The Daily Grind: 7-30-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. A Reminder About Process
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Thin Thursday
  4. Table

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1. A Reminder About Process

Early in the season, we regularly discussed the importance of a sound process. With a sport like baseball, all individual player picks are risky. I believe Trevor Bauer had a decent matchup yesterday. It didn’t work out that way. The risk was always there, but in my estimation, he was more likely to have a good outing than a bad one.

The process I use is pretty simple, but effective. I concentrate on park, hitter handedness/quality, pitcher quality, and weather. I don’t mess around with batter versus pitcher or team splits because those have been scientifically debunked. Continuing with the Bauer example, the ballpark was ok, the hitters were mediocre but a little more left-handed than I like, Bauer’s pretty solid, and the weather was neutral. It all adds up to a careful recommendation – one I passed on in the leagues where he was available.

The point is this – daily results are going to be highly unpredictable. A sound process is the backbone of long term success. It’s like poker. For a pro, a single day is gambling – anything can happen. If you look at a longer period, it becomes a game of skill, one in which the pro can use his process to make money.

2. Daily DFS

Yesterday’s Grind

Early: We have a healthy early contest with six games today.

Most exploitable among the early pitchers is lefty Brad Hand. He’s opposed by a lefty-mashing Nationals lineup. Hand walks more guys than he should, which increases the damage against him.

Righty Kyle Kendrick will face a rather left-handed Mets lineup. Lefties have always hit Kendrick hard. This season, they feature a .380 wOBA compared to a .302 wOBA for righties.

If you think something is wrong with Jason Hammel, you can try loading up on Astros. I’m reserving judgment, but with such a thin slate, it’s an option worth mentioning.

Late: That leaves nine games for the late party.

This isn’t relevant to this column, but Felix Hernandez opposes Corey Kluber tonight. Too bad I have game tonight, because I’d really like to see this one.

Kevin Gausman strikes me as an unfinished product. I don’t get this vibe when watching him, but his statistical profile reminds me of Garrett Richards – blazing heat with no idea how to get it past hitters. It took Richards a couple years to become an above average pitcher. I think there’s a chance Gausman implodes against the Angels, but they’re probably too expense to employ on a “chance.” (Speaking of Richards, that’s who opposes him)

Among pitchers with 50 innings, Colby Lewis has the largest ERA-FIP. His ERA is 2.11 points higher than his FIP. His xFIP, which is a little more predictive than his FIP, is only .31 points higher than his FIP. And if that statement was confusing, let’s put it more simply. A luck neutral Lewis would have an ERA in the 4.10-4.50 range. Sometimes, a big split between ERA and FIP can signal some other problem, and it’s for that reason I’d consider stacking Yankees.

Rapid Fire: The Detroit Tigers won’t have the platoon advantage against Hector Noesi, but they’ll probably spank him all the same. Brandon Workman has a tough gig against the Blue Jays, and young pitchers sometimes experience noisy growing pains. Travis Wood has simply pitched poorly for most of the season. The Rockies don’t matchup great, but I bet they score a handful of runs.

3. Thin Thursday

Pitchers to Start: Drew Hutchison draws the Astros matchup. They can explode for a few runs, but they also strikeout a ton. A pitcher like Hutchison can post a very good outing if he plays his cards right.

Jeff Locke is opposed by the Diamondbacks. They were just shut down by Mike Leake, who I consider to be a sort of right-handed version of Locke (Locke is a lefty).

Pitchers to Exploit: As we’ve discussed in the past, I don’t much care for John Danks against the Tigers. Detroit’s lineup is much too potent. This game is in Detroit, so at least the ballpark is neutral.

In addition to declining stuff, I bet Shelby Miller has a confidence issue after his brief demotion to the bullpen. The storymonger in me wonders if his handling last postseason is related to his current struggles. Probably, either the Cards predicted this sort of poor performance or Miller was affected in some way.

Tyler Skaggs has a semi-difficult matchup against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Baltimore has a few lefty mashers.

I’ll place Zach McAllister in the exploit column, even though I’d also consider a spot start against the Mariners. I worry his fate could be similar to Bauer’s. On the other side of the matchup, Chris Young has been outperforming his skill set all season. The Indians lineup might be the right crew to take him down a peg.

Kevin Correia will pitch against the Royals. It’s a contact oriented pitcher versus a contact oriented lineup, so expect a lot of balls in play.

Hitters (power): Steve Pearce seems like an easy pick against Skaggs.

Juan Francisco versus Jarred Cosart seems like a home run or strikeout type of matchup.

With Cliff Lee off his game, try Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa.

The James Jones experiment may have yielded to the Dustin Ackley experiment. Try Ackley and Kendrys Morales.

Seth Smith. Always Seth Smith.

Hitters (speed): Rajai Davis is a great play if he starts. If not, maybe you can look across the aisle to Alexei Ramirez.

4. Table

The table below indicates which stadiums have the best conditions for hitters today. The color coding is a classic stoplight where green equals go for hitters. The weather conditions are from SI Weather’s home run app. A 10/10 means great atmospheric conditions for home runs. A 1/10 means lousy atmospheric conditions.

Cleveland and Detroit are again at a 40-50 percent risk for storms. Chicago has a storm risk through the first hour of the game.

The Link. Much the same as yesterday. You have a mix of options with a few unusually pitcher friendly weather spots.

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Forgetting cost as this is my daily points lg, would you play Kiermaier v. Gallardo or Braun v. Price today?