A Quick Guide To: #SpringTraining

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Spring Questions For All 30 Teams:

Will the Cubs live up to the rampant World Series expectations? Are the D-backs for real? Can David Price make his contract worth it? Are the Royals a dynasty in the making? Do the Blue Jays, Astros and Mets have staying power?

Spring Training preview materials will be loaded with these questions and more, but the obvious truth is that Spring Training itself can’t answer those questions. So the goal in this particular preview, mere days away from pitchers and catchers report dates, is to pose an actual, spring-specific question each Major League club is facing on the cusp of camp.

I’m dedicating this column to the memory of my friend and teammate Tom Singer, who suddenly passed away earlier this week. Tom was one of the more inquisitive and creative minds in the business, and I know he was looking forward to showing up at Spring Training camps and asking unique questions of his own.

Here we go….

NL East

Mets: How carefully should the young starters be eased into the season?

For the Mets, it will be a delicate balance between overworking and underworking Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard after they all saw significant innings increases due to the postseason run. Syndergaard jumped 65 2/3 innings from his 2014 total in the Minors, while deGrom and Harvey jumped 37 2/3 apiece. Because of injury, Steven Matz (15 2/3) didn’t see quite as big an increase, though he, like Syndergaard, is entering his first full Major League season, an adjustment in and of itself. These guys need to be properly prepared for the every-five-day grind, but they should also probably see a less rigorous spring workload than the typical big league starter.

Nationals: Is Trea Turner ready for the big leagues?

The Grapefruit League will be a great test of the Nats’ new-look infield. Anthony Rendon is moving back to his natural position at third base — a fine move in isolation (he grades out better defensively there than at second base). But some scouts believe Daniel Murphy would be far better suited at third than at second base and that Rendon is the better defensive option at second. And then, of course, there’s the big question at short, where the Nats’ options come down to a utility guy (Danny Espinosa) who has spent far more of his career at second, a light-hitting free-agent signee (Stephen Drew) and the top prospect (Turner), who has only played 212 games in what has already been a whirlwind pro career (including 27 with the Nats down the stretch in 2015). Lots of questions in this infield.

Marlins: Can Barry Bonds help Marcell Ozuna’s swing?

New manager Don Mattingly and new hitting coach Bonds pleaded with the front office to keep Ozuna despite the rampant trade rumblings and the disconnect between player and organization last season. Ozuna was one of eight players identified as above-average in each of the five-tool categories by Statcast™, so the potential is off the charts. But his decline in production last season — leading to a controversial stay in Triple-A — was as swift as it was stunning, and spring is an important time for Ozuna and Bonds to develop a positive working relationship.

Braves: Will Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn open any eyes with their spring at-bats?

It’s no secret the Braves would love to move one or both of these guys. So they are destined to receive a steady dose of Grapefruit League at-bats as the Braves try to garner enough interest for a salary dump swap. With Freddie Freeman working his way back from a wrist injury, perhaps Swisher will see some time at first base.

Phillies: Is Tyler Goeddel the next Odubel Herrera?

Last year, Herrera arrived as a Rule 5 Draft pickup and wound up leading the Phillies in WAR (and yes, that says as much about the Phils as it does Herrera). Now, Goeddel is the marquee Rule 5 Draft addition (the first overall pick). That he’ll make the big league club is a foregone conclusion, because the Phillies have nothing to lose by keeping him. The question is how much the athletic but unpolished Goeddel will separate himself from Aaron Altherr, Peter Bourjos and Cody Asche in the battle for playing time in Pete Mackanin’s lineup.

AL East

Blue Jays: Will Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion agree to extensions?

In the lead-up to Opening Day, the new-look front office will have to weigh the attraction of satiating the fan base and ensuring stability in the long-term lineup against the obvious risks that come with power hitters in their mid-to-late-30s. These discussions will take place when all parties arrive in Dunedin, Fla., later this month.

Yankees: CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova?

The last rotation spot is the lone source of genuine positional intrigue in Yankees camp. (That said, Starlin Castro’s continued immersion at second base and first-ever trial at third base, where the Yanks might need him as a Chase Headley backup, is interesting). Sabathia is the former Cy Young Award winner coming off a homer-prone year that ended in alcohol rehab. Nova is the Tommy John alum the Yanks tried to trade. General manager Brian Cashman has said Sabathia’s $25 million salary wouldn’t preclude the Yanks from sticking CC in the bullpen if somebody else (Nova is the obvious candidate, though Bryan Mitchell is another) wins the job outright.

Orioles: What’s the outlook for the outfield?

They’re reportedly making progress with Yovani Gallardo to fill a big hole in the rotation, so let’s focus on the outfield here. Big-bodied Hyun-soo Kim, fresh off signing a two-year contract with the O’s, will arrive from South Korea and try to prove he has the range and athleticism to handle the everyday left-field assignment. Adam Jones was tasked with covering a ton of outfield ground last year, and his performance tailed off in the last two months of the season. At the moment, right field likely belongs to Nolan Reimold, though an O’s team familiar with in-spring splashes could still sign somebody to support or replace him.

Rays: Will James Loney, Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer be moved?

It’s a question that presumes a healthy camp, of course, but it would solve a logjam. Dealing Loney would allow Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce to share first, Corey Dickerson to spend the bulk of his time at DH and Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. to provide dependable defense in the outfield, with Guyer as a bench option vs. lefties. Or the Rays could move Jennings or Guyer and open up more at-bats for Pearce and Morrison. Whatever the case, one presumes the Rays would be seeking relief help in any deal involving their position player depth.

Red Sox: Can Hanley Ramirez handle first base?

The Red Sox don’t have any position battles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have position issues. Hanley’s position switch last year — from shortstop to left field — wasn’t subjected to any truly challenging plays during the spring schedule, but obviously the ball is going to find him at first. Because they’re paying Ramirez a ton of money, the Red Sox have no choice but to hope this works — and the same goes for Pablo Sandoval at third. The Panda’s physical condition will, naturally, be a spring storyline all its own.

NL Central

Cardinals: What is Yadier Molina’s timetable?

Molina will spend camp’s early days not swinging the bat or catching bullpen sessions, but building strength back up in his left thumb after having a second surgery this winter. Because there’s no telling how long that process will take and how much it will affect his season preparation, it’s hard to know if Molina will be ready by Opening Day. To say getting him back in a timely matter is important for the Cards is, of course, an understatement.

Pirates: How well is Jung Ho Kang progressing?

Because of the division’s demands, the decisions to deal Neil Walker and non-tender Pedro Alvarez, and the lack of additions of bankable depth options, the Pirates can ill-afford any medical setbacks for Kang, who suffered a fractured tibial plateau and torn lateral meniscus on an ugly takeout slide by Chris Coghlan last September. The move to third base (with Jordy Mercer at short and Josh Harrison replacing Walker at second) will limit Kang’s lateral movement when he returns. As of now, the Pirates are expecting him back in April, with Sean Rodriguez (last seen assaulting a water cooler) filling in and Minor League free agent Cole Figueroa competing for a bench job.

Cubs: Can Kyle Schwarber improve in left field?

As much as we love this Cubs lineup, there’s no denying there are defensive concerns in the outfield, where Jorge Soler had some surprising struggles in ’15, Jason Heyward is moving from right to center and, most importantly, Schwarber was a mess during the NLCS. Schwarber has been working on his first step and flexibility this winter, and that work will be put to the test in Arizona. But his efforts in left coincide with his work behind the plate, where he still hopes to remain an option long-term. Combine all of this with Schwarber’s bid for more at-bats against left-handed pitching, and the kid’s got a lot on his plate.

Brewers: How’s Ryan Braun feeling?

Not that the Brewers are making an earnest effort to contend in 2016, but Braun could stillpotentially play himself into a viable trade chip (provided the Brew Crew is willing to eat some cash, of course) if he’s healthy and producing the way he did for much of ’15. Braun had surgery for a herniated disc in the offseason, but he won’t have a clear idea of how well his back is responding until the regular swings that come in the Cactus League.

Reds: Will a market develop for Jay Bruce?

