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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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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Player Value: A Different Way to Look at Player Performance in Week 1

Sep 14

Player Value: A Different Way to Look at Player Performance in Week 1

In Fantasy Football, points are important, but points relative to the position a player plays is more important. Colin Kaepernick scored 30 points last week and was the second highest second highest scorer in fantasy football, but was that performance impressive when the top twelve quarterbacks—the amount of quarterbacks played in a standard league—averaged 25 points in Week 1? Not really. (All references to points scored in this article refer to ESPN’s standard scoring system.) This article is meant to stimulate you as a Fantasy Football player, and get you to think more analytically about player value. How do you calculate player value? These are the averages for points per position for the top twelve quarterbacks, top thirty wide receivers, top thirty running backs, top twelve tight ends, top twelve kickers, and top twelve D/STs: QB (25 PTS), RB (12PTS), WR (16 PTS), TE (15 PTS), D/ST (13 PTS), and K (11 PTS). So what do these averages tell you? Points scored at running back last week were at a premium, and points at quarterback weren’t worth much at all, unless you have Peyton Manning. If you are an experienced Fantasy Football player, this information is nothing new to you. Even if you are an experienced Fantasy player, however, do you now how to translate a player’s points scored relative to their position, and know exactly how much a player’s performance was worth? It’s ok if you don’t. The answer is down below. To determine player value, it requires simple math. First separate players by position. Then, calculate the average and standard deviation of the points scored by the players at that position. Once you have those numbers, take a players points scored, subtract that number from the average points scored at that position, and then divide that number by the standard deviation of points for that position. Do that for every player at every position, and you have the Z-Scores for each player. Z-Scores are informative because they compute player value based upon how far away from the average performance at a position a players performance was worth. Meaning: you know how much more valuable a running back that scored twenty points was worth, compared to a quarterback...

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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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