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Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for July 29
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

We've got a full slate of games today and it should be a great day for baseball. Yesterday was pretty uneventful and I'm hoping we can see a lot more action tonight. The weather also looks pretty good except for the SEA/CLE game. That game currently has the worst forecast of the day as it is calling for a 50% chance of rain throughout the game. Keep an eye on it, though, it may clear up a bit.

Pitchers

I'm going with an Athletics pitcher again guys. I can't help myself. Chavez may have been a let-down yesterday but I still can't ignore Samardzija vs. the Astros. Oakland are huge favorites again and I see no reason why they won't pick up the win in this matchup.

I also really like Stephen Strasburg. His last outing was a bit rough but he's facing a weak Marlins team and his price is not too bad either. I think he has a great chance to hit double digit strikeouts tonight, so let's look for him to mow down the Marlins lineup.

Lastly, I'd keep an eye on Cole Hamels and Tyson Ross. Hamels has had two really strong starts in a row and I really don't think the Mets will give him much trouble tonight. As for Ross, he's been superb at home and I think he will keep that up toinght against St. Louis whose offense has been really underwhelming this season.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is David Wright. He will be facing his long time NL East rival Cole Hamels, who he is 24-73 (.329) against with 5 HR, 16 RBI and 10 XBH. Wright is really the only person who I think will be able to get to Hamels tonight so let's look for him to get on base a few times or maybe crack one over the fence.

Some other notable hitters are Ryan Howard (vs. Dillon Gee, 9-18 (.500), 6 RBI, 14 RBI, 7 XBH), Giancarlo Stanton (vs. Stephen Strasnburg, 9-26 (.346), 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 XBH) and Hanley Ramirez (vs. Aaron Harang, 10-26 (.385), 5 HR, 7 RBI, 6 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Juan Francisco. He will be facing Rubby De La Rosa, who he is 2-2 (1.000) against with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 XBH. If Toronto can have another big game like they did yesterday then let's hope Francisco can be a big part of the offense.

Today's punt hitter is Ramon Santiago. He will be facing Trevor Cahill today, who he is 3-7 (.429) against with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 XBH. If he can pick up a few base hits then he should definitley provide some great value for us tonight.

Stacking options

My favorite stacking option of the day is the Yankees left handed bats. They are facing Nick Martinez and he is absolutely terrible against opposite handed hitters. This coupled with the fact that they are playing in an extreme hitter's park makes it that much more appealing.

I've got to throw Oakland into the mix again. They are facing Scott Feldman who has struggled with batters on both sides of the plate so far this season. They're also playing in Houston so the bonus they get from that park is huge for their offense.

I also like the Tigers a lot tonight. Although the pitcher they are facing, Jose Quintana, has a respectable ERA, it's really hard to ignore all the dangerous right handed bats in Detroit's lineup when they are facing a lefty.

[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, July 28
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 (by Bryan Curley of baseballprof.com)

Monday’s Optimal DraftKings Lineup

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

C: Brayan Pena (CIN) vs. C. Anderson (ARI) — $2,900
1B: Ben Paulsen (COL) @ T. Wada (CHC) — $3,500
2B: Josh Rutledge (COL) @ T. Wada (CHC) — $4,300
3B: Hidden
SS: Hidden
OF: Corey Dickerson (COL) @ T. Wada (CHC) — $4,800
OF: Charlie Blackmon (COL) @ T. Wada (CHC) — $4,700
OF: Christian Yelich (MIA) vs. J. Zimmermann (WAS) — $4,100
SP: Madison Bumgarner (SF) vs. V. Worley (PIT) — $10,100
SP: Hidden

Bumgarner sure has had some stinkers over the last few months, but his last two starts have been 31.00 and 25.90 point gems against the Phillies and Marlins, respectively. Tonight he’ll face the Pirates at home and while Pittsburgh boasts a better offense than Bumgarner’s last two opponents, they frequently cave against LHP. For the season, Pittsburgh ranks 28th in wOBA against LHP (.291) with the 12th-highest K% (21.3). Versus righties they’re much better, 7th (.320) and 17th (20.0%). In fact, the Pirates are on a tough stretch of LHP, facing four southpaws in their last six games. In those four games they scored 7, 1, 1, and 2 runs, and in last night’s 7-run outburst, 5 of those runs came against right-handed relievers Chad Bettis and Rex Brothers. Toss in the ballpark, and Bumgarner is going to dominate.

