Reverse Engineering the Sharks: Melville, Shepard, & Anderson

It’s time to gleen into tonight’s games to see what information can be pulled out.  All the background information is available in this introductory article and I’m just going to continue grinding through games trying to find discrepancies and any useful fantasy information like the following.

Notes from the lines:

  • Our projections hate some pitchers but they really hate Tim Melville.
  • The Books have no faith in Chandler Shepard first major league start tonight.
  • FanGraphs has put too much faith into Blake Snell’s return from the IL.
  • The Books seems to expect more out of Brett Anderson than an ERA over 4.50.

Game 1 (Tuesday): Phillies at Braves
Favorite: Braves
Book’s Breakeven % (Braves): 64.5%
FanGraphs Win%: 52.1%

FanGraphs doesn’t buy into Dallas Keuchel’s 3.35 ERA (3.91 ERA projection) but Vince Velasquez is pegged at a 4.86 ERA. The Braves aren’t even getting all the home-field advantage on a break-even game. I’d have to side with the Books on this one.

Game 2 (Tuesday): Mets at Rockies
Favorite: Mets
Book’s Breakeven % (Mets): 58.5%
FanGraphs Win%: 69.2%

The FanGraphs projections hate the Rockies Tim Melville with a 6.75 ERA. This season, he has a 5.16 ERA with 5.59 xFIP and 5.34 SIERA. There is no way the Rockies should be favored but the FanGraphs rate is too much.

Game 3 (Tuesday): Nationals at Cardinals
Favorite: Nationals (FanGraphs), Cardinals (books)
Book’s Breakeven % (Cardinals): 54.5%
FanGraphs Win%: 44.5%

I thought these values were a mixup to start with Patrick Corbin (3.61 ERA projection) facing off against Miles Mikolas (4.00 ERA projection).

Part of the difference is Nationals bullpen with a 5.91 ERA on the season with the Cardinals at 3.73 ERA. Over a two-run difference is a reminder I need to talk to Appelman about its influence.

Game 4 (Tuesday): Blue Jays at Orioles
Favorite: Blue Jays (books), Orioles (FanGraphs)
Book’s Breakeven % (Blue Jays): 57.4%
FanGraphs Win%: 47.8%

We have pitching gods Chandler Shepard (4.71 ERA) facing off against the Jay’s Trent Thorton (4.97 ERA). I dug into Thorton’s profile to see if he’s improved and found he’s pitching worse. His first-half xFIP was at 4.77 and now it’s 5.47 in the second half.

The 27-year-old Shepard doesn’t have much prospect pedigree but has a 92-mph fastball and a great curve.

On the surface, the FanGraphs percentage seems fine with a Blue Jays having a small advantage on a neutral field. Not a huge one.

Game 5 (Tuesday): Rays at Dodgers
Favorite: Dodgers
Book’s Breakeven % (Dodgers): 58.5%
FanGraphs Win%: 50%

Two words: Blake Snell and his projected 3.24 ERA is going to move the FanGraphs odds to the Rays. The deal is that he’s not throwing many innings, maybe just three. Another area I need to find out about is the projected innings pitched.

Game 6 (Tuesday): Royals at Athletics
Favorite: Athletics
Book’s Breakeven % (Athletics): 71.9%
FanGraphs Win%: 62.8%

The Athletics are heavily favored and for good reason. Besides the Books’ love for heavy favorites, this line comes down to Brett Anderson’s talent. The FanGraphs projections have him at a 4.65 ERA but his groundball nature has him with a 4.07 ERA (4.41 ERA in the second half). Is Anderson better than a 4.65 ERA pitcher? Probably. How much? Not sure.

We hoped you liked reading Reverse Engineering the Sharks: Melville, Shepard, & Anderson by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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