He only remains in Cincinnati as a function of the unusually deep and late-developing free-agent outfield market this winter, because the Reds, now in full-on rebuild mode, were motivated to move him. Most likely, Bruce will start the season with the Reds and try to piece together enough of a bounce-back campaign to become July trade bait. But all it takes is one spring injury elsewhere to suddenly make the idea of dealing for Bruce more palatable for a contending club. The Reds also have to hope Zack Cozart’s grisly knee injury last year hasn’t affected his defense at short, because he, too, could play himself into trade-chip status.

AL Central

Royals: Can Christian Colon steal playing time from Omar Infante?

In the third year of a four-year deal, Infante will make $7.75 million, and there was a time when that fact alone would settle him into a starting spot for this small-market club. But you might have noticed things are a little different in the realm of the Royals these days, and they’re calling this a legitimate position battle between Infante and Colon, who drove in the winning run in the World Series Game 5 clincher. (Top prospect Raul A. Mondesi will also get consideration but is far more likely to start the season in the Minors). Sure, the Royals are paying Infante a good amount of money, but, hey, they took Colon ahead of Matt Harvey in the 2010 Draft! One way or another, they’ll look for better returns on both of these investments.

Twins: Will Miguel Sano stick in right?

Byung Ho Park’s transition to the bigs is also a major matter in Minnesota, but Sano’s defensive work — directly related to Park’s arrival — will be a more pressing spring concern. Torii Hunter will be in camp as a special assistant to work with the 6-foot-4 Sano in the outfield, and the Twins’ lineup alignment demands that this experiment be successful. Sano was tasked with dropping 20 pounds this winter. Citing a desire to maintain his power, he dropped just five. He’s agile for his size, but this is undoubtedly a big test for him.

Indians: Will Michael Brantley continue his rapid recovery?

He’s the key to the whole darn thing for an Indians team projected by FanGraphs to have the best record in the division despite a less-than-dynamic winter. Brantley didn’t have surgery on his lead shoulder until early November, which means you can count him out for Opening Day and likely all or most of April. But because his recovery has progressed so well so far, Brantley must avoid the temptation to do too much too soon, lest he suffer a setback that crushes a Tribe club already prone toward slow starts.

White Sox: What’s up at short?

Tyler Saladino played terrific defense at third base for the Sox down the stretch last season, but his 68 OPS+ detracted from his value. So it’s an open question whether he’s ready for prime time at a prime spot, and he could be pushed in camp by top prospect Tim Anderson. The other, still-lingering question here is whether the Sox will wind up too tempted by Ian Desmond’s reduced price tag to pass him up. With a protected top-10 Draft pick, the White Sox are better positioned to sign Desmond than many others in the market.

Tigers: Can Bruce Rondon work his way into the bullpen plans?

Well, obviously we’ll be playing close attention to the statuses of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. But they’ve both had a healthy offseason, so, at this point, there’s little reason to doubt they’ll be in the Opening Day lineup and, hopefully, ready to produce. But Rondon’s dismissal from the club due to a lack of effort makes him an interesting figure in camp. The Tigers’ bullpen has a new closer in Francisco Rodriguez and better balance overall, but there’s always room for a motivated flamethrower. We’ll soon learn for sure if Rondon is committed to winning the respect of his teammates.

NL West

Dodgers: Will Hyun-Jin Ryu be ready by Opening Day?

And if so, what does that mean for fellow lefty Alex Wood? The Dodgers have assembled rotation depth to allow Ryu to ease into action, rather than rush back from labrum surgery. So the most likely outcome is that he starts the season in extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment. But the Dodgers could also be tempted to take advantage of Wood’s ability to be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Giants: How is Joe Panik’s back?

He’s 25 years old and coming off an All-Star season. But that season was cut short by back woes. Doctors have not discovered any structural damage, so Panik did not have surgery. But only time and performance will dictate whether this will be a persistent problem for a club all too familiar with back issues involving their second basemen (see: Sanchez, Freddy and Scutaro, Marco).

D-backs: Can Yasmany Tomas acquit himself in the outfield?

In their bold bid to take a major competitive step forward, there’s no denying the D-backs sacrificed defense by involving Ender Inciarte in the Shelby Miller swap. The question is how much. Tomas enters the year as an everyday corner outfielder (Arizona is still unsure whether he’ll remain in right or swap spots with left fielder David Peralta) after proving he can’t handle the hot corner. Tomas has indicated he’s more comfortable in right field, though the D-backs might prefer to have the better defender there and use this spring to get Tomas acclimated to left. And oh by the way, Tomas, who had a .707 OPS last season, needs to hit, too.

Padres: Can Andrew Cashner limit walks and neutralize lefties?

Yeah, yeah, the spring results don’t matter. But scouts are in the stands for a reason. Cashner is a guy with ace-quality potential when he’s right — and that’s a big deal for a Padres team either hoping to surprise some people in the NL West or use Cashner as a valuable trade piece midseason (or even sooner). Last year, Cashner’s effectiveness against left-handed hitters spiraled (.383 wOBA vs. a .294 mark a year earlier), and his overall walk rate jumped to 8.2 percent.

Rockies: What will Jose Reyes’ punishment be?

In invoking punishments under the sports’ domestic violence policy for the first time, Commissioner Rob Manfred has big decisions to make with Reyes, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman. But Reyes is the only member of that group who is facing a criminal procedure. He has pleaded not guilty to domestic abuse charges, and his trial is slated to begin April 4 (Opening Day, of course). Manfred can make his decision independent of those proceedings, and there’s no telling how stiff the penalty will be. Reyes is the Rockies’ highest-paid player and a guy they hoped would rebuild his offensive value (and, ergo, his trade value) at Coors Field. Right now, there’s no way of knowing when or if he’ll be on the field in 2016.

AL West

Rangers: Can Jurickson Profar get back in baseball shape?

We’ll venture away from the obvious intrigue surrounding Yu Darvish’s timetable, because, by all accounts, he’s still on track for a May return. Profar provides intrigue of his own. This is a guy who was once considered the top prospect in the game, but hasn’t played a single inning in the field the last two years because of shoulder issues that eventually required surgery. Profar’s bat action as a designated hitter in the Arizona Fall League caught the attention of scouts, and several teams contacted the Rangers in an attempt to buy low on the middle infielder. The Rangers wisely held onto him, and they’ll ease him back into action in the field this spring. His odds of making the big league club are slim to none, barring injury to somebody else. But the Rangers are about to see if Profar can emerge as an important depth piece in their bid to win the AL West again.

Astros: Will Evan Gattis be ready for Opening Day?

It was revealed this week that Gattis required surgery for a sports hernia, sidelining him for four to six weeks. That’s going to hurt his ability to get his timing back before the end of Grapefruit League play, so the Astros will dole out more playing time to Jon Singleton, Matt Duffy, A.J. Reed, Tyler White and Preston Tucker. While the Astros, in letting Chris Carter walk, might generally be trying to get away from the all-or-nothing approach that was one of their calling cards in ’15, Gattis is still clearly a key cog in this offense. He was also hopeful of increasing his value to the team beyond his DH duties, losing weight and doing catching drills in the offseason.

Angels: What’s Albert Pujols’ timetable?

The Angels are getting crushed in many corners for not doing more to improve their production potential around Mike Trout, opting instead for a more contact-heavy approach. Maybe the Halos have it right, but there’s little denying that their lineup look demands healthy and productivity from Pujols, who is working his way back from November surgery on the plantar plate of his right foot. Pujols is already hitting off a tee but is not expected to resume full baseball activities until March, putting Opening Day in jeopardy. Pujols rushed back to action too quickly in 2013, to the point that it affected his performance, and the Angels don’t want that to happen again.

Mariners: Can James Paxton win a rotation spot?

Technically, it’s Taijuan Walker, Nate Karns and Paxton for two spots, though you’d have to imagine the 29 starts and the progress Walker made as ’15 evolved give him the inside edge on one of those. Karns was Dipoto’s first addition in a busy offseason, but Paxton is the guy who was long lauded as one of the M’s prominent prospects. Injury issues have limited Paxton to 30 career starts over parts of three Major League seasons, but the left-hander has dropped some pounds and will come to camp intent on proving he’s ready to turn his potential into production. Other guys potentially in the mix for that last spot are Mike Montgomery, Joe Wieland and Vidal Nuno. Paxton seemingly has the most upside of those options, but he’s got to earn it.