Stacking Athletics against Brett Oberholtzer is going to be extremely popular. I’m going to do my best to avoid that temptation and go against the grain in highlighting some hopefully lesser selected players with just as much upside.

Pena has always been a favorite of mine because of his low strikeout rate (career 11.3%) as a catcher, which is reminiscent of Salvador Perez’s contact rates, but he’s never really been good hitter. The Reds think highly enough of him to give him starts at first base near the heart of the order, though, and I’ll always take a chance on a high-contact, catcher-eligible player near the heart of the lineup facing a fly ball pitcher (Chase Anderson) for under $3,000.

We all know the Rockies aren’t nearly as powerful away from Coors, so imagine what subtracting Troy Tulowitzki (and potentially Carlos Gonzalez) does for their lineup! Still, the Rockies are my preferred stack of the day as I’ll roll with Blackmon, Rutledge, Dickerson, and Paulsen. Blackmon and Dickerson need little explanation; they’ve been great hitters all season who routinely put up 10-20 point games (or higher) yet come in under $5,000. Rutledge has filled in admirably in Tulowitzki’s absence, collecting 13 hits in 30 at-bats after the break (.433), six of which have gone for extra bases. Paulsen is 8-for-15 (.533) since getting the call this past week and while he’s definitely not this good (no one is), he has all the tools to be a very productive hitter. He walked 12.3% of the time at AAA this year with a 23.5 K% and 15 HR in 347 AB. Tsuyoshi Wada hasn’t adjusted to major league life over his last two starts (I actually selected him last time out against the Padres…yikes) and the Cubs bullpen is pretty easily below average.

Yelich is one of my favorite value plays of the day as he’s 5-for-8 (.625) in his career against Jordan Zimmermann, but I like him less because of his success against Zimmermann and more because of Zimmermann’s career track record; historically he struggles in the second half and he’s been hit around in his last few starts. For his career, Zimmermann has a 4.22 ERA after the break and 2.99 before. A Marlins stack would be a sneaky choice today, but I’ll just go with Yelich.

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.



Run Scaling with Vigorish
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 (by Mike McClain)

In my July 19th article I discussed the importance of using team totals as the best measure of run scoring environment over regular totals/sides in fantasy evaluation. If you have not spent time interpreting odds or even if you have, the concept of vigorish can be misunderstood or not properly weighted as it relates to team totals. In team totals, vigorish can actually be used to provide you an exact run calculation - not just a solitary number, but an exact number with a decimal. Vigorish is what tells you a team’s run scoring environment is 5.2, although the team total listed shows 5. Do .2 runs a game make a difference over an entire season? Absolutely it does, but before we get into scaling run values with vigorish, let’s do a quick recap on what vigorish actually is.

Vigorish is what the sportsbooks charge a player to make a wager; another nickname for it is juice or “vig.” When the odds are made, a winning percent/probability is determined which is reflected in the odds. Vigorish is the tax you pay on top of those odds to place your wager. It’s fairly standard for a 50% projected winning percentage to be set at odds of -110. The odds will appear as a minus symbol if you’re paying more than you will win. They appear as a plus symbol if you’re paying less than you will win. For example if a game is -110, you will pay 110 to win 100; if it is +110, you will pay 100 to win 110.

As it relates to team totals, and totals in general, vigorish is very important. Oddsmakers are limited in the range in which they can set a total. For example, you won’t see a team total at 8. The number has to stay within a realistic long term probability. The odds themselves can only move in increments of .5 runs, and in team totals, the market liquidity is smaller compared to side and totals.

