We’ve got a really short slate today with only five games going on. I’m guessing this may have have been discussed at some point since these posts started last year, but I wonder if it’s a good idea to invest as much on a short slate day as you normally would. Or is it even a good idea to play at all on short slate days?
My thought is that because the options are fewer it’s harder to gain an advantage. More people are going to use optimal plays simply because there aren’t as many players to choose from. It’s a lot easier to pick the three best pitchers of the day when there are only ten to choose from as opposed to thirty. Easier sounds like a good thing until you remember it’s easier for everyone. If you fancy yourself good at this game, it makes more sense to put your money in, or at least more of your money in, when it’s harder for everyone else to pick the optimal plays.
The Daily Five
Stephen Strasburg ($21,998) – Strasburg is obviously the pitcher expected to produce the highest point total today. But the question with the elite guys is always whether it’s worth the price. First of all, the price isn’t as high as it sometimes is. The elite starters will often go for 23, 24 or 25 thousand, and Garrett Richards is actually more expensive that Strasburg, which is insane no matter their matchups. In terms of cost per projected point, with the projected points coming from the Steamer RoS projections, Strasburg is the fourth best value among the ten starters today. One of the three that is a “better” value is Jason Vargas who a) I don’t trust, b) doesn’t strike anyone out and c) is pitching in warm temperatures with the wind blowing out in Kansas City. That means Strasburg should be one of the three best starters and one of the three best values. Oh, one more thing. The Reds are a super righty-heavy lineup without Joey Votto, and they were below league average against right-handed pitching with him.
Drew Smyly ($14,714) – Smyly has transitioned back to starting fairly well thanks to a return to frequent curveball usage given that he became a heavy fastball/cutter guy in the bullpen last year. The curve has always been his best whiff pitch, and the extra usage of it has him with a 10% swinging strike rate and an above average strikeout rate. He can hold his own in the rotation. And today he’s facing a Cleveland team that has struggled mightily with left-handed pitching this year (74 wRC+).
Nationals Stack – I’m on the Nats today mainly because I like Ian Desmond’s price ($4,487). He doesn’t really have a problem with same-handed pitching (he’s facing right-handed Mike Leake today), so the price shouldn’t be depressed because he doesn’t have the platoon advantage. And some other Nats have cheap prices, so you can make a cheap stack here to give you money to spend on Strasburg or any other expensive starter you like. Look at Tyler Moore ($5,692) who has been better against right-handed pitching than left in his short career, Nate McLouth who is super cheap if he’s in the lineup ($3,123) and Jayson Werth ($5,997) or Wilson Ramos ($5,363).
Royals Stack – The Royals are facing Scott Carroll who has the highest ERA and SIERA of any pitcher going today. This is also the warmest game of the day, and the wind looks like it may be blowing out strongly to right. Worst pitcher, best weather? Makes sense to make a stack here. I’d be looking at Alex Gordon ($5,295) and Billy Butler ($4,322). You can either pair them with guys at the top of the order like Eric Hosmer and Norichika Aoki or at the bottom of the order with Mike Moustakas.
Mike Trout ($9,669) – Whenever you can.