Towards the end of last season, FanGraphs partnered up with SaberSim, a site that provides daily baseball projections by running thousands of simulations of each game every day, utilizing Steamer handedness-split rest-of-season projections as a base. The sim matches up the specific lineup of each team against the pitchers of each opposing team. The simulated games then operate as actual baseball games operate, and each individual plate appearance is simulated until the game is complete, at which point the process is repeated. While the raw projections available on FanGraphs and the SaberSim site itself are helpful in their own right, digging into some of the player and game projections, both for the current day and next, can help illuminate players to target for your season-long and DFS lineups.
Friday SP Streamer Candidates
There aren’t many great streamer options for Friday’s slate of MLB games. Among
those with low ownership percentages, there are no heavily favorable matchups
that provide high-level upside. However, the simulator still projects a few pitchers to
perform well enough to warrant a spot start if you’re in immediate need.
Nicholas Tropeano (10% Y!) – 0.36 W; 3.27 ERA; 5.03 K
Tropeano gets the Mariners at home in a game the simulator projects the Angels to win 53% of the time. Despite the fact that he is opposite Felix Hernandez, Tropeano is projected for a fair likelihood of earning a pitcher win (36%). He is also projected for good run prevention and strikeout numbers against the Mariners offense in Angel Stadium, which has a basic park factor favorable to pitchers. Tropeano is the strongest streamer candidate among the group of potentially available pitchers throwing Friday.
Zachary Davies (0% Y!) – 0.38 W; 3.60 ERA; 4.77 K
The good news with regard to Zach Davies is that he’s currently 0% owned in Yahoo! full season fantasy baseball leagues. He gave up six runs to the Pirates in his previous start, and that was enough to scare off the 1% of people who had previously owned him. Though his projected run prevention and strikeout numbers aren’t great for his home matchup against the Phillies (Aaron Nola), they aren’t bad either. A 38% likelihood of earning a pitcher win, coupled with passable ERA and K projections, make Davies an acceptable play if your team is in need of a spot start.
Jon Niese (10% Y!) – 0.38 W; 3.73 ERA; 4.16 K
Jon Niese has the least spectacular projected numbers of the three candidates, but he is nonetheless a viable option. His K projection is rather poor, but the W and ERA projections are positive. His matchup is against the Diamondbacks in Chase Field, which is a hitters park, but maybe less so than one might expect (104 basic park factor in 2014 and 2015). Niese isn’t an ideal play for a team seeking strikeout upside from a late week stream, but otherwise makes for a decent option.
Today’s Batters of Note
Mike Trout – (DraftKings $5,200; 12.4) (FanDuel $4,600; 16.2)
It doesn’t feel quite right to pick arguably the best player of our generation as a “batter of note”, but Trout’s projection today can’t be ignored. He’s projected a full two DraftKings points higher than the second batter on the leaderboard today (Jose Abreu), due to opposing pitcher John Danks’ terrible home run projection (and handedness) and US Cellular Field’s extreme home run park factor for righties. Trout’s slow start to the season has caused his ownership in DFS to dip recently, making him a great choice for large tournaments given his immense upside.
Eddie Rosario – (DraftKings $3,400; 8.1) (FanDuel $2300; 10.4)
Like US Cellular above, Miller Park is a huge boost for home runs, especially for lefties, bumping home runs by 28% for left-handed hitters. Rosario faces Taylor Jungmann, who is projected to pitch very poorly by Steamer this year, though ZiPS is more bullish. Regardless, Rosario’s price tag — especially on FanDuel — make him an excellent pick for DFS, particularly if you’re looking to fit in high-priced Kershaw (more below) or Scherzer into your lineups.
Today’s Pitchers of Note
Clayton Kershaw – (DraftKings $13,600; 31.4) (FanDuel $13,000; 52.2)
Like Trout above, Kershaw is by no means a “sneaky” pick, but I cannot ignore this matchup and projection. The Braves lineup today is, frankly, terrible, not to mention the fact that Turner Field is a slight pitcher’s park. You don’t see DK projections above 30 or FD projections above 50 very often, so this might be a day to just pay up for pitching and look for value in your bats. As always, remember that You Can’t Predict Baseball, but Kershaw having a good performance in today’s game is about as sure a thing as you can find in this sport.
Rich Hill – (DraftKings $7,000; 18.2) (FanDuel $6,700; 31.6)
Particularly on DraftKings, pricing is fairly well correlated with SaberSim projections today, so you’re not going to find amazing value in pitching. That said, once you get past the aces, Rich Hill is a solid option if you want to save money for bats. Though he is pitching in Yankee Stadium tonight, the hitter-friendly park factor is much less pronounced for right-handed hitters, which benefits southpaw Hill. That, along with Hill’s excellent strikeout rate projection, makes him a nice value play. That said, it’s still Yankee Stadium, and this is a 36-year-old pitcher we’re talking about, so roster Hill with a grain of salt.
You’ll always see Trout and Kershaw near the top of the SaberSim leaderboard, but they’re not always great DFS picks for their price. That is not the case today. Both projections are unusually high for the top projected batter/pitcher of the day, and both are likely worth paying up for. That said, you can always find value down the list, so check out SaberSim projections here on FanGraphs or at www.SaberSim.com itself for a full list of projections for the day (and next).