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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.

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