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June 5, 2015

Fantasy Rounders

Will Giancarlo Make It Rain?

by Doug Thorburn

There is a middling group of pitchers on tap to take the hill today, with no hurler topping the $10k mark in terms of salary, this despite the fact that we have a full slate of 15 ballgames starting at 7:05pm EST or later. To account for this adjusted player pool, Draft Kings has integrated some hefty inflation into player prices today in order to avoid a heavy overlap of the most alluring hitters. Take this into consideration when constructing lineups, as the usual approach of averaging 2.0 points per $1000 spent on payroll takes a hit in light of the cost adjustment.

The Bats

Giancarlo Stanton, OF ($5800)

vs. LHP: .290/.385/.607 with 5-of-7 SB in 662 PA

vs. RHP: .261/.353/.519 with 29-of-39 SB in 2209 PA

The most expensive position player available on Draft Kings today, Stanton is nevertheless worth the investment. The greatest power bat in the game gets to enjoy the thin air of Denver, where he has a video game line of .358/.477/.868 in 65 career plate appearances at Coors Field, and the fact that he has hit four homers in his past five games (all played at sea level) further cements his status as a must-play today despite the exorbitant cost. Stanton has even added a speed element to his game over the past season and change, with 17 steals in 198 games since the start of the 2014 season. Stanton faces the young right-hander Eddie Butler today, with a chance to pad his MLB-leading total of 46 RBI if the weather cooperates. It's rarely worth it to splurge nearly $6000 on a single player who's not a pitcher, but Stanton presents that opportunity and will likely be worth his price tag all weekend, weather permitting.

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Details ($3 Entry):

  • Baseball Prospectus Private Daily Fantasy League
  • Starts tonight
  • Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10: 8 fielders and 2 pitchers
  • Roster Format: 2 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS and 3 OF

Ian Kinsler, 2B ($4000)

vs. LHP: .302/.372/.503 with 44-of-55 SB in 1482 PA

vs. RHP: .262/.334/.426 with 149-of-184 SB in 4273 PA

Kinsler has mashed lefties throughout his career, but the resurgence of 2014 has quickly been replaced by a non-threatening performance this season that calls into question how much is left in the tank for the second baseman who turns 33 at the end of the month. He hit his first homer of 2015 just five games ago, and Kinsler has a sub-.100 ISO this season as part of an overall line of .267/.345/.357 this year. He is already just three walks shy of last year's total despite 488 fewer plate appearances, as Kinsler has replaced the missing power with his highest walk rate since the 2011 campaign; this fact might be more an indication of his passivity than some adaptation to a take-and-rake philosophy to hitting, given that the rake piece of that equation has been sorely missing. Kinsler also hasn't slugged higher than .425 since that '11 season, and his lefty-mashing capabilities are merely a side note if the power is part of an age-related decline that is a figment of his past.

Billy Burns, OF, ($3700)

vs. LHP: .261/.333/.370 with 2-of-3 SB in 51 PA

vs. RHP: .345/.375/.452 with 11-of-13 SB in 88 PA

Always known as a burner (he has 184 steals in 406 games in the minors), Burns has added some skills with the lumber to his resume for 2015. Hitting .323/.368/.435 this season for the struggling Athletics. The switch-hitter has found himself in the leadoff spot consistently since receiving the call from Nashville at the beginning of May, making 24 of his 28 starts at the top of the batting order. He's already stolen 10 bags in 12 attempts after a month of playing ball, and he has the speed to keep up the 60-steal pace if he continues to get on base often enough to create opportunities. Burns is incredibly efficient on the basepaths, with an 88-percent success rate in the minor leagues and 13-of-16 steals in the majors, shrinking the likelihood that his times on base are reduced via a caught stealing.

The Arms

Carlos Martinez, STL at LAD ($9100)

The price tag might seem a bit high at first, but when one considers the single-day inflation over at Draft Kings today and the fact that Car-Mart has limited opponents to two runs or fewer in all but two starts this season makes him one of the steadier plays available. The two outings that fell short were utter disasters, with back-to-back games of seven earned runs allowed, but he has turned things around as the weather has heated including three consecutive scoreless outings. His last start featured just one hit and four total baserunners against the Dodgers, proving that he can hang with the best bats in the league even in the midst of Joc-fest, and his combination of upside and relative stability is tough to find among today's group of starting pitchers.

Tim Lincecum, SF at PHI ($7700)

The name and the pedigree make it easy to expect too much of Lincecum, especially when he is on a great run like he was to start 2015. He rattled off three scoreless starts in his first four outings of May, but Lincecum cooled off considerably in his last two turns, with eight runs allowed across 9.3 innings pitched. Lincecum's high octane delivery gives him uncommon advantages with respect to release distance, but he has had a much tougher time repeating the momentum and timing of his quick delivery the further that he gets from physical peak, making the boom-or-bust scenario not just a game-to-game feature, but one that can impact the right-hander on a pitch-by-pitch basis as well. He faces the Phillies today, a matchup that typically screams for the start even when considering a volatile pitcher, but roster Lincecum knowing that there is considerable blow-up potential that has nothing to do with his opponent.

Recency Bias

Logan Forsythe 1B/2B ($3200)

It's all about the platoon matchups with Forsythe, who has been hitting cleanup when the Rays take on an opposing southpaw recently. The whole roster is in a state of flux, with low-value assets seemingly presenting themselves at every turn, and though the long-term potential of the 28-year old is obviously limited (he has a modest .423 slugging percentage in the minors) Forsythe contributes in enough categories across the board (e.g. walks, steals) to easily earn his salary regardless of where he's hitting in the lineup. The bat took in his last few seasons in the minors, and though that improvement failed to translate to the highest level for the past couple of years, his 2015 breakthrough lends some credence to the idea that his OPS spike is for real.

Forsythe qualifies at multiple positions, though DFS managers will obviously want to employ his services at the keystone in order to maximize the marginal value, but he is a cheap option that can allow for some of the more expensive bats on today's slate to fit under the salary cap. His skills have been particularly useful over the past five games, with Forsythe posting point values of 9, 7, 22, 4, and 16 on Draft Kings over his last five games. The OPS has been 158 points higher against southpaws this season, and Forsythe will enjoy the third consecutive game that was started by an opposing southpaw, taking on J.A. Happ (and likely hitting fourth in the order) as the Rays travel to Seattle.

Weather

  • Weather seems to be a constant issue in Denver (MIA-COL) this season, and the run-inflating impact of high-altitude baseball has made the weather issue more glaring than in previous season's. There is so much money and so much opportunity riding on the best players when swinging at Coors Field, and Mother Nature has had a loud voice in determining the profit margins of DFS thus far in 2015. The skies are currently cloudy but clear of precipitation, but the gravity of playing in Colorado makes every games worth monitoring – check 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

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 Transaction Analysis: ... (06/05)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Rounders: Fant... (06/04)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Rounders: The ... (06/08)
Next Article >>
Daisy Cutter: Hammel T... (06/05)

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