A caution against blindly following the dollar signs...
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.
A look at how some intriguing arms were throwing this week and some mechanical issues or trends to keep an eye out the rest of the way.
Baseball is finally here, and I couldn't be happier. A winter of hibernation can now give way to a summer of over-analysis, and the Opening Week of the 2015 baseball season has laid the groundwork with a great deal of intrigue on the mound. Let's take a look at some of the pitching highlights of the season's first turn through the rotation.
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The DFS slate is full of intrigue frought with peril.
The rain took down Cardinals-Cubs yesterday, so we'll be treated to an early-day reboot of Lance Lynn versus Jake Arrieta at Wrigley Field (weather permitting). Mat Latos was an absolute homewrecker, surrendering seven earned runs against the hapless Braves without escaping the first frame. His performance was worth -17.3 points on Draft Kings, dooming the 26.2% of owners that rostered him in the $100K Moonshot (including yours truly). Such an implosion takes an added emphasis on a short day like Tuesday, particularly one with little money available for arms, as the top bats were all widely owned and there was less opportunity to make up ground. Today is a much fuller slate (13 games start at 7:05 pm EST or later), so I'm looking forward to the roster flexibility.
With a half-slate of games on the schedule, Mother Nature is threatening to further trim the player pool
Opening Day was jam-packed with excitement, not to mention monster point totals in DFS from jump-starters Hanley Ramirez (36 points), Nolan Arenado (34), and Dustin Pedroia (31). On the mound, there were feats of dominance from all over the pricing scale (David Price, Sonny Gray, Clay Buchholz). Folks who stacked the lineup with heavy-hitting Brewers against theoretical punching bag Kyle Kendrick were sorely disappointed, as Kendrick blanked the Brew Crew for seven frames while the expensive trio of Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, and Jonathan Lucroy went a combined 0-for-10 with five strikeouts. The Rockies bats went nuts on the road, Tanaka got shelled, up was down, day was night, and in his first plate appearance of the season Mike Trout took King Felix yard. What more could a Baseballholic ask for?
The author goes through a list of arms he's lower on than most and explains why.
In last week's episode of Raising Aces, we singled out the pitchers that I had ranked higher than the consensus, on the basis of my three-yearfantasy rankings here at Baseball Prospectus compared to the Average Draft Position (ADP) at the time that those rankings were formed (late February). This week, we flip the coin to study the downside (there's two sides to every Schwartz), evaluating the hurlers that I had ranked far below their ADPs to see whether there is any rhyme, reason, or merit to my theoretical pessimism.
Welcome to Daily Fantasy Sports, where worlds collide.
I have been a Baseballholic since I was a kid, and that obsession has manifested over the years through baseball cards, video games and eventually fantasy sports. This will be my 17th season of playing fantasy baseball, and though I continue to enjoy the traditional rotisserie format (I'm in four full-season leagues this year), I have a relatively new indulgence that whets my baseball appetite: Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).
The author takes a look at pitchers he has ranked higher than their average draft position.
I like to take a three-pronged approach to pitcher evaluation, following the process-outcome train through stations of mechanics, stuff, and stats. The numbers steal the focus during fantasy draft season, but my personal rankings are heavily influenced by the other two prongs of the trident. Mechanics will sway me (big surprise), but a pitcher's delivery typically needs to be paired with great stuff to cause a real boost in the ranks, and sometimes a pitcher is one small piece away from making that next leap in performance.
Our resident pitching mechanics' expert takes a look at whether he has any tendencies when handing out grades.
An underlying tenet of sabermetrics—hell, of all science—is to continually ask questions, to follow-up on previous research, and to continue to update the analytic paradigm. Accountability is paramount, and though showing proof of one's work can present a humbling burden that forces the confrontation of potential holes in the system, here at Raising Aces we make it a point to have a transparent process that ups the communicative value of pitching evaluation.
Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: the payroll artists Houston Astros and San Diego Padres.
Two of the best young lefties in the game faced off. Doug broke it down.
In summer 2012, when Clayton Kershaw had just one Cy Young award and Madison Bumgarner had just one World Series ring, Doug Thorburn anticipated what has become a tremendous rivalry--if not to them, certainly to us. Two exceptional lefties in one of sports' best team-against-team rivalries, each under contract to his team through the end of this decade, each accomplished in a way no other current pitcher can claim. Thorburn's breakdown helps appreciate the similarities, the differences, and what sets each pitcher apart from his peers. This originally ran on Aug. 24, 2012.
Clayton Kershaw dominated the rival Giants last season, going 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA and a 49:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in six starts and 42 innings, including a perfect four-for-four in head-to-head battles with San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum. Kershaw has held the Giants to a sub-2.00 ERA again in 2012, though he had come up on the short end of the decision in two of his three starts against them to Monday's match-up with Madison Bumgarner. It was the first meeting for two young southpaws who will likely be dueling out west for years to come.