (LAA) @ R. Detwiler (TEX) — $4,200
SS: Hidden
OF: Mike Trout (LAA) @ R. Detwiler (TEX) — $6,600
OF: Collin Cowgill (LAA) @ R. Detwiler (TEX) — $3,200
OF: Justin Upton (SD) vs. R. de la Rosa (ARI) — $4,300
SP: Shelby Miller (ATL) vs. M. Latos (MIA) — $7,100
SP: Hidden

Before I break down today’s picks, I want to take several minutes to discuss my general approach today (which I spent some time researching and refining over the weekend).

Unsurprisingly, batter versus pitcher (BvP) splits are heavily relied upon by those who play DFS. The logic is simple — not all matchups are made the same, and how a hitter performs against David Price is probably different than how he performs against Phil Hughes, which is probably different than how he performs against the league on the aggregate. The major problem with BvP splits, though, is there’s just not enough data to work with.

According to FanGraphs, it takes about 320 AB for SLG to stabilize for a batter (among the basic triple slash stats, I like SLG best for DFS analysis). While repeated AB against the same pitcher (as opposed to YTD data against all pitchers faced) probably reduces the number of AB needed for SLG to stabilize, that number doesn’t drop to anything resembling the typical sample size BvP data has to offer. That means we’re constantly left to guess how much weight to add to Anthony Rizzo’s impressive 7-for-20 (.350) with a homer against Mike Leake. Did Rizzo just catch Leake a couple times while he was running hot? Do those stats justify chancing it on Rizzo for $4,800 today?

My solution to this BvP sample size problem is to generalize the BvP matchup. Let’s take Rizzo versus Leake, for example. If we just look at those two in their specific matchups, we only have a 20 AB sample size — not much to work with. However, we can generalize Leake as a finesse, ground ball pitcher and then see how Rizzo does against other finesse, ground ball pitchers.

Quickly, a couple housekeeping notes. First, how did I classify Leake as a finesse, ground ball pitcher? I simply used the definitions provided by Baseball-Reference.com, who record batter and pitcher performance against a lot of very detailed splits such as these. Their definitions are as follows:

  • Finesse: Bottom-third of the league in K%+BB%
  • Ground Ball: Top-third of the league in GB/FB ratio
Second, where you can find these splits? They’re available on all players’ splits stats pages but you can download bulk splits using their splits stats finder.

By categorizing Leake as a finesse, ground ball pitcher, we’ve now created a bucket into which we can toss similar pitchers; according to Baseball-Reference.com’s definitions, this bucket would also include Hisashi Iwakuma, Tim Hudson, Alfredo Simon, Rick Porcello, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin, Carlos Martinez, Jerome Williams, and plenty others. Suddenly the sample size isn’t just 20 AB. It’s a lot more. In fact, since the start of 2012 Rizzo has 601 AB against finesse pitchers and 470 AB against ground ball pitchers.

(Want to argue Martinez isn’t a finesse pitcher due to his blazing heater? That’s fine. Remember, these are general buckets that include dozens and dozens of pitchers, so on the average the pitchers typically resemble each other, though there are bound to be some ugly ducklings.)

Due to limitations in the way the data is organized we have to look at Rizzo’s performance against finesse pitchers and ground ball pitchers separately, and I kept it simple and just averaged his SLG against each type to yield a combined SLG against finesse, ground ballers. For Rizzo, this was a .556 SLG against finesse pitchers and a .500 SLG against ground ballers for an estimated .528 SLG against finesse ground ballers.

We also can’t split out finesse right-handed pitchers from finesse left-handed pitchers, however, we can make a loose assumption that if Rizzo’s SLG against right-handed pitchers is 5.6% higher than his SLG against all pitchers, which it is, then his SLG against right-handed finesse pitchers would also be about 5.6% higher than his SLG against all finesse pitchers. We have Rizzo pegged for about a .528 SLG against all finesse, ground ball pitchers, so a 5.6% increase to account for us only caring about the right-handed pitchers bumps our estimate for Rizzo’s SLG against finesse, ground ball, right-handed pitchers to .558.

The fact that we have to make these assumptions prevents the data from being perfectly representative of the specific matchup at hand, but it’s fairly close, and any error introduced by making these assumptions is probably less than the error incurred by using a 20 AB sample.

Are you lost? I hope not because there’s two final steps left.

First final step — adjusting for the specific opposing pitcher. The .558 estimate we’ve thus far generated is our projected SLG for Rizzo against the average finesse, ground ball, right-handed pitcher. However, over the last three years Leake has held the average left-handed batter to a .446 SLG whereas the average finesse, ground ball pitcher has held their batters to a .416 SLG. This means Leake has allowed a SLG to left-handed batters that’s 7.2% higher than the league average for pitchers of his type, so let’s increase Rizzo’s projected .558 SLG by 7.2% — now we’re at .598.

