Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Outfield

In anticipation of the FSTA draft this week, I continue my early look at NFBC ADP’s, concentrating on the top 200 in money drafts. While the names continue to shuffle others stay the same. Outfield will be about trust, mixing some power with guys who can steal some bases and catching that bargain that others either overlooked or were burned by last year. It is evident in the ADP information that it will take due diligence and maybe a little luck to hit on the breakouts this year. Due the fact there are forty nine names to digest I made one chart and took the liberty of splitting up their strengths by color:

Red – 20+ HR, 8 < SB (Power); Green – 10 < HR, 20+ SB (Speed); Blue – 10+ HR, 10+ SB (Blends)

Here is how the outfield stacks up. I listed their draft rank below and also inserted their average ADP’s in the NFBC drafts to give an early indicator of their value prior to Thursday’s FSTA draft.

OF NFBC Avg ADP Chart Update 2

Keeping with the format, I have processed each player drafted in the top 200 in charts with their respective Steamer Projections courtesy of Fangraphs.com. After each group I will give some thoughts about how the outfielders stack up and then move to the next one. The first two charts will be in groups of seventeen then the last group will round out to the 49 outfielders according to the ADP numbers.

Group One – 4 Power, 1 Speed and 12 Blends

OF NFBC Projection Chart 1-17

I mean the first seventeen at most positions should be rock solid and for the most part the outfielders are. I have sort of clumped some highlights into categories since the Golden Globes just happened, so here goes. By the way I am not scared of either Matt Kemp or Justin Upton in San Diego but I wrote about that already here.
Safety in numbers: Adam Jones, Baltimore
He is not flashy and is always a regression candidate and he just keeps producing. It is like you do not feel great drafting him at his ADP but he is consistent while not flashy, which in the first round is not so bad.
Bounce Back: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
I was warning drafters last year to avoid Ryan, but I am back. Since his ADP is trending down, his health may be up and guys who produce 28 home runs and 12 steals are dwindling with a batting average near .300, so I am here with open arms.
Trust Issues: Michael Brantley, Cleveland; Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado
While I am intrigued by the price on Carlos Gonzalez, his checkered health past, last year makes him a very risky option this early. But he could deliver a season like Michael Brantley did last year. Let that marinate a minute. Brantley broke through for a strong 2014, are you feeling lucky paying for a repeat? If you are the cost may alarm you.
Wild Cards: Bryce Harper, Washington; George Springer, Houston
Two guys who could determine how teams finish. I mean there is a 25 home run and 15 steal season while hitting .290 just waiting for Harper who people seem to forget is only 22 years old. With batting averages dropping across baseball again, a guy who could hit 30 home runs and if his legs stay healthy, steal 20 is tolerable if he hits .240, but the .240 could be iffy. If Springer gets his average to .250, then he is a potential top 10 outfielder. There, I said it.
Upside Play: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh
At the same cost as Carlos Gonzalez who may strain a pinkie or Billy Hamilton I can get a poor man’s Jacoby Ellsbury who is younger with more upside? Twenty picks later? Absolutely.
Group Two – 6 Power, 2 Speed, 9 Blends

OF NFBC Projection Chart 18-34

Safety in numbers: Nelson Cruz, Seattle
It is clear that Nelson Cruz’s huge 2014 netted him the Mariners contract which is twofold, first he will protect Robinson Cano and second he adds a power right handed bat that they have craved. While I am not saying to invest heavily in a repeat, he can still hit 25 home runs and you know what you are getting with Cruz.
Bounce Back: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
At a time when power hitters are craved a strong return by Jay Bruce at a deflated cost would be huge for his fantasy value. We know he can hit for power, or at least should, but will his batting average return to respectability? Or does the shift have another victim?
Trust Issues: Charlie Blackburn, Colorado; J.D. Martinez, Detroit
One had a career year in Coors field and the other was an outcast from the Astros and found success in Motown? If I had to pick from the two, I think a repeat in power by Martinez is possible with some losses in batting average but his Steamer projection supports a solid season. I think Blackburn is a nice story but to invest in him this early when there are other options available late is a tough pick to justify.
Wild Cards: Rusney Castillo, Boston; Jorge Soler, Chicaco Cubs
A Cuban theme here in the wild card section so all kidding aside, they both have immense ability. If Castillo can translate his winter season statistics to the major leagues then the Red Sox have an even deeper outfield and should be dealing Allen Craig sooner than later. Not to kill the theme, but a power hitting outfielder is becoming rarer and rarer, so Jorge Soler has to be on radars. Since he could hit more home runs without destroying a team’s batting average I may venture to gamble on him since he can develop over say a Jay Bruce….the shift….
Upside Play: Jason Heyward, St. Louis
On my tombstone it will read, he trusted in in Jason Heyward. He has not hit left-handed pitching, well, at all lately and even though I sang his praises from the rooftops last year Heyward was replaced in Atlanta by Nick Markakis? Yes, that Nick Markakis. I am not saying that 20/20 is a guarantee but would it surprise anyone that being a Cardinal unlocked his potential? Would not be the first guy to have that happen.
Group Three: 3 Power, 4 Speed, 7 Blends, Melky Cabrera

OF NFBC Projection Chart 35-49

Safety in numbers: There is not really safety out here….

