Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fantasy Baseball 2016: 3rd Base Preview

Most positions in fantasy baseball for the 2016 season have a dominate player that is the clear standout at their position.  However, the 3rd base position is not one of them as we have four players who could all be drafted as the best player at the hot corner.

Nolan Arenado - Colorado Rockies
Entering his age 25 season, Arenado has already shown improvements to his game and has become the face of the franchise after they traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  His ground balls have declined in each season, and his HR/FB rate has increased (18.5% last year).  He plays his home games in the best run scoring environment in baseball, so while his power numbers might dip some, they should not regress to the point of moving him out of the top four options at 3B.

Manny Machado - Baltimore Orioles
Entering his age 23 season, Machado has already logged 1979 major league plate appearances and has shown growth as a player.  Drafted as one of the next major league superstars, Machado reached that level in 2015 with a 35hr-102r-86rbi-20sb season.  He has posted HR/FB rates of 15.0 and 17.6 over the last two seasons, and increased his Contact% from 78% (in 2014) to 84%.  The 2016 season should be another great season for Machado, and we could just be seeing the start of a dominating career.

Kris Bryant - Chicago Cubs
Entering his age 24 season, Bryant exploded onto the MLB scene in 2015 with a 26hr-87r-99rbi-13sb season and was a key player in the resurgence of the Chicago Cubs.  He mashed 43 HR in 2014 between AA and AAA, 26 major league home runs last year, and looks to become one of the premier sluggers in MLB in 2016.  The only concerns with Bryant is his 66 Contact%, and his 17 Swing Strike%.  Other sluggers can survive with those numbers, but I would expect lots of ups and downs and him to bat closer to .250 than his .275 average in 2016.

Josh Donaldson - Toronto Blue Jays
Entering his age 30 season, Donaldson is the old man of the group, but like the others he had a breakout season in 2015.  Donaldson was always considered a good 3B option after some very solid seasons in Oakland, but moving to the Rogers Centre and being surrounded by premier sluggers made a dramatic impact on his performance.  A career high in HR/FB suggests that his power numbers will decrease some, but he should still hit 35hr with 100 runs and rbi in 2016.

The Other Third Basemen (alphabetical):

Adrian Beltre - Hasn't hit 20 HRs in the past two seasons, but solid in r+rbi and batting average.
Matt Carpenter - Went from 8hr to 28hr in 2015, expect his power to regress, but still score 100 runs.
Nick Castellanos - Entering age 24 season, but needs to show increased power or contact to stick.
Matt Duffy - A good contact hitter with minimal pop, but the ability to steal 20 bases.
Maikel Franco - Entering age 23 season, has shown good power and decent contact.
Todd Frazier - Moving from Cincinnati to Chicago, and coming off his best power season.
Josh Harrison - Similar to Daniel Murphy, but a less exciting version (if that is possible).
Brett Lawrie - Has a double digit career HR/FB, but hits too many ground balls to hit 25 hr.
Evan Longoria - Has played 160+ games in three straight seasons, but took a step back in 2015.
Daniel Murphy - Signed with the Nationals. Nothing very exiting with him - won't hurt you.
Mike Moustakas - Finally took a step forward in 2015 with 22hr and a .284 average.
Anthony Rendon - Potential to be a 100 run scorer near the top of the Nationals line-up.
Pablo Sandoval - Has only had 525+ plate appearances in 1 of the last 5 seasons.
Kyle Seager - His cavernous home park keeps his numbers down to 25hr-80rbi-.265avg.
Yasmany Tomas - Only hit 9hr in 2015 because of a 2.4 GB/FB rate. Has the ability to hit 25+ hr.
Justin Turner - Has had 23hr-101r-103rbi over last two seasons (761 plate appearances).

Please follow @MLBontheBump on Twitter for seasonal fantasy baseball projections and DFS projections.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22 - Early Only Line-up

Hopefully you were in contact with me on Monday afternoon and got Matt Harvey, and added my #1 projected pitcher for the day Andrew Heaney.  I ended up cashing both Monday 50/50s, but missed cashing the 50/50 yesterday with 41.75 points (solid total).  On the bright side my Rockies-Rangers stacked line-up ended up winning me a ticket for the $200K tournament on 7/24.

Here is my Early Only line-up, and I do expect changes so make sure that you follow me on Twitter and ask questions/updated line-ups as we get closer to the 1st pitch.