Athletics: What is the rotation beyond Sonny Gray?

Oakland has probably one of the most — if not the most — unsettled rotation situations in the big leagues. The A’s signed Rich Hill with the intent of inserting him into the rotation, though he hasn’t been a regular starter at this level since 2009. After Gray and Hill, it’s a wide-open competition involving Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and possibly even Jarrod Parker (who is attempting to come back from two elbow surgeries) and Sean Manaea (a promising trade acquisition who hasn’t pitched above Double-A but who manager Bob Melvin has called a “wild card” in the rotation battle). Should be fun to watch this evolve.

Source: A Spring Training question for all 30 MLB teams.

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Starting Rotations Entering 2016 Spring Training:

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Rejoice! Spring training is almost upon us, bringing to an end what has been a hectic offseason, one that saw a slew of starting pitchers change uniforms, whether via free agency or trade. Keeping up with what your favorite team’s rotation looks like, much less the competition’s, has been challenging at times.

Read: Power Ranking All 30 MLB Starting Rotations Entering 2016 Spring Training

What You Need to Know to #win Tuesday Night, #DraftKings #FantasyBaseball

Encarnacion is on FIRE!  Seriously, he is raking more than Groundskeeper Willy and I doubt it ends tonight against Cody Anderson.  It seems like yesterday we were complaining about the weather being to cold and could not wait for leisurely attire, with Boat Drinks – September all ready?!  I re-tweeted an earlier article from back in February today, check it out it was pretty accurate, except that bit about the Rockies – cripes – Now on with the show, and if you want to try your hand tonight click the link and get started – I know the highest O/U is in Colorado tonight, but I think Seattle and Houston could provide an equally impressive display of batted-fireworks as well.

Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas

Jonathon Niese vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-221) – On a night where we have quite a few quality starting pitchers taking the mound tonight, Niese gets the nod as the favorite against the Phillies. Interesting choice I must say, but this is why Vegas is worth about 348 billion dollars and I’m not – yet. Anyways, I found this one interesting because Niese has been anything but solid lately. In his last three starts, Niese has scored a combined 19.8 points. Yes, that’s all three starts combined. His last start, was even against the Phillies, the team he’s so heavily favored to beat tonight. During those three starts, Niese has given up 15 runs on 21 hits in just 17 innings with a 13:9 K:BB ratio. Does this sound like a guy you want to be investing your salary cap into tonight? Granted, Niese is very cheap tonight at $6500. Not too shabby for a guy who owns a 3.95 ERA on the year with a 1.36 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.1. If you read this article on the regular, you’ll know that the Phillies are hitting well since the All-Star break, owning a .327 wOBA, good for 8th during that time span. So with Niese tonight, he certainly his a cheap price tag to reach his value, it’s just a matter of if he can actually do it or not. cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.pngHonestly, I won’t hold my breath on this one.

Marco Estrada vs Cleveland Indians (-185) – Estrada may not be the most enticing name on the slate tonight, but he’s certainly pitched well enough to be. Estrada enters tonight with a 3.19 ERA to go with a 1.09 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.9. He faces the Cleveland Indians, who have been hitting well in the second half, just behind the Phillies, with a .326 wOBA during the time, good for 9th in the league. Estrada continues to give us what we pay for at the $7000 tier level, a mid to high teens score with a decent amount of strikeouts and good command. The Indians don’t strike out a lot, owning a 19.6 K% in the second half, but Estrada really isn’t that type of guy either. It’s not a stretch to except maybe four or five strikeouts from Estrada tonight, as he’s usually very consistent with that. Of course as always, with the absurd amount of runs the Blue Jays are scoring, it’s pretty safe to say that Estrada is also a good bet to nab a win here, as the run support has been high for all the Blue Jays starting pitchers. Playing at home tonight, look for Estrada in terms of some salary relief, as you load up on some of these premium pitchers tonight.

Johnny Cueto vs. Detroit Tigers (-150) – The only problem with some of these elite pitchers going tonight, is that they face some fairly tough matchups tonight, or their price is sky high. A couple of these sky high prices, in my opinion, will still be worth it, it’s just a matter of identifying who. Cueto could be one of them, if he can right the ship tonight. Cueto is coming off two disappointing starts in a row now, one against the Boston Red Sox and one against the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox one, I wasn’t overly surprised about, since they’re hitting so well lately. The Orioles I was, since they have such a high K% and their wOBA in the second half of the season is near the basement in the league. Tonight, Cueto gets the Tigers, who are also near the bottom of the league in wOBA in the second half at 19th, with a .314 wOBA. The Tigers are also striking out at a decent pace, with a 20.9 K%. Cueto isn’t excessively high price wise tonight at $10,100, especially compared to some of the other pitchers priced above him in some less than stellar matchups. I think with how poorly Cueto has pitched lately, his won’t be as highly owned across the board as he normally might be. For tonight ,I think I’d use Cueto only in tournaments, maybe not cash. Even though the Tigers are hitting nearly as well as they were in the first half of the season, they still have some serious talent on that team.

Top Overall Game per O/U

Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 10.5 Over/Under – The night game checks in just like the day game, with a 10.5 projected run total. Rubby de la Rosa takes on Kyle Kendrick, in a battle of “who can be worse against LHB.” It’s true, both of these pitchersREALLY struggle against left handed batters tonight. De la Rosa checks in with a .405 wOBA against them and Kendrick with a .422 wOBA. Mix that in with some Coors Field and lefties should have a field day tonight. Also tonight, both of these starting pitchers LOVE giving up home runs. Between the two of them, they’ve given up 53 home runs. 53 HOME RUNS, between the two of them! Truly, if you normally fade the Coors Field game to (hopefully) separate yourself from the rest of the field in case the game doesn’t go as planned, tonight would not be the night to do that. Between how poorly these pitchers perform against lefties and how easily they let balls fly out of the park, this one could be a mess. Target wise, anyone you can afford. Just keep your eyes on the lineup, as they’ll be playing a double header, so a couple of key guys could potentially get some rest in the second game. Let’s hope not.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Johnny Cueto KAN (LwOBA ..240)
    • Zack Greinke LAD (LwOBA .249)
    • Justin Verlander DET (LwOBA .253)
  • Right handed batters
    • Joe Ross WAS (RwOBA .205)
    • Jimmy Nelson MIL (RwOBA .246)
    • Rubby DeLaRosa AZ (RwOBA .258)

Easiest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Rubby DeLaRosa AZ (LwOBA .405)
    • Kyle Kendrick COL (LwOBA .422)
  • Right handed batters
    • Cody Martin OAK (RwOBA .422)
    • Kyle Kendrick AZ (RwOBA .368)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Edwin Encarnacion TOR – DiRT Canon Value99.77
  • David Ortiz BOS – DiRT Canon Value96.25
  • Jason Castro HOU – DiRT Canon Value94.21
  • DiDi Gregorious NYY – DiRT Canon Value89.16
  • Jonathon Lucroy MIL – DiRT Canon Value – 88.26
  • Michael Cuddyer NYM – DiRT Canon Value – 86.20

Other notables:  Ryan Zimmerman – Marlon Byrd

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Evan Longoria vs. Chris Tillman – Last night we killed it with the BvP. For all the non believers, I hope you enjoyed watching from the outside. Tonight, we hope to do more of the same. To kick us off, we showcase Longoria and his long battle with Tillman. Longoria is 16-43 with 10 extra base hits, six of them being home runs, and a 1.321 OPS.

Salavdor Perez vs. Justin Verlander – Perez has really seen Verlander well in his career. Perez comes into tonight 18-38 against Verlander with nine extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a 1.266 OPS.

