Daily Fantasy Sports:
Dark Horse Pitcher

June 22, 2012 -

Personally, finding the dark horse pitcher on a slate of major league games is one of the most appealing parts of daily fantasy baseball at FanDuel.

There are so many good parts about it. That first inkling that the unknown pitcher against a known stiff may just have potential. The dawning realization as you check game logs that this really might be the case. The look at the salary at FanDuel which shows that he is available for less than many catchers that day.  And should it come true and he lasts 5 or 6 innnigs with only one or two earned runs, a fistful of Ks, and a chance at a win – that’s pick ‘em heaven right there.

So it was when I looked at Saturday’s games. The first possibility I spotted was Tampa Bay pitcher Cobb facing the Phillies pitcher that causes more bellyaches in the Delaware valley than too many Tony Luke’s—Kyle Kendrick. Cobb has a decent WHIP of 1.17, strikes out 7.64 per 9 innings pitched. But the salary on FanDuel, while reasonable at $7,000, was not in complete dark horse territory. And that all changed with Friday’s rain delay anyway, as James Shields will pitch for Tampa Bay on Saturday rather than Cobb.

Continuing down to the night games I found an unlikely matchup in Boston. Atlanta’s Randall Delgado lined up against relief pitcher Franklin Morales for Boston.  At first you might even wonder who the dark horse is in that matchup. That’s a sure sign of finding a dark horse!

Delgado has had a rough season. His WHIP seems reasonable at 1.33, but he walks too many guys (4.48/9IP). But he gets ground balls, and those have not been getting through, as his opponent BABIP is .265. When they get through, though, he gives up big games. Only 5 times in 13 starts has he managed to go 5 2/3 or more innings. In those other 8 starts he has a 6.35 ERA.

Morales also does not go long in games but that is because he’s been in the bullpen. On June 17, he went 5 innings, giving up 2 ER, walking none, striking out 9. He has plenty of rest since then. He strikes out batters at rate of 9.1/9IP, walks them at rate of 2.5/9IP, and his WHIP is a tidy 1.15. Atlanta strikes out more often than all but 7 major league teams.

So, check on sketchy opponent and surprisingly good fundamental numbers. How about his price tag? $3,300. We have winner. Of course, that leads me to the problem of spending that money wisely. This has bit me before. But I feel that I can use that money wisely.

  • For instance, Toronto OF Colby Rasmus is 4 for 11 against Miami’s Josh Johnson in his career. And Josh Johnson is not the same guy he has been in past years. His strikeout numbers are down, and opponent BABIP is up. He is not missing bats. That is not good when facing the Blue Jays.
  • Let’s also not forget about Kendrick.  He has not faced many TB Rays before, and lefty slugger Matt Joyce is out of the lineup on the DL. But SS Eliot Johnson is hitting .327 vs RHP.
  • San Francisco OF Melky Cabrera is facing Oakland’s Tyson Ross and his 1.74 WHIP. Melky is 3 for 6 lifetime against Ross. If baserunners are on (and they should be) Melky will pick up points.
  • St. Louis OF Carlos Beltran is hitting RHP at .320. KC pitcher Luis Mendoza walks as many as he strikes out, and has a WHIP of 1.60.
  • Written by

    Steve Grantz grew up in South Philadelphia, graduated from Central High and went to Penn. Steve works in the software industry to pay for his taste in food and wine, and uses his winnings in weekly poker games to plug up leaks in his sports wagering.

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