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Guest post at StarStreet: The “All-in with Lance Lynn” strategy

April 21, 2012

I contributed a guest post today to the StarStreet blog, explaining the pros and cons of a daily fantasy baseball strategy I dubbed “All-in with Lance Lynn.” The idea is to identify a cheap starting pitcher with a favorable match-up and then buy the maximum number of shares possible within the constraints of the game. On StarStreet last night, that would have meant using your $100k budget to purchase 4 shares of Lynn at $20k each and then filling out your remaining two spots with position player shares. I also suggest some modifications to the strategy for those who prefer a slightly more diversified approach that’s still based on heavily investing in cheap SPs.

Have you tried this strategy in your own daily fantasy baseball lineups? How has it worked for you? What other strategies would you like me to discuss in future posts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below or over on the StarStreet blog.

Here is the post in its entirety. Note that at the end I offer some suggested lineups for today’s games built around some of today’s better starting pitcher vaules on StarStreet.

Strategy: “All-in with Lance Lynn”

What it is: Buying max shares of a single cheap starting pitcher (such as 4 shares of a $20k SP) with a favorable match-up, then spending your remaining budget on a few shares of position players.

Who should use it: You should be confident in a pitcher’s match-up and enjoy the gamble of having almost all of your eggs in that one basket.

Pros: If your pitcher has a strong outing, say 15-20 points per share, his points alone will be enough to win your contest the majority of the time. If you were truly confident in the match-up and chose to enter many contests with the same lineup, that strong outing from your pitcher will win most if not all of your contests.

For example, on Friday, April 20, StarStreet trader “louiescards” took this approach by entering 18 contests at different buy-in levels, each with an identical lineup of 4x Lance Lynn ($20,000), 2x Ian Kinsler ($7,283), and 1x Jhonny Peralta($5,158). Lynn was a smart pick for several reasons:

  • He had pitched well in his first two outings of 2011, earning 21.25 points on April 8 @ Milwaukee and 15.5 points on April 14 vs the Cubs.
  • Lynn also had an extremely favorable match-up against the Pittsburgh Pirates, baseball’s weakest offense so far in 2012. Through the season’s first 13 games, the Pirates have scored just 27 runs (2.1 per game) and have a team OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .534.
  • On top of that, PNC Park played as a pitcher’s park last year, with a .959 park factor for runs scored and a .799 park factor for home runs.
  • Also in Lynn’s favor, his Cardinals came in at 9-4 on the young season, while the Pirates were 5-7. Since pitcher wins are worth 5 points in StarStreet fantasy baseball scoring, it’s important to evaluate a pitcher in the context of his team and expected run support.

The Texas-Detroit game was rained out, so louiescards would get no production out of Kinsler or Peralta. His fate would now rest entirely on Lance Lynn. Luckily for him, Lynn pitched 7 solid innings (4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4K) against the Pirates, earning the win and 17.25 points per share. Having bought 4 shares of Lynn, louiescards now had a strong total of 69 points across all of his line-ups. While that total won’t always be enough to win, last night it was in each of louiescards’ contests, as he went a perfect 18-0. Look at his trader page today and see that beautiful block of 18 consecutive wins, and I think you’ll agree that there’s no better advertisement for this high-variance approach.

Cons: Obviously, this strategy worked like a charm for those who invested heavily in Lance Lynn last night, but what are some of its drawbacks? It is certainly a volatile approach, and if Lynn had not performed well for any reason (the Pirates hit him hard, the game was rained out, he was scratched or left the game early due to sickness or injury), you would have almost certainly lost with this approach. (Even on a good day, two shares of Kinsler and one of Peralta aren’t going to win many match-ups on their own.)

Also bear in mind that Lynn benefited from a little bit of good fortune in terms of earning a win, something that isn’t entirely under the pitcher’s control. Sure, when you hold the opposition to 1 run over 7 innings you’ll usually get the win, but he did leave the game with just a 2-1 lead in the 7th, and if the Cardinals’ bullpen allowed the Pirates to tie it up, there goes Lynn’s win, and with it, 5 points per share of his fantasy points. Had that happened last night, Lynn would have only scored 12.25 points, and traders who bought 4 shares would’ve gotten 49, not 69, points from him. With that point total, louiescards would have gone 11-7 on the night instead of 18-0. Pitcher wins and losses are significant. Keep that in mind when you’re considering an Ivan Nova (who’s won 15 straight decisions, thanks to good pitching and some of the best run support in baseball) or a Felix Hernandez (who won just 13 games in his Cy Young season of 2010, playing for the offensively-challenged Mariners).

