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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…

All-In:

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.

Avoid:

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.

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