Bounce Back: Shin-Soo Choo, Texas
With health, it is hard to imagine a prohibitive top twenty outfielder in 2014 draft preps has fallen so precipitously, but Choo has. How many owners did he upset? In NFBC formats this means he is a tenth round pick and chance well worth taking. Unless the curse of Kinsler is real.
Trust Issues: Same as the safety problem, there are going to be trust issues here as well. Just look at the ADP’s of Alex Rios and the aforementioned Choo.
Wild Cards: Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox; Yasmany Tomas, Arizona
It takes some stones to invest in players out here in drafts and when you see the pitching options you will see why I am going to get power and hitters early and try to target pitching later. But I will take a chance on Avisail Garcia here since he could have a ceiling of 20 home runs with ten steals at an ADP of 172 on average. All day every day. The White Sox are going to score some runs. Yasmany Tomas will come with some hype especially with the breakout that Jose Abreu had last year but I fear that Tomas will resemble a different White Sox teammate, Dayan Viciedo. Tread lightly here….
Upside: Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh
There are all kinds of terms, post-hype sleeper for example, whatever you want to say I think Polanco had a tough go after his promotion last year but he is talented. After watching him in person I was a fan and he has presence. Though his ceiling in 2015 is probably 13 home runs and 25 stolen bases that is a bargain where he is going.
It is getting late so I am going to offer up one more chart with player that are beyond the top 200 in each category for outfield with their projections included. When you speak of me, please speak nicely.

OF NFBC Undrafted Chart with Projections Updated

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, ESPN.go.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/DKf0LS

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

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Profile Scripts: Robinson Cano

Will Cano bounce back in 2015 to first round status? The Mariners are banking on it but should you?
Will Cano bounce back in 2015? The Mariners are banking on it

With the Seattle Mariners recent contract extension of Kyle Seager and free agent signing of Nelson Cruz, it seems that the fantasy prospects of Robinson Cano are under the radar. As the 2015 draft season approaches, this may create a unique buying opportunity on one of fantasy baseball’s most consistent performers at second base. Robinson Cano entered the 2014 season as the 11th player taken in live drafts according to Fantasy Pros but whether it was ballpark effects or the lack of support in Seattle, he had his worst season for fantasy purposes in years. Not only did Cano finish outside the top 30 on the ESPN Player Rater (32nd to be exact), he finished 5th for second baseman. What has made him a first round stalwart is the fact that you could count on his batting average and power at a position where it is rare to find both of those qualities. But Cano carried over his second half HR/FB% from 2013 of 10.3% in New York with him to Seattle where his HR/FB% for 2014 was a career low 10.7% on the season.

One of the overlooked factors in this regression is the fact that Cano has had 30 players between New York and Seattle that have hit behind him over the last 2 years. If you were facing the Mariners at a pivotal point of the game are you more prone to pitch to Cano or take your chances with the likes of Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales or Corey Hart? Not a difficult decision. In New York the year prior, the cleanup hitters were Travis Hadrner, Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. As a refresher, here is how the hitters batting fourth the last two years have fared:

2013 NY Yankees #4 hitters: 162 G, 70 R, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 11 SB .228/.305/.382
2014 Mariners #4 hitters: 162 G, 63 R, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB .218/295/352

Over the last 2 seasons the OPS of the players batting after Cano is .687 and .647 respectively. In spite of this, Cano’s average OPS over the last 3 seasons is .904 and only dropped to .836 in Seattle despite the depressed ballpark effects for left-handed power. According to Fangraphs.com, Safeco Field scores a 99 for ballpark effect on left-handed power. Conversely, Yankee Stadium scores a 117. In order to figure out where Cano’s power has gone, we need to look deeper into the numbers.

I started by looking at Cano’s spray charts. Since there is a steep drop in his home run production from 2013 (27 HR) to 2014 (14 HR) these are the two charts I chose to focus on. First, here is the 2013 chart:

Cano 2013 spray chart
Now comparing that chart to 2014, you will see the main difference is in the amount of home runs, especially to right center and left center field:
Cano 2014 spray chart
Eeven though the fences at Safeco were moved in and lowered, Cano is hitting fewer pitches for power to the alleys. In 2013, Cano hit 8 homers to right-center and four to left-center, but in 2014 he only had 1 to each of those destinations. Cano hit only 3 fewer home runs to right field and had the same to left so those were small differences.

Using the HR/BIP (home runs per ball in play) charts from BrooksBaseball.net, I hoped to see why the power disappeared from the alleys. Since a picture paints a thousand words, I will defer again to the charts then discuss what I noticed. First, here is the 2013 HR/BIP zone profile:

Cano 2013 hr-bip
There are some subtle differences to be seen in 2014’s HR/BIP zone profile here:

Cano 2014 hr-bip
In 2013, Cano hit one-third of his home runs in the bottom third, middle part of the strike zone. 9 of the 47 balls that he put in play in that zone found the seats. However, that same zone had more balls in play (50) but the home runs were cut in half to only 4 for the season. In fact, over the lower third part of the strike zone, Cano lost 5 home runs in 2014. It also seems like Cano really missed driving the ball to left-center field as he hit 10 home runs on pitches to the outer third of the strike zone in 2013. That total was also cut in half in 2014.

