Top 10 Daily Fantasy Pitching Performances of 2013

Apr 06

Top 10 Daily Fantasy Pitching Performances of 2013

Charlie Blackmon’s big Friday for the Rockies got me thinking about some of the best Daily Fantasy hitting performances of 2013, so I wrote a post about it. Unsurprisingly, Miguel Cabrera is the only player to end up in the top 10 for two different games. Although, very surprising was the fact that a catcher led all Daily Fantasy hitting performances in 2013. Since I was looking back, I thought I’d also take some time to figure out the top Daily Fantasy pitching performances of 2013. Remember that since each Daily Fantasy site has a different scoring system, I decided to run the totals on four of my favorites, then average them out to find what the consensus best games were. So I used the scoring from FanDuel, Draft Kings, Draft Day and...

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25 & 25: 2014 Top Rookie and Sophomore Batters

Dec 03

25 & 25: 2014 Top Rookie and Sophomore Batters

Baseball season feels like a lifetime away, and as Fantasy Football season ends, and the cold winter months frost our hearts, the promise of another Fantasy Baseball season is left to warm our bodies with anticipation and hope. To help nurture that fire inside all of us, I thought it would be beneficial to look at the top rookie and sophomore batters for the 2014 season. I took the most recent Steamer projections, filtered out all players that either got more than 150 plate appearances last year or were not rookies, and calculated their 2014 projections into Rotisserie Fantasy value.  (Note: These rankings have not been adjusted for position) As more projection systems come out–Zips came out today–it becomes more insightful to average different systems together to get a better insight. On the pitchers edition of this post, I’ll plan to get as many projections as I can get a hold of. Lets take a closer look at some sophomore batters: NamePAABHRRRBISBAVGWARzSCR Yasiel Puig618547268085200.294.611.28 Wil Myers60653923767790.26338.65 Jedd Gyorko61956424708340.2623.48.24 Avisail Garcia619578166773120.2780.78.23 Evan Gattis54249525647330.2563.97.49 Nolan Arenado57953516627130.2772.77.11 Brad Miller564506136361110.2683.26.90 Kole Calhoun46541414595890.2732.26.71 Jurickson Profar570505126557140.2481.66.38 Oswaldo Arcia48944118566240.2611.46.36 Junior Lake507465125052180.2581.46.29 Nick Franklin597530146461110.241.66.12 Anthony Rendon60853613646230.2552.55.83 Brandon Barnes523478125652170.2371.45.81 Adam Eaton41236465435150.2861.75.68 David Lough45642374649100.2731.45.25 Jonathan Villar40636774239240.2420.95.25 Jose Iglesias57052465654100.2571.25.23 A.J. Pollock44640764348120.2742.25.20 Jordy Mercer50746210525160.2611.95.16 Mike Zunino53147716575840.2262.14.99 Cody Asche43940211454860.2631.44.96 L.J. Hoes44739655336120.270.84.95 Robbie Grossman45339774741130.2470.34.62 Ed Lucas60655310545450.2440.64.62 Avisail Garcia: White Sox Steamer Projection: 16 HR, 67 R, 73 RBI, 12 SB, .278 AVG The key chip for the White Sox in the Jake Peavy trade, Avisail Garcia will have a clear path to the majority of time in right field in 2014. While Garcia has shown poor plate discipline and contact numbers—3.5 BB% and 23 K% in 2013—there is reason to believe that he will be able to hit for a decent average, with a .283 AVG in 256 plate appearances in his age 21 season last year; owners in OBP leagues should stay away. Jedd Gyorko: Padres Steamer Projection: 24 HR, 70 R, 83 RBI, 4 SB, .263 AVG Jedd Gyorko provides the out of position productivity, in the form of home runs and power, at the second base position that Fantasy owners salivate over. The keystone slugged his way to 23 HRs in 2013, while he only played in 125 games, of...

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Week 12 Fantasy Preview

Nov 22

Week 12 Fantasy Preview

Here’s a quick look at what we can expect from a Fantasy perspective this week. Enjoy the Week 12 fantasy preview of every game! Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm If you are forced to start a Panthers running back, I think Mike Tolbert is the one. The Dolphins have struggled against tight ends this year and I think Greg Olsen finds the endzone again this week. The Dolphins don’t even know week to week what running back is going to play well. It seems that they have gone to the hot hand approach, which is never fun to hear as a fantasy owner. I would avoid the situation if possible but if you have to start one I trust Lamar Miller’s talent more than Daniel Thomas. I think Rishard Matthews could have a big game. The Panthers have a great front seven and I think Rishard Matthews benefits the most from the pass rush on Ryan Tannehill.   Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm The odds are that teams wont have a better option than Antonio Brown, but if you do this might be the time to sit him. Joe Haden is coming off shutting down A.J. Green holding him to just 7 yards and no offense to Antonio Brown but he is no A.J. Green. Look for Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery to have decent games as Ben Roethlisberger might be looking to other options with Joe Haden on Antonio Brown. Chris Ogbonnaya had a little coming out party last week with 99 total yards on 14 touches 6 of which were catches. I think he is a solid flex play again but I wouldn’t expect any touchdowns from him. Jordan Cameron’s numbers have been struggling lately but unless you have another top 5 tight end I don’t think you can sit Jordan Cameron.   San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm Phillip Rivers started out great this year but it is time to look for a better option. In the past 5 weeks Phillip Rivers has only totaled 6 touchdowns and has only gone over 300 yards once. People quickly forget the great season Ryan Mathews had in 2011 where he totaled over 1,500 yards on 272 touches. The injuries...