With all these factors in play, sportsbooks face a higher amount of exposure on team totals compared to other wagering types, so on a team total, standard vigorish is taxed more than a normal 50% probability would be. Standard vigorish on a team total is -115, not the typical -110. So what we can conclude from this is if a team total has odds at 5 -115, oddsmakers are saying they project the score will fall on exactly the number 5. As vigorish moves further into the negative, or further into the positive, it’s the same thing as oddsmakers changing the projected runs for that team.

The nice thing about vigorish, as it relates to any total, is that it’s bound to certain restraints. Eventually, the vigorish can only be weighted so much before the actual number moves. The threshold on team totals is typically -135 before the actual number moves. Once enough market pressure is applied to a team total that is near (or on) -135, the number changes up or down. Since we know the baseline for all numbers is -115, and we know the max threshold is generally -135, all that’s needed is the low threshold. At this point, we can create our vigorish based run scale. Depending on the sportsbook, the low threshold is either +105 or +110.

  1. A very easy short hand run scale is simply: .01 run per cent.
  2. Use the over line only, and -115 as the baseline for your scale.
    a. Every additional negative cent after -115 is worth +.01 runs.
    b. Every additional positive cent off -115 is worth -.01 runs.
  3. Therefore, 3 +105 is 20 positive cents, off -115, so the actual run projection would be 2.80.
  4. If it was 3 -135, the projection would 3.2, as it’s 20 negative cents off -115.
  5. Just make sure to always look at the number for the over odds, and keep that uniform for all teams.
Mike McClain is cat loving, prematurely bald man, that one day aspires to write for Cat Fancy. Until then he serves as a professional baseball handicapper specializing in totals. Mike enjoys talking about baseball and needs somebody else to talk to besides his cat. He can be contacted directly here, by e-mail at mikie2times@gmail.com or can be followed on twitter @McClainSports, which he promises will be updated more than once a year. Look for daily updates on play suggestions, as well as fantasy options, and general thoughts.

Roto Rants for July 25
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 (by Zach Harbison, contributing on behalf of RotoRants)

I’ll be giving you a preview from RotoRant’s algorithm’s suggestions based around the DraftKings salaries. For a full analysis and viewing of the top plays for both DraftKings and FanDuel, visit the Premium Plays section at RotoRants.com.

Pitching

The summer air is in full swing. Hits are flying further and total game scores are going up. During this time of the year, being selective on your pitchers is more important than ever. Both of the top priced pitchers in David Price (against Red Sox) and Felix Hernandez (against Orioles) have potentially tougher matchups, however our algorithm still projects these studs to be near the top. Hernandez is in play against any team. Sporting an ERA just over 2, he has held this Orioles lineup to a .275 batting average lifetime. That is while producing a strike out rate of almost 24%. You’re paying for this type of production and if you decide to pay up, or algorithm likes him to produce.

Price holds even a better line against the Red Sox, who have been limping lately. He’s held this lineup to a .225 average while providing a 26% K rate. It’s hard not to be enticed by Price tonight. The biggest knock on him may be the opposing pitcher, Jon Lester, who has fared extremely well against the Rays in the past. It’s no wonder the line on this game is at 6.5. Both of these pitchers are possible plays, but you’re risking not registering a win.

If you decide to spend up, or even if you play a slightly cheaper option in Greinke, our algorithm likes Dallas Keuchel to perform as a top 5 pitcher tonight and is a steal at only $5,400. This Marlins team holds a .266 average against southpaws this year, and have struck out at a 22% rate. Vegas likes the Keuchel led Astros as a -124 favorite tonight.

Batting

Remember when Zack Wheeler was the next big thing? Well that hasn’t quite panned out this year, and our algorithm projects tonight to be no different as Carlos Gomez is the highest projected hitter. Wheeler has pitched to Gomez three times before and Gomez has produced a hit each time. While he’s only produced one extra base hit, our algorithm likes that to change tonight. Gomez is hitting .333 the past week and has 3 multi-hit games in his last four. He’s a safe bet to put up points tonight. In the same game, our algorithm loves Lucas Duda as one of the top value plays today. Sitting at a $4,000 salary, Duda is projected to have a much higher value. While Gallardo has been decent this year, Duda has hit .500 (5/10) against him in the past, producing a double and two home runs. He’s got a great L/R split which he’s exceled in too.

