Friday MLB DFS Review: Start Taijuan, Walker the Plank
Implosion, breakdown, collapse, deterioration, flop, bungle, total fail, getting bombed…..
However you like to describe a complete starting pitching fail, use it accordingly to describe Taijuan Walker‘s night. Let this be further proof that Spring Training numbers legitimately mean nothing. Although Walker had faced close to Major League lineups in his two final spring starts and finished the spring with a sub-1.00 ERA, he was absolutely mashed tonight. All signs in preseason pointed to him starting strong and it did not become reality.
Surprisingly last season, Oakland actually played above average to hitters despite the giant foul ground areas in play. At the same time, Drew Pomeranz was facing the same park factors on Friday night and his night went quite differently (this will be touched on later). With optimism heading into the start, and approximately 25% ownership percentage on DraftKings (DK), it didn’t take long for the reality to set in: this wasn’t going to be pretty. Walker allowed three runs in the first, two runs in the second, none in the third before finally getting pulled amongst a six run Athletics inning in the fourth. Here’s the bad news: Walker’s ERA currently sits at 24.30 and he produced -11.1 DK Fantasy Points (FP). On the bright side, Seattle played as the best pitcher’s ballpark in 2014. Heck, even Felix Hernandez‘s ERA was 0.14 higher on the road last season. Moral of the story: Walker is still a good pitcher and maybe this will bring his price down for the next start. No pitcher throws a great game all 35 or so times out. Write this one off as an anomaly and move on to tomorrow night if you used Walker on Friday night.
Moving on, major GPP tournament winners likely did not use Walker on Friday night. Not using him was a victory in itself but there were some pitchers such as Tim Lincecum that had themselves a day. Lincecum threw seven innings of shutout ball, which led him to being included in 57 percent of the GPP winning lineups below. Here were the first place lineups from the seven major baseball GPPs amongst the three major DFS sites:
DraftKings $250K Mega Perfect Game
John Lackey, Drew Pomeranz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ike Davis, Dee Gordon, Pedro Alvarez, Alcides Escobar, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich
DraftKings $100K Payoff Pitch
Brandon Morrow, Drew Pomeranz, Jonathan Lucroy, Joey Votto, Dee Gordon, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Billy Hamilton, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout
DraftKings $60K Gold Glove
Tim Lincecum, Drew Pomeranz, Jonathan Lucroy, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Billy Hamilton, Mookie Betts, Daniel Nava, Hanley Ramirez
FantasyAces FAWBC Qualifier
Tim Lincecum, Drew Pomeranz, Jonathan Lucroy, Dee Gordon, Howie Kendrick, Pablo Sandoval, Paul Goldschmidt, Michael Cuddyer, Billy Hamilton, John Mayberry, David Ortiz
FanDuel $250K Grand Slam
Tim Lincecum, Devin Mesoraco, Joey Votto, Dee Gordon, David Wright, Jhonny Peralta, Kevin Kiermaier, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton
FanDuel $100K Monster
Tim Lincecum, Yasmani Grandal, Joey Votto, Dee Gordon, Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Matt Holliday
FanDuel $50K Slugger
Brandon Morrow, Jonathan Lucroy, Paul Goldschmidt, Dee Gordon, David Freese, Jhonny Peralta, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, A.J. Pollock
Aside from Taijuan Walker, here are some of the other busts of the night with approximate ownership percentage in DK tournaments:
Aside from Lincecum, Pomeranz was a starting pitcher that led owners to victory. Pomeranz led all pitchers in K/9 during Spring Training. Unlike Walker, he rode the momentum of Spring Training and converted it into an excellent first start. With a limited sample size last season, Pomeranz had actually pitched substantially worse at home than on the road (3.48 ERA versus 1.42 ERA). At only 26 years old, it’s a new season for the former first round pick of the Cleveland Indians. Only half of Pomeranz’s Major League outings last season came as a starter so it’s not comparing apples to apples. As shown tonight, it remains to be seen whether or not his home/road splits last year are even worth noting. It could just be he has improved and this year will be a completely different story. This is the case for most pitchers heading into the new year. Just because Madison Bumgarner sported a 4.03 ERA at home last season doesn’t mean he can’t pitch in San Francisco. 91.2 inning sample size isn’t enough to close the books and consider it a fact. The season before, Bumgarner pitched better at home than on the road so sometimes these events are random.
Lesson #1 to take away from Friday: take last year’s splits with a grain of salt. Players are at a different point in their career this season and things will likely not go exactly as they did last season. For at least the first month, look at last year’s stats but do not use them as if they are the only thing (or the most important thing) to rely on for setting lineups.
Tony Cincotta and I mentioned Jason Marquis‘ awful career splits versus left handed hitting heading into tonight. We suggested loading up on their lefties such as Matt Adams, Jason Heyward and Kolten Wong. Turns out we ended up batting .333 in those picks as only Wong finished with an extra base hit. In the same game, John Lackey‘s splits showed he was tougher on lefties last season so I suggested to focus on Reds righties. While he was solid, it turned out Joey Votto was the best play on the team (2 HR and a SB). Moral of the story: baseball is very difficult to predict in the short run. It’s not like basketball where shooting guards will literally produce against the Sacramento Kings every single night. Guys facing bad pitchers don’t always work out as the best hitters fail seven out of ten times. Lincecum and Morrow threw some of the best games tonight and neither have been particularly effective in the past two seasons. Every night something crazy happens in baseball so continue to do the right things and you will end up winning in the long haul.
Lesson #2 to take away from Friday: do not change your methods because of one down night in daily Fantasy baseball. Put yourself in the best position win on every given night and you will end up winning in the long haul.
That brings us to our last lesson everyday:
Lesson #3 to take away from Wednesday: you learn something new every single time you play Daily Fantasy Sports and will never truly know it all.
Did you win on Friday night? Did you stay up to watch all 19 innings of the Red Sox/Yankees game? Discuss now on the forums:
P.S. Check out Dee Gordon and Mat Latos pulling off the dunk cam during Christian Yelich‘s post-game interview after his walk-off winning hit.
Yelich’s response was also hilarious:
Good team win tonight for the Fish….got posterized by @FlashGJr watch ur back ur next!!!
— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) April 11, 2015