Jacoby Ellsbury vs Rick Porcello – This one is is absolutely mind boggling. Ellsbury isn’t a big power hitter, but how sure seems like one when he faces Rick Porcello. Ellsbury is an amazing 11-17 against Porcello with five extra base hits FOUR of them being home runs and 2.078 OPS.This is not a drill folks. This is insane. My mind is blown.


Weather

REJOICE – it appears to be all clear


Top 4 by Position – in no particular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Gerrit Cole ($10,800) – You know, when you look at the pitching slate for a particular night and see that Chris Sale is associated with that slate, your eyes grow a little wide and you go YUP,this is who I’m going with. Then you see he’s going to run you for $13,900 and your eyes become a little droopy now. Not as enticing. Now, we realize he’s facing the Twins, well alright, I’m back on board! Surprisingly, the Twins actually are decent against left handed pitching. They own a .312 wOBA against them and the a K% ranked 18th in the league at 20.1 Am I saying the Twins are going to knock Sale around? Most likely not. Will I throw Sale out to the masses for $13,900 and tell you to start him? I don’t think so. Not for that much. Instead, I’m going to run with Cole tonight, who looks to be back on track. Cole takes on a Brewers team who seems to have fallen back to their old hitting ways, which is not good at all. The Brewers own a .307 wOBA in the second, good for 25th in the league with a high 21.7 K%, which runs for 7th in the league. His price tag tonight seems reasonable at $10,800, when you compare it to the likes of Sale. Cole has scored 28.2 and 23.5 in his last two starts, against the Giants and Marlins respectively, which gives me a good indication that he’s seems to be on the right path again. Cole enters tonight with a 2.44 ERA to go with a 1.11 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.8.

Worth Considering

David Peralta ($4700) – As I mentioned earlier, getting exposure to Coors Field is a must tonight, in my opinion. Looking at either side, both pitchers have given up a combined 53 home runs, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing some balls leaving the park tonight. I think Peralta is a way to get “cheap” exposure to one of the premier players on the Diamondbacks. When I say cheap, I referring to how AJ Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt are going to run you for at least $6000. That’s going to be tough to do if you’re going to be rostering any pitchers worth over $10,000. On the year, Peralta owns a .388 wOBA against RHP with an ISO of .236. Peralta has been mostly in the clean up spot for the Diamondbacks, which I think makes this pick all the more intriguing. Of course, check that closer to came time, but I think this could potentially pay off well without totally destroying your salary cap for tonight.

Save $$$…

Andres Blanco ($2300) – Man, it is seriously getting hard to keep Blanco off my roster on a daily basis. I honestly find him becoming automatic. Tonight, he faces the leftie Niese, which is great news for everyone planning on picking Blanco tonight. He has crushed lefties this season, owning a .447 wOBA with an ISO of .220. Truly, these are numbers for a guy almost costing the minimum on DraftKings. The fact that his price tag has barely budged is not only amazing, but completely ups his value for a daily pick. Blanco doesn’t have to produce much to exceed his value, which he continues to do on an almost nightly basis.


The Rest by Position

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Randomly Generated Lineup Combinations – Ideas

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What You Need to Know to #win Friday Night #DraftKings #FantasyBaseball

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Summer is almost out of here, so we are trying to drink the rest of the Daiquiries and Margaritas we have left from the machine – we have a lot left and so little time, scha-mon!  It reminds us that baseball still has the unwritten rules in place for awhile longer, like what we saw Tuesday night, when the Astros were killing the Yankees – if anyone thought you would ever say that the last few decades – we need to talk.  Anywhoo, it got crazy, and I have no idea why these rules exist, except to give grown men a reason to act like morons – makes them feel tougher when they are getting their a$$e$ handed to them, I guess.  Tonight it looks like a fireworks show in Toronto, so let’s open another case of tequila and rum, pour it into the frozen machine and enjoy!

Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas

Max Scherzer vs. Miami Marlins(-240) – The poor Marlins. They struggle to hit as it is, now tonight they have to face Max Scherzer? That’s just unfair. Scherzer has been fantastic this season, as expected, checking in with a 2.79 ERA with a WHIP of 0.93 and a K/9 of 10.5. It’s been said time and time again if you read this article on the regular, but the Marlins are one of the worst offensive teams in the second half of the season. They come in with an overall wOBA of .293 in the second half of the season, ranked 27th during that time span. Their power is basically non existent, with an ISO of .109, which is dead last in the league. Truly, I don’t think anyone really has much to worry about here when it comes to this start. The only factor that causes some trouble is the fact that the Marlins don’t strike out much. They own the second to last strikeout percentage in the league during the second half, at 17%. Only the Royals have a lower strikeout percentage during that time. This could be a brutal night for the Marlins, as Scherzer not only is the favorite for Vegas, but one of the guys I like tonight as well. He’s going to be expensiveeeeee tonight at 12,500 so keep that in mind.cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png

Francisco Liriano vs. Colorado Rockies(-220)- It’s funny because when you think of the Rockies, you think of an explosive lineup that can crush almost anyone, right? If you don’t well, maybe it’s just me. Regardless, I think the Rockies are at least thought of as a good offense, which they should be. It seems strange that once we start pulling numbers, their wOBA in the second half only sits in 13th, at .322. You’d expect it to be higher, wouldn’t you? They’ve been striking out quite often during that time frame as well, coming in at 21.8% with their power rating at .182, which is fantastic, good for 6th in the league. When it comes to lefties however, the Rockies really run into trouble. Believe it or not, the Rockies owns the 28th worst wOBA against lefties on the season, at .289. Even more surprising, is that their power is basically gone when facing a leftie, as they own the second to worst ISO in that respect at .107. I know what you’re thinking now, how about the strikeouts? Great question young chap, they strike out the 4th most in the league, with a 23.4%. Liriano has been great this season, of course with some bumps in the road. However, with his 9.6 K/9, I fully expect him to be able to mow down the Rockies tonight and rack up some strikeouts. With this game taking place in Pittsburgh and not Colorado, you have to like your chances with this one. Liriano is “cheap” tonight at 10,000. That is super enticing.

R.A. Dickey vs. Detroit Tigers (-220) – The first thing that popped into my head when I saw how much of a favorite Dickey was tonight, it’s because he’s matched up against Matt Boyd and his horrible stats. I still think that’s a huge part of if, however, it might also have to do with the fact that the Tigers are a sinking ship. So let’s just roll it all into a ball and figure this out. First and foremost, it should be full expected that the best offensive team in the second half of the season, is going to absolutely crush Boyd tonight. Can we all agree on that? Perfect. Second, the Tigers truly have been a sinking ship. Checking in with a wOBA ranked 16th in the league during the second half at .320, it’s baffling to think what happened to this Tigers team. Their ISO rating is still good, at .169, good for 9th in the league. The strikeouts aren’t that shabby either, only striking out 20.9% of the time. So, it comes down to, is this a good spot for Dickey? I think he certainly has a good chance to outduel (sarcasm, guys) Boyd here tonight, so it’s very possible to get the win, I just don’t think I trust Dickey to have a good game – see his value# below. He doesn’t strike out many guys, owning a 5.3 K/9 on the season, so you’re really hoping for some clean innings from Dickey. No offense, but I don’t see that happening to often with a knuckleball pitcher. He might be able to sneak in a good start tonight, but even with the numbers not backing up a good offensive showing from the Tigers in the second half, they’re too talented of a team to be down for so long. It also doesn’t help that this game is……

Top Overall Game per O/U

Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays(Rogers Centre) – 9.5 Over/Under –…the top projected overall scoring game of the night. Anytime we have a game in this category, I often stay as far away as possible from these matchups. Vegas thinks this game is going to produce a lot of offense, that’s not exactly odds I want for my starting pitcher. We briefly touched upon both pitchers and the Tigers offense, so let’s focus on the Blue Jays offense. As I mentioned, the Blue Jays have the top wOBA in the second half of the season by a decent stretch. Coming into tonight, it sits at .343, which is seven points higher than the Mariners are, at .336 (uhhh, when did they start hitting?!) It should also come as no surprise that their power also ranks at the top of the league, at .195. Tonight, when they face Matt Boyd, it’s against someone who hasREALLY struggled since being in the majors. His splits are downright ugly, with a .362 wOBA against righties and an atrocious .522 wOBA against lefties. Not exactly anything that makes you feel like he’s going to do well here, right? For as good as the Tigers “should” be right now, the Blue Jays ARE that good and should put up a crooked number by the time this game is over. Target suggestions for tonight? The guys with Toronto on their jersey.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Erasmo Ramirez TAM (LwOBA .238)
    • Andrew Heaney LAA (LwOBA .241)
    • Sonny Gray OAK (LwOBA .235)
  • Right handed batters
    • Max Scherzer WAS (RwOBA .218)
    • Matt Harvey NYM (RwOBA .237)
    • Sonny Gray OAK (RwOBA .250)