Modifications: If you find this strategy a bit too risky for your taste, you could dial it back to 3 shares of the cheap starting pitcher, leaving $40k to spend on position players. If you then spent that $40k on the cheapest hitters (perhaps buying 8 shares of players priced at $5,000 exactly), you might have enough potential on the offensive side to still win some of your match-ups when the pitcher under performs.

Another tactic would be to identify not just one but several cheap pitchers with good match-ups on a given day. Then instead of entering 18 lineups built around Lance Lynn, like louiescards did, you might enter 6 built around pitcher A, 6 around pitcher B, and 6 around pitcher C. For Saturday’s games, consider the following:

Player            	Share Price   Shares	Sub-Total
Jake Westbrook @ PIT	$20,256.00	4	$81,024.00
Bryan LaHair vs CIN	$5,077.00	2	$10,154.00
Matt Kemp @ HOU	        $8,642.00	1	$8,642.00
TOTAL			                        $99,820.00

Player            	Share Price   Shares	Sub-Total
Philip Humber @ SEA	$20,000.00	4	$80,000.00
Evan Longoria vs MIN	$7,796.00	1	$7,796.00
Michael Bourn @ ARI	$6,636.00	1	$6,636.00
Mike Napoli @ DET	$5,429.00	1	$5,429.00
TOTAL			                        $99,861.00

Player            	Share Price   Shares	Sub-Total
Jake Arrieta @ LAA	$20,000.00	4	$80,000.00
David Freese @ PIT	$5,000.00	2	$10,000.00
Nolan Reimold @ LAA	$5,000.00	2	$10,000.00
TOTAL			                        $100,000.00

Thoughts on BVP Data and Daily Fantasy Baseball Plays for Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012

Before we get to today’s picks, here’s an important caveat on batter vs pitcher (BVP) data:

When assessing BVP data, always ask yourself if either the batter or pitcher is a significantly different player than he was earlier in his career. Case in point: Brandon McCarthy. Before his breakout 2011, McCarthy was a very ordinary, hitable pitcher, who threw over 370 innings in the AL between 2005-2010. BVP data, especially for veteran AL hitters, is going to reflect the old Brandon McCarthy more than it will the reinvented McCarthy of ’11, who boasted gaudy numbers like a 1.13 WHIP and a K:BB ratio of almost 5. If you see that one of the Angels hitters has had good success against McCarthy, look closer to determine which McCarthy those hits came against: the 2011 version or the pitcher he used to be. And before investing in any Angels for today’s game, consider that they’ll be fresh off a cross-country flight following their appearance on Sunday Night Baseball. On to the picks…

Here are two hitters to play and one to avoid in the daily fantasy baseball game at StarStreet. I also briefly touch on a few of today’s attractive starting pitching options. Today’s picks are in paragraph form rather than the more structured approach I used in previous columns (please tell me in the comments which you prefer).

My recommendations take into account a number of variables, including 2011 park factor, batter vs pitcher statistics, recent performance, and any interesting batter or pitcher splits (home/road, day/night, month). Also included is their current share price for the daily game at StarStreet.


David Ortiz vs TB (RHP James Shields), 11:05 am EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $7,057/share
If I’m playing a Red Sox hitter against Tampa Bay ace James Shields tomorrow, it’s David Ortiz. Big Papi is 15 for 46 against Shields lifetime with 3 HR, 9 doubles, and 15 RBI. Normally a slow starter in April, Ortiz has been as hot as any hitter in baseball this weekend, going 9 for 13 with 4 doubles, a HR, and 8 RBI, raising his average to .444. While Shields and Joe Maddon might normally be tempted to pitch around the red hot Ortiz, they’ll likely have to contend with Cody Ross in the 6 hole, who hit his first two Fenway Park homers over the weekend. Remember that the Sox and Rays get started at 11:05 am EDT tomorrow in the annual Patriots Day game, the only contest in the big four sports leagues that starts before noon local time. 