Before trying to project Cano’s 2015 season I will take a look at some of his underlying statistics from the last 3 years:

2012 LD% 25.6, GB% 48.7, HR/FB% 21.1, SwStr% 8.3, wRC+ 149
2013 LD% 26, GB% 44.3, HR/FB% 17.3, SwStr% 6.4, wRC+ 142
2014 LD% 22.6, GB% 52.6, HR/FB% 10.7, SwStr% 6, wRC+ 136
Career LD% 21.3, GB% 48.4, HR/FB% 13.8, SwStr% 6.5, wRC+ 127

Despite his line drive percentage dropping the last 3 years, he has maintained his batting average. His swinging strike percentage further punctuates that as it has gone down the last 2 years and has lowered his career percentage. Since weighted runs created evens out ballpark effects it is a useful statistic. The league average is 100 and the move to Seattle only dropped Cano’s wRC+ by 6 points, but that is a result of the lineup surrounding him as much as any ballpark factor. With the additions of Austin Jackson and Nelson Cruz already, this should rebound for Cano moving forward. What fantasy owners should be most worried about is the steep drop in home run to fly ball ratio which has been cut in half since 2012. Due to his ability to hit for average and drive in runs, if Cano can return to 20 or more home runs, then his return to fantasy prominence in 2015 will happen. But there is an “if” attached to that.

Where does Robby go from here? One of the reasons that Cano vaulted to first round draft status was his consistent production in New York. Here are his last 3 seasons on average as a Yankee:

Robinson Cano 2011-2013 season average: 160 G, 97 R, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB .309/.371/.533

To forecast what he can do in 2015 I have to take into account what Cano did this past year in Seattle:

Robinson Cano 2014 season: 157 G, 77 R, 14 HR, 82 RBI, 10 SB .314/.382/.454

Since I am interested in how the Seattle numbers mix with the last three in New York, I will combine them and here is what Robinson Cano’s last four years averaged look like:

Robinson Cano Last 4-year average: 159 G, 92 R, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 7 SB .311/.373/.514

Just 1 season in Seattle has caused Cano’s last 4 year averages to drop in runs (5), home runs (4), RBI (6) and slugging percentage (19 points). Even though this seems like a knee jerk reaction, one almost has to account for further regression in Cano’s home run totals per season. With the recent additions to the Mariner lineup and possibly one more on the horizon, this will be a much deeper offense no matter where they are hitting. Cano did raise his HR/FB% over the second half last year to 11.9% so maybe he is adjusting to the ballpark. Here is the Steamer projection courtesy Fangraphs.com:

Robinson Cano Steamer 2015: 146 G, 81 R, 18 HR, 83 RBI, 6 SB .295/.360/.461

My Robinson Cano projection: 159 G, 94 R, 22 HR, 98 RBI, 7 SB .307/.365/.484

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, BrooksBaseball.net, ESPN.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/qPxfub

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

Transaction Scripts: Nelson Cruz to the Mariners

Seattle finally gets a power right handed bat but did they pay for a career year?
Seattle finally gets a right-handed power bat, but did they pay for a career year?

The new of Nelson Cruz signing a 4-year deal with Seattle wasn’t all that surprising given that they didn’t want to deal any of their young starting pitching. Due to the complete dearth of production not only from their designated hitters, but the cleanup spot in their lineup, this was an organizational must. Now, will the real Robinson Cano please stand up? He has been asking for a right-handed power bat since his arrival in Seattle. Now he has it. Whether it was the career high ground ball percentage (52.6% in 2014) or the move to Safeco, Cano was a disappointment to many fantasy owners this past season. But things are looking up in Seattle with the Cruz signing and the late season acquisition of Austin Jackson. Buster Olney tweeted out a projected Seattle lineup yesterday:

I believe that Cruz will hit cleanup, pushing Kyle Seager to fifth in the batting order, splitting the left-handed bats. After only missing the playoffs by one game in 2014, Cruz plus one more bat may be the remedy. I alluded to the designated hitter and cleanup batter’s lack of productivity last year and to further illustrate, here are each totals for 2014:

Seattle DH’s 2014: 152 G, 60 R, 15 HR, 50 RBI, 10 SB .190/.266/.301
Seattle #4 Batters 2014:
162 G, 63 R, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB .218/.295/.352

To say that Robinson Cano has to be frustrated about his protection the last two years is an understatement. While the Mariners featured 16 different players who hit fourth, the 2013 Yankees had 14 different cleanup batters with Travis Hafner (56 games), Alfonso Soriano (44 games), Vernon Wells (27 games) and Lyle Overbay (11 games) leading the way. Here is how they stacked up as a group:

NY Yankee #4 Batters 2013: 162 G, 70 R, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 11 SB .228/.305/.382

Seattle has to try and placate not only their fan base, but their franchise investment, Robinson Cano. Everyone knows that Seattle needs a right-handed power bat to balance their lineup and protect Cano. But did the Mariners overpay at 4-years and 57 million dollars? Only time will tell and it will be dependent upon if Seattle can win a World Series within this window. With King Felix and a young crop of starting pitching arriving, now seems like the time to go for it.

Not only is Cruz a key to improving Robinson Cano in 2015, but there are some eerie similarities between the two. Cruz saw a drop in production after the All-Star break in 2014. However, in comparison to the numbers above, even his worst half of the season trumps either of the statistical lines above.

