The Daily Grind: DFS, Streaming, and Wage Talk for July 1 by Brad Johnson July 1, 2016 Agenda MLB Wage Practices The Daily Grind Invitational and Leaderboard Daily DFS SaberSim Observations Tomorrow’s Targets Factor Grid 1. MLB Wage Practices Yesterday, major league baseball issued an appalling press release on the subject of (not) paying most minor leaguers an equitable wage. I’m not going to bother linking to it. In summary, the release states that major league baseball doesn’t want to pay minor leaguers more money. I’m paraphrasing just a bit. As usual, MLB and its constituents have demonstrated an utter innocence of basic economic principles. Paying a living wage to minor league players will increase demand for minor league jobs. More demand means better players. If these better players don’t have to worry about things like offseason jobs, then they can focus year-round on baseball – making them better at being better. There are also health benefits to reduced stress and access to a quality diet. Many minor leaguers still subside on large quantities of fast food because it’s what they can afford. These secondary effects to paying players more are referred to as positive externalities. While there could be factors I’m overlooking, I only see positive effects from creating a larger professional class of non-major league players. Let’s talk supply and demand. When you increase the supply of big league caliber players – a natural byproduct of improving the minor league product – what happens to free agent salaries? In theory, they shrink. This shrinkage already occurs along the margins – think Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and Alex Rios. In the past, they would have been paid for their history of major league success. Now, the supply of players pushed them out of the league or onto minor league contracts. Big name free agents will still be paid boatloads of cash monies. Fringier players – i.e. the ones clubs already don’t want to pay – will see their earnings fall towards the league minimum. Paying minor leaguers doesn’t mean club owners have to share more money with players. The additional minor league expenditure can come out of the major league product or be paid for by the fans. In the short term, centralized funds could be allocated while teams adjust their spending habits. I estimate the cost to be roughly $3 million per club – and that includes all U.S. based leagues. Major league baseball has the opportunity to improve the quality of their product at a relatively small cost by doing the right thing. Their reluctance to do so is disheartening. They’re hurting the individuals they employ and the game itself. 2. The Daily Grind Invitational and Leaderboard The key to winning yesterday was simple – roster Carlos Carrasco and Danny Espinosa. And that’s precisely what Kidzero did. The leaderboard is updated. We’ll return to FanDuel for today’s contest. 3. Daily DFS Yesterday’s Grind Early: There are two early games, but they’re five hours apart. The Indians and Jays play at 1:00 while the Reds and Nationals suit up for a 6:00 start time. Moving on… Late: Steven Wright’s last two starts illustrate the range of risk and reward available. He tossed nine innings with six strikeouts two weeks ago (45 FD points, no win). Then the Rangers knocked him out after 4.2 innings in his next start. Wright has four games of eight or more innings in his last 10 starts. Three of those went for five or fewer innings. He’s opposed by the L.A. Trout. Julio Teheran is also working deep into his starts. Three of his last four have gone for eight or nine innings with point totals ranging from 45 to 60 on FanDuel. The Marlins offense isn’t scary, and he should actually receive run support opposite Justin Nicolino. Nathan Eovaldi is cold. Icy cold. He’s posted FanDuel totals between zero and 16 in his last five starts. A matchup versus the abominable snow Padres could get him back on track. They have one of the highest strikeout rates against right-handed pitching. Michael Fulmer is also suffering through a rough patch. The last time he faced the Rays, he piled up 11 strikeouts in seven innings. The Tigers are opposed by southpaw Drew Smyly who has the potential to shut them down. However, the median projection includes four runs of support for Fulmer. Also consider Johnny Cueto, Jason Hammel, Ian Kennedy, and Jeremy Hellickson. Stack Targets: Jhoulys Chacin, Colin Rea, Matt Garza, Miguel Gonzalez, Ervin Santana, Wade LeBlanc, Jorge de la Rosa, Bud Norris, Nicolino, Jeff Locke, Shelby Miller, Martin Perez, Smyly 4. SaberSim Observations Kennedy is the top pitcher of the day? I know the Phillies are bad, but this seems like a stretch. While on the subject of stretches, I’ll pass on second ranked Jacob deGrom versus the Cubs. The ceiling hasn’t been there this year plus he gets lousy run support. Hard pass on third ranked Smyly. Eovaldi and LeBlanc round out the top five. I don’t understand why LeBlanc is projected to throw over six innings of effective baseball. After all, the Orioles can punish bad lefties. Stacking options include the Angels, Red Sox, Nationals, Giants, Blue Jays, Astros, Athletics, and others. Aside from les sox rouges, none of the stacks are overpowered. 5. Tomorrow’s Targets Pitchers to Start: The Rockies poof into nothingness when on the road. It could be a good day to snag a share of Scott Kazmir. Generally speaking, he’s not somebody I trust. The Dodgers have taken to using him for four to six innings per start. He’s having some trouble with command and home runs this season. Also consider: Bartolo Colon, Ivan Nova Pitchers to Exploit: Chi Chi Gonzalez is one of those pitchers who doesn’t have an out pitch and doesn’t know how to pitch to contact. Do you know what happens to those pitchers? They either learn one (or both) of those skills or they quickly exit the majors. Time will tell with Gonzalez, but I doubt he solves his problems tomorrow. At least he’s only opposed by the Twins Also consider: Tyler Duffey, Hector Santiago, Clay Buchholz, Dan Straily, Chad Kuhl, Tyler Wilson, Chad Bettis, Pat Corbin Hitters (power): Here’s your mandatory Robbie Grossman update. The early narrative of improve pitch recognition and aggression has not been corroborated by the numbers. The man himself says he’s doing everything the same – he just has more power now. While I wish he’d add some aggression to compliment his excellent contact skills, I’m happy with a sharp increase in hard hit rate. Also consider: Mac Williamson, Rob Refsnyder, Ryan Raburn, Mark Reynolds, Seth Smith, Adam Lind, Joe Mauer Hitters (speed): So often, apparent breakouts are ended by minor injuries. Since returning from the disabled list, Leonys Martin is hitting .247/.286/.342 with two home runs and one steal. He’s opposite Wilson. Also consider: Angel Pagan, Travis Jankowski, Joey Rickard, Ben Revere, Cameron Maybin, Whit Merrifield 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 know why the iframe below isn’t updating properly. It keeps showing outdated factors. Use the link today to ensure you get the right info. 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.