Jason Heyward vs NYM (RHP Dillon Gee), 7:10 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $6,173/share
Jason Heyward looks like a great play tomorrow at home against Dillon Gee and the Mets. Heyward is 4 for 10 lifetime against Gee with a HR and 5 BB against just 2 K. He’s also been hot lately: 7 for 14 with 2 HR, 2 BB, and 1 K over his last four games. In his first two seasons, Heyward also had an .832 OPS against right-handed pitching compared to just .690 against lefties.

Elite Starting Pitchers
I’ve been focusing mostly on hitters both in this column and in my own contests at StarStreet (yes, I do follow the advice dispensed here for the most part). That said, with just 10 games on the slate tomorrow and many aces taking the hill, this might be a good day to build your lineup around pitcher shares. My top picks from a value standpoint would be Stephen Strasburg vs HOU ($30,038/share), Jered Weaver vs OAK ($34,846/share), and Roy Halladay @ SF ($39,960/share), in that order.


Kevin Youkilis vs TB (RHP James Shields), 11:05 am EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $7,349/share
I’d avoid Youkilis tomorrow. He’s 4 for 39 lifetime against James Shields with 4 BB and 11 K. While I take the very small batter vs pitcher samples with a grain of salt, after 40 ABs the hitter has to be aware that he’s struggling with a certain pitcher. Bobby V also had some discouraging things to say about Youk in an interview tonight with WEEI: “I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.” Youkilis also has a fairly large lefty/right split, hitting LHP for an OPS of 1.055 over the last three seasons, compared to just .869 vs RHP.

Daily Fantasy Baseball Plays for Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15, 2012

Here are Sunday’s picks for the daily fantasy baseball game at StarStreet. These recommendations take into account a number of variables, including 2011 park factor, batter vs pitcher statistics (though these are often very small sample sizes), recent performance, and any interesting batter or pitcher splits (home/road, day/night, left/right, month). Also included is their current share price for the daily game at StarStreet. Positive indicators are greennegative ones red, and neutral are black.


Paul Konerko vs DET (RHP Rick Porcello), 2:10 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $7,138/share
Park Factor: U.S. Cellular Field (In 2011, 0.991 for R and 1.230 for HR)
Splits: Since 2009, Konerko has fared slightly worse against righties (.883 OPS) than lefties (.985). However, over that span he’s hit for a higher average by day (.316) than at night (.286). Konerko hits better at home and for a lot more power, with a .604 home SLG over the past three seasons, versus .462 on the road.
Batter vs Pitcher: 7-17 (HR), 3 BB, 1 K
Last 3 games: 4-10 (2B, HR), 3 BB, 4 K
Other: Porcello has struggled in his three previous trips to U.S. Cellular with a 6.88 ERA, .333 opponent AVG, and 3 HR allowed in 17.0 IP.

Jose Bautista vs BAL (LHP Brian Matusz), 1:07 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $8,773/share
Park Factor: Rogers Centre (In 2011, 1.152 for R and 1.186 for HR)
Splits: JoeyBats murdered left-handed pitching in 2011, to the tune of a .336/.484/.672 triple slash, with a home run once every 10.8 at-bats. While not nearly as pronounced, his splits were also better at home and in day games last year.
Batter vs Pitcher: 1-3, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 SB
Last 3 games: 2-10, 1 BB, 2 K
Other: I wrote about Matusz and his historically bad 2011 numbers in Monday’s column. I’m bullish on all Blue Jays in Sunday’s lineup, especially RH hitters. Yunel Escobar ($5,644; 2-2 with a home run against Matusz) is definitely worth a look. In Matusz’s first start last week against the Yankees, he managed to keep the ball in the park, but allowed 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, and just 1 K in 4 IP. He also recorded 13 fly ball outs to just 3 ground ball outs. I’d be shocked to see that kind of HR/FB luck repeat itself very often.

