- A Phillies Remodel
- Daily DFS
- GB / FB Splits
- SaberSim Observations
- Tomorrow’s Targets – Matz, Finnegan, Davis, Aybar
- Factor Grid
1. A Phillies Remodel
I’m going to switch gears today and describe a plan in which the Phillies could contend next season. Much of their potential for success stems from their weak competition. They don’t have the same volume of major league ready, high impact youngsters as the Astros.
Philadelphia has several useful pieces in place. Aaron Nola is a solid mid-rotation pitcher. Jerad Eickhoff looks like a reliable back of the rotation guy. Ken Giles is a top closer. Maikel Franco is a good 25 home run threat. I could see the duo of Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr combining for six WAR. Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis are both almost league average middle infielders.
There’s a decent foundation, but it lacks explosive star power. I’m not sure the Phillies can do anything about that, but they can make the roster deeper. Most of their pain this season has come due to an incomplete roster. For now, only Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, Matt Harrison, and Domonic Brown (if tendered) will make more than the major league minimum. They could spend upwards of $100 million without batting an eye. (They won’t but they could).
Step 2: Pitching is the club’s biggest weakness. The free agent class has the necessary depth to make it a strength. The Phillies will need to sign whichever big name gets the James Shields treatment, a bounce back candidate like Jeff Samardzija, and another reliable arm. Mike Leake is interesting, but he could wind up with a huge offer. A re-engagement with Aaron Harang would also be fine if the Phillies land two top-of-the-rotation arms.
Adam Morgan and friends should fill a sixth starter role. The team isn’t in a position to make sweeping improvements to the lineup, so the rotation will have to help carry the club.
Step 3: A big part of the Astros success is their bullpen. The additions of Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek have helped to stabilize the late innings. The Phillies probably need to add three relievers to bridge the gap to Giles. They don’t have a strong history at picking free agent relievers.
Step 4: A veteran in the outfield. While the club has the money to target a Jason Heyward, I’d go an economical route with somebody like Kelly Johnson, Denard Span, Colby Rasmus, or Austin Jackson. This player’s role is to ensure that Darnell Sweeney, Herrera, Altherr, and Brown don’t turn into a black hole.
Final Score: If the club were to address all four steps, I estimate a cost of about $80 million. That leaves another large chunk of change for after next offseason when Howard is off the books. I’m sure the Phillies hope that J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, and Jorge Alfaro are ready to claim regular roles by then too.
If the club does only one thing this offseason, they should address their rotation with some big buys. The prospects on the farm aren’t likely to produce quality results in the next few seasons. It can happen, but it’s not a safe bet. This pitching class is particularly deep, and Philadelphia has a protected first round pick. It will be much harder to add an ace (and more) after this winter.
2. Daily DFS – Quintana, Tillman
Early: Two of the day’s nine games are early. The pitchers include Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, Charlie Morton, and Sean Nolin. If you’re playing FanDuel, I’d flip a coin for either Hendricks or Morton. They’re at PNC Park today. DraftKings owners should add Quintana to whoever they choose from Pittsburgh. Nolin strikes me as exceedingly likely to fail.
Late: The remaining seven games are headlined by Corey Kluber. He costs $12,300 on DraftKings. The next most expensive pitcher, Lance McCullers, costs $9,900. Kluber has a tough matchup against resurgent Royal Yordano Ventura. I happen to like John Lackey opposite the Brewers even though it’s in Milwaukee.
My bargain pick is Chris Tillman. He’s not even the least bit trustworthy, but that’s reflected in his price. He’s on a streak of terrible outings, but he’ll have a chance to recover against the Rays. They’re weak against right-handed pitching. Tillman has the added benefit of working against Matt Moore at pitcher friendly Tropicana Field.
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.
A.J. Pierzynski v Marco Estrada
Jayson Werth v Jarred Cosart
Prince Fielder v Lance McCullers
George Springer, Hank Conger, Evan Gattis, Carlos Correa v Colby Lewis
Steve Pearce, Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado v Matt Moore
Ben Revere, Russell Martin v Matt Wisler
C.J. Cron, Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar v Tommy Milone
4. SaberSim Observations
SaberSim likes Lackey more than Kluber today. Kluber projects to pitch better, but he has the more difficult matchup. The projection system assigns .51 wins to Lackey and .40 wins to Kluber.
Unsurprisingly, Trout is the top hitter of the day. Pujols is number three. Cron comes in eighth. That all matches quite nicely with the GB/FB report.
5. Tomorrow’s Targets – Matz, Finnegan, Davis, Aybar
Pitchers to Start: Before anyone asks, I consider guys like James Paxton, Drew Smyly, and Dan Haren to be ‘tweeners tomorrow. Paxton and Smyly are risky after returning from injury while Haren seems outmatched by the Cardinals.
That doesn’t leave many options for streaming. Steven Matz is easily the best, but he’s already owned in any keeper league and many redrafts too. He’ll probably only throw five or six innings. It will be hard for him to earn a win against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees. He should give you about a strikeout per inning though.
Also consider: Marcus Stroman
Pitchers to Exploit: I applaud the Reds decision to move Brandon Finnegan into the rotation. Based on his comments, the lefty clear doesn’t like relief work. It’s smart to see if he can learn to succeed in the rotation. He has the stuff.
As for tomorrow, I don’t foresee a positive outing. He struggles with command. In the minors, he posted ERAs above 6.00 when starting. He also posted over 5.00 BB/9 this season. It’s strange because he didn’t show any command issues last year.
Hitters (power): Khris Davis is 39 percent owned on Yahoo. He may not be available to you. He should also be up around 90 percent owned. He’ll have the pleasure of batting against Finnegan.
Hitters (speed): Erick Aybar has crept below 50 percent owned. His popularity is somewhat shocking to me. Aside from play shortstop, he’s done very little to distinguish himself from a Freddy Galvis type. He should put some balls in play against Pelfrey.
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.
Minnesota might have a delayed start, but we should see every game tonight.
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