The Daily Grind: Choking, Happ, Ray, Robinson


  1. Choking
  2. Daily DFS
  3. GB / FB Splits
  4. SaberSim Observations
  5. Tomorrow’s Targets – Ray, Shark, Robinson, Dyson
  6. Factor Grid

1. Choking

There are two ways I can go with a sub-heading titled “choking.” I could tell you about how all of my fantasy teams have crumbled in the final stretches of the season. That’s not entirely true. Many of my teams have sucked for months. The three that are contenders are still alive. I even pulled off a Christmas miracle over the weekend via four home runs from Jose Bautista and Khris Davis. I’m in the finals in my two H2H leagues, and I have a 50 point lead over Chad in the ottoneu league FanGraphs Staff Two.

If not fantasy teams choking, then obviously I’m referring to Jonathan Papelbon. He and teammate Bryce Harper are bros and bros fight. Got me brah? On Saturday I broadcasted to Twitter:

On Sunday…well, you know. This is what I get for saying something positive about the guy. He’s a fiery competitor, but sometimes that fire gets misdirected. Try not to choke out any more $500 million dollar players Paps.

2. Daily DFS – Happ

Early: The Reds and Nationals host the sole afternoon game. It’s Brandon Finnegan versus Max Scherzer. Expect Papelbon to spend the day on the bench.

Late: The other nine games are late. After skipping a start, Zack Greinke will be back in action tonight. So long as he’s feeling fine, I would expect a full outing from him. They’ll want him to be fully stretched out for the postseason. Corey Kluber is also available, and he’s only $9,700. There is a reason. Since he was scratched in early September, Kluber has failed to throw more than four innings in a start. If you want to bet on it being a normal day for the Klubot, you could get a bargain.

It’s unfortunate, but the bargain of the day is glaringly obvious. I expect him to be owned in roughly one-third of FanDuel leagues and over half of DraftKings formats. J.A. Happ has thrived since arriving in Pittsburgh, and the success passes my smell test. I do think his strikeout and walk rates are due for some (negative) regression but probably not as far as you might think. Happ is opposite the Cardinals tonight. They’re 25th in baseball against left-handed pitching with an 84 wRC+.

Stack Targets: Felix Doubront, Ivan Nova, Chris Tillman, Jake Peavy, Phil Hughes, Roenis Elias, Kyle Hendricks

3. GB / FB Splits

The following hitters are recommended based on the works of Shane Tourtellotte and Dan Fansworth. They show ground ball hitters perform better against fly ball pitchers and vice versa. Using three-year values for hitter OPS and pitcher GB%, here are today’s top recommendations. Use this link for Jeff’s full list.

Jeff hasn’t posted today’s rates. Here’s a link to his raw output in case he posts it late. Check back in a few hours if you’re hungry for GB/FB splits (no promises). Watch out for players who are injured or changed teams. Verify the pitchers are correct too.

4. SaberSim Observations

SaberSim appears to be running behind with only two games projected. Of the four pitchers listed, Happ is in a virtual tie with his opponent Lance Lynn. The top hitter is all the Blue Jays (and Chris Davis).

5. Tomorrow’s Targets – Ray, Shark, Robinson, Dyson

Pitchers to Start: Tomorrow is headlined by Clayton Kershaw versus Madison Bumgarner. Good luck finding them on the waiver wire.

Rookie Robbie Ray is a nice alternative. He’s opposed by a Rockies lineup that vanishes on the road and against left-handed pitching. Ray has been exceedingly ordinary since the All Star break witha  4.54 ERA, 9.36 K/9, and 4.54 BB/9. In my opinion, teams have simply learned to be more patient with him.

Also consider: Marcus Stroman, Bartolo Colon, Chris Bassitt, Nick Tropeano

Pitchers to Exploit: Two starts ago, Jeff Samardzija allowed 10 runs on 11 hits and three walks over three innings. Last week, he tossed a complete game one-hitter. Take a look at the 10 starts before that gem. Ugly, right? We know the Royals will make a lot of contact. With the game at U.S. Cellular Field, they could also blast some deep shots.

Also consider: Miguel Gonzalez, David Buchanan, Matt Wisler, Tanner Roark, Josh Smith, Adam Conley, Matt Moore, Daniel Norris, Christian Bergman, Vidal Nuno, Jorge Lopez

Hitters (power): With the Nationals eliminated from the postseason, we can assume Ryan Zimmerman is done for the year. Clint Robinson should start at first base for the remainder of the season. He bats fifth for the Nats and has a slightly above average bat. More importantly, he’s opposed by Buchanan. The Phillies righty has suffered through a miserable season.

Also consider: Jedd Gyorko, Jed Lowrie, Seth Smith, C.J. Cron, Mike Napoli, Logan Forsythe, Brandon Guyer, Martin Prado, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Chris CoghlanJavier Baez, A.J. Pierzynski, Michael Conforto, Kelly Johnson

Hitters (speed): I noticed Jarrod Dyson started twice over the last three days. I assume Ned Yost is trying to get him tuned up for his pinch runner/defensive replacement role in October. Dyson even hit leadoff in one of those games. He’s swiped 26 bases in 215 plate appearances. There’s no guarantee against Samardzija.

Also consider: Ender Inciarte, Delino DeShields,

6. The Factor Grid

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.

I don’t usually report rain risk if it’s 20 percent or below. You’ll notice only one game shows up on the report today. Do yourself a favor and check the weather again later. More than half the games have a 15 percent chance of rain.

The Link.

This post is not brought to you by any DFS platform. The current author is quite pleased to present a DFS ad free environment. 

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Silky Johnson
Silky Johnson

Thanks for writing this all season, Brad. I’ve enjoyed reading it.