Solid Values:

Jayson Werth vs CIN (RHP Mike Leake), 1:35 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $6,446/share
Park Factor: Nationals Park (In 2011, 0.955 for R and 1.110 for HR)
Splits: In his one season as a National, Werth hit for an OPS of .737 at home versus .699 on the road. Over the larger sample of the past three seasons, he has hit lefties better than righties (.896 to .819 OPS) and better at night than during the day (.863 to .786).
Batter vs Pitcher: 4-10 (HR), 2 BB, 2 K
Last 3 games: 6-14 (2B), 1 BB, 2 K
Other: In one career start at Nationals Park, Leake went 6 innings, allowing 5 ER and 2 HR. He’s pitched well over the last two Aprils though, with a record of 5-0, a 3.86 ERA, and a .242 opponent AVG. He also has better road than home numbers in ERA, opponent AVG, and K:BB ratio.

Shane Victorino vs NYM (RHP Mike Pelfrey), 1:35 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $7,340/share
Park Factor: Citizens Bank Park (In 2011, 0.997 for R and 0.950 for HR)
Splits: Victorino has negligible home/road and day/night splits over the past 3 years. He has a pretty significant righty/lefty platoon split though, with a .921 OPS against LHP and a .756 OPS against RHP since 2009.
Batter vs Pitcher: 15-48 (.313 AVG, 3 2B, 3B, HR), 2 BB, 6 K, 7 SB
Last 3 games: 3-13 (HR), 0 BB, 3 K
Other: Since 2009, Pelfrey has been much more hittable during the day and away from Citi Field. His road ERA over that span (5.7o) is more than two runs worse than his home mark (3.44), and his ERA in day games (5.57) is substantially higher than at night (4.05). In his 2012 debut against the Nationals, Pelfrey posted good fielding-independent numbers (8 K, 1 BB, and 0 HR over 5.2 IP) but did allow 10 hits and 3 ER.

Small Sample Size Wild Card:

J.D. Martinez @ MIA (RHP Anibal Sanchez), 1:10 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $5,903/share
Park Factor: 2012 is the inaugural season for Marlins Park. In three games there have been a total of 23 runs scored and one home run hit (by J.D. Martinez!).
Splits: Has only 234 Major League at-bats, probably too small a sample from which to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Batter vs Pitcher: First meeting.
Last 3 games: 5-11 (2 HR), 4 BB, 0 K
Other: Martinez enters Sunday hitting .379 with a hit in every game this year. As a Cuban-American and South Florida native, he may have some additional motivation for this series in Miami.

The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues

April 12, 2012

"The Most Famous Woman in Baseball" by Bob Luke

Twice annually, SABR publishes the Baseball Research Journal, a scholarly journal of peer-reviewed original research, as well as book reviews of notable new baseball books. The Spring 2012 BRJ is now available online (the current issue is available only to SABR members; past issues in the BRJ archives are available for free). It contains my book review of “The Most Famous Woman in Baseball,” a new biography of pioneering Negro Leagues executive Effa Manley.

Alongside her husband Abe Manley, Effa helped to run the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League from 1936 to 1948, a tenure that included a Negro League World Championship in 1946. Effa was a fascinating woman who worked tirelessly at the business of running a baseball club and on behalf of numerous civic causes. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously in 2006 and remains the only woman enshrined in Cooperstown. In this painstakingly researched biography, Negro Leagues historian Bob Luke does a terrific job of telling Effa’s story in all its complexity.

To purchase the book on Amazon, click here.

To read my review (SABR members only), click here.

To become a SABR member, and receive a host of member benefits, including the print editions of the BRJ, click here.

Effa Manley's Hall of Fame plaque (click to enlarge). Image courtesy of the SI Vault.

Daily Fantasy Baseball Plays for Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012

On Monday, I gave a brief overview of the new daily fantasy baseball game at StarStreet along with several picks for that day’s games. Two of my picks came through, as Pablo Sandoval and Matt Holliday both homered in their first at-bats. Today we look at five new players, two of which I’m very bullish on, two risk-reward plays, and one name to avoid.