Nelson Cruz 2014 1H: 93 G, 56 R, 28 HR, 74 RBI, 3 SB .287/.353/.570
Nelson Cruz 2014 2H:
66 G, 31 R, 12 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB .249/.306/.463

But here is how I started to think about Robinson Cano and how there could be foreshadowing about Cruz’s production in Seattle. Cano’s first and second half splits in New York before signing with Seattle (a move the organization felt it had to make):

Robinson Cano 2013 1H: 95 G, 53 R, 21 HR, 65 RBI, 6 SB .302/.386/.531
Robinson Cano 2013 2H:
65 G, 28 R, 6 HR, 42 RBI, 1 SB .331/.379/.494

Can Cano's 2013 second half be a predictor for Cruz in Seattle? Will Cano bounce back in 2015? Yes and yes
Will Cano bounce back in 2015?

It was only a year ago, but I really did not remember how good of a first half Cano had in 2013 and he almost matched Cruz’s first half in 2014. One of the inferences that stat people will point to is that Cano’s HR/FB% in the second half of 2013 dropped to 10.3% from 21.6% in the first half and it carried over into 2014, as Cano’s full season HR/FB% dropped to 10.7% in 2014. Much will be made of the ballpark but Cano’s second half of 2013 was with the Yankees. Nelson Cruz’s first half HR/FB% was a robust 23.9% and dropped to 15.2% in the second half just under his career number of 17.3%. So before I attempt to predict what Cruz will do in 2015 in Seattle, I need to go back a step. Please remember Cruz’s 2014 second half and Cano’s 2013 second half as a frame of reference.

Here are each player’s three-season averages entering their first season in Seattle. For Cruz, I am using the average of his 2012, 2013, and career year of 2014 for his totals and for Robinson Cano I will use his last three years as a Yankee from 2011 – 2013:

Nelson Cruz last 3 years: 142 G, 74 R, 30 HR, 91 RBI, 5 SB .266/.327/.497
Robinson Cano last 3 years in NY:
160 G, 97 R, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB .309/.371/.533
Robinson Cano 2014 Seattle:
157 G, 77 R, 14 HR, 82 RBI, 10 SB .314/.382/.454

Taking into account the production behind Cano in the lineup, his counting stats suffered. With the carryover of his drop in second half HR/FB% and the possible ballpark effects, this was Cano last year. The move to Seattle dropped Cano’s runs and RBI by 20% and his home runs in half. Even with the Mariners lowering the fence heights, this plus the lineup had an effect. It is most apparent when looking at Cano’s splits in 2013 and 2014 and his OPS compared when hitting to left field and to right field:

Robinson Cano 2013 hitting to LF: 1.077 OPS; hitting to RF – 1.010 OPS
Robinson Cano 2014 hitting to LF:
1.030 OPS; hitting to RF – .738 OPS

It is not all Safeco, but Cano suffered an almost .300 point drop in his OPS last year. This can be an outlier but it is hard to ignore. This tweet by Jeff Zimmerman was an interesting one in regards to the ballpark effects in Seattle as a precursor to Cruz signing:

In my last comparison, based on the ballpark effects here are Cruz and Cano’s last three years using ESPN’s Home Run Tracker data:

Nelson Cruz 2012: Average Standard Distance 417.3 feet, Average Speed off Bat 106.8 MPH
Nelson Cruz 2013: Average Standard Distance 407.1 feet, Average Speed off Bat 104.5 MPH
Nelson Cruz 2014: Average Standard Distance 402.2 feet, Average Speed off Bat 104.7 MPH
Robinson Cano 2012: Average Standard Distance 400.1 feet, Average Speed off Bat 104.3 MPH
Robinson Cano 2013: Average Standard Distance 399.3 feet, Average Speed off Bat 103.8 MPH
Robinson Cano 2014: Average Standard Distance 375.4 feet, Average Speed off Bat 101.2 MPH

That tweet was no joke, Cano lost only two MPH on his average speed of the bat but that accounted for a drop in average home run distance of over 20 feet in 2014. It is going to be difficult to say the same will happen to Cruz but his margin for error may affect his home run totals.

What else will make projecting Nelson Cruz’s 2015 difficult is how different his 2014 was from his career numbers. Hot first half aside, here are some interesting numbers about Cruz in regards to his home/road splits:

Career Home: 107 HR, .287/.350/.540, wRC+ 129
Career Away:
90 HR, .250/.307/.462, wRC+ 106
2014 Home:
15 HR, .252/.320/.463, wRC+ 114
2014 Away:
25 HR, .289/.346/.584, wRC+ 160

Complete reversal, right? To set a baseline for Cruz I will use his three-year game average of 142 games, though acting as DH should keep him healthy. Based on the second half, his counting stats over 142 games would be 66 runs, 26 home runs and 73 RBI. Not a bad start to set a projection at. If he kept that pace and did get to the 159 games he reached in 2012 and 2014 then the numbers jump to: 75 runs, 29 home runs and 82 RBI. I am willing to split the difference.

My 2015 Nelson Cruz Projection: 157 G, 73 R, 27 HR, 88 RBI, 5 SB .266/.327/.478

What I’m most interested in is whether Robinson Cano can bounce back. Since his disappointment in 2014 will provide a buying opportunity, I am willing to reach for Cano this year when I avoided him in drafts last year. It has been 2 years since Cano had a capable player batting behind him, and though Nelson Cruz has his warts, he represents a huge improvement as protection in the lineup. If Austin Jackson and James Jones can get on base, the Mariners offense will be vastly improved.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, ESPN.com, BrooksBaseball.net
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/5GIXh3 (Cruz), http://goo.gl/r5SAMS (Cano)

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

Top DFS Plays for 09/01/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Nick Markakis vs. Phil Hughes – hitting .320 (16/50) with 3 2Bs, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs & 2 BBs

Josh Harrison vs. Lance Lynn – hitting .417 (5/12) with a 2B, a HR & 2 RBIs

Robinson Cano vs. Jason Hammel – hitting .387 (12/31) with 2 2Bs, a HR, 5 RBIs & a BB

Josh Willingham vs. Colby Lewis – hitting .333 (8/24) with 3 2Bs, 4 HRs & 6 RBIs

Carlos Santana vs. David Price – hitting .417 (5/12) with 3 2Bs, a RBI & 3 BBs

Ricky’s HR Guarantee:

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Corey Kluber vs. Detroit Tigers – Kluber in his last outing against the Tigers = 8 2/3 innings, 2 ERs, 10 Ks & 1 BB. Consider yourself warned if you don’t start the man, you won’t be making money today.