Outfield seems to be stacked with options tonight, but our algorithm loves Brian Dozier as the second ranked hitter tonight. Dozier will face John Danks and his 4.35 ERA at home where his average is 40 points better than on the road. Dozier also loves hitting against southpaws as he hits nearly 40 points better against them. He’s not be hot lately, but he’s hit .400 against Danks in the past and produced a home run and a four RBIs. He should be good for a few hits tonight minimum.

Stacking options

Brewers at home, Rockies are at home, and the Athletics are in Texas. All have favorable matchups tonight too. The Brewers have the “toughest” matchup in Wheeler, and Vegas set this line at 7.5 but the Brewers are a heavy favorite at -141 and project to score most of those runs! The Athletics have been on fire and get a rotation pitcher in Williams tonight. The Texas heat loves pushing the ball out of the park, and Vegas likes the Athletics as a -170 favorite in a 9.5 line game. The Rockies are always a stacking option at home, but tonight they get a middling pitcher in Morton. Remember though, the opposing team gets to enjoy Coors spoils too, and the Pirates are a -120 favorite against the Rockies and Anderson. All right handed Pirates should be rostered tonight.

Zach Harbison is a fantasy sports nut and full-time DFS player. He is also the Marketing Director at the new DFS site, RotoPop, helping grow the DFS offerings with a new twist. He has been a player, coach, scout, and writer in the sports community. You can ask him any questions @onceharby and find his writing at RotoRants, TheFakeBaseball, numberFire, and more. He lives for figuring out the best ways to help the fantasy sports community grow.



LineupRaw: Favorite picks for July 24
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 (by LineupRaw.com)

Pitching

Jeff Samardzija gets the pick as one of our 2 top pitchers of the day. Since joining the A’s Samardzija is posting a 1-1 record, receiving a no decision in his last outing. We feel confident in this match up vs Houston, who are dead last in runs scored vs RHP and have a high strike out tendency vs RHP. Samardzija has yet to pick up more than 5K’s since joining the A’s but today he will get 6+ K’s and picks up the win. Start him.

Value Pitching

Marcus Stroman gets the pick for the value pitcher of the day. Stroman’s last 3 home starts have been very impressive for a rookie, posting a 2-0 record with 18K’s. He faces a team that is hot as of late, but Stroman gets the upside today as he faces a team that doesn’t hit RHP well. Stroman is cheap on most sites and doesn’t walk many batters. You will get your money’s worth. Start him.

MLB free 2star** PLAY OF THE DAY* Texas Rangers vs New York Yankees OVER 8.5 +105

Hitting

We are aiming for Minnesota Twins hitters today as they face Hector Noesi. Noesi is posting an ERA over 5 this year at Target Field. Noesi has been getting crushed by righties this year ( .337/ .399/ .521). B. Dozier, J. Willingham, C. Colabello, and T. Plouffe are all in play and should work well in a mini stack lineup.

We are also aiming for New York Yankees vs Colby Lewis. Lewis is showing horrid numbers this whole season yet alone vs LHB (.400/.441/.589). B. Gardner, J. Ellsbury, B. McCann, C. Beltran, C. Headley are all good plays.