Easiest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Ian Kennedy SDP (LwOBA .347)
    • Williams Perez ATL (LwOBA .375)
  • Right handed batters
    • Matt Boyd DET (RwOBA .362)
    • John Danks CWS (RwOBA .366)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Trayce Thompson CWS – DiRT Canon Value – 122.96
  • Mike Moustakas KC – DiRT Canon Value – 111.38
  • Francisco Lindor – DiRT Canon Value97.78
  • Nick Swisher ATL – DiRT Canon Value93.96
  • Michael Cuddyer NYM – DiRT Canon Value93.88
  • Rusney Castillo BOS – DiRT Canon Value92.72

Other notables:  Travis d’Arnaud NYM is 9-23 with 3 HR’s, 9 RBI and 6 runs scored.  Evan Gattis HOU 8-22 with 4 HR’s, 7 RBI and 6 runs scored.

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Austin Jackson vs John Danks- Every once in awhile, we get a real good sample size of a batter and pitcher, and it shows how well that particular batter has done against said pitcher. Well tonight, we have Austin Jackson against John Danks. The fact that Danks has someone that hits well against him is SHOCKING to me. Jackson is 23-52 with six extra base hits, three of them being home runs, and a 1.164 OPS.

Dexter Fowler vs. Clayton Kershaw- If you asked me, “name a hitter that has hit Kershaw quite well in their career” my first answer would HAVE to be Dexter Fowler. It’s SOOOO obvious, right? Maybe not. But regardless, Fowler is 17-40 with three extra base hits and a 1.002 OPS.Sure, Fowler has singled Kershaw to death, but anyone with good numbers against Kershaw can certainly give you a slight edge.

Ian Kinsler vs. RA Dickey- Small sample size compared to the other two, but nonetheless, Kinsler has seen his success against Dickey. Kinsler is 6-16 against Dickey with two extra base hits, and a 1.194 OPS.


Weather

REJOICE – it appears to be all clear


Top 4 by Position – in no particular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Francisco Liriano ($10,000)- Truly, we have a LOT of good pitching options tonight. This could be a number of different pitchers tonight, and all would be worthy of a roster spot. Kazmir vs. Minnesota, Jungmann vs. Cincinnati, Tanaka vs. Atlanta, Gray vs. Arizona, Kershaw vs. Cubs, but he’s too expensive. You get the idea though. Overall, value wise and matchup wise, I love Liriano tonight. As I mentioned earlier, the Rockies are BRUTAL against  left handed pitching this year. If you need a refresher, just scroll up, I did all the research for you, so don’t roll your eyes. At the price point of 10K tonight, it makes Liriano all the more enticing. He hasn’t been as sharp as he was in the first half of the season, as he’s scored 20, 10.4 and 15.5 in his last three starts, which would most likely explain the drop in salary. Honestly, that’s fantastic. Again, you have a TON of options to pick tonight and I’ll be super curious to see what pair of pitchers end up taking down tournaments tonight. I just think Liriano deserves the extra long look.

Worth Considering

Josh Donaldson ($5700) – I know, I know. Give me a night you WOULDN’T want to roster Donaldson. So yes, it’s an obvious choice. But at least let me give you some numbers as to why Donaldson is a must in my eyes tonight. First off, he’s got Matt Boyd. I mean, I could end this section right here and you’d understand. But I’m not that kind of guy, I’ll give you some more. Boyd is a leftie, Donaldson loves lefties. This season, Donaldson owns a .464 wOBA against them with an insane .361 ISO. In other words, Donaldson destroys left handed pitching. Again, I get it, he’s an obvious choice, but I think it’s crazy not to include him in your lineup tonight.

Save $$$…

Pedro Alvarez ($3200) – The problem with Alverez is that he’s not starting like he used to. For someone who was always a lock in the lineup, Alverez isn’t seeing the starts he’s used to. Regardless, when he’s in the lineup, he’s always a threat to go deep. If he does indeed start, he faces Jonathan Gray, who’s averaging about 1.5 home runs per nine innings. Alverez has some good power against RHP, with a .224 ISO and wOBA of .324. They aren’t slam dunk numbers, but at the same time, you’re not paying much for him to begin with.


The Rest by Position

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– player capsules via Steve Buchanan


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What You Need to Know to #win Tuesday Night #DraftKings #FantasyBaseball

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97 years ago today, the highest scoring game in Major League Baseball History was played.  The Cubs lead the Phillies 25-6 at one point before giving up 14 runs in the final two-at-bats.  Chicago won 26-23.  Hack Miller of the Cubbies went 4-for-5, 2HR’s and 6 RBI.  Sounds like what the Rockies might do against Foltynewicz tonight – Now on with the show, and if you want to try your hand tonight click the link and get started.

Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas

Noah Syndergaard vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-200) – Vegas starts off their picks for today with Syndergaard going against the Phillies tonight. Not too shabby of a pick here, as Syndergaard enters tonight with a 3.17 ERA to go with a 1.14 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.5. Syndergaard has been struggling as bit as of late, especially in the first inning, where a lot of the damage has been coming in his starts. His inconsistensty might be the biggest factor that would shy me away from him, as otherwise, he’s been solid all around. We also do have the fact that the Philles are still hitting well in the second half. They own the 8th best wOBA in the league during the time span, and ruined quite a few nights last night as they took care of deGrom. Priced at $10,900, Syndergaard suddenly seems a bit pricey for a matchup that isn’t as much as a slam dunk as we once thought it would be. Vegas might love Syndergaardcropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png tonight, but I don’t know if I’m fully on board.

Alex Wood vs. Cincinnati Reds (-153)- For a short while last night, it looked as if the Reds might even get shut out by Buck Farmer last night. It truly would have been the icing on the cake for a horrible night last night. Eventually, the Reds busted out of their early game slump and starting piling the runs on the Tigers. Crisis averted. As for tonight, Wood is the second favorite for Vegas tonight, coming into tonight’s start with a 3.79 ERA to go with a 1.42 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.7. He hasn’t been that great since joining the Dodgers, giving up at least three runs in each of his four starts. His K:BB ratio also sits at 17:11 during the time span, which isn’t exactly going to get you a stamp of approval. Even though the Reds haven’t been hitting that well in the second half, a .308 wOBA in the second half, good for 22nd in the league, they’re still fully capable of piling on the runs as seen in last nights game. Wood is priced very cheap tonight, at $6,600, which is most likely the other reason I’d consider him for tonight. However, with how inconsistent he’s been with the Dodgers, I would only be using Wood in tournament plays.

Josh Tomlin vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-150) – Making two starts this season, and Vegas is already favoring him tonight? Man, someone must know something we don’t know and maybe we should go with that somebody! Tomlin enters tonight with a 2.03 ERA to go with a 0.68 WHIP. His two starts this season have come against the Twins, where he scored 17.3 points and the Yankees where he scored 27.4 points. So yes, he’s been great thus far. His K:BB ratio has also been on point, sitting at 11:2 in 13 1/3 innings. Priced at $5700, he could be a steal tonight with a good matchup against the Brewers. The Brewers have the 24th wOBA in the league in the second half of the season at .303 while striking out the 15th most in the league, at 20.9%. Honestly, even though it’s a small sample, Tomlin is almost too cheap to pass up tonight. I realize that you shouldn’t get all excited after two starts, and believe me, I’m not. But, at $5700, that sounds awfully good now doesn’t it?