Song of the Day – Stay With Me by Sam Smith – Such a fantastic well written song. Smith’s voice could really bring Sunshine on a Cloudy day.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 2B

Altuve is stealing his owners fantasy titles this year
Jose Altuve is stealing his owners’ fantasy titles this year

While there was surprising depth at catcher and first base, my research of second basemen shows much more of a chasm between the players to target against pitching splits in daily fantasy. This will also reflect in rankings for next year as players like Dustin Pedroia continue to lose traction in the ranks. It also underscores just how good Scooter Gennett has been this year as both he and Neil Walker rank ahead of Robinson Cano based upon the advanced statistics used to rank performance in this article. For instance, would you think that Steve Tolleson has been better against left-handed pitching than Dustin Pedroia?

Before I get into the splits rankings, here are the five categories I am using:

wOBA: Weighted On Base Average represents all the ways a player gets on base (HBP counts in this metric). It is used to measure a player’s overall offensive value.

ISO: Isolated Power  is simply a player’s slugging percentage minus his batting average.

OPS: On base plus Slugging is exactly what it’s surname suggests, adding together both statistics (OBP and SLG%). In the daily game being getting on base via the extra base hit is preferred.

AB/HR: A simple stat. How many homers does a player hit between each at bat? The fewer the better.

wRC+: Weighted Runs Created Plus A measure of how many runs a player creates. The “+” accounts for differing ballpark factors. So a player who’s home park is Coors is weighted to equal one in Citi Field, for example.

2B versus Left-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 70 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Jose Altuve .433
2. Steve Tolleson .428
3. Ben Zobrist .410
4. Anthony Rendon .394
5. Howie Kendrick .372
6. Daniel Murphy .363
7. Gordon Beckham .357
8. Brian Dozier .339
9. Rickie Weeks .338
10. Dustin Pedroia .334
11. Robinson Cano .320
12. Dee Gordon .319
13. Aaron Hill .319

ISO:
1. Steve Tolleson .224
2. Brian Dozier .219
3. Danny Espinosa .192
4. Anthony Rendon .188
5. Rickie Weeks .185
6. Gordon Beckham .159
7. Ben Zobrist .149
8. Dustin Pedroia .149
9. Logan Forsythe .138
10. Aaron Hill .125
11. Howie Kendrick .124
12. Daniel Murphy .124

OPS:
1. Steve Tolleson .991
2. Jose Altuve .989
3. Ben Zobrist .941
4. Anthony Rendon .907
5. Howie Kendrick .850
6. Gordon Beckham .831
7. Daniel Murphy .827
8. Danny Espinosa .827
9. Brian Dozier .774
10. Rickie Weeks .757
11. Dustin Pedroia .753
12. Robinson Cano .735

AB/HR:
1. Brian Dozier 19
2. Steve Tolleson 25.3
3. Rickie Weeks 30.7
4. Danny Espinosa 36.5
5. Aaron Hill 40
6. Gordon Beckham 41
7. Ben Zobrist 47
8. Logan Forsythe 47
9. Daniel Murphy 48.5
10. Howie Kendrick 56.5
11. Chase Utley 57
12. Jose Altuve 57

wRC+:
1. Jose Altuve 181
2. Steve Tolleson 174
3. Ben Zobrist 170
4. Anthony Rendon 154
5. Howie Kendrick 143
6. Daniel Murphy 136
7. Danny Espinosa 126
8. Gordon Beckham 125
9. Brian Dozier 115
10. Rickie Weeks 113
11. Dustin Pedroia 109
12. Dee Gordon 106

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages:
1. Steve Tolleson – 76 AB, 8 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 355/412/579
2. Ben Zobrist – 95 AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB, 358/426/505
3. Anthony Rendon – 102 AB, 22 R, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB, 333/378/520
4. Brian Dozier – 114 AB, 17 R, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 2 SB, 246/310/465
5. Jose Altuve – 114 AB, 16 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 11 SB, 421/445/544
6. Danny Espinosa – 74 AB, 11 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB, 284/369/473
7. Gordon Beckham – 92 AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 317/356/476
8. Howie Kendrick – 113 AB, 16 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, 336/390/460
9. Daniel Murphy – 98 AB, 5 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 327/370/449
10. Rickie Weeks – 92 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 239/333/424
11. Dustin Pedroia – 121 AB, 22 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 256/348/405
12. Aaron Hill – 80 AB, 9 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 275/318/400

Count me among those daily fantasy players who did not realize how good Steve Tolleson is against left-handed pitchers. It will be interesting to see if he can still get at bats against lefties once Brett Lawrie returns from the disabled list. The acquisition of Danny Valencia suggests a platoon with he and Juan Francisco at 3B may be in order. This would push Lawrie to a 2B role, which would limit Tolleson’s reps moving forward. On a positive note, Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rendon are two options to target against southpaws moving forward. If you subscribe to the notion that “speed never slumps”, Jose Altuve is another great 2B to have in lineups against lefties with his 11 stolen bases and .421 batting average. Seeing Aaron Hill and Dustin Pedroia at the bottom of this list just exacerbates how they have struggled in 2014. By the way, where is Robinson Cano? Daniel Murphy made the top ten against lefties.