It is one of those contests where I can pretty much get whatever hitter I want, and then find the pitcher that fits in best.  I actually have Noah Syndergaard projected slightly higher than Jake Odorizzi, but I am off Syndergaard for the following reasons:
  • He is pitching on the road
  • He faces a usually solid pitcher in Jordan Zimmerman
  • I can pay for Bryce Harper if I don't play Syndergaard
We are clearly picking on Phillies LHP Adam Morgan with this line-up, and even take Jake Elmore ($2200) who is playing in a wasteland of shortstops in this slate.  Steven Souza ($2600) crushes LHP to a tune of .382 wOBA with a .263 ISO so he is a solid bet on hitting a home run this morning.  The other bats are solid everday plays - Adrian Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, etc.  I do believe that Kyle Schwarber will sit this morning after a long night game, so make sure that you follow me on Twitter to get the most updated line-up.

Percentage of starts scoring 3 or more points this season:
Adrian Gonzalez - 38%
Jason Kipnis - 55%
Evan Longoria - 28%
Bryce Harper - 54%
Michael Brantley - 43%

As always, best of luck today with all your Fanduel line-ups.  I will be updating the projections/cheatsheet as line-ups are announced, and as we get into different game slates on the day.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fanduel Line-up - July 20

The July 19 line-up was a debacle with the big projected bat, Nelson Cruz, only getting 0.25 points and the ace of the day, Chris Sale, not even reaching double digits.  Several projected starters found themselves on the bench, rained out, or showing up to the park with a mystery injury!  July 20 features a day of pitching guesswork.  The biggest name is Matt Harvey ($10,500), but he faces off against the next biggest name in Gio Gonzalez ($9400).  The always tough A.J. Burnett ($8900) get a tough match-up on the road against Yordano Ventura ($8200) and the Kansas City Royals.  I, probably like many Fanduel players, will take the chalk in Matt Harvey and hope that Bryce Harper doesn't abuse him.

The hitters are focused on two key big plays - Troy Tulowitzki ($5000), who is much better at home than on the road, and Todd Frazier ($3500) who will face a below average starter in  Clayton Richard at home this evening.  Kyle Schwarber ($2600) was projected to play yesterday, but was a bench player instead, so his status will need to be monitored along with Rajai Davis ($2500) and his order in the line-up.  This line-up is currently projected to score 40.4 points, but will need to be checked closely when the line-ups come out.  I would not be surprised if this line-up looked significantly different once the line-ups are officially announced and we see some of these players in different spots in the batting order, or on the bench.

A player that you might want to target is Josh Hamilton ($3000) who will be traveling to Coors Field, but was the only player that did not see a price increase for some reason.

The biggest value players of the day are currently Kyle Schwarber ($2600), Rajai Davis ($2500), and Derek Dietrich ($2200).  

The highest projected hitters for the day are Todd Frazier, Delino DeShields, and Paul Goldschmidt.  

Make sure that you check out my projections/cheat sheet HERE.  The projections/cheat sheet will be updated throughout the day and is a great resource for figuring out who to play.  As always it is FREE!

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter at @mlbonthebump

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 19 - Fanduel Line-up (All Day)

My two publicized line-ups scored a combined 99.25 points yesterday, and cashed in both cash games and GPP's.  I will be at the Rangers-Astros game on Sunday, so I will not be able to update my cheatsheet - so I am giving you my all day Sunday line-up right here for free..

Sunday is interesting on the pitching front because you have a multiple all-star pitchers to choose from, and I am going with the highest projected according to my cheatsheet.  When Chris Archer is the 11th projected starting pitcher you know that finding the right pitcher will be the key to success.  Chris Sale gets a tough match-up against the Royals, but it is hard to find many reasons not like to him on Sunday (or any other day that he pitches).  

Fanduel reclassified Kyle Schwarber from outfield to catcher, and bumped his salary up slightly to $2700.  He should bat 2nd tomorrow for the Cubs against RHP Shelby Miller, and will be highly owned.  He doesn't have the easiest match-up, but his price is too low and he makes an easy buy at a tough position to fill.  Another player that Fanduel hasn't bumped up enough is Miguel Sano ($2600) and he once again gets the start for me in Oakland vs RHP Jesse Chavez.  Jimmy Paredes (.359 wOBA vs RHP) should bat 2nd for the Orioles against RHP Justin Verlander.  Jhonny Peralta will bat 4th for the Cardinals which is most successful spot in the batting order this year (.884 OPS and .382 wOBA) against LHP Jon Niese.

Nelson Cruz (.521 wOBA vs LHP) is the highest projected hitter in my rankings, and at only $3400 he is a must own against the now mediocre LHP CC Sabathia.  I have paired him with Austin Jackson, who I think will bat lead-off and hopefully will be on base when Cruz hits a home run.  Justin Upton has surprisingly been better at home than on the road, and against right handed pitchers - so the play against RHP Kyle Kendrick at Petco makes sense.  

Now the real wildcard is Jose Abreu.....  He is a player that I continue to spend money on (granted it is only $3200) and never get much from him.  Can tomorrow be the day that puts this line-up over the top?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Three Preliminary Line-Ups for July 17

With no baseball for the past four days, it has given me a ton of time to over analyze my line-ups for Friday (the second Opening Day!).  Here are three line-ups using only hitters against confirmed pitchers as of 9:45am CST on July 16.

