The daily grind: 9-28-13

The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkerers and daily fantasy players. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective, including notice of impending weather events, new injuries, and changes to platoon situations. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!

The daily picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.

Today’s weather watch

The Twins may see their start time delayed by rain, but the weather should be clearing by mid-afternoon. The Rangers game could be interrupted by thunderstorms if it lasts too late into the afternoon. The start time in St. Louis was moved to earlier&mdash:3:15—because of threat of weather later.

Today’s grind

Today is a good day for streaming whether you want one start or six.

Tomorrow’s grind

Pitcher (to start): Let’s get the exploit-only options out of the way first. Those are Todd Redmond, Henderson Alvarez, Erik Bedard, Joe Kelly, Erasmo Ramirez and Tyson Ross.

Sonny Gray may have top billing for the day against the offensively inept Mariners. As we’ve discussed before, he does everything you want from a fantasy pitcher, from reaping strikeouts to limiting walks and hard contact.

Wade Miley is available in 48 percent of leagues and is pitching against the heartbroken Nationals. Miley had a solid season, improving on his groundball rate but also walking more batters. He should continue to be a good innings eater for fantasy owners next season.

Jose Quintana will face the Royals tomorrow. Quintana’s been a frequent guest of the Grind, so there isn’t much left to say about him. Expect him to be good but not great.

It’s possible that Ubaldo Jimenez is available to some of you. If so, he’s a must start and may even be a potential keeper in some formats. He still walks too many for comfort, which will lead to the occasional meltdown, but the overall package is a mid-3.00s ERA pitcher with over a strikeout per inning.

That John Lackey never really came to be owned in more than 55 percent of Yahoo leagues is insane. He contributed 190 innings of perfectly average numbers across all pitcher categories (excluding saves), which makes him valuable in all but the thinnest leagues. Give him a whirl against the banged-up Orioles.

Johnny Cueto versus Gerrit Cole is the battle of the titans, but both pitchers are highly owned. Cole is still available in 37 percent of leagues and should be universally owned. If the Reds win Saturday’s ballgame, this match-up will be for home field advantage in the Wild Card play-in.

Marco Estrada versus Jon Niese is another game where you can use both sides of the match-up. In this case, both players are more readily available but still a bit scarce (46- and 52-percent owned, respectively).

Estrada is leaps and bounds the better pitcher. Since returning from the disabled list in August, he’s picked up where he left off in 2012, posting an elite strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.79 K/BB on the season and 4.36 K/BB since his return). Niese is a less exciting fantasy asset, similar to Miley with a weaker lineup providing run support.

Pitcher (bum): Scott Diamond is definitely someone to stream against as the Indians attempt to claw their way into the playoffs. Remember that the Indians are the best in the league against lefties.

With a couple days off, the Braves should use most of their starters against Zach Miner. Brian McCann will sit.

Noteworthy news

With the Rays’ loss yesterday, Tampa Bay and Cleveland are tied for the two Wild Card spots with two games left to play. The Rangers trail both teams by a single game. Monday will be used for any tie-breaker games.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam
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10 years ago

Brad, thank you for your dedication to the column this season.  It’s been a great resource and your willingness to entertain every last question was truly impressive and appreciated.  I know it must’ve taken a lot of work to stay on top of the column every day, but I for one found your labors invaluable.
Thank you again,

10 years ago


your excellent pieces got me hooked on both streaming and reading this column. 

Looking forward to 2014.

Brad Johnson
10 years ago

Glad you both liked it. The typical expert advice is “don’t micromanage” because there’s so many ways to do it incorrectly. But if you apply the proper techniques you can squeeze an extra 5% out of your roster, which is usually the difference between middle of the pack and contender. And if you go into the season knowing what is generally available on your waiver wire, you can allocate your auction budget more efficiently (harder to apply this to snake drafts).

If you rely solely on having the best draft and making permanent waiver pick ups, you’re not going to win very often. Everyone else knows how to do that too.

10 years ago


how true on micromanaging!  I think I cost myself a 3rd place standing by doing just this. oh well.

Brad Johnson
10 years ago

It will backfire sometimes. I usually gain about .10 in ERA and .05 in WHIP from spot starts, but in 2012 I lost .40 and .10 respectively. I still gained points in W/K while having more roster spots for offense, which mitigated the loss entirely.

But that was for my best league. One of my leagues started out so badly that I had to play high risk/reward types early in the season and they busted badly. (I also had a terrible draft in that league). We all get burned sometimes smile

10 years ago

hah too true.

That’s part of the fun of fake baseball though, right?
I always fall for the rookies, young guys and fringe players…so sue me!

Skoolboy Jim
10 years ago

Brad, I want to add to the chorus of thank you’s. Reading your column daily was a lot of fun and a lot of food for thought.

I won my Yahoo Pro League but I made over 200 moves. I micromanaged myself crazy. When I look back, I would have been much better off holding players longer. I mean, I dropped Matt Carpenter!

I really enjoyed your help and last minute advice with streaming pitchers for a W.

This was my first year really going for it, and I am exhausted! I can’t take anymore. I am very much looking forward to the postseason and thank god the fantasy season doesn’t extend there.

Ok, I can’t help myself, one final question: What leagues do you guys usually refer to when you talk about auction drafts and having a budget for players? I have only done Yahoo leagues the last couple years, and the Pro leagues only let you do a snake draft.

Have a great year!

Jim in Eugene, OR

Brad Johnson
10 years ago

Yahoo (and other sites) has an auction alternative to the snake draft. I highly recommend it since it changes the dynamics of fantasy baseball entirely.

It’s also a better format for micromanagers because you can invest more in the top and mid tier players and leave yourself a few spots to cycle by design. I find that when I do snake drafts I don’t have any spots to cycle until someone gets injured. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just know that I’m leaving value out there for others if I’m not cycling.

If you’re committed to cycling you will make a couple cuts that look bad in retrospect every season. That said, my worst cut in the league I won* was Koji Uehara, which was before he got the closer job. Plus I won saves by an absurd 191 to 132 margin because I kept Rodney for $8, drafted Kimbrel early, and then picked up Nathan, Grilli, and Romo for a combined $10.

*Technically Jeff Gross can still beat me but my 5 pitchers going today need to combine for about a 20.00 ERA without recording any strikeouts.

Brad Johnson
10 years ago

I did turn down some trades I should have taken. I think Carpenter was in one and I know Jeff and I went back and forth on Romo for Teheran a half dozen times. In that case, I ended up not trading with Jeff because he was the biggest threat to my team but he desperately needed saves.

Brad Johnson
10 years ago

To friends of TDG, I will begin posting a new daily column next week called Player-A-Day. I expect to see you all there smile