Best Streaming Options: Three Starts for Tuesday and Two More Just to Be Sure

Sep 16

Best Streaming Options: Three Starts for Tuesday and Two More Just to Be Sure

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: Andrew Cashner vs. Pittsburgh (At Pittsburg) ESPN Ownership: 11.8% Opponent’s wRC+: 95 vs. RHPs (17th in MLB)  There was a brief moment of hesitation when it came to the recommendation of Cashner as a stream this week. Cashner, a player who was know for his bat missing abilities and his fastball that can touch triple digits, posted unimpressive K/9s of 5.54 in May, 5.05 in June, 7.58 in July, and 6.53 in August. However, Cashner has struck out seven batters in four of his last five starts, while he has also kept his walk totals to a minimum. Cashner has averaged a 7.9% swinging strike rate over the course of 2013—he posted SwStr% of 10.1% in 2010, 10.2% in 2011, and 11.6% in 2012 during his brief appearances at the major league level, most of which were spent as a reliever—but has posted SwStr% of 9.4%, 10.1%, 14.8%, 11.8%, and 12.4% in his last five starts. Albeit, five starts is  a small sample size to judge any pitcher’s improvement, but most pitchers do not have the raw stuff that Cashner possesses. From a look at Cashner’s Pitchf/x numbers from his last five starts, compared to his season totals, it looks like he has relied more heavily on his two seam fastball and slider. Tuesday: Yusmeiro Petit vs. New York Mets (At New York) ESPN Ownership: 28.5% Opponent’s wRC+: 91 vs. RHPs (21st in MLB)...

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Best Streaming Options: Four Streams to Save Your League and One More Just to Be Sure

Sep 12

Best Streaming Options: Four Streams to Save Your League and One More Just to Be Sure

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 Thursday, 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: Alex Wood vs. Miami (At Miami) ESPN Ownership: 36.9% Opponent’s wRC+: 80 vs. LHPs (28th in MLB) If there are any owners in your league that were foolish enough drop Alex Wood, due to his recent inconsistency, take advantage of their ineptitude and reap the reward that will come with his matchup on Thursday. As good as Wood has pitched this year, his peripherals suggest that he has pitched better—2.66 FIP and a 3.19xFIP. Wood has been able to dominate lefties (.274 wOBA against) with his knuckle curve, while he has also been able to quell righties with the use of his changeup (.306 wOBA against), and remain neutral to platoon splits. Corey Kluber vs. Chicago White Sox (At Chicago) ESPN Ownership: 6.7% Opponent’s wRC+: 83 vs. RHPs (29th in MLB) Lance Lynn, Matt Cain, and Jeff Samardzija: These are all pitchers that Corey Kluber ranks ahead of on ESPN’s player rater. While the aforementioned pitchers have had down years of sorts, Kluber, on the same rating scale, remains only spots behind Matt Garza, Jake Peavy and Jared Weaver who have had above average years compared to their pears. Kluber has pitched better than most would acknowledge or know, but this would be the opportune time to show your fellow league mates that you are aware of Kluber’s talent and accept the value he can have. Friday: Danny Salazar vs. Chicago White...

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Best Streaming Options: Monday through Wednesday