The first is the "Clayton Kershaw Line-up" that many people will roll out, but will have to use 37% of their budget on a starting pitcher.  The key to winning a "Kershaw Line-up" is being able to hit a few of the league minimum hitters and in this line-up they are Adam LaRoche, David Murphy, and an almost minimum Gregory Polanco ($2300).  LaRoche and Murphy should find themselves batting 4 or 5 and facing mediocre pitchers in hitter friendly parks.  Gregory Polanco will lead-off for the Pirates in hitter friendly Miller Park, and has better splits vs RHP, and on the road.  All three players I feel are very solid plays when looking to save some cash and still get decent production.

I have a gut feeling that the "smart money" will be on the "Jose Fernandez Line-up" as he gives you $2300 more in your budget than using the Kershaw line-up.  Fernandez is on the road, but he does get the pathetic Phillies to pick on.  I really like LaRoche and Polanco for tomorrow, so they stay in this line-up, but we make upgrades to 2B (Walker to Altuve) and outfield (Murphy to Cespedes).  Jose Altuve is clearly my top 2B option for Friday, and is a player that I will try to get in as many line-ups as possible.  This line-up is projected to get 2.0 more points than our "Kershaw Line-up".

The final line-up for me is my GPP (or Free Roll) Line-up.  It features Mike Fiers, who at $7500 has a projected Return On Investment of 14% and is ranked second in dollars per point behind only Jose Fernandez.  In this line-up we keep Adam LaRoche, I told you that I like him for tomorrow, and upgrade our outfield from Polanco and Cespedes to J.D. Martinez and Charlie Blackmon.  This is a line-up that is easy to get in a Harper/Trout and downgrade from Blackmon to a lesser outfielder.  You will notice that this line-up has a lower projected point total (38.9), but it has the risk (Fiers) that you need to take to win a GPP.  

Other places to save money:

At $2300, and possibly batting lead-off, it isn't a bad play to go cheap on Derek Norris vs LHP Jorge De La Rosa and use the savings to upgrade in other areas.  

Second Base
Rougned Odor ($2800) cheap the line-up and where he is batting.  If he is #1 or #2 in the line-up then he is could be a decent option in Minute Maid Park.

Third Base
Casey McGehee ($2200) he is the league minimum, but I would rather have Miguel Sano vs a tougher pitcher in a tougher park than taking a shot on McGehee.

Adeiny Hechavarria ($2300) is another Marlin that you can save money on, and he will be batting 3rd against a subpar pitcher in Adam Morgan in a hitter friendly park.

Thomas Pham ($2400) is a player that you will need to check the line-up on.  If he is starting and batting near the top then he isn't a bad lottery ticket for only $2400 even against Noah Syndergaard.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July Pitching Options

Here are your starting pitcher options for the 4th of July:

Low Level Tier (<$7000)

Cody Anderson - $6400 - Cleveland Indians
In only 15.2 ML inning pitches, Cody Anderson has shown that he will throw a lot of strikes, not get enough strikeouts, and show decent command.  Facing the Pirates, and Jeff Locke, he has a decent shot to get a win, but that is the only way that he will be worth the $6400 price tag.

Mid Level Tier ($7000 - $8900)

Hector Santiago - $7600 - Los Angeles Angels
Santiago has shown the ability to generate swinging strikes at a career high level (9.0%) which has generated a much better K% (22.5%).  The problem with Santiago tonight is that he is a fly ball pitcher throwing at a hitter friendly park.  He has a decent shot to get the win, and a good number of strikeouts, but he is also a risk for getting blown up tonight.

Clay Buchholz - $8600 - Boston Red Sox
After a rough month of April (5.76 ERA), Clay Buchholz has settled into having a solid season (2.21 ERA in June).  He is showing the best command of his career (5.8 BB%) and still generating strikeouts (22.8 K%).  He is a solid play vs the Astros team, who put up big numbers last night, but also have the ability to strikeout a lot.

Upper Level Tier ($9000 - $10900)

Carlos Martinez - $10000 - St. Louis Cardinals
My number one projected starting pitcher for today is Carlos Martinez (14.5 projected points) against a Padres team that has been struggling to score runs.  Martinez can generate strikeouts with the best pitchers in the game (25.9 K%), but you have to worry about his potential for high walk totals (10.1 BB%).  He is facing an inferior pitcher in Odrisamer Despaigne, so a win and high strikeout totals are expected.

David Price - $10800 - Detroit Tigers
It is not often that you can overlook David Price, but any left handed pitcher facing the Blue Jays hitter should be immediately discarded from your potential plays and today is no different.  Do not consider playing David Price!