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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections: Top 192 Hitters by Steamer

Oct 16

2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections: Top 192 Hitters by Steamer

The best way that I have found to come up with Fantasy Baseball projections is to take an existing statistical projection, and translate those numbers into fantasy value. Projections that use statistical models free players from fantasy analysts who have biases against players; “I’ll never own player X again after last year”; “He won’t be able to produce on that offense.” These are mistakes I see fantasy analysts make all of the time, and in the former assertion analysts make assumptions about a player’s future performance based off of a meager sample size, and in the latter situation analysts attack a player’s team, which matters some but not as much as some would like you to think. At the beginning of last year I took every statistical projection I could find (Zips, Steamer, Oliver, Marcel, FANS), averaged them together—statistical projections that aggregate a group of projections have proven to make forecasts on a particular topic 20% more accurate—and then translated those numbers into player rater value with the conventional means that rotisserie value is calculated. Last year the fruits of this labor produced Paul Goldschmidt and Adam Jones as top fifteen hitters when few other pundits had their pecking orders calibrated in such a way. Because the only projection system that I could get a hold of at the moment is the Steamer projection, these numbers should not be the end all be all, but it is still interesting to look at why these rankings are constructed the way they are? Said another way, what do these projections see in player X from a statistical prospective, that qualitative forecasters miss the boat on? Here are the Steamer batter rankings for the 2014 MLB season (These rankings are not adjusted for position, because I did not feel the desire to manually enter each player’s position into a spreadsheet for the next hour, but these rankings are still directionally correct): NameHRRRBISBAVGZSCR Miguel Cabrera3911312530.32912.65 Mike Trout2611579340.3059.85 Paul Goldschmidt33102105150.2888.60 David Ortiz329910620.2917.05 Jacoby Ellsbury149875410.2896.62 Andrew McCutchen238986220.3046.59 Adrian Beltre298710510.3056.46 Prince Fielder299810510.2896.26 Matt Holliday26959650.2986.09 Chris Davis398910140.275.95 Ryan Braun278386180.35.94 Robinson Cano26899840.3025.92 Troy Tulowitzki29859830.3045.81 Hanley Ramirez248589200.2835.31 Yasiel Puig257984220.2854.98 Joey Votto24928660.34.92 Adam Jones288195110.2814.88 Adrian Gonzalez26849910.2944.83 Torii Hunter21978650.2854.20 Michael Cuddyer23819090.294.13 Evan Longoria30879730.2684.09 Dustin Pedroia149281160.2924.08 Giancarlo Stanton36818940.2663.98 Anthony Rizzo30889370.2623.96 Shane Victorino158979250.2783.95...

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A Pitcher’s True Strike Out Potential

Oct 04

A Pitcher’s True Strike Out Potential

Mike Podhorzer has looked into the relationship of a batters’ average fly ball distance as it relates to their HR/FB ratio, and has found results that will allow others to more accurately project a hitter’s home run totals from year to year. This got me thinking. Which can be a good or bad, but in this case, the authors’ labor produced a fruitful return. While a hitters’ HR/FB ratio can fluctuate indiscriminately from year to year, Podhorzer has proven a batters’ average fly ball distance is a better indication of a player’s true talent power production. In the same light, my study looks at how a player’s swinging strike rate (SwStr%) is a better indication of a pitcher’s strike out potential than K/9. My assumption was that K/9 and SwStr% have a strong relationship. But, how strong of a relationship is it? To find this out, I took all qualified starter seasons from 2003 to 2013, which gave me a sample size of 933 pitchers, and ran a correlation between their SwSTR% and their K/9. The results showed that there is an exceedingly positive correlation between SwSTR% and K/9, to the tune of a .807 correlation coefficient and a .65 R2. What is important to note is that there are very few pitchers present in the sample with a SwStr% above 13%, which may be symptomatic of something larger. Getting batters to swing and miss is difficult. The more often you can get a batter to swing and miss, the more valuable you are as a pitcher. As a result, the higher the SwStr%, the smaller the sample size becomes. For example, Johan Santana (2004) and Kerry Wood (2003) are the two lone dots to the farthest right on the graph with SwStr% of over 15: wow. After the relationship between SwStr% and K/9 ratio became unmistakable, I calculated what a particular SwSTR%s translates into, as far as K/9, with the formula Y=68.473*x+0.8435, and got this chart: The next step is to take what we have discovered and apply it to a sample. The chart below shows each qualified pitcher for 2013, their SwStr%, xK/9, K/9, and K/9-xK/9.  xK/9 is what we would expect a pitcher’s K/9 to be...

