Among my Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks is an obvious one at pitcher.
Listen the Fantasy Sports Live Podcast to start your research. Then tune in to Fantasy Sports Live for real-time analysis up until lineups lock.
My favorite hitters that I’ll be using in DraftDay games tonight are an interesting mix of Dodgers, Indians, and Rays for the most part. Join me in mixing and matching these guys together in games such as the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff, the $15 Knuckleball, the $109 Field of Dreams, or take a shot at me in the “Five Guys” Fantasy Sports Live League game.
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Editor’s Note: Josh writes his picks the night before. Jorge de La Rosa was still listed as the probable starter at that time. As a result of the pitching change, the RHB for the Dodgers have been removed. Contact Josh @BChad50 on Twitter for his opinion on Dodgers players tonight.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Pitchers
My Pick: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox, $21,100
At a Glance: 2014: 27.9% K, 5.3% BB, 45.1% GB, 2.72 FIP.
Mariners vs LHP: 83 wRC+, 21.5% K.
Sale falls just a tiny bit short of having enough innings to be deemed a qualified starter. Dropping the threshold to 70 innings reveals just how good he’s been. Among those starters he ranks sixth in strikeout rate, tied for 27th in walk rate, and eighth in FIP. He’s also facing a lefty heavy Mariners lineup (lefties have a .152 wOBA against him this year and a .230 wOBA against him in his career) that is awful against southpaws ranking 27th in wRC+. He’s a big ticket item that warrants budgeting for.
Value Pick: Ervin Santana, Atlanta Braves, $14,100
At a Glance: 2014: 21.8% K, 7.1% BB, 45.6% GB, 3.27 FIP.
Diamondbacks vs RHP: 91 wRC+, 19.6% K.
Santana’s FIP is a better representation of how he’s pitched this year than his ERA that is north of four. The beauty of that is the slight discount he comes at as a result of it. Santana’s strikeout rate is above what FanGraphs has listed as the league average of 20.3 percent, and he’s walking fewer batters than the league average of 7.9 percent. It’s also possible there could be more strikeouts on the way for Santana as his 12.5 percent swinging strike percentage is the second highest of qualified pitchers this season. The Diamondbacks have managed to do a good job of avoiding strikeouts, but that hasn’t prevented them from ranking in the bottom half of the league in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Catchers
My Pick: Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies, $8,400
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 61 PA, 151 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs LHP: 333 PA, 151 wRC+, .324 ISO, .428 wOBA.
Clayton Kershaw is basically Superman, but think of Coors Field as something like kryptonite for the lefty. Yahoo! sports credits Kershaw with 14 career starts at Coors Field, in which he’s tallied a 5.03 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. That’s not to say picking on Kershaw is wise, because it’s not, but it does make it acceptable to use Rosario and his otherworldly 192 wRC+ in 185 career plate appearances against lefties at Coors Field against the best pitcher in baseball.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – First Basemen
My Pick: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, $11,950
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 257 PA, 160 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs RHP: 630 PA, 167 wRC+, .235 ISO, .420 wOBA.
Cabrera delivered against lefty starter Erik Bedard and the Rays bullpen yesterday, and I expect him to do so again tonight against right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb. Cobb had been dynamite against right-handed batters in his big league career, but he’s struggled mightily against them this season, allowing a .346 wOBA to the 138 he’s faced. More importantly, Cabrera is one of the best hitters in baseball regardless of the handedness of the pitcher he’s facing, and he hits in the heart of a Tigers lineup that ranks fourth in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers with a 111 mark.
Value Pick: Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 209 PA, 164 wRC+.
Since 2012 vs RHP: 546 PA, 148 wRC+, .211 ISO, .382 wOBA.
Adams has a sizable platoon split, but he’s on the favorable side of it tonight facing a right-handed pitcher. The righty he’s facing, Nathan Eovaldi, is a train wreck against left-handed batters. Eovaldi has allowed a .365 wOBA to the 266 he’s faced this year and a .348 wOBA to the 836 he’s faced since reaching the majors in 2011. Another exciting variable working in Adams’ favor is a sweet lineup slot. He has hit third or fourth in the order in his last 10 games (nine hitting third, one slotting cleanup).
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Second Basemen
My Pick: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $9,550
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 260 PA, 126 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,007 PA, 140 wRC+, .143 ISO, .371 wOBA.
Sitting atop the Cardinals offense, a few spots ahead of Adams, is Carpenter. He’s a line drive hitting machine against right-handed pitchers since 2011, ripping them on 27.2 percent of his balls in play. He almost never gives away an out with an infield flyball, hitting them just 1.3 percent of the time. He’s a patient hitter who has worked walks 12.2 percent of the time, and all signs point to him getting the best of Eovaldi.