These recommendations take into account a number of variables, including 2011 park factor, batter vs pitcher statistics (with the important caveat that these are almost always very small sample sizes), recent performance (last 3 -4 days), and any interesting batter or pitcher splits (home/road, day/night, month). Also included is their current share price for the daily game at StarStreet. Positive indicators are greennegative ones red, and neutral are black. Without further ado, on to the picks…


Dustin Pedroia @ TOR (LHP Ricky Romero), 12:37 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $7,735/share
Park Factor: Rogers Centre (In 2011, 1.152 for R and 1.186 for HR)
Splits: Since 2009, Pedroia has an .857 OPS against lefties, slightly better than his .838 against righties. His plate discipline, which is excellent to begin with, is even better against southpaws: he’s drawn 76 walks against just 49 strikeouts during the three-year span. Surprisingly he also steals off lefties relatively more frequently (21 SB in 424 AB, vs 34 in 1139 against righties) and at a high success rate (21 steals in 26 attempts).
Batter vs Pitcher: 9-23 (HR), 2 BB, 2 K
Last 3 games: 7-15 (2 2B, HR), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Other: In four starts against the Red Sox a year ago, Romero was 2-2 with a 6.56 ERA. The Sox hit .295 with 4 HR in 23.1 IP against him.

Josh Hamilton vs SEA (RHP Kevin Millwood), 8:05 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $7,576/share
Park Factor: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (In 2011, 1.409 for R and 1.500 for HR — highest in MLB by both measures)
Splits: Hamilton hits for a lot more power at home and at night, and this game is both. From 2009-2011, he slugged .589 at home compared to .501 on the road. His night/day splits are even more extreme: his triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) at night is .332/.374/.590; during the day it drops to an Alberto Callaspo-esque .260/.331/.411.
Batter vs Pitcher: 2-4 (HR), 2 BB, 0 K
Last 3 games: 6-13 (2 HR), 0 BB, 2 K
Other: Millwood is familiar with pitching in Arlington, having spent 2009 with the Rangers. That year he managed to go 8-3 with a 3.17 ERA at home, though his peripheral numbers there (1.355 WHIP, 1.6 K:BB ratio) didn’t impress.

Roll the Dice:

Jhonny Peralta vs TB (RHP James Shields), 1:05 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $5,504/share
Park Factor: Comerica Park (In 2011, 1.061 for R and 0.987 for HR)
Splits: In his one season with Detroit, Peralta’s home OPS (.898) was much higher than his road mark (.752). A right-handed hitter, he surprisingly hit righty pitchers at a .323/.357/.491 clip a year ago, compared to .240/.318/.447 against lefties.
Batter vs Pitcher: 8-16 (3 HR), 1 BB, 4 K
Last 4 games: 5-15 (2 2B), 1 BB, 2 K
Other: No matter which splits you look at, Shields was dominant in 2011. Home/road/day/night/grass/turf… he had no worse than a .228 opponent AVG or 3.87 ERA for any split. April has historically been Shields’s best month (7-3, 2.97 ERA over last three Aprils), but he did struggle in his 2012 debut against the Yankees, allowing a line of 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 3 K on April 6.

Justin Upton @ SD (LHP Cory Luebke), 6;35 pm EDT
Park Factor: PETCO Park (In 2011, .819 for R and .862 for HR — the third-worst run environment in MLB)
Splits: Over the last three seasons, Upton has posted much stronger numbers vs lefties (.963 OPS) than righties (.837). He’s also hit better at night (.889) than in the day (.805). Surprisingly, Upton’s OPS at PETCO Park over that span (1.056) is his fifth highest out of all the parks he’s played in. True, it’s an NL West stadium that the D-Backs visits frequently, but it’s still impressive that Upton has hit more home runs out of cavernous PETCO (8) than any other road ballpark.
Batter vs Pitcher: 5-10 (3 HR), 0 BB, 3 K
Last 3 games: 2-9 (2B), 3 BB, 4 K
Other: Upton sprained his left thumb sliding into second base on Sunday, sat out Tuesday night’s game, and is listed as day-to-day. Since it’s a 6:35 pm EDT first pitch on a day with early games, proceed with caution.


