There are inauspicious debuts and there are absolute, abject failures. My first foray into daily baseball picks yesterday was clearly the latter, at least based on results.
You know what they say about best laid plans, and so do I: they sometimes go awry.
Fantasy Baseball Daily Picks Philosophy
In fantasy baseball a poor ending does not necessarily indict the means. This is a sport, after all, in which the best hitters fail seven out of ten times. Those who succeed have a plan, stick to it, trust it, and find success over time.
Similarly, some fantasy baseball decisions will work out but others will not. The key is to have a well-reasoned and logical plan, trust it, stick with it, and allow it to work out over time.
I say all this to let you know that I will not be deterred by one golden sombrero, which would be a generous way to describe yesterday’s picks.
I win about 33% of the standard fantasy baseball leagues I play in, and I make the playoffs almost without fail, so I will stick to my tried and true lineup-setting methods both in my standard fantasy leagues and daily leagues, like the Daily Joust freeroll I am entering today and that I encourage you to enter with me.
My basic lineup philosophy is this:
Some players are no-brainer starts, and I always play my stars.
When it comes down to two players of relatively equal value, or choosing between stars in a daily league, I analyze their recent trends, history against that day’s starting pitcher, the ballpark in which the game will be played, and my general feeling on how high- or low-scoring the game will be. That usually gives me a good feel for who the best choice is, and usually it works out.
Just not yesterday.
But I appreciate yesterday’s failure because it provided the impetus to give you some insight into how I make these picks. As I always tell people regarding fantasy sports advice: don’t judge an advice-giver by the outcome of a small sample of their picks; judge their methodology and success over the long-term, then use their advice as a guide not the gospel.
Onto today’s picks.
Fantasy Baseball Daily Picks
Today’s suggested tournament: Daily Joust Hi Cap $50 Freeroll (registration ends at 12:00 CT).
To see a list of all Daily Joust tournaments, click here.
Remember, these picks are based on the daily league I’m entering today. Since it’s a hi-cap league, I’m having to choose between a lot of really good players. I realize it’s obvious to recommend Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton, but the reason I’m listing them is because they particularly good starts over other superstars today. Eventually we’ll get into more nitty-gritty picks as the season progresses.
Guys I Like
SP Dan Haren (at Minnesota)
Yesterday I picked Jered Weaver and it didn’t work out so well. To show you just how committed I am to my methodology, however, I am going right back to the well with Haren.
I know he got roughed a bit in his first start against the Royals, but Haren is a tremendous pitcher who is typically at his most tremendous in April. Look at those splits! Plus, I am not sold on Minnesota’s offense, nor that their ballpark will typically host high-scoring games like yesterday’s. And nothing in Haren’s career against Minnesota suggests he will be anything other than the good-to-great pitcher he usually is.
1B Joey Votto (at Washington)
Votto is coming off a four-hit game and had success against Gio Gonzalez the only time he faced him (1-3 with a 2B). Plus, Votto’s career splits show no great decrease in production when facing lefties. In daily high-cap leagues choosing a first basemen is always tough with so many enticing options. Votto seems like the safest, hottest bet with the highest upside to me.
2B Michael Young (v Seattle)
Like Paul Konerko, aging veteran Michael Young simply does not slow down. The Rangers’ uber-utilityman also has a nice matchup today against Jason Vargas, who he is 10-24 against lifetime. Playing at home, in that lineup, Young should have a productive day.
SS Troy Tulowitzki (v SF)
I was a bit worried about Tulo and CarGo yesterday with Tim Lincecum on the mound, but they made me look like fools. As if I needed anything more to turn my thinking around, Tulo is 4-8 lifetime against today’s starter Madison Bumgarner.
OF Josh Hamilton (v SEA)
When he’s healthy, you really should try to find a way to get him into any daily lineup you can. The guy just hits. He’s off to a .417 start this year and has at least one hit in every game with multiple hits in three of his six starts. And he’s playing at home. So much to like.
Guys I Don’t Like
SP Derek Holland (v Seattle)
Holland is a guy I do like in general this year. And I typically like anyone against the Mariners. However, Holland’s career ERA is almost a full run better on the road than at home. I won’t recommend any pitchers starting in The Ballpark Bandbox very often, no matter the matchup. Holland isn’t a terrible play simply because Seattle’s offense is that bad, but in daily leagues there are much safer options with higher upside.
2B Rickie Weeks (at Chicago)
Playing in Wrigley is usually enticing, but not as much when the weather is cold. Also, Weeks is just 2-9 lifetime against Matt Garza with 6 Ks and no extra base hits. Plus he’s 1-15 over his last four games.
SS Starlin Castro (v Milwaukee)
Facing Zack Greinke is a tough matchup for anyone, even the free-swinging Castro. Expect a few Ks, and perhaps not much else with Castro 1-10 over his last three games.