Top Overall Game per O/U

Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers (Globe Life Park in Arlington) – 9.5 Over/Under – Tonight features the best hitting offense in the second half, the Toronto Blue Jays, against the Rangers with the 7th best wOBA at .330. Let the runs pour in on this one. Mark Buehrle takes on Derek Holland in this one. Buehrle comes into tonight with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He’s been pretty solid this season, and by that I mean on Buehrle standards. He isn’t someone you’re going to count on to get you 20+ points, but he’s good for the mid teens. However, going against the Rangers tonight, he could see some trouble. Buehrle has given up 19 hits in his last three starts, which seems to be happening a lot in his starts lately. He might limit the runs given up, but guys are getting on base, and not because of walks. The Rangers can certainly hit the ball, so Buehrle will certainly run into trouble with that tonight. Holland, is making his second start since returning from a shoulder injury in April. He’s made one start against the Mariners, scoring 21.5 points. I would very rarely recommend a pitcher going against the Blue Jays, who are just an offensive force. Besides have the top wOBA in the league, they also have the most power, with a .196 ISO. Insane numbers. Best of luck to Holland tonight.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Dallas Keuchel HOU (LwOBA .158)
    • Jake Arrieta CHC (LwOBA .237)
    • Alex Wood LAD (LwOBA .244)
  • Right handed batters
    • Jaime Garcia STL (RwOBA .221)
    • Alfredo Simon DET (RwOBA .265)
    • Jesse Chavez OAK (RwOBA .266)

Easiest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Mike Foltynewicz ATL (LwOBA .416)
    • Matt Cain SFG (LwOBA .433)
  • Right handed batters
    • Jerome Williams (RwOBA .407)
    • Mike Foltynewicz (RwOBA .369)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Nick Swisher ATL – DiRT Canon Value – 113.22
  • Mike Napoli TEX – DiRT Canon Value – 104.55
  • Josh Donaldson TOR – DiRT Canon Value – 103.65
  • Blake Swihart BOS – DiRT Canon Value – 94.80
  • Mark Canha OAK – DiRT Canon Value – 89.75
  • Melvin Upton SDP – DiRT Canon Value – 87.9

Other notables:  Wilmer Flores NYM is 12-27 with 3 HR’s, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored.  Edwin Encarnacion TOR went 4-4 recently and is 9-20 with 3 HR’s, 9 RBI and 8 runs scored.  Ian Kinsler DET is 15-31 with 2 HR’s, 6 RBI and 9 runs scored.

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Evan Longoria vs. Ervin Santana- Longoria hasn’t been doing much this season, but the least he could do is help us out against Santana tonight. Longoria is 6-15 with two extra base hits, both of them being home runs, and a 1.244 OPS.

Miguel Cabrera vs. Jered Weaver- I’m honestly surprised more players don’t hit Weaver well. He has like a 54 mph fastball. I might be off on the number, but it’s close! Cabrera is 8-26 against Weaver with five extra base hits, one of them being a home run, and a .977 OPS.

Chris Young vs. Dallas Keuchel- Ah yes, the left handed pitcher killer, Chris Young. He’s seen some moderate succcess against Keuchel, going 6-17 with three extra base hits and a .977OPS.


Weather

REJOICE – it appears to be all clear


Top 4 by Position – in no particular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

James Shields ($8,900)- Soooooo, I’m hoping tonight goes a lot better than last night for my pitcher pick. Everyone last night was like, “Oh Steve, you idiot, deGrom is getting rocked tonight! Buhhhhh, we hate you!” So I said, “Hey look player haters, I picked Iwakuma, so just relax and wait and see.” Well, Iwakuma scored -0.30 points. Hey, it least it was better than deGrom and his -6.60, right? Regardless, we messed up yesterday. But I feel good about Shields tonight (hard to believe me right now, huh?) Shields takes on the Nationals, who have completely fallen off the face of the earth in the second half of the season, with a wOBA of .302, good for 25th in the league. They’re also striking out a TON, with a K% of 23.6, which is second in the league. That’s Chicago Cubs status right there. I wish this start was in San Diego, but we’ll settle for Washington. At $8,900, Shields will be an nice start to your lineup without killing your salary cap.

Worth Considering

Charlie Blackmon($4600) – Blackmon batting leadoff against Mike Foltynewicz should be a good one tonight. Foltynewicz really struggles against lefties, and righties too, but especially lefties. They own a .416 wOBA against him, which is one of the worst on the night. As for Blackmon, he owns a .377 wOBA against RHP with some decent power, showcasing a .192 ISOrating. The added bump for Blackmon goes to the fact that he bats leadoff, so he’ll get the most exposure to Foltynewicz tonight, banking on the fact that he even makes it deep into this game. The Rockies have struggled a bit offensively in the second half, but have still feasted on below average pitching. At $4600, he won’t break your salary either, which is always an added bonus.

Save $$$…

Chris Young ($2900) – This is not going to be a popular pick. Hence, why I’m making it mine. Keuchel is just nasty, so the Yankees are going to be low owned today. Which is why, I love Young tonight. His price tag is super low, at $2900. Then, we have the fact that he crushes lefties. On the season against lefties, he owns a .435 wOBA with a .296 ISO. MONEY numbers I tell you. Also, if you’ve noticed in the BvP section, he’s hit Keuchel fairly well in their meetings together. 6-17 and only costing me $2900? I’ll take my chances.


The Rest by Position

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Randomly Generated Lineup Combinations – Ideas

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What You Need to Know for Tuesday Night #Baseball

Clemente

Today would have been Roberto Clemente’s 81st birthday – so let’s all toast a legend of the game while we watch StrikeZone!

Heavy Favorites – according to Vegas

Clayton Kershaw vs. Oakland A’s (-221) – Ànother fifth day, another start for Kershaw as the favorite on the night. It’s becoming  routine, so surely on Sunday, Kershaw will be here. Tonight, Kershaw gets the Oakland Athletics, a team that is really struggling to find their groove – ask Stella. Since the second half of the season, the A’s have the lowest wOBA out of ANY team in the league. Think about that for a moment, worse than Atlanta, Miami, crazy to think about, right? So other than the fact that the A’s can’t hit, they’re at least a tough team to strikeout. They maintained that in the second half, as their strikeout percentage stands at 18%, one of the best in both leagues. But truly, with Kershaw entering tonight with a K/9 of 11.3, what does that mean? Maybe he ends up with eight strikeouts on the night? Kershaw has just been that good. Since the All Star break, Kerhsaw owns a 0.92 ERA giving up only four runs in 39 innings and striking out 45. As usual though, he’s going to cost you a fortune to roster. Priced at $15,000, you better get damn creative building the rest of your roster – thankfully I can help with that.
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Francisco Liriano vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-215)- We were arguing recently, if the Diamondbacks were getting the respect they deserve when it comes to being a good offensive club. They gave Gerrit Cole a run for his money last night. Tonight, Liriano is the second highest favored pitcher of the night. Like Cole, Liriano hasn’t exactly had a stellar month of August. He’s pitched nine innings giving up seven runs on 13 hits with a 9:6 K:BB ratio. Not exactly great numbers when you’re going to face a team that owns the ninth highest wOBA on the month at .331. Overall, Liriano comes into tonight with a 3.19 ERA with a 1.13WHIP and a K/9 of 9.9. Once again, we’re not sure we’re all giddy to throw Liriano on a roster tonight against this D-Backs team. Are they as good as we’re making them out to be? Maybe not, but I can’t feel great about putting pitcher in tonight that hasn’t exactly shown much as of late. At $10,300, it certainly is risky.

RA Dickey vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-190) – We’ll give credit when it’s due, Dickey has been solid as of late. Dickey has given up only four runs in his last three starts on 14 hits and a K:BB ratio of 13:6. For a knuckleballer, that’s pretty good. Tonight, he gets those Phillies that Vegas loves to hate on. After starting off the second half on fire, the Phillies have seen their wOBA slip to the middle of the league at .312, good for 16th. Dickey is of course, one of the toughest pitchers to predict because, quite frankly, even he doesn’t know what the knuckler will do on a particular day, Dickey has had his struggles on the road this season, with his wOBA against is over 60 points higher compared to at home. His price tonight just might make him a serious consideration, as he’s only going to run you for $7000.

