7/26/17 MLB main slate GPP Strategy:
Anytime you are entering large field GPP tournaments you need to successfully (not just blindly) set yourself apart from the field. Sometimes that means paying up for a player in a mediocre matchup with a realistically high ceiling (10Ks or 2HRs); or avoiding an obviously great matchup and hoping the pitcher finishes with an average line or the hitter goes 0-2 with 2 fly-outs that stay juuuuust in the park and a couple walks. These picks are only intended for use in large scale GPPs (Fanduel and Draftkings) and not cash games or flat structured payout GPPs(such as yahoo). At the end I will list each Pitcher’s “expected” wOBA on batted balls allowed thus far this season, an experimental statistic which might prove predictive in the future.
ASSUMED CHALK (and fine plays for cash games): Cubs, Blue Jays, Rangers, Indians
PITCHERS to USE:
Carlos Martinez v Rockies: It is a tough night for SPs despite the presence of a few big names. Martinez has arguably the best stuff of the bunch, and he is home against a weaker than usual Rockies lineup. Guys like CarGo and Desmond have looked old all year and Story is a target for 3-4 strikeouts. If he is careful with Blackmon, CMart should fare well. (xwOBA = .294)
Jake Arrieta v White Sox: Should be as close to a guaranteed “W” as he will have all year. The White Sox are trending towards a triple-A caliber lineup. Despite being a road game he will be sleeping in his own bed the night before and should be comfortable getting at least 8 Ks on the other side of town. (xwOBA = .302)
Steven Matz @ Padres: Matz has slowly come back from injury and gets as good a matchup as anyone besides Arrieta. The Padres have a couple sneaky dong threats, but on this slate this matchup is ripe to take advantage of. This will be mainly very young hitters against a guy who pitches like a seasoned veteran. He may not rack up double digit Ks, but should get 5+ while stifling the Padres with groundballs. A shutout is in play. (xwOBA = .332)
Aaron Nola v Astros: Seems like suicide right? It sure might be. But Nola has some of the best underlying and traditional stats on this slate and really murders righties. Houston is without Correa and possibly Springer; in GPPs with a 29.1% K rate vs righties and even a 21% rate vs lefties, you want to take the scary gamble here. (xwOBA = .280)
Marco Estrada v Athletics: He has been AWFUL, but the upside is there. The A’s strikeout a bunch (25.2% vs righties, tied for 2nd highest) and Estrada still goes for Ks and pop/flyouts. He Ks a quarter of the hitters he faces and is farrrrrrrrr better than his recent ERA. He just needs the fly balls to stay in the park, which is a fun proposition to gamble on. (xwOBA = .313)
PITCHERS to FADE:
Yu Darvish v. Miami: If I was running the show in Texas, or calling from possible trade partners, I would not want Darvish even making his warmup tosses for this game. But Texas is still technically in the hunt. Either way, the Marlins are not big strikeout targets without their pitcher hitting and the heat is causing the ball to fly around down in Texas. (xwOBA = .301)
Carlos Carrasco v LAA: When the Angels are fully healthy I am not a fan of using SPs against them. They still employ Mike Scioscia and are incredibly pesky. Escobar, Simmons, Revere and Pujols simply do not strike out. That previous sentence did not include Mike Trout or Calhoun. They have cut Espinosa who struck out almost every time he batted this season. (xwOBA = .300)
Ervin Santana @ LAD: Extremely overperforming his peripherals. (xwOBA = .300)
HITTERS to USE:
Freddy Galvis: He’s swinging for the fences this year and Mike Fiers is a guy who gives up long balls. I would also consider using Tommy Joseph
Brian Goodwin: People may find themselves on the Jimmy Nelson side of things after the depleted Nats laid an egg yesterday. That would be a mistake in GPPs. Take shots with this entire lineup including paying up for the more expensive Nats.
Joc Pederson/Yasmani Grandal: Ervin Santana gives up flyballs. By the dozen. His ERA is over 1.5 runs lower than his FIP, xFIP and SIERA.
Giancarlo Stanton: This might be the night to get him at low ownership vs Darvish. There is a world in which Yu gets scratched right before the start or pulled after 2 innings. There is yet another world where Giancarlo hits one 500 feet off Yu who has pretty neutral handedness splits, and another 500 feet off one of the very poor members of this bullpen.
Bottom of the Cubs Order: This is a great way to distinguish a lineup. I have to think the Cubs superstars will be chalk tonight. Those guys are monsters, and opposing pitchers know it. They ALL take more than their fair share of walks. Guys like Addison Russell/Jason Heyward/Jon Jay can find themselves with 5/6 RBIs on the backs of a couple line drive doubles.
Mets Lefties: Chacin is a subpar groundballer going up against a group of lefties tailored to take their shots against exactly this type of pitcher. Petco still has an incorrect reputation as a pitcher’s park.
Matt Carpenter: Double dong potential against a guy who gives almost 1.5 HRs/9. He either gets to see Hoffman 3 times, or the clean up members of the bullpen if Hoffman doesn’t make it through the lineup for a 3rd go round. Love this power potential in the leadoff spot.
TEAM STACKS to USE:
Blue Jays: Paul Blackburn, nuff said. To get specific, I’d prefer Morales, Joey Bats, Donaldson, Martin and Pillar.
Dodgers: See above. Ervin Santana has kept balls in the park all year long. The Dodgers are a team that can put more than a couple over the wall. People may overlook this spot, take advantage.
Tigers: Ian Kennedy flirts with outfield walls. Comerica is a pretty good place to do that type of flirting, but don’t overlook the top 6-7 including Avila in this game.
Mets: See Chacin above. Usually a great stack for large scale GPPs and will be again tonight assuming the usual lefties are in the lineup. Their organizational philosophy is to swing for the fences at all times (it has obviously failed them most of the year).