Reflecting on the impact of splits in the DFS game
For each episode of Fantasy Rounders, there is a considerable chunk of digital space that is devoted to platoon splits in order to shape the contextual value of hitters. These splits are the first item of study when constructing each day's lineup for DFS, due to the pervasiveness and the magnitude of the platoon effect throughout the league, and they often reveal opportunities to seize in the market given that platoon splits play at most a modest role in determining the daily salaries of available players; knowing a batter's platoon context allows a gamer to build in a value adjustment based on the opposing starter on the hill that day.
He's coming to the majors, but does he have major league stuff following a long recovery from Tommy John?
The Situation: The Atlanta Braves needed a Thursday starter in place of Williams Perez, who was placed on the disabled list last week with a left foot contusion when he was hit by a batted ball. It presents an opportunity for Manny Banuelos, who has thrown well through 15 starts with Triple-A Gwinnett.
How the D'backs righty has begun to overcome his struggles versus left-handed hitters and emerge as a strikeout artist.
Progress isn’t linear. It’s never been a question of talent with Rubby De La Rosa, but rather doubts about whether he could make the necessary adjustments to remain a major-league starter, without which he’d ultimately be destined to move to the bullpen. It’s been extraordinarily difficult to exercise patience over the last few years with De La Rosa, who has struggled mightily at times. However, the wait for him to unlock his immense potential might finally be over, thanks to a subtle adjustment to his arsenal against left-handed batters and the addition of catcher Welington Castillo.
The De La Rosa project played out like the Star Wars saga in Boston last year. He was flat-out dominant, a true sensation right out of the gate (Original Trilogy), firing seven innings and allowing one earned run or less in six of his first 11 starts. Unfortunately, he failed to reach the seventh inning in each of his final seven outings (Phantom Menace). A slew of lackluster performances (7.11 ERA last September) ultimately got him shipped out of Boston in the offseason.
R.J. and Randy put their heads together to figure out where the top 10 trade targets will be going in the next month.
Last week we looked at the sellers and who they could place on the market. This week let's examine and rank the top 10 trade targets, as well as guess at where they could be headed.
A few notes: Players perceived as more likely to be traded during the offseason (e.g. Cole Hamels and Troy Tulowitzki) were not included in the process. Randy's predictions were formed using a random number generator and assigning numbers to each team with a greater than 15 percent shot at making the postseason. Its projections are (obviously) void of reason. Lastly, players are discussed in descending order of their expected value.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Brewers outfielder Clint Coulter and Nats righty Lucas Giolito.
Hitter of the Day: Clint Coulter, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 3-4, 2 R, 3 2B, BB, K.
Coulter may not be the most polished hitter with the most polished swing, but he generates good bat speed and his strong frame leads to good power production, even in the tough Florida State League. He’s also taking to the outfield nicely, and while it’s not always fundamentally sound and natural, he’s a better athlete out there than was expected from the converted catcher.
These hurlers are worth monitoring because of the pace at which their offerings leave opponents' bats.
Exit velocity is a common topic of discussion this year, with Statcast data becoming part of MLB's Gameday presentation and subsequently available via the indispensable Baseball Savant. Witnessing a Giancarlo Stanton home run in today’s environment means not just watching the physical spectacle of it but being instantly able to quantify how far out of the stadium he hit it and how much faster than Jayson Werth’s preferred driving speed the ball came off his bat. As though Carlos Correa’s .287/.309/.543 line as a 20-year-old isn’t impressive enough, our appreciation is enhanced by knowing that his average batted-ball velocity sits between those of a resurgent Albert Pujols and potential home-run king Todd Frazier.
Andy MacPhail is joining the Phillies at a key time: Should they or should they not trade Cole Hamels?
In an official announcement of an as-yet-unofficial transfer of power, Andy MacPhail joined the Phillies Monday. He'll take over for team president Pat Gillick at the end of the season. (In the great American tradition, this presidential succession of a 78-year-old white man by a 62-year-old white man with ideas six percent more progressive is being celebrated as a seismic shift.) There are all kinds of questions in need of answers, like whether MacPhail will choose to retain GM Ruben Amaro (almost certainly not), and to what extent MacPhail is prepared to embrace the rebuilding effort the Phillies have been slowly getting off the ground the last year or two. By far the juiciest question, though, and the one you can cajole even very casual fans into discussing, is what MacPhail's arrival means for Cole Hamels.
It's remarkable to think about just how many times the Phillies have been expected to at least come close to dealing Hamels. In 2012, he was on the doorstep of free agency and the Phillies were 41–54 with 10 days to go before the trade deadline. On July 25th, though, Amaro signed Hamels for six more seasons and nearly $150 million. That shut down the trade rumors for about a year and a half, but by December 2013, Jon Heyman was reporting that Hamels was back on the trade market. At last year's deadline, with the Phillies as far from relevance as ever, Hamels was all over the rumor mill again, though the Phillies' astronomical asking price put a heavy damper on the market.
The powerful right-handed slugger will join the Twins on Thursday.
The Situation: Much to the surprise of, well, everyone; the Twins have pitched and lucked their way to second place in the American League Central, despite ranking 24th in baseball in on-base percentage and 18th in slugging percentage. After calling up the top prospect in baseball (Byron Buxton) last month to help both in the field and with the bat, the Minnesota will call up their other upper-echelon bat in the system in the form of Miguel Sano.