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April 10, 2015

Fantasy Rounders

What a Relief It Is

by Doug Thorburn

Opening Week has been full of landmines, as gamers try to dodge Mother Nature as well as epic pitcher blow-ups (“Kendall Graveman, come on down! You're the next contestant on the Price is Wrong!”). Roles are starting to get defined on individual teams but the statistics are still a random labyrinth, and though it will be awhile before the numbers begin to stabilize, the prices on Draft Kings are taking wide swings as new data enters the system. The landscape of the market has changed dramatically in the past 24 hours, opening up a new gateway through which to extrapolate value.

Splits

David Wright, 3B ($5100)

LHP: .340/.443/.572 in 1668 PA

RHP: .284/.357/.468 in 4876 PA

Wright has a 1005 OPS against lefties for his career, one that has spanned 12 years in the big leagues. Most players watch their splits stabilize into something less extreme as they stockpile plate appearances, but not Wright. Even last year, in which he hit a disastrous .269/.324/.374 on the season, Wright managed a silly .367/.412/.508 line against southpaws. Unfortunately for those hoping to get a cheap edge, however, Wright's career-long dominance of lefties has been cooked into his price for today, with his cost being tied for the seventh-highest on the market among hitters. The fact that he drew a cakewalk matchup with left-hander Eric Stults probably didn't help.

Join Doug in playing DraftKings 1-day fantasy baseball by clicking here.

Details ($3 Moonshot):

  • $60,000 prize pool.
  • First place wins $4,000
  • Only $3 to enter or FREE with first deposit
  • Top 4,625 finishing positions win money guaranteed
  • Starts today, April 10 at 4:05 PM EST
  • Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10 spots. 8 positions players and 2 fielders.
  • Roster Format: 2 P, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS, 3 OF, 1 C​

Aramis Ramirez, 3B, ($4200)

vs LHP: .295/.355/.547 in 1882 PA

vs RHP: .282/.340/.481 in 6600 PA

Aramis is nearing the end of the line, with rumors that he will hang up his spokes at the end of the season. Things are definitely on the down-slope, but today's scenario represents an ideal matchup. Not only does he have the obvious platoon advantage against Jeff Locke, but the lefty's repertoire of fastball-curveball-change plays right into the strengths that Ramirez has established over the years.

Ramirez vs pitch types, (AVG/SLG)

Fastballs (4-seam and sinker): .298/.479 in 1535 AB

Curveball: .254/.430 in 272 AB

Change-Up: .265/.553 in 181 AB

Locke heavily favors the change versus left-handed hitters, making up 23 percent of his pitches when he has the platoon disadvantage. Locke will bust out the change in any count, and this plays right into the strengths of the right-hand hitting Ramirez and his career-long love affair with el cambio.

Rickie Weeks, 2B/OF ($3600)

LHP: .261/.385/.448 in 1277 PA

RHP: .244/.332/.415 in 3431 PA

Weeks was once an everyday lineup cog, but these days he fits in wherever he can find playing time. That mostly means when a lefty is on the mound, maximizing the value of a player that hit .256/.361/.504 against southpaws last season. He's facing Oakland lefty Drew Pomeranz tonight, so he presents an opportunity to get bonus value without breaking the bank. I also wanted to take this opportunity to say: remember 2010? He entered that year with a well-established reputation for fragility, having never played in more than 130 games in a season and coming off of a 37-game campaign; so of course he went out and played 160 games and led the majors in plate appearances. Baseball is so cool.

Opponents

Tim Lincecum @ SD ($7600)

Given their long tenures in the NL West, it should come as no surprise that two of the batters that Lincecum has faced most often in his career are Justin Upton (third, 63 PA) and Matt Kemp (seventh, 58 PA). Further, Big Time Timmy Jim has dominated both sluggers, holding Upton to a .204/.286/.315 line and Kemp to a .240/.328/.280 with nary a homer between them. Granted, Lincecum's not the same player today as the one who established many of those numbers, but going more than 120 plate appearances without a ball leaving the yard between them indicates that Timmy is doing something that works. The price is high for his services, coming in as the fourth-highest cost among SP's, but if Lincecum keeps the two San Diego anchors at bay then he could earn his salary.

Jerome Williams vs. WAS ($4900)

There are a number of cheap options on the mound today as teams trot out their number four starters. Pitchers like Jason Marquis should be avoided at all costs (unless you're trying to stack the lineup against him), and the bottom-priced Steve Geltz is a long-shot to earn his salary, but Williams has shown flashes of brilliance (and no, I'm not referring to the pink glove). He threw quality starts in six out of nine turns after being traded to the Phillies last season, who turned him into a full-time starter upon arrival to the ballclub. The K ceiling is low, so he's not about to set the handicap, but the ultra-cheap price tag means that gamers can roll the dice on Williams in the rotation and then have carte blanche in choosing the bats.

Steve Geltz @ MIA ($4200)

The Rays are resorting to somewhat desperate measures in light of their laundry list of injuries. Geltz is a reliever who has never made a start in his pro career. His K rate is insane (career of 12.0 K/9 in the minors) and the price might entice some gamers to tab him and fill their lineup with MVP candidates, but Getz will not be used for more than a couple of innings. Pitchers carry far too much weight in DFS – potentially earning half of a winning team's point total between the two P spots – to toss out the likelihood of an extra dozen points. So beware of this lure, and grin when one of your opponents falls into the bear trap.

Recent Trends

Billy Hamilton SS/OF ($4500)

Billy Ham ran with reckless abandon in the Pittsburgh series, swiping six bags across three games. Of all the fantasy categories, stolen bases are under the most control of the player – to some extent they choose how often they attempt thievery, and the green light is permanently on in the case of historical speed like that of Hamilton. He obviously needs to get on base before he can start the stealing clinic, and though he managed a quartet of singles in against the Pirates, the fact that he couldn't break a .300 OBP in 58 PA versus inferior competition this spring only raises the concern that his stick is too light to survive at the top of a lineup. I don't know why he still qualifies at shortstop - the guy hasn't played the 6-spot yet in the majors and his last action there was a one-game cameo for Louisville back in '13 – but take that positional scarcity into consideration for as long as it lasts.

Injuries/Playing Time

  • Brandon Belt might be ready to return as soon as today, but might be available only as a pinch hitter.

  • Ryan Braun was used as a pinch hitter on Wednesday and should be available to start today's game against left-hander Jeff Locke and the Pirates

Weather

There's a 50-60% chance of rain that's set to drop right around game time for Red Sox-Yankees - click here for updates

Philadelphia is expecting rain throughout the day, peaking at 80% precipitation right around game time (WAS @ PHI) – click here for updates

Atlanta is expecting severe thunderstorms throughout the day, though the precipitation is currently scheduled to clear around 8-9 pm local time – click here for updates

***

Resources used for this article:

Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards

Draft Kings player prices

Brooks Baseball

Baseball-Reference

www.Weather.com

Paste post text here

Doug Thorburn is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Doug's other articles. You can contact Doug by clicking here

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Daily Fantasy

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Carlos Qu... (04/10)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Rounders: No W... (04/09)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Rounders: Home... (04/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: Mechanic... (04/10)

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