Adam Lind vs BOS (LHP Jon Lester), 12:37 pm EDT
Today’s StarStreet Price: $6,436/share
Park Factor: Rogers Centre (In 2011, 1.152 for R and 1.186 for HR)
Splits: Lind has a massive platoon split against lefties, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see John Farrell opt to sit him against the Red Sox ace. From 2009-2011, Lind’s OPS vs LHP was just .601, compared to .869 against righties. In those at-bats against left-handers, Lind struck out 134 times and walked just 21.
Batter vs Pitcher: 3-24, 1 BB, 10 K
Last 3 games: 4-12 (2B), 0 BB, 3 K
Other: Lester had a strong debut last week in Detroit, with a line of 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 4K. His three-year splits show him to be more effective away, in day games, and on turf (he’s got all those factors working in his favor on Wednesday). Lester has also dominated the Jays over that span, compiling a 9-2 record with a 2.71 ERA, .190 AVG against, and 2.5 K:BB ratio.

Daily Fantasy Baseball Plays for Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

This week I started playing the daily fantasy baseball game over at StarStreet. You have a $100,000 budget to buy shares of MLB players, who are priced between $5,000-$10,000 for hitters and $20,000-$40,000 for pitchers. Each lineup must include shares of at least three different players, and you can buy a maximum of 10 shares of a player for a given lineup. You then enter your lineup into a match with another StarStreet trader, and can choose to play for free or at buy-in levels ranging from $1 to $50.

The recommendations below take into account a number of variables, including park factor, batter vs pitcher statistics (with the important caveat that these are almost always very small sample sizes), recent performance, and any interesting batter or pitcher splits (home/road, day/night, month). Positive indicators are greennegative ones red, and neutral are black.

Here are a few hitters to consider investing in, and one to avoid, as you make your picks for Monday, April 9.


Pablo Sandoval @ COL (RHP Jhoulys Chacin), 4:10 pm EDT
Park Factor: Coors Field (In 2011, 1.347 for R and 1.354 for HR)
Splits: Since 2009, Panda has hit for a lower average on the road (.273, vs .336 at home) but for similar power (32 road HR, 29 home). His April OPS over the last three years (.910) is his second highest of any month.
Batter vs Pitcher: 6-12 (3B, HR), 1 BB, 0 K
Last 3 games: 5-12 (2B, HR), 1 BB, 1 K
Other: Chacin had fairly strong groundball tendencies in 2011 (1.30 GB/FB ratio).

Matt Holliday @ CIN (RHP Homer Bailey), 7:10 pm EDT
Park Factor: Great American Ballpark (In 2011, 1.082 for R and 1.314 for HR)
Splits: Since 2009, Holliday has actually hit righties at a slightly better clip than lefties (.920 to .892 OPS). Even more unusual, he hits much better at night (.965) than during the day (.814).
Batter vs Pitcher: 6-15, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 K
Last 3 games: 3-13 (2B, HR), 2 BB, 3 K
Other: Over the last three seasons, Bailey has a 7.06 ERA with a .326 AVG against in four April starts.

Mark Teixeira @ BAL (LHP Brian Matusz), 7:05 pm EDT
Park Factor: Oriole Park at Camden Yards (In 2011, .995 for R and 1.144 for HR)
Splits: Over the last three Aprils, Teixeira has an OPS of just .734 (that figure jumps to .954 in May). The switchhitter is stronger from the right side, with a RH OPS of .941 from 2009-11 (.849 from the left side). He hits better during the day (.935) than at night (.846).
Batter vs Pitcher: 6-15, 1 HR, 1 BB, 0 K
Last 3 games: 1-9 (2B), 3 BB, 2 K
Other: In 2011 Matusz broke the Major League record for the worst ERA by a pitcher making at least 10 starts (10.69). His home splits were even worse, as opposing batters his .396 with 10 home runs in just 20.0 innings pitched. Other Yankees are worth a look, too: Cano (8/19 with 2 HR) and Granderson (3/11 with 2 HR) have also hit Matusz well.

Buyer Beware:

Aramis Ramirez @ CHC (RHP Chris Volstad), 7:00 pm EDT
Park Factor: Wrigley Field (In 2011, .934 for R and .987 for HR)
Splits: From 2009-11, Ramirez has a .792 OPS at night (.892 during the day) and a .829 OPS vs RHP (.859 vs LHP).
Batter vs Pitcher: 6-12, 1 HR, 1 BB, 0 K
Last 3 games: 1-11 (2B), 1 BB, 4 K
Other: Ramirez returns to Wrigley for the first time as a Brewer.


