WATCH: BvP BREAKDOWN
Today’s main slate features 15 games and starts at 7:05 pm ET. Here’s a data-driven breakdown featuring five key stats, courtesy of FantasyLabs contributor, Matt LaMarca.
FantasyLabs is a daily fantasy tool and real-time analytics platform that enables players to test theories, create and backtest models and construct customized lineups. In this piece, I leverage the same tools used by co-founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) for each slate.
9.9 K Prediction – Robbie Ray
Today’s slate features a strong group of pitchers, but none offers more strikeout potential than Robbie Ray. His 12-month average of 12.09 strikeouts per nine innings ranks first on the slate, as does his K Prediction of 9.9. At FantasyLabs we have a proprietary Plus/Minus metric that measures actual vs. expected fantasy production based on the historical performances of previous players at comparable salaries. Pitchers with a K Prediction comparable to Ray’s have posted a historical Plus/Minus of +5.01 and an impressive Upside Rating of 17 percent.
Ray has a solid matchup against the Rockies, whose projected lineup has posted a 12-month wOBA of .295 and strikeout rate of 29.1 percent against left-handed pitchers. The Rockies have also struggled when away from Coors Field over the past three seasons, with pitchers owning a historical Plus/Minus of +2.32 when taking on the Rockies at home. The Diamondbacks are favored by 0.7 runs in this contest, which is the sixth-largest projected margin of victory on the slate.
At $10,300, Ray has seen his salary decrease by $3,200 since peaking about two weeks ago. With plenty of other strong pitching options available, he could have reduced ownership.
-29 Distance Differential (Feet) – Jacob deGrom
deGrom leads the slate with a $12,500 price tag after posting an average Plus/Minus of +12.09 over his last two starts. Amazingly, that number may not reflect how dominant he’s been. At FantasyLabs, we have a Recent Batted Ball Luck (Rec BBL) metric that measures the difference between a player’s percentile rank in batted ball distance and fantasy scoring over the past 15 days, and deGrom’s mark of +30 suggests that he’s been slightly unlucky in terms of fantasy production despite the strong numbers.
The reason for the positive Rec BBL is his elite Statcast data over the last two starts. He’s allowed an average batted ball distance of 179 feet, exit velocity of 87 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 27 percent, all of which are top marks among today’s starting pitchers. The batted ball distance is particularly impressive, resulting in a 15-day/12-month differential of -29 feet, and his K Prediction of 8.4 is the third-best mark on the slate. That combination of batted ball profile and strikeout upside is rare, and pitchers with comparable numbers in both categories have a strong historical Plus/Minus of +4.75.
As if that weren’t enough, the Mets are also the largest favorite on the slate with a projected margin of victory of +1.9 runs, and deGrom’s opponent implied total of 3.1 runs ranks second. He’s a top option in all formats.
11 Pro Trends – Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera, Wilson Contreras, Robinson Chirinos, Chris Herrmann
At FantasyLabs we have what are called “Pro Trends” — angles we’ve identified that historically yield value. Today’s slate features five batters with 11 Pro Trends: Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera and a trio of catchers. All five batters are in excellent recent form, and 11 Pro Trends have historically yielded a Plus/Minus of +2.28.
Goldschmidt leads the pack with a price tag of $5,500 at home in Arizona, where he has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.58. The Diamondbacks are implied for 4.9 runs, and batters with a comparable implied team total and number of Pro Trends have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.99 at Chase Field.
With the Tigers implied for the third-highest team total of the day at 5.1 runs, Cabrera represents a solid bargain at only $3,900. Over his last 14 games, he’s posted an average distance of 239 feet, exit velocity of 95 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 57 percent. Batters with comparable implied team totals and recent Statcast data have a historical Plus/Minus of +2.18. Opposing pitcher Josh Tomlin has also allowed a batted ball distance of 221 feet over his last three starts, which is one of the highest marks in the slate.
Of the three catchers, Wilson Contreras has the most ideal batting spot as the projected cleanup hitter on the Cubs. However, he also carries the highest price tag of the group ($3,700), lowest implied team total (4.7 runs) and the worst batted ball distance (206 feet). Robinson Chirinos has destroyed the baseball recently with an average distance of 277 feet and hard hit rate of 52 percent over his last eight games. Even with a lineup spot in the bottom third of the order, batters with comparable recent Statcast data have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.78. Finally, Chris Herrmann has posted 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity and hard hit differentials of +29 feet, +3 miles per hour and +15 percentage points over his last eight games, and batters with comparable differentials at Chase Field have posted a historical Plus/Minus of +2.15. A Diamondbacks stack featuring Goldschmidt and Herrmann offers lots of upside and should be relatively low-owned with plenty of teams implied for higher run totals.
78 Park Factor – Left-handed Orioles and Rays
Park Factor is a 0-to-100 FantasyLabs metric that measures the friendliness of a park based on the handedness of the pitcher. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the friendliest park for batters on today’s slate, where left-handed hitters benefit from a Park Factor of 78. The Rays currently lead the slate with an implied team total of 5.6 runs while the Orioles’ total of 5.0 runs is tied for sixth.
The Rays are currently projected to bat just four lefties against Orioles’ righty Chris Tillman, but all four batters have appeal in this matchup. Cleanup hitter Logan Morrison has historically raked against right-handed pitchers — with a 12-month wOBA of .380 and ISO of .321 — and he’s posted 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity and hard hit differentials of +15 feet, +3 miles per hour and +8 percentage points. Corey Dickerson isn’t in the same recent form, but his .378 wOBA and .256 ISO against righties are both excellent marks. Leadoff hitter Mallex Smith has stolen nine bases through his first 103 plate appearances. Finally, projected No. 7 hitter Shane Peterson could be a potential differentiator in Rays’ stacks. At only $2,500, he’s posted distance, exit velocity and hard hit differentials of +11 feet, +7 miles per hour and +17 percentage points over the past 15 days, and batters with comparable differentials and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.29.
Despite this being their home stadium, the Orioles won’t take full advantage of their ballpark with only two left-handed bats in their projected lineup. One of the batters is Seth Smith, who bats first. He’s posted a 12-month wOBA of .333 and ISO of .195 against right-handed pitchers and will likely carry low ownership on the slate.
85 Team Value Rating – Oakland Athletics
Team Value Rating is a 0-to-100 grade showing a team’s value based on its implied run total and collective salaries. The Oakland Athletics lead the slate with a Team Value Rating of 85 despite the fact that their implied team total of 4.8 runs ranks only eleventh. Their high Team Value Rating is largely a function of their cheap salaries: only Khris Davis has a salary above $4,000, and four projected starters have salaries below $3,000. Stacking the A’s could represent a way to roster multiple high-priced pitchers without sacrificing a lot of offensive upside.
Projected to bat second, Matt Olsen has a price tag of only $2,300 and a 12-month wOBA of .332 and ISO of .333 against right-handed pitchers. He also leads the team with nine individual Pro Trends. Third-place hitter Jed Lowrie is in the best recent form of the group, posting a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +47 feet and batters with comparable differentials have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.42. Yonder Alonso is currently questionable for today’s game after getting hit by a pitch and leaving yesterday’s contest, but if he plays he could be due for some positive regression. His average Plus/Minus of -3.84 over his last 10 games is absolutely terrible, but his Statcast data from that time isn’t far off from his 12-month averages. He’s already clubbed a career-high 17 home runs through his first 69 games this season.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.