Pitcher Matchups for June 28-July 1

June 29 11:41am
Derek Carty

My intention this week was to look at how predictive batter/pitcher matchups are, but I had some last minute problems with the data, so that will have to wait until next week.  Instead, I thought I’d take this opportunity to take a step back from the usual format of running a study and lighten things up a bit.  Today, I’m going to look at the next three days worth of pitching matchups and rank the pitchers.  It won’t be a heavily scientific method; there’ll be no number-crunching today.  The rankings will be more a reflection my years of fantasy experience and my feel for each pitcher, their situation, ballpark, opponents, etc.

If you haven’t heard, FanDuel is running a freeroll contest today for FanDuel Insider readers.  Hopefully this article will help you out when you go to select your team.

Explaining the Tables

For each day, you’ll see a table with my rankings.  The first thing to note is that the rankings have not taken FanDuel price into account, though the prices are listed next to each player.  So if I have a $4,000 player above an $8,000 player, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s cheaper.  It means that I prefer the $4,000 to the $8,000 player regardless of how much they cost.

In the tables, you’ll notice a dark yellow highlight on some players.  This indicates that this is a player I would strongly consider selecting if I wanted to choose a pitcher around that price range.

You’ll also notice that some players have a lighter yellow highlight.  These are players that I could see selecting in very limited situations, like if you’ve found such good hitter bargains that you have some extra cash to throw around.  Otherwise, these players can be ignored because there’s likely a comparable player next to them in the rankings that costs less and the marginal gain is tiny for selecting the more expensive and only slightly better pitcher.

If a player has no highlight, it means that I would ignore him completely because there is a better pitcher available at a cheaper price.  If you pick  a player in white, it’s my contention that you’re making a mistake, regardless of how good the pitcher is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011























If you’re going big today, Haren has a terrific matchup against the Nats while the more expensive aces have good but not great matchups.  I’d probably go with Zimmermann or Volquez for today, though, because they both have good matchups and are relatively cheap.  Volquez’s walks make him high risk, but he’s probably the best percentage play today against a middle-of-the-road Tampa team.  If I have a little extra cash, though, Zimmermann is a much better play and is worth splurging for if possible.

If I’m going absolute bargain basement, it’s gotta’ be Godfrey for $2,000 but he’s more of a play for the $32k Expert format because even if you pick all the most expensive hitters, you still won’t end up spending a full $35k. (UPDATE: Godfrey has just been put back in the bullpen because of a shuffle in the pitching lineup with the return of Rich Harden on Friday. Godfrey will not start Wednesday as originally planned.)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday’s always a light day, and today I only see four pitchers you could even consider using.  Cain is the only ace you should consider, even with a merely okay matchup, because the rest of the aces are either more expensive with similarly mediocre matchups or have bad matchups.

Easily the play of the day, though, is Carlos Villanueva, who has sound enough skills, terrific offensive support, and goes up against one of the worst offenses in the league.  Plus, he’s extremely cheap.  As a result, his presence on the list renders most other starters unusable unless you have a little extra and want to go for Zambrano or can’t spare an extra $300 and want to settle for Moscosco.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Even with a full schedule, I only see three strong options today.  Gallardo has an amazing matchup against the Twins at Target and is relatively cheap for a near-ace.  The Twins don’t K much, though, which could cost him a couple points.

If I’m not going the ace route, it’s a toss-up between whether I’d go with Gorzelanny against the Pirates or the very cheap and adequately skilled Juan Nicasio against the Royals.  I’d probably go with Gorzelanny unless I just can’t find any hitter bargains.  Kuroda and Duffy are usable in very limited situations, Duffy especially.

Concluding thoughts

Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s little break from the more analytical stuff, but I’ll be back next week with a look at how important a batter’s history versus a pitcher is. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail me. Also, be sure to add me as a friend on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Derek Carty’s work can also be found at Baseball Prospectus, CardRunners Fantasy Baseball, and DerekCarty.com. He has previously had his work published by The Hardball Times, NBC’s Rotoworld, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, and USA Today. He is the youngest champion in the history of LABR, the longest-running experts league in existence, and is a graduate of the MLB Scouting Bureau’s Scout Development Program (aka Scout School). He welcomes questions via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.

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