Top Overall Game per O/U

Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 11 Over/Under- Vegas is expecting some fireworks in this one. Jordan Zimmermann takes on David Hale in this one. Zimmermann has looked like his old self lately in his past two starts, scoring 22.6 and 30 points against the Rockies and Dodgers. However, of course, pitching in Coors Field adds a whole different dynamic to the equation. As for Hale, he’s coming off the disabled list to return to the rotation, proving how bad their rotation really is. Hale owns a 5.69 ERA on the season with a 1.39 WHIPand a K/9 of 6.6. The Nationals have really been struggling at the plate, owning a .296 wOBA this month, good for 24th in the league. Nothing a little Coors Field can’t fix, right? As always, find a way to work a couple of these hitters into your lineup tonight.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Felix Doubront OAK (LwOBA .218)
    • CC Sabathia NYY (LwOBA .222)
    • John Danks CWS (LwOBA .253)
  • Right handed batters
    • Jacob DeGrom NYM (RwOBA .197)
    • Clayton Kershaw LAD (RwOBA .238)
    • Jordan Zimmermann WAS (RwOBA .256)

Easiest L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Matt Wisler ATL (LwOBA .436)
    • Tyler Cravy MIL (LwOBA .424)
  • Right handed batters
    • CC Sabathia NYY (RwOBA .385)
    • Felix Dubront OAK (RwOBA .373)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Chase Utley PHI – DiRT Canon Value 106.66
  • Carl Crawford LADDiRT Canon Value – 101.06
  • Pedro Alvarez PITDiRT Canon Value – 98.37
  • Jackie Bradley Jr BOS  – DiRT Canon Value – 93.63
  • Alejandro De Aza BOSDiRT Canon Value – 90.90
  • Matt Kemp SDP – DiRT Canon Value – 88.86

Other notables:  Joey Votto is 11-for-23 with 2 HR’s, 7 RBI and 6 runs scored.  Miguel Sano is 10-for-24 with 3 HR’s, 9 RBI, a stolen base and 4 runs scored.

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Brian McCann vs. Mike Pelfrey – All is right in the world once again! McCann is 19-40 against Pelfrey with 10 extra base hits, two of them going for home runs, and a 1.368 OPS.

Adrian Beltre vs. Hisashi Iwakuma- If Iwakuma is thinking he’s going to pull out another no hitter, Beltre is here to stop him dead in his tracks. Beltre is 11-33 against Iwakuma with four extra base hits, three of those going for home runs and a 1.008 OPS.

Nick Markakis vs. James Shields- These two have seen a lot of each other back in their AL East days. Tonight, they matchup once again with Markakis 23-74 against Shields with seven extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a .859 OPS.


Weather

Looks like it might be a clear night of baseball!


Top 4 by Position – in no partciular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Garrett Richards ($9,800) –Raise your hand if you made a weird face when you saw Richards here. I’ll admit, I did, and I’m the one writing this. I have a few reasons to go this route so hear me about before you close this article in disgust and un follow me on Twitter. First off, Kershaw is just too expensive. $15,000. Putting Kershaw on your roster leaves you with $35,000 to work with, or $3,888 on average for each remaining player. Even if you went with Adam Conley, who’s the cheapest pitcher on the night, that leaves you with an average of $3,862 per player. Doable, but tough for sure. Then we have deGrom. Do I like the matchup against Baltimore? I don’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t hate if you draft deGrom tonight. His WHIP is a ridiculous 0.83 and he doesn’t give up a lot of home runs, only 11 on the year, but at Camden Yards scares me a bit. I have no doubt that deGrom will most likely have a solid start, but at $11,600, I’d at least want to like the matchup a bit more. Baltimore does own the best wOBA against RHP this season. So, with all that being said, here we are with Richards.

After starting off the month hitting way more to the potential people thought the White Sox have, they’ve fallen all the way down to 15th in wOBA in the month of August. Their power is decent, as they’re 10th in ISO this month, but a matchup in LA makes me feel a lot better about dealing with that. The White Sox are also in the middle of the pack in terms of strikeout % sitting at 20.5 on the month, or 14th in the league. I’m ok with that since Richards has a K/9 of 7.1, which I feel as if that’s obtainable tonight or close to it. Overall, for his price tag of $9800, it gives you a good chunk of flexibility that you wouldn’t necessarily get with deGrom and certainly not with Kershaw. Richards certainly isn’t the same caliber pitcher as those two, but matchup wise, I’m feeling good about this one.

Worth Considering

Anthony Rizzo($4900) – Rizzo gets a matchup tonight with the home run happy Anibal Sanchez. The majority of the home runs Sanchez has let up as come from RHB, but Rizzo does such a good job against righties, I like this chances tonight. Rizzo owns a .392 wOBA against righties this season with an ISO of .262. Big numbers for sure against someone who struggles to keep the ball on the park. Sanchez is given up an astonishing 28 home runs on the season. If someone can take him deep, Rizzo is certainly fitting the mold tonight.

Save $$$…

Abraham Almonte ($2000) – Honestly, I’m riding the hot streak right now. Almonte doesn’t have impressive overall numbers, but he’s been hitting well since taking over the every day outfield role in Cleveland. In the month of August, Almonte is batting .286 with two home runs, and eight RBIs. Again, nothing overly impressive, but at just $2000, you have nothing to lose here. Tonight he faces Eduardo Rodriguez, who has an wOBA over .300 against both RHBand LHB. Almonte, being a switch hitter, can take advantage of either side. He’s not a great hitter and don’t expect a ton, but even a 5-7 point night exceeds what you could ask for from someone who’s an everyday starter costing you the minimum price possible.


The Rest by Position

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Randomly Generated Lineup Combinations – Ideas

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Friday Dregs

Iguodala comes through for Kerr and the Warriors

Andre Iguodala didn’t start a game during the 2014-15 regular season and he hadn’t started a game during this year’s playoffs until Steve Kerr sent him to the floor to begin Game 4 of the Finals. Iguodala proceeded to score 22 points and grab eight rebounds, both tied for the Warriors’ team high, as Golden State topped the Cavaliers, 103-82, to deadlock the series.

Over the last 45 years, the only other players who started an NBA Finals game without starting a game during either the preceding regular season or earlier in that year’s playoffs were Terry Teagle (1991 Lakers), Marcus Camby (1999 Knicks) and Manu Ginobili (2013 Spurs). Ginobili (24 points in Game 5) and Iguodala (on Thursday night) are the only players among them who either scored 20 or more points or pulled down as many as eight rebounds in their first start during that year’s Finals.

Convincing road victory for Golden State

The Warriors’ 21-point margin of victory in Game 4 was the largest for any road team in an NBA Finals game in which they entered the game trailing in the series. The previous high was 16 points by Miami in its 109-93 Game 4 victory at San Antonio in 2013.

Cleveland off the mark from downtown

The Cavaliers made only four of their 27 three-point field-goal attempts in Game 4 (14.8 percent). There have been 474 instances in NBA playoff history in which a team launched at least 25 shots from three-point range; only four other teams that took 25 or more three-point shots made as low a percentage of them as did the Cavaliers, with the last such team doing it 18 years ago, when the Bulls made four of 27 three-point shots (14.8%) in an 87-80 loss at Miami in Game 4 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals. The only other team to hit such a low three-point percentage (minimum: 25 shots) in a Finals game was the Bulls, who made only three of 26 three-point shots (11.5%) in losing Game 5 of the 1996 Finals at Seattle, 89-78.

Not many turnovers in Game 4

The Warriors (seven) and Cavaliers (nine) combined to commit only 16 turnovers in Game 4. That is the second-lowest total of turnovers in a NBA Finals game in any of the last 15 years. The only Finals game with fewer turnovers during that time (2001-2015) was the opener of the 2013 Finals, when the Spurs (four) and Heat (nine) combined to turn the ball over only 13 times.