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Best Streaming Options: Four Starters That Could Win Your League

Sep 23

Best Streaming Options: Four Starters That Could Win Your League

If you read any of the other articles in the streaming series, you can skip the first section of this post and start to read where I go over the best streaming options. From now till the end of the season, I will go over the best streaming options available for the upcoming week; Monday’s post will have the best options for Monday through Wednesday, and Thursday’s post will have the best options for Thursday through Sunday. To make your options realistic and reach a wider range of players, we will keep the pool of players eligible to be streamed to those pitchers that are owned in 50% or less of ESPN leagues.  (If you don’t know what wRC+ is, this is a link to the FanGraphs library definition) Here are the best streaming options for Monday through Wednesday: Monday: Jose Quintana vs. Toronto (In Chicago) ESPN Ownership: 11.3% Opponent’s wRC+: 84 (27th in MLB)  The Blue Jays lineup that was a shell of a formidable unit against LHPs this year has lost most, if not all, of the firepower that made them competitive against southpaws. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Melky Cabrera have all been lost to season ending injuries, and without the core of the lineup, the Blue Jays have posted a 97 wRC+ in September. Yordano Ventura vs. Seattle (At Seattle) ESPN Ownership:  0.7% Opponent’s wRC+: 98 (15th in MLB) While Ventura showed the ability to throw three pitches against the Indians in his major league debut, it is clear that the young flame flower’s most valuable pitch is his fastball. Ventura averaged 97.2 MPH on his fastball, while he also plateaued at 101.9 MPH. For his second career start, Ventura will go against the Mariners who are average against RHPs, and love to swing the bat: 21.8 K% vs. RHPs (5th in MLB). Tuesday: Tyson Ross vs. Arizona (In San Diego) ESPN Ownership: 10% Opponent’s wRC+: 96 (16th in MLB) Why has Tyson Ross so been effective this year? He’s striking out more batters than he ever has before; he’s gone from 5.65 K/9 in 2012 to 8.59 K/9 this year. How has he been striking more batters out? More fastballs, and more sliders. Ross threw a two-seam fastball on...

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Best Streaming Options: Thin Pickings in the Championship Round

Sep 19

Best Streaming Options: Thin Pickings in the Championship Round

If you read any of the other articles in the streaming series, you can skip the first section of this post and start to read where I go over the best streaming options. From now till the end of the season, I will go over the best streaming options available for the upcoming week; Monday’s post will have the best options for Monday through Wednesday, and Thursday’s post will have the best options for Thursday through Sunday. To make your options realistic and reach a wider range of players, we will keep the pool of players eligible to be streamed to those pitchers that are owned in 50% or less of ESPN leagues.  (If you don’t know what wRC+ is, this is a link to the FanGraphs library definition) Here are the best streaming options for Thursday through Sunday: Thursday: Michael Wacha vs. Colorado (At Colorado) IF YOU ARE DESPERATE ESPN Ownership: 44.5% Opponent’s wRC+: 91 vs. RHPs (21st in MLB)  Thursday is a day where there is little to be said when it comes to streaming options. Michael Wacha versus the Rockies, who walk 6.9% of the time against RHPs (27th in MLB), and have an 85 wRC+ in the second half of the season against all pitchers (26th in baseball), would be a good matchup in 29 other MLB ballparks, but not in Coors Field. Rarely do you find a stream that is so good that Coors Field’s zany park factors do not come into play, and this situation is no different; start Wacha if you are desperate for a start. Friday: Zach McAllister vs. Houston (In Cleveland) IF YOU ARE DESPERATE ESPN Ownership: 7.2% Opponent’s wRC+: 86 vs. RHPs (28th in MLB)  In 2012, McAllister finished the season with a 4.11 xFIP, and gave up 1.36 HR/9. This year McAllister has reduced his HR/9 to .86, but his xFIP has risen to 4.53. Why you may ask? McAllister has received some luck from batted balls this year with a 7.4% HR/FB rate, while he was unlucky in 2012 with a 12.1% HR/FB rate. This year may be an over regression to the mean, or it could have something to do with McAllister’s increased usage of his two-seam fastball (22.6% in 2013,...

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