2B versus Right Handed Pitching (minimum 100 at bats):

wOBa:
1. Robinson Cano .393
2. Scooter Gennett .381
3. Neil Walker .372
4. Chase Utley .357
5. Ian Kinsler .342
6. Jose Altuve .341
7. Anthony Rendon .335
8. Dee Gordon .334
9. Jason Kipnis .332
10. Roughned Odor .330
11. Brian Dozier .326
12. Daniel Murphy .322

ISO:
1. Neil Walker .211
2. Scooter Gennett .195
3. Anthony Rendon .185
4. Brian Dozier .175
5. Ian Kinsler .169
6. Roughned Odor .159
7. Chase Utley .149
8. Jonathan Schoop .147
9. Robinson Cano .140
10. Kolten Wong .140
11. Ben Zobrist .138
12. Brian Roberts .136
13. Aaron Hill .136

OPS:
1. Robinson Cano .909
2. Scooter Gennett .889
3. Neil Walker .847
4. Chase Utley .877
5. Ian Kinsler .786
6. Jose Altuve .773
7. Anthony Rendon .767
8. Roughned Odor .764
9. Dee Gordon .755
10. Jason Kipnis .742
11. Daniel Murphy .730
12. Brian Dozier .729

AB/HR:
1. Neil Walker 19
2. Brian Dozier 22
3. Jonathan Schoop 26.4
4. Scooter Gennett 32.8
5. Jedd Gyorko 32.8
6. Ian Kinsler 34.1
7. Kolten Wong 35.6
8. Ben Zobrist 42.2
9. Chase Utley 46.8
10. Gordon Beckham 47.6
11. Danny Espinosa 48.3
12. Robinson Cano 48.4

wRC+:
1. Robinson Cano 155
2. Scooter Gennett 142
3. Neil Walker 141
4. Chase Utley 128
5. Jose Altuve 117
6. Dee Gordon 116
7. Ian Kinsler 115
8. Anthony Rendon 113
9. Jason Kipnis 113
10. Daniel Murphy 108
11. Brian Dozier 107
12. Ben Zobrist 104

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages:
1. Neil Walker – 268 AB, 40 R, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 2 SB, 280/352/489
2. Scooter Gennett – 265 AB, 41 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 5 SB, 325/363/517
3. Robinson Cano – 242 AB, 34 R, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 6 SB, 351/417/492
4. Ian Kinsler – 307 AB, 51 R, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 8 SB, 290/326/459
5. Chase Utley – 281 AB, 41 R, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 3 SB, 310/368/459
6. Anthony Rendon – 301 AB, 52 R, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 6 SB, 262/324/445
7. Brian Dozier – 286 AB, 55 R, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 14 SB, 224/330/399
8. Jose Altuve – 320 AB, 40 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 31 SB, 316/354/416
9. Dee Gordon – 316 AB, 47 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 41 SB 297/316/446
10. Roughned Odor – 141 AB, 14 R, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB, 291/316/446
11. Jonathan Schoop – 211 AB, 23 R, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 218/250/365
12. Jason Kipnis – 200 AB, 30 R, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 12 SB, 260/352/390

Scooter is asserting himself in 2014 as a 2B to be targeted going foward
Scooter is asserting himself this season as a 2B option to keep an eye on moving forward

In daily and year-long fantasy, the seasons by Neil Walker and Scooter Gennett have gone under the radar but by these guidelines they are the highest ranked second baseman against right-handed pitching this year. Robinson Cano’s slash lines are nothing to look down upon, but the surrounding lineup has more to do with his suppressed counting stats than the ballpark. In fantasy where a player bats is also vastly underrated, look at players like Jonathan Schoop and Roughned Odor. Their slash lines are not far off from Brian Dozier and Jason Kipnis but they bat 8th and 9th respectively in their team’s lineups. This matters for DFS as well, since more at bats mean more chances to score valuable points. As noted earlier, Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve have stolen a combined 72 bags  so if the power hitting 2B do not have good matchups, target the speedsters instead. A base hit, stolen base and run scored are equal to a home run in daily play and are easier to predict. Like Pedroia above, this list underscores how much Jason Kipnis has struggled in 2014. Kipnis will either be a steal if his value is suppressed in drafts, or this is who he might be looking ahead. The remainder of the second half (Kipnis has struggled in second halves before) will help fantasy gamers better gauge his value. Last note: only Jose Altuve, Brian Dozer and Anthony Rendon qualified in the top 12 splits against both righties and lefties.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, ESPN.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/MNUckp (Gennett), http://goo.gl/VbjFON (Altuve)

Top DFS plays for 07/23/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Alexei Ramirez vs. James Shields – hitting .417 (20/48) with a 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 walks

Jonathan Lucroy vs. Mike Leake – hitting .350 (7/20) with a 2B, HR, 2 RBI and 2 walks

Robinson Cano vs. Bartolo Colon – hitting .400 (6/15) with 2 2B, a HR, 2 RBI and 2 walks

Andrew McCutchen vs. Dan Haren – hitting .333 (4/12) with a 2B, 2 Hs, 4 RBI and a walk
Haren has a road ERA of 5.11 this season.

