The Daily Grind: 8-21-14 – Presented by FanDuel by Brad Johnson August 21, 2014 Agenda Weak Contact Daily DFS Friday Picks Table FanDuel has unleashed the World Fantasy Baseball Championship; a week-long, $5,000,000 celebration of Fantasy Baseball in Las Vegas! The WFBC has something for everyone, from the $250,000 single-entry championship, to the live $3,000,000 DFBC Final in Las Vegas. Remember to use promocode FANGRAPHS to get your huge 100% deposit bonus up to $200. Click here to win your seat ticket. 1. Weak Contact We’ve long understood that quality of contact affects pitching results, but without access to HITf/x, it’s difficult to conceptualize a way to quantify it. Generally, we’ve used batted ball profiles as a proxy. While those tell us the type of contact, they don’t answer the question “how hard?” We still need HITf/x to do a truly proper job, but our buddy Brett Talley did find a Baseball-Reference stat called sOPS+ that serves as a better proxy than batted ball profiles. His piece is definitely worth a read, although the top of his leaderboard is a little sad. 2. Daily DFS Yesterday’s Grind Early: Four games are early. The park for offense in Yankee Stadium, where Brandon McCarthy hosts Dallas Keuchel. I’m using both pitchers without reservation today, so I don’t really consider this an ideal place to stack. Still, you have to draw players from somewhere and the tiny dimensions are favorable. Wade Miley is a solid pitcher, but the lefty will have to silence a Nationals lineup that features a few potent, right-handed bats. This is the closest thing to a true stacking opportunity in the early contest. Late: And four games are late. The Angels will face the inconsistent Rubby de la Rosa. My read on the Sox starter is that he’ll frustrate fantasy owners with glimmers of value interspersed with pockets of mediocre performance. I think I’m picturing Bud Norris in his heyday, even though they don’t profile as similar pitchers. David Holmberg is definitely THE guy to target. He’s an unestablished lefty facing a mostly right-handed Braves lineup at Great American Park. As a reminder, the righty home run park factor is 128. Holmberg also happens to be the worst pitcher of the day based on overall skill. The other guy to target is Travis Wood. The lefty will face the Giants at Wrigley Field. Wood’s biggest issue this season has been walks. Without those, he could have a sub-4.00 ERA (emphasis on could). 3. Friday Picks Pitchers to Start: Kevin Gausman is rightly floating around the waiver wire in many non-keeper leagues. His strikeout rate has been disappointing. A game against the Cubs could partially correct that short coming. Chicago has the third highest strikeout rate against righties. Generally, I’m not buying Carlos Carrasco as a starter just yet. Maybe he solved all of his problems in the bullpen – he’s allowed just five baserunners in 12 innings since returning to the rotation. Probably, he’s still the same guy who’s mediocre as a starter and great as a reliever. In any event, he’ll face a strikeout happy Astros team. They’ve struck out the second most frequently against northpaws. Marcus Stroman is coming off an epic meltdown – the kind that torpedoes fantasy ratios. I can’t help but like his matchup with the Rays. Drew Smyly is on the other side of this one. THe Blue Jays rate badly against left-handed pitching. I still think it’s unlikely that’s an accurate representation of the club. Pitchers to Exploit: I’d take offense on either side of the Cardinals-Phillies game. St. Louis will start “broken” Shelby Miller while the Phillies have mediocre (no quotes) Kyle Kendrick. Mike Minor was sharp in his last outing after weeks of terrible performances. One outing does not make a trend. This game is at homer happy Great American Park, so there are multiple reasons to go against Minor. Rangers ace Colby Lewis will face the contact oriented Royals. I consider this a bad matchup for Lewis. He’s given up some high quality contact this year, so I can easily picture the Royals spamming hits. I’m not so sure about Robbie Ray as a major league starter right now. I know the Tigers see it because they traded Doug Fister for him. I want to see it, but it’s just not there. In my eyes, he has to improve dramatically to be more than a J.A. Happ type. Tommy Milone is on the other side of that Tigers-Twins game. He has to survive the Detroit juggernaut. It’s kind of shocking that Franklin Morales continues to draw starts. Brad Mills has flipped all over the league this year. He’s a much better candidate to start than Morales. More importantly, Morales is actually pretty good as a reliever. So the Rockies are taking a possible asset and turning him into a negative. Honestly, I’d rather see them let Joe Saunders get shelled out of the rotation. Hitters (power): You could possibly find Lucas Duda on your wire. He’ll face Dan Haren. Derek Norris (if healthy), Steven Vogt, and Jonny Gomes are among the Athletics righties to try in an important series against the Angels and Hector Santiago. Seth Smith will see Josh Collmenter. How about Marcell Ozuna against Morales? Maybe Casey McGehee too. Trevor Plouffe and Kennys Vargas are good choices out of Minnesota. Mark Reynolds, Khris Davis, and Rickie Weeks are worthy of consideration. Hitters (speed): You can give Rymer Liriano a shot too. Rajai Davis is generally the rosterable Tiger. 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. Thin Thursday could be affected by storms. Minnesota and Washington have a risk for storms late in their game while Cincinnati and Chicago are rain out risks. Chicago’s worst off per the weather report. The Link. There are just a couple obvious choices for offense tonight. This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of FanDuel. FanGraphs maintains complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in a continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.