Joe Mauer vs LAA (LHP C.J. Wilson), 4:10 pm EDT
Park Factor: Target Field (In 2011, .944 for R and .913 for HR)
Splits: From 2009-11, Mauer has hit lefties much worse than righties (.755 to .995 OPS). He is not significantly better during the day (.906) than at night (.901).
Batter vs Pitcher: 1-19, 1 BB, 5 K
Last 3 games: 1-10, 2 BB, 1 K
Other: In his two seasons as a starter with Texas, Wilson allowed just 26 home runs over 427.1 regular season innings.

My Agenda for Day 1 of Sloan

March 1, 2012

Sloan Sports Conference logoThe 6th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference begins tomorrow at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. This is my first year attending and I can’t wait. The conference’s two days are packed with talks on all manner of sports analytics, ranging from business and corporate strategy, to coaching and in-game strategy, to player evaluation, to improving player performance, to assessing injury risk, to fantasy sports and sports betting. The full agenda is available here, and I wish I could clone myself and attend every session.

With the exception of the opening full panel discussion, each time slot offers a choice of at least four options, usually including two or three panel discussions, a research presentation, an evolution of sports talk, and sometimes a live taping of a program such as The B.S. Report, or Numbers Never* Lie. My game plan for Friday is to attend the following:

8:30-10:00 am: In the Best Interests of the Game: The Evolution of Sports Leagues. Full panel discussion featuring Gary Bettman (National Hockey League), Scott Boras (Boras Corporation), Rob Manfred (Major League Baseball), Adam Silver (National Basketball Association), Steve Tisch (New York Giants), and Michael Wilbon (ESPN, Pardon the Interruption).

10:20-11:20 am: Business of Sports: Winning Off the Field. Panel discussion featuring Jeannie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers), Jessica Gellman (New England Patriots/Kraft Sports Group), David Gill (Manchester United F.C.), Neil Glat (National Football League), Scott O’Neil (Madison Square Garden Sports), and Steve Pagliuca (Boston Celtics/Bain Capital).

11:40 am – 12:10 pm: Trade Show Business Competition featuring these companies.

12:10-12:40 pm: ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index (BPI). Evolution of Sport talk on the new college basketball ranking metric developed by ESPN’s Stats and Information Group. Presented by Dean Oliver and Alok Pattani of ESPN’s Production Analytics team.

1:00-2:00 pm: Baseball Analytics presented by Sportvision. Panel discussion featuring Rocco Baldelli (Tampa Bay Rays), Scott Boras (Boras Corporation), Bill James (Boston Red Sox), Jeff Luhnow (Houston Astros), Rob Neyer (SB Nation), and Mark Shapiro (Cleveland Indians).

2:20-3:20 pm: Basketball Analytics. Panel discussion featuring Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks/HDNet), John Hollinger (ESPN), Jackie MacMullan (ESPN), Jeff Van Gundy (ESPN/ABC, former NBA Head Coach), and Mike Zarren (Boston Celtics).

3:40-4:40 pm: Coaching Analytics. Panel discussion featuring Lawrence Jackson (Detroit Lions), Eric Mangini (ESPN, former NFL Head Coach), Donny Marshall (Comcast SportsNet Boston), Daryl Morey (Houston Rockets), Bill Simmons (ESPN/Grantland), and Jeff Van Gundy (ESPN/ABC, former NBA Head Coach).

5:00-5:30 pm: CourtVision: New Visual and Spatial Analytics for the NBA. 2012 Research Finalist. Presented by Kirk Goldsberry (Michigan State University).

5:30-6:00 pm: Deconstructing the Rebound with Optical Tracking Data. 2012 Research Finalist. Presented by Yu-Han Chang, Samantha Denesis, Aaron Henehan, and Rajiv Maheswaran (all of University of Southern California).

I think this will be a nice mix of large panel discussions and smaller research and evolution of sport presentations. I also aimed for a balance between the big names from sports business and media (Simmons, Cuban, Boras, etc.) and the less well known, but no doubt equally fascinating, academics and researchers.

I look forward to blogging some of the highlights from the conference starting on Sunday. And I will try to find time to upload my Day 2 agenda tomorrow night.

For a full listing of the offerings at this year’s Sloan conference, follow the links below:


Research Papers

Evolution of Sport

Trade Show