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April 22, 2014 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: No Sale


Daniel Rathman

White Sox ace Chris Sale deals with injury issues, plus the action from Monday and what to watch today.

The Monday Takeaway
When Travis Wood stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second inning of yesterday’s Diamondbacks-Cubs series opener, he had six career home runs and a chance to do what few major-league pitchers even dream of. The left-hander slugged half of those half-dozen big flies last year—including one each of the solo, two-run, and grand slam varieties. He needed a three-run blast to complete the home-run cycle.

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June 14, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 12


Paul Sporer

Jarrod Parker and Travis Wood move into the "start" category, as Paul helps you set your rotation for next week.

Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner. Each week I will cover the pitchers are who slated to make two starts and help you decide who you should start and who you should sit. Sometimes guys will be in the “consider” where they might have one good start, but a second tough one and then your league settings might determine whether or not you should go forward with him. The pitchers will be split by league then by categories:

Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for them either with an early draft pick or high dollar auction bid so you’re starting them anywhere, anytime. Guys can emerge onto or fall off of this list as the season evolves. There won’t be many – if any – notes associated with these groupings each week. We are starting them automatically so why do I need to expound on how awesome they are and will be in the coming week?

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May 22, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Travis Wood and the Winds of Wrigley


Andrew Koo

Why it pays to look at the weather forecast before starting a flyball pitcher at Wrigley Field.

One of the first axioms I learned when I wandered into the world of sports betting was to heed Wrigley Field’s winds. Wrigley’s proximity to Lake Michigan gave it a reputation for dramatically affecting fly balls, which would inflate or deflate the game over/under on runs. If the wind was blowing out, fly balls were expected to sail out as home runs, and the total would be unusually high. A low total typically meant that winds were blowing toward home plate, suppressing fly balls.

Vegas already knew this, which unfortunately added an additional dimension to handicapping Cubs home games. Amazingly though, this advice was extremely exploitable in fantasy baseball. An “@ChC” note next to my pitcher meant a trip to Baseball Weather Analyzer or Daily Baseball Data (two sweet resources) to examine Wrigley Field’s conditions that day. Flyball pitchers sat on blow-out days and started on blow-in days.

Chris Constancio of The Hardball Times investigated the effect of winds on HR/FB rates six years ago, and he observed statistically significant results in Chicago parks. I replicated his method on data from 2007 to the present and found that the Wrigley wind effect is stronger than ever. Over 508 games, here’s how pitchers performed in HR/FB rate, ERA, and slugging percentage allowed, split by Retrosheet’s wind field:

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