Value Pick: Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays, $7,000
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 77 PA, 107 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs LHP: 547 PA, 117 wRC+, .162 ISO, .337 wOBA.
Rodriguez has been a useful cog in Joe Maddon’s lineup juggling over the years. He’s a specialist who gets the bulk of his playing time against lefties, a situation that bumps him up to an above average hitter with palatable pop. He’ll likely hit in the bottom half of the Rays order, which isn’t the best for run production upside, but the Rays have been an above average offensive squad against southpaws this year posting a 107 wRC+. The utility fielder will also get a boost facing a southpaw, Drew Smyly, who has been dreadful against right-handed batters. Smyly has faced 231 right-handed batters this year allowing a .389 wOBA, and since 2012 he’s faced 694 allowing a .342 wOBA.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Third Basemen
My Pick: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays, $9,000
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 100 PA, 153 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs LHP: 528 PA, 160 wRC+, .269 ISO, .400 wOBA.
Even in a down year, Longoria continues his assault on lefties. The third baseman bounces between third and fourth in the lineup, so his run production upside is substantial. In addition to getting the boost from facing Smyly, the park factors at Comerica Park are outstanding. Right-handed batters have park factors of 113 for doubles/triples, 99 for homers, and 114 for runs. A basically neutral homer park factor is easy to swallow with the bump in other extra base hits and runs.
Value Pick: Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians, $8,050
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 207 PA, 174 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs RHP: 760 PA, 119 wRC+, .178 ISO, .341 wOBA.
Even while struggling to get his footing in the majors the last few years, he’s shown flashes against right-handed pitching. He posted a couple ticks below average 97 wRC+ last year in 270 plate appearances, and accumulated a 136 wRC+ in 112 plate appearances in 2012. His success in the majors against right-handed pitchers shouldn’t come as a total shocker, from 2011-2013 he totaled 373 plate appearances against them hitting .335/.408/.542 with a .207 ISO.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Shortstops
Value Pick: Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians, $7,750
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 229 PA, 105 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,473 PA, 111 wRC+, .173 ISO, .330 wOBA.
The switch-hitting Cabrera has been a few ticks above average against right-handed pitchers this year, and he’s been better than that since 2011. He has more pop in his stick than most shortstops, and he sprinkles in some stolen base skills if the pitcher and catcher battery forget about him. More importantly, he’s the number two hitter in an Indians lineup that ranks fifth in the majors this year in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers with a 110 mark.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Outfielders
Middle of the Pack: Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays, $7,950
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 90 PA, 142 wRC+.
Since 2011 vs LHP: 516 PA, 130 wRC+, .182 ISO, .356 wOBA.
The speedy Jennings is a spark plug atop the Rays lineup, and is superb against southpaws. He, more so than any other Rays hitter, should benefit from the doubles/triples park factor. And being the first hitter means he’ll get the maximum number of looks at Smyly, which is also a boon to his value tonight given the lefty’s struggles with right-handed batters.
* Batted ball data and splits information comes from that which is provided at FanGraphs unless otherwise stated, and ballpark factors are those found at StatCorner and are for a three-year rolling average.
Glossary of important terms: Full definitions can be found by clicking on the stat. You’ll be directed to FanGraphs’ glossary. For the purpose of easy understanding, I’ve simplified FanGraphs’ definitions while retaining the integrity of the full explanation of the stat.
FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching)- This stat attempts to measure what a pitcher’s ERA should have been based on the things they have the most control over, walks, strikeouts, hit by pitches, and homers. Its goal is to credit the pitcher for what they’ve done and not what their fielders have or haven’t done on batted balls. It is a much better tool for predicting future performance than ERA.
wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus)- This is a statistic that attempts to roll a player’s offensive value into one number to determine how many runs they’ve created. A 100 wRC+ represents league average, and every point above that is one percent above league average, and every point below represents a percentage point below league average. FanGraphs notes that the stat is park and league adjusted, thus, putting all players on an even playing field regardless of their offensive environment.
wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average)- This is another offensive stat that attempts to roll offensive performance into one number. It assigns a different weight to different types of hits and different means of reaching base since they are not all created equal. Unlike with wRC+, the league-average varies year-by-year so FanGraphs has a rough approximation of how to value various wOBA scores, for instance 0.400 is deemed excellent, and .290 is awful. The full chart can be seen here.
ISO (Isolated Power)- This statistic measures power by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage. Therefore it strips singles from slugging percentage leaving a number that represents extra bases divided by at-bats.