Kazmir limits the Rangers to one hit, again

Scott Kazmir threw eight innings for the Athletics as they topped the Rangers, 7-0, and the only hit he allowed was a fifth-inning single by Elvis Andrus. It was the 11th major-league game this season in which a pitcher had a scoreless outing of seven or more innings without allowing more than one hit. Kazmir is the only pitcher who has had two such games and both were against the Rangers in Oakland. He pitched seven scoreless innings versus Texas on April 8, allowing one hit (a bunt single by Leonys Martin leading off the game).

nullCuddyer’s first walkoff RBI since 2006

Michael Cuddyer‘s second go-ahead RBI of the night came on a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth inning and gave the Mets a 5-4 triumph over the Giants. Cuddyer, who hadn’t produced a game-ending RBI since he hit a walkoff homer for the Twins on April 19, 2006, played 1140 major-league games in the interim. Cuddyer entered Thursday’s game with the longest current streak of consecutive games without a walkoff RBI among active major-league players, a distinction that now belongs to San Diego’s Clint Barmes, who has played 1090 games since the only walkoff RBI of his career (a game-ending homer for the Rockies off Trevor Hoffman in the 2005 season opener).

Trout and Pujols both homer for the Angels

Mike Trout homered in the sixth inning and Albert Pujols hit a four-bagger in the ninth to help the Angels beat the Rays at Tropicana Field. It was the fifth game this season in which both Trout and Pujols homered, tying them with Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison for the most such games for any major-league teammates this year.

nullMarcum tosses a gem

Shaun Marcum pitched seven innings and limited the Mariners to two hits in the Indians’ 6-0 shutout on Thursday afternoon. Marcum joined Trevor Bauer (April 9) and Corey Kluber (May 13) as Cleveland starters who have won games this season in which they had a scoreless outing of at least six innings without allowing more than two hits. The only other major-league teams that have had starts of that kind by three different pitchers this season are the Athletics (Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmirand Drew Pomeranz) and Giants (Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Chris Heston).

nullGonzalez allows a run

The Rangers’ Chi Chi Gonzalez saw his career ERA balloon to 0.42 by allowing one run in seven innings versus the Athletics as he suffered his first loss in his third major-league game. Fernando Valenzuela posted a 0.33 ERA through his first three starts in the majors (in 1981), but since then, the only other pitcher who accumulated at least 20 innings through his first three major-league starts while pitching to an ERA as low as Gonzalez’s is Pat Combs, who had a 0.41 ERA to that point of his career for the 1989 Phillies.

Hit the DiRT

We live in a country where “The Pursuit of Happiness” is written into the Declaration of Independence – the pursuit of, not a guarantee.  So the pursuit of one man, who at one point, was the epitome of masculinity, decided to change genders.  I do not  have a problem with it – I do have a problem with the righteous police ordering me how I’m supposed to feel about it.  The world is hard enough.  More than ever, tragedy, violence, mayhem and injustice seem to be the order of the day.  It gets to be impossible to enjoy with a clear conscience whatever little piece of tranquility you’ve carved out for yourself, without being told how to feel about something that is medically possible.  Just because it is possible does not make it natural and just because it is unnatural does not make it unethical – or maybe to some, it does…

What makes us happy anyway?  Maybe the conclusion is that most people are only really happy when something bad doesn’t happen to them – schadenfreude.  Like when the Broncos get blown out of the Superbowl.  Maybe the next time we feel shitty for not feeling shitty about someone feeling shitty is to remember that schadenfreude cancels itself out – because other people feel the same way about our problems.  It’s human nature, it’s our DNA and maybe we aren’t in the first class cabin – we can still take a little joy in knowing those in steerage have to wait for us to get into our lifeboat, before they are even allowed up on the deck of the Titanic.  So who cares how someone chooses to pee.  Let’s stop politicizing everything all the time (ESPN) – happiness is not settling for less, just not being miserable with what is – learn to love the simple things – maybe the point is, happiness does not always require a resolution.


Joey Votto Walked On Three Balls; Everything Is A Lie

Joey Votto Walked On Three Balls; Everything Is A Lie

Yup, that’s a three-ball walk in the 7th inning yesterday – Is there no justice?  Is everything a lie?

Holliday’s continues streak

Matt Holliday, walked and singled in four plate-appearances Monday night.  He has reached base (by hit, walk or HBP) in in all 45 games he’s played this year, the fifth-longest streak to start a season by any major-league player since 1900. The four longer season-starting streaks of that kind in the modern era were fashioned by Derek Jeter (53 games in 1999), Frank Thomas (52 in 1996), Mark McGwire (48 in 1996) and Alvin Davis (47 in 1984).

Brewers side-step Cardinals, 1-0

The Brewers’ victory over the Cardinals Monday night, is only the third time in the expansion era (1961 to present) that a team with the outright worst record in the major leagues had a 1-0 win over the club with the majors’ outright best record entering that game. The other two decisions of that kind were earned by Tampa Bay in September 2007 at Fenway Park (Scott Kazmir struck out 10 Red Sox batters in seven innings) and the Marlins in October 1999 at Atlanta (Cliff Floyd‘s solo homer accounted for the game’s only run.)

nullCashner strikes out 12 on 11 hits

Andrew Cashner struck out 12 batters but allowed 11 hits while pitching only 4 2/3 innings on Monday. No other pitcher in the modern era (1900 to date) allowed at least 10 hits and struck out 10 or more batters while throwing fewer than five innings in one game.

 

nulldeGrom-ming

Jacob deGrom has struck out at least eight batters without allowing a walk in each of his last three games, including Monday’s win over the Padres. The only other pitchers in the modern era (1900 to date) with eight or more strikeouts and no walks in three straight appearances are Cliff Lee (2013) and Ferguson Jenkins (1976, including a four-inning relief stint).

nullDodgers blow up in the 6th vs Rockies

Clayton Kershaw stroked a double and two singles in the Dodgers’ 11-4 victory over the Rockies, becoming the fourth pitcher this season to record a win and three hits in the same game. (The others were Josh Collmenter, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.) That equals the total number of such performances in the majors all of last season.

If you think the reigning Cy Young Award recipient is a certain winner when he gets at least 10 runs of support….well you’re almost correct. Those pitchers are now 140-1 all-time in that situation, with the lone defeat suffered by the Blue Jays’ Pat Hentgen in 1997 – thanks Pat. Hentgen allowed 11 runs in eight innings in a 13-12 loss to the Red Sox.

Springer + Gattis = Astros rally

The Astros had their major-league leading 16th comeback win of the season on Monday against the Orioles. George Springer‘s single on a 3-0 pitch tied the game at 2-2, and after Jose Altuve‘s sacrifice fly, Evan Gattis singled on an 0-2 pitch to drive in the final two runs. No other major-league team has had RBI hits on 3-0 and 0-2 pitches in the same inning this season.

Yung’ns lead Chicago to win

The Cubs beat the Marlins on Monday, 5-1, with all five runs being driven in by players age 25 or younger: Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler. The Cubs hadn’t had five different players age 25 or younger drive in runs in the same game since September 14, 1974 (Ron Dunn, Jerry Morales, Rob Sperring, Andre Thornton, Jim Tyrone).

Pujols and Trout slug it out

Albert Pujols and Mike Trout each homered for the Angels on Monday, for the 20th time since they became teammates in 2012 – but Pujols sez the Angels are still more than just Trout. The only other major-league teammates to homer in the same game 20 times over that span are Chris Davis and Adam Jones (also 20).

nullTeixeira slams King Felix

The Yankees scored all seven of their runs off Felix Hernandez in Monday night’s win, highlighted by Mark Teixeira‘s grand slam. It’s was only the fifth home game for Hernandez in which he found himself facing a deficit of seven or more runs.

Teixeira has now hit six home runs off Hernandez, the highest total for any player, now one more than Hernandez’s current teammate, Nelson Cruz.

nullWood helps himself

Alex Wood‘s two-run single gave the Braves an early 2-0 lead and Atlanta went on to defeat the Diamondbacks, 8-1. Braves pitchers have driven in eight runs this season, the most for any team’s pitching staff in 2015.