Jason Heyward vs. Nathan Eovaldi – hitting .455 (10/22) with 2 2B, a 3B, 2 RBI and a walk
LHH are hitting .303 with 8 HR and 37 RBI against Eovaldi in ’14.

Top DFS pitcher for today:

Madison Bumgarner vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Even though he has struggled over his last few starts, Bumgarner has a 1.94 ERA on the road and the Phillies, well, just aren’t very good at baseball.

Movie of the day: Lucy – I got a chance to see this last night and you know what? It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but wait until it comes out on DVD until you check it out.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Post Break Preview: 2B

Altuve steals his way into fantasy owner's hearts
Jose Altuve has stolen his way into the hearts of gamers

While there seemed to be safety in getting one of the “big three” in pre-season drafts (Cano, Kipnis, Pedroia), there has been upheaval thus far at the position with none of the top-tier appearing in the top five on the player rater. As of this writing, not only is Jose Altuve the top option at the position, but he is the top rated player in fantasy. This is a precipitous climb for someone who is listed at 5’ 5”. Because of his hot first half and the stolen base accomplishments of Dee Gordon, they not only lead the majors in stolen bases, but assume the top two spots at second base. In an effort to streamline the data, I have listed the top 20 second basemen on the player rater below along with their stats from the last 365 days to underscore what they have done. The results may surprise you:

1. Jose Altuve – 159 G, 77 R, 4 HR, 51 RBI, 55 SB 315/349/410
2. Dee Gordon – 110 G, 55 R, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 48 SB 297/348/397
3. Ian Kinsler – 160 G, 110 R, 15 HR, 87 RBI, 21 SB 287/330/432
4. Brian Dozier – 160 G, 104 R, 28 HR, 77 RBI, 22 SB 246/327/439
5. Anthony Rendon – 145 G, 85 R, 16 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB 270/332/442
6. Robinson Cano – 158 G, 77 R, 13 HR, 101 RBI, 8 SB 333/388/474
7. Daniel Murphy –164 G, 97 R, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 25 SB 298/340/492
8. Howie Kendrick – 124 G, 67 R, 6 HR, 57 RBI, 11 SB 287/336/385
9. Chase Utley – 158 G, 85 R, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 6 SB 293/354/447
10. Scooter Gennett –136 G, 65 R, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 7 SB 325/359/492
11. Neil Walker –142 G, 72 R, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB 266/33/449
12. Josh Harrison – 125 G, 46 R, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 13 SB 291/330/448
13. Dustin Pedroia-159 G, 83 R, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB 280/343/382
14. DJ LeMahieu –148 G, 66 R, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 15 SB 282/321/354
15. Omar Infante –114 G, 47 R, 9 HR, 70 RBI, 5 SB 297/330/408
16. Brandon Phillips – 152 G, 68 R, 13 HR, 72 RBI, 5 SB 264/303/384
17. Jason Kipnis – 135 G, 69 R, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 23 SB 265/344/368
18. Ben Zobrist – 150 G, 72 R, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 10 SB 275/354/407
19. Martin Prado –158 G, 70 R, 10 HR, 82 RBI, 4 SB 291/328/412
20. Kolten Wong – 85 G, 28 R, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 15 SB 220/274/339

It appears the concern over Dustin Pedroia’s power numbers in decline are more than people bargained for. With only seven home runs since last July it looks like this is who he is moving forward. It will be hard to list him in the top five next year. If you laughed at guys riding a Scooter, the one in Milwaukee has proven to be a fantasy factor off the waiver wire displacing Rickie Weeks and hitting in the top two of the Brewers lineup. A player in the midst of breakout is Anthony Rendon but he seems to be overshadowed in Washington due to the angst and attention that Bryce Harper commands. But his numbers from the last year have been rock solid and he is only getting better. One of the biggest questions has been where Robinson Cano’s power has gone. With only 13 home runs over the last year, this may be who he is going forward but like a struggling Chris Davis, Cano can hit them in bunches if he gets hot. Injuries have limited Jason Kipnis in the first half and his second half struggles have been well documented. Feeling lucky? Like Cano, his power numbers have been in a steep decline with only seven in his last 135 games. With all this in mind, here are the ZiPS ROS projections according to Fangraphs to see how player are thought to finish the season:

ZiPS ROS Projections:

Runs:
1. Ian Kinsler 38
2. Brian Dozier 35
3. Robinson Cano 32
4. Jason Kipnis
5. Dustin Pedroia 31
6. Jose Altuve 31
7. Daniel Murphy 31
8. Anthony Rendon 30
9. Ben Zobrist 30
10. Neil Walker/Howie Kendrick 29

Home Runs:
1. Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Neil Walker, Brian Dozier, Dan Uggla 7
2. Anthony Rendon, Chase Utley, Jason Kipnis, Kelly Johnson, Jonathan Schoop 6

RBI:
1. Robinson Cano 35
2. Ian Kinsler 31
3. Neil Walker 29
4. Jason Kipnis 29
5. Dustin Pedroia 28
6. Anthony Rendon 27
7. Howie Kendrick 27
8. Daniel Murphy 27
9. Aaron Hill 26
10. Brian Dozier 26