TOURNAMENTS: Mix/Match Yankee/Twins hitters listed above with these hitters: A. Beltre, G. Jones, S. Smith, F. Freeman, J. Abreu, and T. La Stella

Notable BVP today:
A Beltre vs McCarthy (14-33, 2HR’s, 1.156 OPS)
R. Howard vs Hudson (22-67, 7HR’s, 1.112 OPS)
M. Moustakas vs Kluber (7-18, 1HR, 1.172 OPS)
E. Gattis vs Alvarez (5-7, 2B, 1HR, 2.179 OPS)

Fanduel option 1* 12:37PM Start
P J. Samardzija
C E. Gattis
1B J. Abreu (check CHW lineups)
2B A. Amarista
3B T. Plouffe
SS A. Ramirez
OF B. Gardner
OF J. Ellsbury
OF S. Smith

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



Article 13 - Visual Memory: Monfort Should Move the Rockies from Colorado
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 (by Clifton Neeley of baseballVMI.com)

This is the 13th in a series of articles on the Visual Memory Index©.
To read the entire series to-date, click here.

Major League Baseball’s average playing air density is 61 on the Neeley Scale; Colorado’s air density averages approximately 42 on the same scale. I’ve pointed out that with lesser ball movement in their home stadium, it takes several games to adjust to the road venue. Then, since they must move to the next road venue for the second series, the hitters are never able to settle into normal MLB standard performance. These hitters soon begin to see themselves as second rate MLB players, when in actuality they are extremely talented.

Over the course of 20 plus years, the Colorado Rockies have never won their division. The Rockies have tried expensive veteran pitchers, they have tried bringing pitchers up from the farm system, they have tried Colorado natives, and they’ve generally followed all of MLB’s best practices from the perspective of the most respected baseball people. Nothing has worked, and both their pitchers and hitters have always become down-trodden by the end of each season. Excuses are always handy for the owners and managers, such as injury, or “the players just have to step up,” or “there are not enough molecules in the air for sufficient physiological recovery.”

Actually in Denver, Colorado, there are over 11 quintillion molecules of air, with oxygen attached, within a box the size a baseball could fit into--in comparison to 13 quintillion at sea level. The lungs convert only 5% of the oxygen in the air into the blood stream: therefore even if lungs were only the size of that box, having more than 10 quintillion molecules of air would be unnecessary. All of the excuses are just that, excuses.

However, ball movement is the essential need for successful pitching in any baseball competition. Colorado’s air provides very little of it, even though the speed is available. Good hitting on the road requires previous exposure to good movement on the pitch.

I have explained all of this to Dick Monfort, and he doesn’t buy it, probably because he doesn’t want to, or is afraid to build a hyperbaric type batting cage that would keep his players’ visual memory fresh.

Dick comes under fire periodically for all kinds of things, but essentially he is correct in saying he should just move the team. It would not matter if he replaced the manager, general manager, all the hitters, or all the pitchers; they would all fall into this same problem of adjusting back and forth to the differences in ball movement across the league’s venues.

So, regardless of who he may choose to hire, he will still have the difficulty of altitudinal air resistance to deal with. If he is not going to deal with it properly, then he should move the team to a sea-level location with a cool air environment. That way the same decisions made by traditional baseball managers and coaches in other locations will work for the Rockies as well. Then, and only then, will a Monfort-run team see year-in and year-out success.

The losers will then be the Colorado fans who helped pay for a wonderful stadium, and the Colorado natives who would like to show the world they are not inferior, and the former amateur baseball players who expect to see a competitive team, and the former Rockies players who could have won a championship.

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and the web-site www.baseballvmi.com. Clifton pitched and played baseball and fast-pitch softball in the mountainous southwest Colorado area (from 4,000 feet in Grand Junction to 6,000 feet in Durango to 9,000 feet in Telluride) prior to his college experience in baseball.



Daily Batter vs. Pitcher Analysis for July 22
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 (by Philip Nacamuli)

The weather is looking pretty good for all the games except the MIA/ATL matchup. Keep an eye on that one because it looks pretty nasty right now. Let's hop right into today's featured players.

Pitchers

My favorite pitcher of the day is Scott Kazmir. I'm expecting this guy to have a huge ownership percentage today because Oakland are such gigantic favorites to win against the Astros tonight. Because of that, I may just reserve him for cash games and fade him in GPPs to try and find a cheaper value pitcher.

