Throughout this blog, I want to identify some scenarios that may, at least initially, be mis-priced by DFS algorithms that are relying on historical data without taking into account granular or situational changes, with the goal of exploiting them before they become common knowledge.
The Reds Can’t Hit
It’s true. The Reds have not scored more than 7 runs this year. They also have scored 3 or fewer runs in 5 of their 8 games, and been shut out three times. Just today, they just got 1 hit by Jameson Taillon, and yes, Taillon is very good, but getting one hit by anyone is not a good sign. They also just lost Eugenio Suarez, which may or may not open the door for hitting prodigy Nick Senzel, but in the short term, this is a team to target with even mediocre pitching and especially with above average to elite pitching. This is notable because the Reds also play their home games in the most home run friendly park in baseball (yes, even more than Coors Field), and we generally don’t target pitchers there, but we can now do so with more confidence. There are also plenty of strikeouts in this lineup against both types of pitcher handedness, so whenever you see the Reds on the schedule, take a second look at almost any pitcher who puts up a decent amount of Ks.
Something Is Up with the Cubs and Indians, Too
Remember the 2016 World Series? Two offensive powerhouses collided to produce one of the most exciting October classics in recent memory. Somehow this has led to a postponed hangover, with neither of these offenses getting started in the fashion to which we’ve become accustomed. Each offense is missing a power hitting first baseman, with Anthony Rizzo injured and Carlos Santana now in Philadelphia, but that alone shouldn’t explain the slow starts. Neither should weather, as the Cubs started the season in Florida and the Indians started on the west coast, including Anaheim. Neither of those teams has particularly impressive pitching staffs either, so it’s really hard to pinpoint the decrease in offensive output. I would use caution stacking either of these teams in the near future, but at some point, they will break out of these slumps and likely be underpriced when they do. Watch the trends closely.
Similar, but less pronounced slow starts have also been noticed for the Brewers, Rockies, and Rangers.
Shohei Ohtani- My Goodness
The Angels have understandably been bringing Ohtani along slowly, or at least slowly in comparison to his talent level, but I’m not sure how much longer that can continue. Hitting 8th and DHing on his non-pitching days, and not hitting on his pitching days, he’s put up a ridiculous 1.310 OPS and 3 home runs through 18 at-bats. Ridiculous. Sooner than later, Ohtani will not be priced in the high 3s, nor will he be hitting 8th, and he will be a major part of a very potent (and otherwise very right handed) Angels lineup. Load up on Ohtani while he is still affordable! He’s also off to a very good start as a pitcher… the guy can do it all.
Andrew McCutchen Figures it Out
Last night my wife and I had early dinner plans- 6:30 PM. I assumed, given the 3 PM start of the Giants game that Chris Stratton and Rich Hill would pitcher’s duel their way to a quick, 2 hour 30 minute game that I would get to see most or all of before we headed out to dinner. We left with the game tied and me pleading that we at least watch the ninth inning, and her wondering why I bothered with that. Great dinner, then we headed back and I noticed the game was still going. Made it back in time for one of the most dramatic April home runs that has ever been hit- a marathon at-bat by McCutchen that took the Giants from being down 5-4 to a 7-5 walk-off win. Over the course of the game, Cutch also finished 6 for 7, which is notable under any circumstance, but especially so because he had gotten off to such a horrible start with the Giants and at AT&T par. Expect good things from a now comfortable, locked in, and likely under-priced Andrew McCutchen.