There are only three pitchers on this slate who have more than 10Ks per nine innings this season. They are Jake Arrieta, (our friend) Michael Pineda and Robbie Ray. It’s Ray that leads the slate in this category with a whopping 11.78 K/9 in his three starts this year. He’s fired back-to-back solid outings with 29.6 and 27.3 DK points in his last two starts with the latter coming against the LA Dodgers. That Dodgers team will be his opponent again today with a quick turnaround from whiffing ten times against Ray just five days ago. Plenty of concerns with Ray including that this game is at hitter friendly Chase Field but the Dodgers have been miserable against LHP this season and he’s pitching too well with too many K’s to overlook.
Today’s Projections | 2017 Game Logs | Player Scoring Calendar
If you need some value, consider Lance Lynn. Remember that he missed the entire 2016 campaign after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. It’s not shocking that he started slow in his first two starts, getting knocked around a bit (in his defense it was against CHC and WAS) but was rather impressive five days ago against Pittsburgh. Lynn scattered three hits over seven innings and returned his owners 26.2 DraftKings points. Again, I don’t love this matchup with the potent Milwaukee offense, but they are striking out at an incredible 26.9% this season, the second worth rate in the league.
This is a fairly weak pitching slate in my opinion, so this sets up for plenty of stack options today. A really interesting situation
The Mets present an interesting option against Gio Gonzalez. If there’s anything we know about Gio, it’s that he’s just as likely to give up ten runs as he is to throw a shutout. One of the more volatile pitchers in the league will make his first road start of the season against the Mets who will certainly be up to the challenge. The Mets own the league’s third best wOBA against LHP this season. Yoenis Cespedes is technically day-to-day so I suppose there’s a chance he plays today, but probably unlikely. If he does sit, that would certainly make the lineup less potent but should open up potential value.
Speaking of volatile, which version of Steven Wright are we going to get today? In his last outing, he was solid, turning in six innings with only one earned run and notched the win. However, in the outing prior, he was SHELLED for eight hits, eight runs and four dingers in only 1.1 IP. That outing was against the Baltimore Orioles who…Wright will have to face again today.
Introducing the MLB Player Scoring Calendar! This is something I think will be really cool for the MLB season. It’s a visual representation of the Game Logs Database. It will allow you to easily scroll through and find out which players have been scoring well lately, as opposed to over the course of the entire season. Here’s a screenshot of it looks like:
There are two ways to view the Player Calendar:
It’s time to kickoff the second week of the MLB season! Don’t panic! If things haven’t gone your way so far, there’s only six months to go! Let’s stick with the grind and continue our research process.
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Would you kill me if I mentioned Michael Pineda again? Absolutely scorched everyone in his first outing of the season, allowing four earned in just 3.2 IP to these Rays that he has to face again tonight! What a start to the season! Thanks to those fun facts, I expect most owners to avoid Pineda like the plague. The metrics are still in place, however. Pineda is one of only two pitchers on the slate with a 10+K/9 (Verlander) and the Rays have the fourth highest K% in the league.
Today’s Projections | 2017 Game Logs
Another day, another Phillies target? No one in the league is striking out more than the Fightin’ Phils (27.1%) and now they face the ever-nasty Jacob deGrom. JG dazzled in his first start of the year, hurling six innings and striking out the same number while surrendering just two hits. deGrom should feast on the NL East this year and today is just another opportunity. It’s fairly shocking that three pitchers are more expensive than deGrom today.
To say that the Mariners are starting slow would be an understatement. I know this is only week number two, but not team has scored fewer runs than Seattle. They also own the league’s worst wOBA, second-worst .ISO and fifth worst K%. They will face Charlie Morton today. By no stretch do I think Charlie Morton is an excellent option, but I think he’s an appealing #2 pitcher on DraftKings at only $6,600. Rostering him against a struggling team, in a pitcher’s park would allow for plenty of roster flexibility.
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Let me get some of that Diamondbacks stock for today. They will face Matt Moore for the second time already this year. In the first outing, they knocked Moore around for eight hits in 5.1 IP, scoring six runs. Not only are the Diamondbacks leading the league in wOBA this season but they also led the league in wOBA versus LHP last season.
Chris Sale versus the Tigers offense is a heavy-weight bout. Sale enters the slate as the most expensive pitcher on both sites but his matchup is far from sublime. The Tigers own a stellar record against LHP this season, with the 4th best wOBA (.462) and only striking out at 14.9%. This matchup will be divisive but could be impact to winning a GPP. I’ll embrace the volatile side of stacking the Tigers.
With a week on MLB action in the books, we can start to use some of that data to help us find DFS opportunity. I’ve switched the daily charts to use 2017 information for hitters. Since most pitchers have only made one start, we cannot use their 2017 data alone just yet, so it’s not a combination of 2016 and 2017 stats. Let’s take a look!
