The Daily Grind: Polanco, Gio, Matz, Stroman by Brad Johnson September 11, 2015 Agenda Farnsworth on Polanco Daily DFS GB / FB Splits SaberSim Favs Tomorrow’s Targets – Stroman, Cueto, Coghlan, Rusney Factor Grid 1. Farnsworth on Polanco I recently asked swing guy Dan Farnsworth about Gregory Polanco. The Pirates outfielder has performed well since July 6 when he became the leadoff hitter. Over that period, he’s hit .295/.355/.456 with five home runs, seven stolen bases, 33 runs, and 24 RBI. That’s solid five category production for two months of work. I had noticed that Polanco was more regularly tapping into his power stroke on low-and-in pitches. Jeff Sullivan observed much the same on FanGraphs when analyzing some well-struck balls against southpaws. I thought maybe the low-and-in power represented a change in mechanics or approach. Dan disagrees. I still see a lot of “down and across” with his swing path, so I’m not sure if he’s made any significant changes. The interesting thing about athletic hitters and inside pitches, particularly down and in, is that even if they tend to swing down or bring the barrel around the ball more than normal, just to be able to hit those locations they tend to take better cuts. Hitting those pitches forces hitters to hold onto the barrel longer for fear of it getting sawed off, as well as letting it come under the hands to get to the ball rather than around them, resulting in more of an upward swing path naturally. Maybe pitchers can strike back against Polanco by working solely on the outer half of the plate. Now I’m feeling less confident about my $17 to keep Polanco. 2. Daily DFS – Gio, Matz Yesterday’s Grind Early: Yesterday’s Cubs-Phillies contest was bumped to today. It’s the only “early” game at 5:05 ET. No Jake Arrieta or Adam Morgan for you. Late: That leaves Chris Archer, David Price, and Dallas Keuchel as the aces of the day. I also feel comfortable using Hisashi Iwakuma (vs Rockies) and Justin Verlander (vs Indians), although I find them to be a little pricey. Gio Gonzalez has an easy matchup with the Marlins. Steven Matz also has it easy against the Braves. Gonzalez costs the same as Verlander at $8,800. I’d happily take him in Miami. Matz is just $200 cheaper, and it’s not clear just how deep he can go into a game. Whereas Verlander, Iwakuma, and Gonzalez are capable of tossing a complete game, Matz is probably limited to around six innings. If you’re feeling fade-sy, Luis Severino is $7,400 against the Blue Jays. I don’t have the stomach for the matchup opposite Price. Erik Johnson ($5,000) is the bargain play. Stack Targets: Danny Duffy, Mike Wright, Cody Anderson, Michael Lorenzen, Jarred Cosart, Wade Miley, Matt Wisler, Colby Lewis, Ervin Santana, Alec Asher, Robbie Ray, Jered Weaver, Chad Bettis 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. My favorites: Steve Pearce, Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado v Danny Duffy Carlos Santana v Justin Verlander Alex Rodriguez v Marco Estrada Ben Paulsen, Justin Morneau v Hisashi Iwakuma Chris Colabello, Jose Bautista v Ivan Nova Gregor Blanco, Marlon Byrd v Andrew Cashner Logan Forsythe v Wade Miley Justin Upton v Jake Peavy George Springer, Hank Conger, Evan Gattis, Carlos Correa v Jered Weaver 4. SaberSim Favs I’ve changed up the format here slightly. I think we now have a good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of SaberSim. Going forward, I’ll just highlight a player or two who I wasn’t thinking about before checking SaberSim. I actually like the projection of Kyle Hendricks as the fourth best pitcher of the day. The Phillies have a soft bullpen, and they should get worn down in the first game of the double header. Asher won’t last long either. A win is very likely. Additionally, assuming Arrieta doesn’t steal the show in the first game, the double header will give the Cubs an added incentive to stretch out Hendricks. 5. Tomorrow’s Targets – Stroman, Cueto, Coghlan, Rusney Pitchers to Start: The story of the day is the return of Marcus Stroman. Toss in a pennant race start against the Yankees and it even overshadows the return of Jose Fernandez. Stroman had some issues with command and velocity while on rehab assignment. I’m not expecting his very best stuff tomorrow. Keeper league owners should be diving on him at this very moment, but he’s more of a guy to hold in redraft formats. Also consider: Rick Porcello, Jerad Eickhoff, Dan Haren, Lance McCullers, Yohan Flande, Roenis Elias Pitchers to Exploit: Is something wrong with Johnny Cueto? I’m not sure. He’s clearly struggling, and the Orioles offer a fairly potent lineup. His last four starts have marked perhaps the ugliest stretch of his career. Over 20 innings, he’s allowed 37 hits (.446 BABIP), 22 runs, four home runs, three walks, and 17 strikeouts. At least the strikeout and walk rates look close to normal. Plain vanilla regression could restore him to his previous ace-like quality. It’s a good thing the Royals have a commanding lead in the pennant race. Also consider: Chris Tillman, Ivan Nova, Matt Moore, Jeff Locke, Zach Davies, Tommy Milone, Randy Wolf, Williams Perez, Sean Nolin, Rubby de la Rosa Hitters (power): The Phillies pitching staff should be worn out tomorrow. That’s good news for regular three-hole Chris Coghlan. He may not be the third best (or even sixth best) hitter in the Cubs lineup, but he’s in a good position to produce runs. Also consider: Wilin Rosario, Hank Conger, Jake Lamb, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Andre Ethier, Ryan Raburn, Yan Gomes, John Jaso Hitters (speed): Rusney Castillo was wielding a hot bat for about a month. Over the last 10 days, he’s cooled off to the tune of .286/.300/.357. His matchup against Matt Moore isn’t ideal. The best way to defeat Moore is patience. Castillo skews aggressive. Also consider: Gregor Blanco, Ender Inciarte, Ichiro Suzuki, Odubel Herrera 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. Two rain threats today in Cincinnati and Cleveland, but they aren’t automatic postponements like yesterday. 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.