April 22, 2014
Daily League Strategy
Lineup of the Day
DraftStreet offers one of the best lineup constructions in the industry allowing for three pitchers, two starters and a starter/reliever. Additionally, they don’t overvalue the win as it is worth just two points. The rest of the scoring and roster setup can be viewed here if you aren’t already familiar with it.
CATCHER – Jordan Pacheco ($4,624)
Pacheco does his best work against lefties, and while it’s tough to put too much weight into head-to-head numbers, he has seen Madison Bumgarner more than anybody (26 PA), so he ostensibly has the deepest book on Bumgarner.
FIRST BASE – Chris Davis ($7,122)
Let’s hope the knuckler is sittin’ high as it has been in three of R.A. Dickey’s four starts. Davis isn’t off to a great start with just one home run, but let’s gamble on a high-upside star at a lower price.
SECOND BASE – Ian Kinsler ($7,763)
Kinsler hasn’t had much trouble with his new ballclub. He has an .829 OPS through 15 games and carries a 20 HR/30 SB pace.
THIRD BASE – Josh Donaldson ($6,547)
I’m going to be using Donaldson all week. More on that later.
SHORTSTOP – Brad Miller ($5,104)
Lefties have a .395/.430/.767 line against Collin McHugh, Tuesday’s starter for Houston. Righties don’t exactly struggle with their .939 OPS, but lefties have an especially fun time, so you should also consider Robinson Cano, Nick Franklin, Kyle Seager, Abraham Almonte, Dustin Ackley, and Michael Saunders, too.
OUTFIELDER1 – Carlos Gomez ($7,333)
He’s only had five hitless games in 20 and he still had a walk and HBP in one of them. I’ve been riding him a lot this year because at that price, his upside is tremendous.
OUTFIELDER2 – Michael Morse ($5,886)
Morse in Coors is intriguing enough, but the fact that he’s facing a lefty definitely helps. He’s raked southpaws throughout his career, and while it’s only 40 AB, Morse is also 20-for-40 in Coors Field.
OUTFIELDER3 – Austin Jackson ($4,968)
Chris Sale was scratched on Tuesday and it’s a pretty substantial jump down to Charlie Leesman. Consider all of your Tigers today.
UTILITY – Kevin Kouzmanoff ($6,402)
Teams have been pitching around Prince Fielder to pitch to Kouzmanoff. This has yielded big early dividends with a 1.038 OPS on the strength of six doubles and a pair of homers in 12 games.
STARTING PITCHER1 – Yovani Gallardo ($17,211)
The only thing missing from Gallardo’s big start has been his usual strikeout rate. It sits at 23.1 percent for his career, but just 19.2 percent so far this year. He faces a Padres team that is fanning 23.4 percent of the time against righties—the fifth-most in baseball.
STARTING PITCHER1 – Jason Hammel ($14,548)
Hammel looks like that 2012 version again early on with the Cubs. He gets the dumpster fire that is the Arizona Diamondbacks.
PITCHER – Edinson Volquez ($12,009)
In Ray Searage I Trust.
Money left in lineup: $21
STARS TO TRACK
I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the early season a strategy I have where I will use the same 2-3 star players for an entire week. Sometimes you’re on a guy, but you’re a day early. After all, we’re asking a lot of these players—particularly the studs—to be at their best on the random nights we decide to pick them, so I like picking a couple early on and running with them all week.
Josh Donaldson (OAK, 3B)
The A’s face three lefties this week and Donaldson put up a 1.042 OPS against southpaws last year. Plus, the righties he faces are Nick Martinez, Brad Peacock, and Collin McHugh. I think Peacock can be pretty good, but if that’s your toughest righty the rest of the week (after Yu Darvish on Monday night), then you’ve got a nice slate.
Miguel Cabrera (DET, 1B/3B)
Or any Tiger really. Cabrera’s price hasn’t really dropped much despite his slow start, so investing all week might be a bit cost-prohibitive unless you can find budget arms or some cheap hitters with high upside that you consistently like. He has just a .648 OPS thus far, but he gets a week against the White Sox and Twins, who have two of the worst starter ERAs in baseball. I also like Austin Jackson and Ian Kinsler here. I’m not averse to Victor Martinez, but I don’t usually go multiple days with him because he ties up first base.
Buster Posey (SF, C)
Posey’s in the midst of cold spell, going 2-for-30 over the previous eight games heading into Monday night. Of course, he had just two hitless games among his first 10 and five multi-hit games in that stretch, so he’s essentially run the gamut from hot to cold this year. A trip to Colorado is never a bad remedy for a chilly bat. Meanwhile, the Indians aren’t exactly putting up a host of Cy Young candidates during a weekend set, as Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar are slated to pitch at AT&T Park.
Taking a look at the rest of this week’s slate, here are some things to consider:
- The D’backs take the hitting machines known as their pitching staff on the road for a four-game set in Wrigley including a pair of day games that could get comical with the wind blowing out. They finish the week with three at home against Philly.
- The Mets allow a league-high 1.3 HR/9 as a staff so far. Few things are more important in the daily game than home runs. Look for your favorite Cardinals and Marlins to feast on this staff.
- The Nationals lead baseball with a 25.9 percent strikeout rate as a pitching staff. This isn’t too surprising given their rotation and power bullpen, but keep it in mind at the sites that take points away for the strikeout. At some sites, not all outs are created equally and an 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts can sting more than a standard 0-for-4 with four ground outs.
- Perhaps this is the week that Freddie Freeman slows down some. The Braves face off against the Marlins and Reds—two top-10 rotations in ERA, the latter of which is perhaps more surprising given Homer Bailey’s wretched start.
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Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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