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Let’s start with the chalk. Expect heavy ownership on Stephen Strasburg who is one of three pitchers to enter the slate with a 10+ K/9. Of those three, he probably has the best matchup as he will battle Philadelphia today. The Phillies exploded for 17 runs last night, but that’s obviously unlikely to happen with any regularity for this team. Entering yesterday, the Phillies were striking out at 28.6% which was the second highest mark in the league so far this season.
Today’s Projections | 2017 Game Logs
You also have to like Gerrit Cole on this slate. This is a chance to “buy low” early in the season after Cole was pedestrian in his opener. Cole fanned just two batters and allowed five earned in five innings. Don’t forget that was against a potent Red Sox offense in an American League park. Cole will return home as a significant favorite (-142) to face a putrid Atlanta offense.
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The Nationals offense also looks like a “go!” today. They lead the league in wOBA and will face Jeremy Hellickson today. Hellickson pitched to contact in his first outing of the season, only striking out one over five innings in Cincinnati. I don’t like to look back at past seasons too much, but we are short on data for 2017, so I’ll make an exception. Hellickson faced the Nationals four times last season and was feast of famine. Two outings combined for 13 runs over nine innings while he allowed just one earned in 14 innings for the other two starts. I’m willing to invest in a Nationals offense that has swing it well in the first week of the year.
Dodgers are obvious. Playing at Coors against Tyler Anderson who allowed five earned in 5.2 IP in his first outing.
I’m at least vaguely interested in the Athletics today against Martin Perez. It’s not that I love the A’s, I just don’t like Perez! He has the unfortunate honor of being the owner of slate’s worth K/9 and the worst xFIP. That’s a pretty killer combination when it comes to opponent opportunity. Oakland has been middle of the road this year and should benefit from playing in Texas as opposed to Oakland. Also, it’s supposed to be over 80 degrees in Arlington tomorrow, so the ball should be flying!
Back again with the first TRUE full slate of the MLB season. That means all 30 teams are in action and both sites have an “All-Day” slate. I am a big fan of removing the narratives from MLB and using analytics since they are so readily available in this sport. I will continue to provide charts as often as possible and use them to provide potential plays of the day. Let’s not waste anymore time and let’s see the pitchers:
This is sorted by the pitches K/9 and immediately there are two pitchers who jump off the page. Rich Hill and Michael Pineda are both high strikeout pitchers (10K/9+) and facing prolific strikeout teams. The Rays and Padres strikeout at 24.5% and 25% respectively. Rich Hill has opened as a massive -250 favorite which is indicated in his inflated pricing on both sites. It’s Pineda that offers an appealing pivot option for $2,400 less on DraftKings and $1,400 less on Fanduel. Pineda, himself, is a -126 favorite in a game that has been pinned with a small 7.5 total.
We will talk about Jameson Taillon plenty this season, but not today against the Red Sox.
It’s probably worth noting the pricing discrepancies on Garrett Richards and James Paxton. Both are significantly cheaper on DraftKings than Fanduel. Richards checked in at only $7,100 compared to $8,600 on FD. Richards is in a beneficial matchup with Oakland who doesn’t strikeout often, but they also don’t score a ton of runs. Richards will also benefit from that big ballpark in Oakland. James Paxton is $6,900 on DK and $7,700 on FD. Paxton has a dazzling 3.35 xFIP last season and will face a high strikeout team in Houston.
Let’s switch to the team stacks:
“Big Game” James Shields is in for a world of hurt today. In fact, that “Big Game” nickname really just means that everyone he faces has a big game. Shields sported a brutal 5.21 xFIP last season and allowed 40 (!!) dingers. He will face a tough Detroit Tigers lineup which had the third best wOBA in the league.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will get Matt Moore who is extremely volatile. I think the Diamondbacks as a GPP option. They were a top offense against LHP last season.
I like to think that J.A. Happ had the best season of his career last year, with a 20-4 record. Despite that record, his advanced metrics were fairly pedestrian. His 4.18 xFIP and 7.52 K/9 provide very little to be excited about. He will face a tough Baltimore Orioles lineup who was ranked 8th in wOBA at home last season.
If you’d like to see other metrics and charts, give me a shout on Twitter. These will evolve over time based on the feedback that I receive.
A running compilation of game logs for the 2017 MLB season. They include every game, started by every player. These are the complete box scores, along with DraftKings/Fanduel scoring and Las Vegas lines. For the first time, these will also include DraftKings and Fanduel salaries (when available). They are perfect for back-testing theories, creating projections or anything else you can possibly think of. They are in CSV format for easy manipulation. Here’s a screenshot of what they look like:
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