Sep 09

Best Streaming Options: Monday through Wednesday

If you read the first or second column from last week, 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 Thursday, 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: Taijuan Walker vs. Houston (In Seattle) ESPN Ownership: 18.7% Opponent’s wRC+: 84 vs RHPs (28th in MLB) Take advantage of one of Walker’s last starts of the year before the Mariner’s shut him down due to innings restrictions. Walker will have the benefit of going against the Astors’ league leading strikeout percentage against right-handers (25.2%), and being more acclimated the major leagues now that he is in his third start of his career. Tuesday: Dillon Gee vs Washington (In New York) ESPN Ownership: 17.1% Opponent’s wRC+: 99 vs. RHPs (14th in MLB) Gee has sported a 2.51 ERA (3.80 FIP) at home this year, compared to 4.32 ERA (4.35 FIP) on the road in 2013. While his FIP splits suggest he has received some luck this year from a .291 BABIP and a 79.1% LOB%, his home FIP still falls in the range of a quality-starting pitcher. What’s interesting about Gee is, although his average velocity on fastballs is under 90 MPH, he still produces a 9.1% swinging strike percentage, and is one of six pitchers in the MLB that has averaged a SwStr% of nine percent or more with an average fastball under 90 MPH. Wednesday: Sonny Gray vs. Minnesota (At Minnesota) ESPN Ownership: (40.2%) Opponent’s wRC+: 91 vs. RHPs (22nd in MLB) It amazes me that Gray is still not above the 50% ownership threshold, but as long as he...

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Best Streaming Options: Five Pitchers to Start, and One More if You’re Desperate

Sep 05

Best Streaming Options: Five Pitchers to Start, and One More if You’re Desperate

If you read the first column, you can skip the first section 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 Thursday, 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: Sonny Gray vs. Houston (In Oakland) ESPN Ownership:  25.9% Opponent’s wRC+: 86 vs RHPs (28th in MLB) As much as can be said about the bright future of Sonny Gray, even more can be said about the anemic offensive season the Astros have had this year. Gray, in five starts, has managed to produce an exceptional ERA—2.57—with the peripherals to match—2.99 xFIP and 2.52 FIP. The game is in Oakland to boot. Although, not very many balls will be put in play with Gray’s 9.51 K/9 and the Astros’ league leading 25.2 K% against righties. Friday: Felix Doubront vs. New York (At New York) ESPN Ownership: 18.5% Opponent’s wRC+: 86 vs LHPs (23rd in MLB) Doubront has had a successful 2013 as a result of ditching his two-seam fastball. The lefty threw his two-seam fastball 30.5% of the time in 2012, and is throwing it only 16.1% of the time this year. It appears that he has allocated the difference from last year to his four-seam fastball; that pitch has been thrown 45.2% this year, compared to only 33.2% in 2012. Doubront’s four-seam fastball has still accounted for negative -1.9 wFA, but that is a marked improvement over his -7.3 wFA last year. Although Doubront has thrown as many change-ups this year as he did last year, it appears as if the conscious decision to throw mainly four-seam fastballs has helped disguise his best pitch; his changeup’s value has increased...

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Best Streaming Options: Six Pitchers for the Next Three Days

Sep 02

Best Streaming Options: Six Pitchers for the Next Three Days

For all of the Fantasy Baseball players that are in daily roto or head-to-head leagues, and need a few more strong outings to take home the championship in their leagues, this post is for you. 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 best options for Monday through Thursday, 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. New York (At New York) ESPN Ownership: 16.3% Opponent’s wRC+: 87 vs LHPs (22nd in MLB) The Yankees have been dreadful against lefties this year. More importantly, regardless of handedness, opposing pitchers have held the Yankees to 92 wRC+ in the second half of the season. As of late, the Yankees have attempted to quell their futility by platooning Mark Reynolds and Vernon Wells against LHPs, which shows how desperate the Yankees are to inject some offense into their lineup. Brief Aside About Mark Reynolds: What’s interesting about Mark Reynolds is that his HR/FB ratio is down from last year, while the average distance of his fly balls and home runs are up 294ft this year and 284ft in 2012. The lack of power is most likely due to his move to Cleveland, which has been known to evaporate power from right handed sluggers (Progressive Field is 27th out of the 30 parks when you look at Baseball Prospectus’ HR Factor data from 2012. Danny Duffy vs. Seattle (In Kansas City) ESPN Ownership: 6.6% Opponent’s wRC+: 83 (25th in MLB) The Mariners strike out in 22% of their at bats against south paws—sixth most in baseball—and have recently traded away one of their best right handed bats—Michael Morse. Duffy has only allowed two runs in his first three starts since returning from Tommy John surgery;...

