Wednesday, July 3, 2013

7/3 Suggested Lineup for Fantasy Feud

Hit on my SFL picks last night, finishing 3rd out of 96 to place in the $. Switching gears for today. Posting my strategy for FF leagues. Enjoy!

C- Matt Wieters ($53,456). Struggling against lefties this year, but posted an OPS above .900 against LHP in 2011/2012. It's not like he suddenly forgot how to hit them completely. Playing in US Cellular against Hector Santiago, a guy with control problems. If he hangs one right over the plate, Wieters can take it deep.

1B- Prince Fielder ($83,408). Struggling vs RHP this year, but never posted an OPS below .975 the previous 3 seasons. Rogers Centre is a great place to hit, Josh Johnson is struggling, and he’s 5-12 against JJ with no strikeouts.

2B- Brandon Phillips ($72,592). Has hit lefties well his entire career. Playing at home in the bandbox that is the Great American Ballpark, Zito is god awful on the road (seriously have you seen his splits from '10'-'13?), and he's 8-19 against Barry with no strikeouts.

3B- Pablo Sandoval ($47,216). Kung Fu Panda is in a huge funk. At this discounted price though you have to like his chances of breaking out of his cold spell. Still hitting .314 on the season against LHP and Cingrani throws the FB 80% of the time. One well timed jump on a fastball could be in store.

SS- Jose Reyes ($73,424). It's not so much that I love the matchup against Scherzer, but SS is shallow and I can afford it. On a 5 game hitting streak and hasn't attempted a SB during that stretch. If he gets on base look for him to run, and Arencibia (.214 caught stealing %) isn't likely to throw him out.

OF 1- Andrew McCutchen ($82,160). Eats LHP for breakfast. Lannan doesn't scare me, and he' s 7-16 off him with 4 XBH.

OF 2- Carlos Gonzalez ($77,168). Coors Field, 5-12 against a diminishing Greinke with 3 XBH, he's Carlos F'n Gonzalez.

OF 3- Matt Joyce ($49,920). The ultimate platoon player facing a RHP, an absolute steal at this price. Norris isn't very good.

UTIL 1- David Ortiz ($96,096). Home at Fenway, absolutely crushes RHP, Volquez is even more terrible than normal away from PETCO.

UTIL 2- Joey Votto ($75,920). Playing at home and sporting an .884 OPS vs LHP this year. Only 3-18 against Zito, but he’s constantly making contact with only 2 strikeouts. 

P 1- Jon Lester ($74,400). Facing a watered down Padres squad without Gyorko and Cabrera. I think Volquez gets lit up, Lester is solid if not great, and picks up the W.

P 2- Mike Minor ($113,920). Minor has been great and the Marlins haven't. Easy math here.

P 3- CC Sabathia ($98,080). Pitching in the spacious Target Field, Willingham just hit the DL, and their 2 biggest bats in Mauer/Morneau combine for an OPS under .500 in 78 AB against him.

Total Salary- $997,760
Over/Under ($1M)- $2,240
Remaining $/Player- $0

Plan B- Weather looks like it could be nasty for the MIA-ATL game, would hate to get rained out. Plan B is one of Cingrani/Garza/Miller to replace Minor, followed by a lineup adjustment at either Catcher/3B/OF. Selections dependent on MLB lineups being posted.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Justin Verlander & 7/1/13 Strategy for SFL

When you drafted Justin Verlander in the 2nd round of your fantasy league, you weren't expecting a 3.77 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, were you? 

At the end of May you dealt with a ton of buy low offers, which you rejected. Now another poor month has been logged and panic starts to set in. What is wrong with Justin Verlander? Do you keep him or finally trade him away? The answer is obvious. HOLD!

Many commentators have pointed out that his velocity is down this year, which is true. His fastball, curveball, and changeup are all down a tick. The good news? His slider is up 1 MPH according to PITCHf/x. To me that shows he's not hiding an injury or messing with his arm slot. It's just random variation and the flames will eventually return. In fact he hit 98/99 a few times on Saturday against the Rays.

But what about his control? His BB/9 sits at 3.34, the worst mark he's posted since 2008. Thankfully there are a couple of metrics that correlate strongly with expected BB%. F-Strike% and Zone%. 

Verlander is throwing the first pitch for a strike 63.7% of the time. It's the best rate of his career and he usually sits in the low 60's, so nothing is out of the ordinary here. Taking a look at the next 4 closest pitchers to Verlander in F-Strike% (Felix, Cain, Hefner, Sale) all of them have a sub 2.60 BB/9. Using the Zone% that PITCHf/x offers, Verlander is finding the strike zone 50.6% of the time. It's down a smidge from his marks of 51.9% and 51% the previous 2 seasons, but it's still a very strong rate and likely just a part of natural fluctuations. Again taking a look at his 4 closest neighbors in Zone% (Sabathia, Leake, Ervin Santana, Cain) they all have a sub 2.50 BB/9. Verlander put up a 2.27 BB/9 last season and a 2.04 BB/9 in 2011. All of the indicators suggest the command he's displaying will lead to fewer free passes. 

Other than that everything else checks out. Nothing crazy in his batted ball data. He's actually inducing more grounders/less fly balls this year. That's a good thing. His BABIP sits at .344, the third highest mark in the majors, so he's been unlucky. Since 5/11 (the first sign of struggles) he's only faced 2 below average offenses in his last 10 starts. His schedule becomes a lot friendlier the rest of the way. Good things come to those who wait. You will be happy you waited on Verlander.

Time for SFL Strategy for tonight's slate of games. I did this previously on 6/28 to poor results. I feel pretty good about these picks though.

C- Miguel Montero ($4,998). Starting to heat up, June was far and away his best month of the season. Montero has a good track record against righties and for what it's worth he's 1-3 with a HR against Marcum.

1B- Adam LaRoche ($6,445). LaRoche is swinging a hot stick, raising his AVG .21 points over the last 2 weeks. He faces off against RHP Yovani Gallardo, owning a 1.074 OPS in 24 AB against him.

2B- Ben Zobrist ($6,442). Facing a mediocre starter? Check. Good history against lefties? Check. Short porch in left field? Check.

3B- Pablo Sandoval ($6,339). Panda has been cold since coming off the DL. He's bound to bust out of this slump at some point. Playing in a bandbox in Cincinnati against Arroyo is a good time to start.

SS- Didi Gregorius ($5,538). He's coming off a miserable June but still holds an .885 OPS against RHP. Hoping to strike gold in a value pick.

OF- Hunter Pence ($7,889). 1.080 OPS in 35 AB against Arroyo. Slugging over .500 in 37career games at Great American Ballpark.

OF- Desmond Jennings ($6,448). See Ben Zobrist.

OF- Wil Myers ($5,388). See above. You can see a trend here. Sometimes it pays off to gamble on a few hitters close to each other in the lineup. There's a domino effect in scoring and you can accumulate a lot of points this way.

U- Giancarlo Stanton ($8,235). Jason Marquis has given up 16 HR this year, Stanton hits bombs for a living. He's worth the price tag.

SP- Jordan Zimmerman ($16,799). One of the frontrunners to win the NL CY. Pitching at home against the Brewers, a below average offense. Even worse with Braun on the DL.

SP- Matt Moore ($10,191). No team strikes out more than the Astros and Moore racks up a healthy amount of K's himself.

RP- J.J. Putz ($1,400). The cheapest closer available gives you some wiggle room to build elsewhere. Likely to get some work regardless of a save opportunity.

P- Jose Fernandez ($13,278). The Padres are still without Gyorko and Cabrera. The talented rookie matches up well against the watered down offense.