Speaking of value pitchers, Yusmeiro Petit had better be on your radar tonight. He looks like he's got a great matchup against the Phillies today and at only $5,300 on FanDuel he's right near the top of my list today.

Some other pitchers to keep an eye on are Mike Minor and Jordan Zimmerman. Each of them are favorites to win today and I fully expect their teams to give them each plenty of run support.

Hitters

Today's featured hitter is Khris Davis. He will be facing Homer Bailey today, who he is 7-15 (.467) against with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 5 XBH. A few of Milwaukee's batters have a decent history against Bailey so I'm hoping they can put up plenty of runs tonight and let's look for Davis to be a big contributor.

Some other notable hitters are Ryan Braun (vs. Homer Bailey, 9-28 (.321), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 XBH), Brian Dozier (vs. Danny Salazar, 5-8 (.625), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 XBH) and James Loney (vs. Adam Wainwright, 12-26 (.462), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 XBH).

Today's value hitter is Jimmy Rollins. He will be facing Yusmeiro Petit today, who he is 3-7 (.429) against with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 XBH. I think the Giants are going to win this matchup but let's look for Rollins to get on base a few times tonight.

Today's punt hitter is Darwin Barney. He will be facing Eric Stults today, who he is 6-12 (.500) against with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 5 XBH. Barney has not played much recently but in the 4 games he has played over the past 14 days he's sporting a .412 OBP. Let's look for him to continue that and get on base a few times tonight. If he can accomplish that he will definitely provide us with some great value.

Stacking options

Washington is my favorite stack of the day again. They're facing a lefty in Colorado again tonight so let's look for those right handed bats to put some points on the board.

Oakland is another favorite option of mine today. They too are facing a lefty so grabbing those right handed bats has the potential to really pay off tonight.

Lastly, keep an eye on the Angels and Yankees. Each of them are favored to win their games and are facing pitchers who have both given up plenty of home runs so far this year. Let's look for those totals to increase 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, July 21
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 (by Bryan Curley of baseballprof.com)

Monday’s Optimal DraftKings Lineup

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baseball Professor is sabermetric-slanted fantasy baseball blog with fresh content updated daily. Their fantasy analysts provide you with everything you need to run your team on a daily basis, including their SP Matchup Ratings, Fantasy News and Notes, and a no-fluff daily podcast (or as they call it, a Profcast). Get the fantasy info you want at www.baseballprof.com.



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

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

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

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

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



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

Fantasy baseball is back and it’s a beautiful thing! With a full slate of games today, we have a lot of choices for plays. I’ll be giving you a preview from our algorithm’s suggestions. For a full analysis and viewing of the top plays, visit the Premium Plays section at RotoRants.com.

Pitching:

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

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

Batting:

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

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

Stacking options:

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

Zach Harbison is a fantasy sports nut and full-time DFS player. He is also the Marketing Director at the new DFS site, RotoPop, helping grow the DFS offerings with a new twist. He has been a player, coach, scout, and writer in the sports community. You can ask him any questions @onceharby and find his writing at RotoRants, TheFakeBaseball, numberFire, and more. He lives for figuring out the best ways to help the fantasy sports community grow.



Free Rain
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 (by RotoGuru)

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

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

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

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

DraftKings - four prize-paying freerolls are currently available.

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

DraftDay - Freeballin' contest with up to 1500 entries

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visual Memory by Clifton Neeley, creator of the Visual Memory Index© and the web-site www.baseballvmi.com. Clifton pitched and played baseball and fast-pitch softball in the mountainous southwest Colorado area (from 4,000 feet in Grand Junction to 6,000 feet in Durango to 9,000 feet in Telluride) prior to his college experience in baseball.



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

Pitching

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

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

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

Hitting

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

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

Scott Chu is just happy to have the chance to do this once a week. You can find him on Twitter as @DrChuseph, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chuseph, shamelessly rooting for the Tigers, or locked away in the dungeon that is his apartment as he prepares for the Michigan Bar Exam.



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

Pitching

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

Value Pitching

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

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

Hitting

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

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

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

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

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

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




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