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Pitcher Value: Do More Team Wins Lead to More Pitcher Wins?

Aug 20

Pitcher Value: Do More Team Wins Lead to More Pitcher Wins?

I mentioned on my last post that I listen to a lot of podcasts. Two days ago, I listened to a recent edition of the BS Report, in which, Bill Simmons interviewed Brian Kenny of MLB TV. Although, I do not necessarily agree with the binary tone that Kenny takes towards certain issues, I understand why he does it. That this is his character in the media — the die-hard sabermetrician to the end. Bill Simmons pressed Kenny about his belief that there is no value in “wins” as a statistic, and Kenny did not give him an inch. Kenny debunked any value of the statistic, as any person that is analytically inclined would do. Kenny and Simmons’ conversation led me to wonder about the idea of the win where it pertains to a recent conversation that has taken place in Fantasy Baseball: pitchers that get traded from a loser to a contender. You’ll hear around the Fantasy community, as most recently with Matt Garza going from theCubs to the Rangers and Bud Norris going from the Astros to the Orioles, that pitcher value will rise  when a player moves to a better team because he can get more wins. Do team wins inflate pitcher wins? I took the qualified starters for 2013 from Fangraphs and ran a correlation between the amount of wins a player has had this season and the amount of wins his team has had in 2013. For simplicity’s sake, I excluded the qualified pitchers that have played for multiple teams in 2013: Ian Kennedy, Scott Feldman, Ricky Nolasco, and Norris. If there is a correlation between individual pitcher wins and the amount of wins that player’s team has had, we would be able to count on pitchers on better teams getting more wins. What I found is that there is no correlation between the amount of wins a team gets and the amount of wins a player on that team gets. The correlation was 0.33 (or 11% if that makes more sense to some people), which suggests a moderate positive relationship, but is essentially nothing. This study is not conclusive by any means, considering the sample size only included 86 pitchers over a one-year...

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Predictive Starting Pitcher Rankings

Jun 27

Predictive Starting Pitcher Rankings

In an effort to come up with starting pitcher rankings that have a more predictive than descriptive value, I looked to implement a more meaningful metric in player rater evaluation than ERA—xFIP. For those of you that don’t know, xFIP is an offspring of FIP—fielding independent pitching—that was developed in the fashion of DIPs theory. I’ll link it’s definition here, and if you don’t know what xFIP is, you can read about it at Fangraphs, because whoever wrote the library entry does a lot better job explaining it than I can. Like a couple weeks ago when we subtracted wins from player rater value, we will exchange ERA with xFIP from player rankings, and see what players move up and down the most, simple enough. Rankings With ERA & Rankings With xFIP The rankings on the left (Z-SCR) represent pitcher rankings with ERA, and the rankings on the right (xZ-SCR) use xFIP to evaluate starting pitchers. Strikeouts, wins, and WHIP (the three other statistics used to measure starting pitcher ability in standard 5×5 roto leagues) are also used in each player’s Z-SCR and xZ-SCR.  (The stats used for this study are current up until last Friday). What is interesting about these two lists is that 19 out of 20 pitchers are the same in both lists. Bartolo Colon, who is not on the xZ-SCR list, is 17th on the Z-SCR list, and we can all agree that his Fantasy value is largely inflated by unsustainable wins and a favorable strand rate. And while Colon has seen the crux of his Fantasy value rooted in wins, Jeff Samardzija, who is in the xZ-SCR list, but not in the Z-SCR list, has seen his worth wilted away from drought of wins like the Wrigley ivy in the fall. The players on these lists are the best of the best in 2013, and we should not expect to see more than the minor shifts that are apparent. Now, we will look at a more interesting list that shows which player’s rating changed the most with a substitution of ERA for xFIP. The players on the left are the pitchers who move up the most in worth when you substitute xFIP for ERA,...

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