Last final step — adjusting for ballpark. The game between Rizzo and Leake will take place at Wrigley Field, which has inflated SLG by 3.6% over the last three years. Take Rizzo’s .598 SLG and increase it 3.6% and we’re now at .620.

To summarize, what is that .620? That’s Rizzo’s expected SLG against all finesse, ground ball, right-handed pitchers adjusted for both Leake’s performance relative to the league average finesse ground baller and ballpark. So, when we see Rizzo has slugged .600 against Leake in 20 AB against him, we can feel confident that’s about the type of production we’d expect from him in this specific matchup.

Now, that was a super-lengthy explanation of my general method. I have a file set up that allows me to quickly calculate these expected slugging percentages based on generalized BvP matchups, and by comparing expected SLG to a player’s projected (or actual) season-long SLG we can identify good hitters to target.

And that’s how I landed on all of today’s Angels!

Adjusting for everything — power/finesse, ground ball/fly ball, specific strength of pitcher relative to others of his type, and ballpark, I generated the following Expected SLG for their game tonight against Ross Detwiler (Steamer projected SLG also shown for reference):

  • Pujols — Projected: .539 | 2015 Steamer: .462
  • Freese — Projected: .561 | 2015 Steamer: .387
  • Trout — Projected: .566 | 2015 Steamer: .535
  • Cowgill — Projected: .529 | 2015 Steamer: .336
These projected SLG are extra valuable in this case because the Angels as an entire team have just 16 AB combined against Detwiler. We can figure Detwiler isn’t a great pitcher so an Angels stack should be safe, but I’d prefer to quantify how good each matchup is and then make my selections based off that. Based on these estimates, Cowgill and Freese look to be great buys today, while Pujols is clearly better against the Detwilers of the world as well, and Trout is only marginally better than his usual, otherworldly self.

Also in the lineup today is Cano, who squares off against Brandon McCarthy. Now, this isn’t the same McCarthy as we’ve seen in past seasons as he’s improved a good amount since the start of last season, but Cano is still 3-for-11 (.273) with a homer and just one strikeout in his career against the Dodgers’ new right-hander. Using the same analysis above, I project Cano for a .503 SLG in this particular matchup, which is higher than his .460 Steamer projection for the season and well worth his modest $4,100 price tag.

With Upton it’s the same thing. Rubby de la Rosa has little experience in the majors, and Upton is just 0-for-1 with a walk in limited time against the Diamondbacks’ starter. Using the method above and bucketing de la Rosa as a ground ball pitcher with walk and strikeout rates that bucket him as average (in the middle-third between finesse and power), we can project Upton for a .538 SLG in this specific matchup, including ballpark, which compares favorably to his .442 Steamer projection and makes him worth the price tag as well.

As for Miller (let’s not forget the pitcher!) he held Miami scoreless in his first start of the season, and I don’t think it’s a fluke. He’s developed a nice two-seamer/sinker that he’s relying upon a lot. He actually unveiled the pitcher last August and while the improvement wasn’t immediate (4.35 August ERA), he pitched like an ace in September (1.48 ERA) and then again in his first start of the 2015 season. In fact, in that first start against the Marlins the former fly ball pitcher didn’t allow a single fly ball. Combine that with Miami’s struggling offense and Marlins Park’s spacious dimensions, and I’ll roll the dice with Miller again.

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.



Is Trevor Bauer Ready to Be an Impact Pitcher?
Sat, 11 Apr 2015 (by numberFire.com, twitter: @numberFire)


(Orig publ. date: April 10)

Ever since he was selected with the third overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Trevor Bauer has oozed with potential.

Hey, the 24-year-old has electric stuff. He features a fastball that sits around 93-94 mph and has a curveball that can be devastating to hitters, to go along with a serviceable changeup and slider. And for the first time in his career last year, he managed to stick with the big club for the majority of the season, making 26 starts for the Cleveland Indians. Along the way he went 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 60 walks in 153 innings.

On Thursday, Bauer was brilliant, pitching six innings of no-hit ball, with 11 strikeouts. However, ...

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



Chuseph’s Choices for DraftKings on Friday, April 10th
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 (by Scott Chu)

Before I throw any darts for DFS purposes, let me give you the best advice I’ve got – when you get a chance to go to a playoff game for your team, go. You never know if/when you’ll get the chance again.

Pitching

I’M WRITING ABOUT FANTASY BASEBALL AGAIN! REJOICE! Alright, I’m probably more excited to be writing for all of you than you are to be reading my picks, but that won’t bring me down. As a brief introduction, I’m (still) Scott S. Chu, and you can find me at the places mentioned at the bottom of the post. I focus on DraftKings, and those are the prices I quote, but the advice works on any major site. I won’t say much about obvious picks, like Gio Gonzalez today, because that’s too easy. I’ll be mostly looking for guys who can make a big impact for you in GPP and large league games. So let’s do this, shall we?

