Now that I’ve got your attention – I want to point out that it is indeed true that Noah Syndergaard is way worse than Scott Feldman. Now I hear everyone asking – in what stat or skill could Thor be worse than Scott Feldman? Well, the singular skill of preventing steals. Thor just happens to be the absolute worst at it in the game. Yes, worse than Jon Lester, who refuses to throw to first because it crushes his soul. In 333.2 innings, Thor has allowed a eye-opening 86% of runners to steal successfully (worst in the majors amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings since 2013). However, it’s not just the rate at which players steal on him, it’s also the volume – he allows a stolen base once every 5.3 innings. For someone who doesn’t allow that many base runners, that’s a staggering number – and it’s by far the worst in the majors – the next 3 worst are Tyson Ross, the aforementioned Scott Feldman, and Jimmy Nelson, who allow a stolen base once per 6.6, 6.7 and 6.9 innings, respectively. Looking at it another way, 21% of the runners who get on 1st base and aren’t blocked, steal – and like the other statistics mentioned, that is by far the worst in MLB. While this wart has done nothing to stop Thor’s dominance, ignoring it in DFS could hinder your dominance. Don’t be afraid to target basestealers against Thor – yes, they have to actually get on base, which is not easy, but if they do, that 3-point single suddenly becomes a 9-point single and stolen base. Also, Scott Feldman is pretty bad in his own right at this (13.7% of unblocked runners steal, only 4th worst.)
Picks are coming right after this stolen base vs Thor…
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Clayton Kershaw, SP: $12,600 – I’m not going to waste your time here with some stats to show how good he is. If you’re reading this, you know he’s good. He’s also quite expensive – $1400 more than the next pitcher today. Is he worth it? Yes. But, you will need to feel comfortable with the cheap hitters you are forced to roster in order to pay for Kershaw.
Kendall Graveman, SP: $7600 – Today we’ve got a lot of aces taking the hill. In NLHE (No Limit Hold ‘Em for those who don’t play poker), the best hand to crack pocket aces is 65s. Kendall Graveman may be today’s 65s. Graveman seems like your generic right handed ground ball guy, but in his first two starts this year, he came armed with a mid 90s sinker, 1 mph harder than last year. If he continues to throw that hard, he could be a good flier in certain matchups. This time around, he gets to face the Astros, a plus matchup for right handed ground ball pitchers.
Travis Shaw, 3B: $3,100 – Jeff Shaw’s son gets to face the aforementioned Scott Feldman, who has an above average ground ball rate, but well below average strikeout rate. Travis Shaw (who is slow) is projected to steal .06 bases, which is only .01 less than Brett Gardner, who is fast. Behold, the power of the great Feldmandini! When not stealing bases (which is almost always), Travis Shaw likes to face these types of pitchers, as his slugging % increases by 89 points against groundball pitchers.
Mike Moustakas, 3B: $3,000 – Since the start of the 2015 season, Moustakas finally figured out how to tap into his power. Since then, he’s hit .277/.343/.481 vs righties, good for a .355 wOBA. He gets to face JC Ramirez, who is getting a start because Garrett Richards is, once again, hurt. Ramirez, a righty, has only struck out 6.4 per 9 and has allowed 1.5 HR/9 as a reliever and vs righties he has a 4.7 xFIP. And again, that’s as a reliever, without having to pace himself.
Alex Gordon, OF: $2,600 – If you want Clayton Kershaw in your lineup, you’re going to need to save money somewhere. If you’re using a different pitcher, feel free to skip this paragraph. Last year, Alex Gordon appeared to lose the decent-but-nowhere-near-what-the-Royals-were-initially-hoping-for-when-they-took-him-2nd-overall hitting skills he had shown. This year has been more of the same, but the Royals continue to bat him leadoff because Alcides Escobar is apparently their only other option. So, we have a leadoff hitter, for only $2600, for a team projected by Vegas to score 5 runs today (Teamonator projects them at a tidy 4.44 runs), so the lineup should turn over a few times and give Gordon opportunities for offensive success. Sure, there are better outfielders out there. Many of them not managed by a witch. But if you want Kershaw, you have to make some sacrifices.