Stolen Bases:
1. Dee Gordon 19
2. Jose Altuve 17
3. Emilio Bonifacio 11
4. Jason Kipnis 9
5. Leury Garcia 9
6. Arismendy Alcanatara 8
7. Ian Kinsler 7
8. Brian Dozier 7
9. Josh Harrison, Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Roughned Odor 6

Batting Average:
1. Jose Altuve .301
2. Robinson Cano .300
3. Daniel Murphy .284
4. Scooter Gennett .284
5. DJ LeMahieu .284
6. Dustin Pedroia .281
7. Marco Scutero .281
8. Tommy LaStella .281
9. Ian Kinsler .279

Mark it down Rendon is a top 5 second baseman in the second half and going forward
Book it: Anthony Rendon is a top five option at 2B

While these projections are far from perfect, it does give fantasy owners an idea of how players could finish out the season. It also helps to predict how they will finish the year in the rankings. Going forward, here are my top 20 fantasy second baseman for the season’s second half:

1. Jose Altuve – Never thought I would type this but why can’t he keep the top spot all year? He is going to hit for average, will steal bases and the Astros can score runs
2. Ian Kinsler – I underestimated him in the preseason and his motivation to show the Rangers they made a mistake has definitely made a difference. The surrounding offense doesn’t hurt, either
3. Robinson Cano – He is still a top option but the first round is a reach next year
4. Anthony Rendon – I am all in with him and next year he may bust out even further
5. Dee Gordon – Stolen bases provide huge value and he is still providing them, the average will regress but the speed is here to stay
6. Brian Dozier – His average can be a drain but the power and speed combo are too hard to ignore
7. Daniel Murphy – Unlike David Wright, he is undervalued at his position
8. Jason Kipnis – The talent is there but his plate discipline and lack of power in the last calender year are concerning
9. Chase Utley – Could a trade really boost his value in the second half? Absolutely
10. Ben Zobrist – See Utley above, he is warming up
11. Scooter Gennett – Hits at the top of the lineup against righties and helps in all five categories
12. Neil Walker – Still has power and will be in play as the Pirates push for the playoffs
13. Howie Kendrick – Has been healthy and solid
14. Dustin Pedroia – As I am typing this he is 0 for 4 in a game that Boston has scored 14 runs. I love his heart and hustle, but his name buoyed his draft position. Look at his last 365 stats above
15. Kolten Wong – Upside late and he could leapfrog a couple of the names above him if he can stay healthy. Has stolen base and runs upside
16. Arismendy Alcanatara – Why not? He has been solid in his debut and if the Cubs leave him in the second spot in the lineup he can provide double digit steals in the second half
17. Aaron Hill – He has to get better this year. Just in case though, I am leaving him here
18. Martin Prado – Does a little bit of everything but like Aaron Hill, he’s been a disappointment
19. Rougned Odor – Again, upside play and this kid plays older than his age but the Rangers are burying him by hitting him last. Move him up please, Ron
20. Josh Harrison – Has eligibility in leagues and he is a spark plug in this offense

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on the Twitter machine @gjewett9!

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com, ZiPS Projections
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/nnHCNt (Altuve), http://goo.gl/90NPMB (Rendon)

Top DFS Plays for 07/18/14

Good Morning! Baseball is back! It was a rough couple of days for us DFS players. Maybe you found yourself dabbling in DFS golf or betting the Home Run Derby. Today, I re-launch my daily DFS plays. I’ll outline my favorite hitters for the day as well as my top pitching option. Check back frequently, as I’ll have this live every morning!

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

Top DFS hitters for today:

Giancarlo Stanton vs. Madison Bumgarner – hitting .636 (7/11) with 5 2B, 3 RBI and a walk
Stanton is hitting a cool .370 this year against LHP.

Jayson Werth vs. Kyle Lohse – hitting .333 (9/27) with 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI and a walk
Werth is one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now with 6 HR in the month of July. He’s got a great matchup and should be in all lineups tonight.

Robinson Cano vs. Jered Weaver – hitting .361 (13/36) with a 3B & 3 RBI
Weaver has given up 11 dingers to opposing lefties this season.

Detriot Tigers stack against Trevor Bauer 
Bauer has given up 9 homers this year and 5 of those came in 2 starts against the Tigers.

Top Pitching option for today:

Bartolo Colon vs. San Diego Padres – 7 1/3 innings 4 hits, 2 ER, 7 punchouts and a walk
Colon was fantastic in his last outing against the Padres and they have one of, if not the worst offense in the NL. Love big fat Bartolo today.

Movie of the day: The Purge: Anarchy – The first movie was awful and I really thought it was a waste of an original idea. However, the sequel hits the big screen today. I saw it and it was fantastic; everything I wanted the first one to be. Check out my video review of it via the link! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P44OUpf2BDI

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 05/02

I am going to bring you the lineup I feel is the best for you to bring home some $$$ for the day. Early on we are fighting the guessing game but riding some of the guys hot bats to start the season.

So/So night last night. I don’t like small slates and games that just have a ton of question marks. Makes for a hard play.

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com –RIGHT NOW IF YOU JOIN Fan Duel and make your 1st deposit using the Promo Code – SCRIPT – You will get 100% bonus match on it!!!!!!!! Just do it folks.
Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 05/02

lineup

 

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration or download the show on iTunes by clicking the link here. https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-sports-script/id850876078?mt=2