Hitting is at a premium today, so let’s find cheap pitching:

Colin McHugh ($7000) was fantastic in 2014, and I don’t see why that can’t continue in 2015. The Rangers in Arlington are not as scary as they used to be, and McHugh had a 25.4% strikeout rate in 2014 – top 10 in all MLB. You can talk about BABIP and regression all you want – you don’t need luck if guys can’t put the ball in play. Also, Texas was LAST in the MLB in extra base hits against RHP and 27th in SLG. The return of Prince Fielder will help them, but he strikes out plenty and isn’t an exceptional slugger against RHP anyway.

I think both Drew Pomeranz ($6400) and Taijuan Walker ($7300) have interesting matchups in that big ballpark in Oakland. You all heard about Walker during the Spring, where he went nuts and dominated everyone, striking out 27.7% of batters and walking no one to post a 0.67 ERA. The A’s are not a scary lineup, but they do have plenty of lefties to throw at the young man. I suspect he’ll be a popular pick for the K potential. Pomeranz has been great against lefties in his career (.243 wOBA, .524 OPS), which takes out most of the decent bats in SEA’s lineup. He’ll be challenged by Rickie Weeks and Nelson Cruz, but I like his chances. Fun Fact – While Walker was getting heaps of praise, Pomeranz quietly posted a 29.8% strikeout rate of his own this spring.

Quick Hits – Dan Haren ($6400) could go deep and get a win against the impotent Rays. I also like Hector Santiago ($6500) to get a win and a decent line against the lefty-heavy Royals. As a premium guy, Mike Fiers ($8300) could strike out 7+ Pirates. Fun Fact – in his 10 post All-Star Break starts, he never gave up more than 3 ER and averaged 7 K’s.

Hitting

CWS Righties - There’s a strong wind that will be blowing out to left in that bandbox the CWS play in, and an average-at-best lefty will toe the rubber for their opponent, Tommy Milone of the Twins. The ChiSox have some righty bats who love LHP, namely Jose Abreu ($5500), Avisail Garcia ($4300), Melky Cabrera ($4800), and Alexei Ramirez ($4400). I’ll be slotting in at least 2-3 of those guys based on their lineup. Maybe all 4.

STL Lefties – There is a reason Jason Marquis did not pitch in 2014. It’s because he’s not good. So I’m starting STL lefties, because Marquis has not fared well against them. The expensive options are Matt Adams ($4800), Matt Carpenter ($4700), and Jason Heyward ($4900). Jon Jay ($4000) checks in slightly cheaper.

Quick Hits – Hector Noesi is awful, so maybe start some Twins? Travis Wood will get clobbered by Rockies Righties, namely Nolan Arenado ($5700) and Troy Tulowitzki ($7000), but that’s a lot of salary. Tyler Matzek, will be vulnerable to Cub’s RHH like Dexter Fowler ($5400), Starlin Castro ($4800), and budding star Jorge Soler ($5300). Jerome Williams is somehow gainfully employed, so consider some Nats batters. Really any will do. Finally, the Brewers get to see a leftie who struggles against righties, and they’ve got a really righty heavy line-up. A good place to find that gap-filler.

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



Daily recap page data now exportable
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 (by RotoGuru)

My first enhancement of the 2015 season is to make the data in the daily point recap page exportable in scsv (semi-colon delimited values) format. This data is now automatically appended to the bottom of the page, from where it can be copied/pasted into a spreadsheet or other analytical processor. Data elements include date, name, DFS position, DFS salary, DFS points, batting order info (starter & batting order), team, opponent, home or away indicator, game result, and a summary stat line.



OK - what's not working?
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 (by RotoGuru)

On the surface, it looks like all of the links that were working last season are up and running again in 2015. I'm not aware of any glitches at the moment, but I'd be amazed if there aren't some things that are askew.

This is your chance to help me out. If you see something - say something! There are a lot of ways to sift, sort, and spew data - and I'm unable to critically evaluate them all. If you think something is missing, or if you think something is being incorrectly reported, please tell me. Send an email to davehall@rotoguru2.com, and please be as specific as possible when describing the issue. In particular, provide the URL so that I understand exactly what report you are referencing.

Once I get everything fully functional, I'll invite you to suggest ways to enhance the reporting. But first, I want to be sure everything works properly as is.



Springing into 2015
Sun, 05 Apr 2015 (by RotoGuru)

With the opening of the MLB regular season, DailyBaseballData.com will be coming fully out of hibernation. At the start of the season, some features may fail to work properly, and some reports will probably experience glitches. Please be patient, as I try to reacetivate all routines over the next day or two. While I've certainly done some preseason testing, there's nothing quite like going live to shake out a few surprises.

I plan to add a few enhancements early in the season as well. But first, I've got to get the status quo up to snuff.




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