Brandon Guyer, OF: $2,000 – The Indians will either bat Guyer 3rd or 6th today. His career wOBA of .332 is decent, but his sporadic playing time and sub .400 OPS this year help explain the price – but this is daily fantasy, not season long. He has a career wOBA against lefties of .374 – and guess what, he’s facing one today. Daniel Norris strikes some guys out, but he walks guys and allows a bunch of fly balls, so it’s a great spot for Guyer to abuse this southpaw the way he’s abused them his entire career. A word of caution – Cleveland doesn’t let him face a right handed pitcher. He has started four games (and pinch-hit in a 5th) and has yet to face a right handed pitcher. He may only get 3 PAs, and there’s a non-zero chance he only gets 2 PAs if he’s batting 6th. But if he was playing every day and getting 4 PAs no matter what, he wouldn’t be $2,000.
All Minnesota Twins – The Twins are facing Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey, who’s thrown exactly 29.1 innings above Hi-A and will be making his major league debut. He doesn’t miss bats and last year struggled with his command. He throws a 4 pitch mix with his primary one being a low 90s sinker, which should be no trouble for the Twins power bats. Speaking of which…
Whoever is Batting 2nd For The Twins – We don’t know the Twins lineup yet – Paul Molitor apparently likes to draw names out of a hat each day for every spot besides 1, 3 and 4 (Dozier bats leadoff, and Sano/Mauer will bat 3rd and 4th, although who bats 3rd and who bats 4th is apparently random). As mentioned above, the Twins get an absolutely dream matchup today against Dylan Covey. So whoever Paul Molitor pulls out of the hat today when he draws for “2nd batter”, roster that guy. Unless he pulls his own name out of a hat, then laugh, since he’s probably a better hitter than most of the Blue Jays right now (not bitter or anything).
Steve Pearce, OF: $2,800 – Steve Pearce is struggling right now. His batting line wouldn’t be out of place in this guy’s illustrious career. I’m still a believer, I think Pearce turns it around and becomes his normal self (.379 wOBA vs lefties over the last 3 years) soon. Miley shouldn’t be too much of a concern; he’s your garden variety lefty who’s below average at missing bats and keeping balls in the park. Note: If for some reason the Blue Jays bat Pearce 7th and put Devon Travis first, I would only consider Peace for GPPs, and Travis becomes cash playable because of his price ($2400). 2nd Note: He’s a Blue Jay, so likely to go 0-4 in an excruciatingly painful way (still not bitter)
Todd Frazier, 3B: $3,500 – Do you know who has the best ISO against left handers since 2015? Nelson Cruz. He’s good. Do you know who has the 2nd best? Todd Frazier. He’s not as good as Nelson Cruz. But he still has tremendous power, and he faces a lefty with a name. Great GPP play.
Bringing it Full Circle
Anyone on the Brewers who can run – As noted in the introduction, Scott Feldman is atrocious at holding runners. The DFSBot currently has 6 Brewers projected to get .2 steals today. And while .2 steals isn’t actually possible (silly discrete variables), the point is, there’s a very good chance people on this team will get some steals, and each steal is worth 6 points (because FanDuel apparently wants to make a stolen base as valuable as a double).
Anyone on the Brewers who can’t run – Manny Pina, who has not stolen a base in the majors and has 9 steals lifetime in the minors, has the same projected steals today as Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler, and Ezequiel Carrera. Just in case you missed it, Scott Feldman both allows lots of runners on base and allows lots of runners to steal.
Dee Gordon, 2B: $2,700 – I can’t start an article talking about how Thor is the nut-low at preventing steals, and how ignoring it can be to your detriment, and not recommend at least one guy on the Marlins who steals. Might as well be their best one. If he gets on base and Derek Dietrich isn’t clogging up the bases in front of him, he’s quite likely to get a steal. The one caveat is that it’s far, far, far harder to get on base versus Thor than it is versus Scott Feldman, which is why I only listed Dee Gordon as opposed to “Anyone on the Marlins who can run”.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Minnesota looks to be a touch on the rainy side because playing baseball outdoors in Minnesota in April is a thing.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The o/u for the Brewers/Reds game is also 9, and Teamonator has the game’s projected total at 7.95. That’s a massive difference. One of the two is way off. And honestly, I’m not quite sure which one is, but interested bettors would be wise to take a deep look at that game because there’s rarely that big of a gap between Teamonator and the actual Vegas line.