Elite Level Tier ($11000+)

Felix Hernandez - $11500 - Seattle Mariners
King Felix has already reached double digit wins (10 wins) on the season, and will face an Athletics team that will be able to start a lefty heavy line-up against him.  After dominating April and May, King Felix posted a 5.51 ERA in June, and his ERA is about a full run worse on the road.  He isn't an automatic play with these concerns, but he can never be completely ignored either.

Madison Bumgarner - $11200 - San Francisco Giants
Bumgarner is pretty much matching his 2014 season stat for stat, and is looking for his 3rd consecutive sub 3.00 ERA season.  He gets a Nationals line-up that isn't great, but he is pitching on the road, and has an tremendously early start so you will need to be on your game to get him in your line-up today.

Zack Grienke - $11200 - Los Angeles Dodgers
Greinke has been riding a lucky BABIP this season (.247 BABIP compared to a career .302) but he has shown his best command this season (4.8 BB%).  He faces off against Matt Harvey, so a win is not a given, but he should be able to maneuver easily through the Mets line-up and be one of the best pitching options tonight.

Click the link for a copy of my Fanduel Cheatsheet that will be updated throughout the day as line-ups are announced, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@mlbonthebump).  I am also putting together a Facebook Fanduel Discussion group, and contact me if you are interested in joining. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Non-Kershaw Options

It is easy to roll out Clayton Kershaw ($12,300) tonight in cash games on Fanduel, but you also need to find some value hitters when doing this.  Instead of focusing on who those hitters potentially are, in this article we will look at other SP options to use instead of the mighty Clayton Kershaw.  Note - we will ignore the two early games as you cannot possibly know the hitting line-ups for all the games that early in the day.

Low Level Tier (<$7000)

Adam Morgan ($5600) - Atlanta Braves
Nothing about Morgan says that he is anything more than John Danks, which isn't a good thing, when it comes to daily fantasy baseball.  He had a good 1st outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in his MLB debut, but he is truly nothing more than a LHP that won't get you enough strikeouts and will have very little run support.  He is the ultimate gamble, but should be avoided because his 1st start will not be repeated tonight.

Chase Anderson ($6200) - Arizona Diamondbacks
Anderson is a mediocre pitcher, but he is at home and is facing the Rockies batters away from Coors Field.  Over his two year MLB career, Anderson has been better at home (3.36 ERA at home, 4.37 on the road).  Chase Field isn't the hitters park that Coors is, but it isn't far behind either, so be very careful if you go with Anderson.

Mid Level Tier ($7000 - $8900)

Ubaldo Jimenez ($8800) - Baltimore Orioles
The owner of a career 3.95 ERA and a 11 BB%, Ubaldo has shown much better command this season (7 BB%) and 45 Zone% which has led to a solid 3.09 ERA for the season.  He is facing the White Sox who are near the bottom of the league in runs per plate appearance at home so expect his resurgence to continue.

Jesse Chavez ($8700) - Oakland Athletics
Chavez isn't the first pitcher that you would think of as a potential $9000 starting pitcher, but he is on the verge of becoming just that, and will face off against the Seattle Mariners who are the worst team in MLB at scoring vs RHP (even with a stack of LH batters).  The journeyman starting pitcher throws strikes often and misses enough bats (9%) to get enough strikeouts to be useful even in non-win situations.

Michael Wacha ($8600) - St. Louis Cardinals
After posting terrible K% in April and May (15% and 17%), Wacha turned it around and posted a 25 K% for the month of June.  He went from a good SP that won't strikeout enough batters, to a pitcher that will probably get the win and get a good amount of strikeouts.  Beware though because the Padres have the 11th best run per plate appearance on the road.

Upper Level Tier ($9000-$10900)

Chris Archer ($10600) - Tampa Rays
At the age of 26, Archer has developed into an upper tier pitcher by relying on his fastball less (only 53% of his pitches this season) which has decreased his BB% and increased his K% (31%) to career highs.  He will travel to the hitter friendly Yankee stadium, but should continue to rack up the strikeouts, but might not get the win as the Yankees have the superior offense to the Rays.

Masahiro Tanaka ($9400) - New York Yankees
Tanaka probably should have gotten TJ surgery and sat our the 2015 season, but he didn't and he posted a solid 3.22 ERA and .242 wOBA in April.  He sat out of the month of May, and returned to post a subpar 4.35 ERA and .353 wOBA for the month of June.  Clearly he isn't the same pitcher he once was, and should be avoided even at home against a Rays team that is near the bottom of run production on the road.

Click the link for a copy of my Fanduel Cheatsheet that will be updated throughout the day as line-ups are announced, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@mlbonthebump).  I am also putting together a Facebook Fanduel Discussion group, and contact me if you are interested in joining.