Thursday, April 16, 2015

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: April 16, 2015

Wednesday was another terrible day of Game Picking. This April is killing me. I'm ready to throw in the towel, to be honest. I know, at least, that it can't get much worse and can only get better from here. But, at this point, throwing a dart at a dartboard would be more effective than I have been to this point.

Thursday is a short schedule, so let's take a brief look:
  • The Royals over the Twins: The Royals finally lost yesterday and I knew sooner or later it had to happen. But now that we have that out of the way, I can concentrate on the match-ups and what should happen. While Tommy Milone won his first outing and was one of the few early Twins bright spots, I still think the Royals will win even if Jason Vargas doesn't have a great day.
  • The Brewers over the CardinalsMike Fiers was awful in his first start and that is hard to jive with what he did last year once he got in the rotation. This pick looks for him to bounce back against the Cardinals and for John Lackey to have a spitting bad day.
  • The Nationals over the PhilliesCole Hamels is still with the Phillies and as such, always has a chance to throw a gem. If Doug Fister is his usual self, he should limit any Phillies damage with a lot of ground balls and strikes.
  • The Blue Jays over the Bay Rays: The Rays have held their own this series and have a pretty good start to their season considering who they lost and what they have left. Chris Archer is certainly capable of pitching well. Aaron Sanchez got beat up badly in his first start. I'm banking on him settling down and pitching well today.
  • The Marlins over the Mets: The Mets have started well and the Fish have been disappointing. The difference today for me is Jarred Cosart who really is a bulldog. Dillon Gee, on the other hand, has been lost for quite a while.
And the Pick of the Day:
  • The Giants over the DiamondbacksArchie Bradley has already beaten Clayton Kershaw and today attempts to take down Madison Bumgarner. How about those two opponents in his first two starts! I still don't trust Bradley's command and the Giants should eek out a win.
Yesterday: 6-9, Season: 61-72, Picks of the Day: 3-7   Terrible...

1 comment:

Pendo said...

"Trade Danny Duffy Now!"
by Nick Doran

A young player coming off an excellent season 25yo Danny Duffy fits the bill: 2.53 ERA + 1.11 WHIP in 149.1 innings last year, ranked #34 among starting pitchers on Yahoo, #52 on CBS & #36 on ESPN’s Player Rater. Because of his youth & great season, Duffy's got trade value, but he does not offer a lot of real production value.

Unfortunately Duffy’s stats are hiding some nasty surprises. His peripherals are NOT good, in fact they are downright grim. His 2.53 ERA was great but his 4.42 xFIP + 4.31 SIERA = 2 full runs higher. The bad news is that xFIP & SIERA do a great job of predicting the future, so it looks gruesome for Duffy’s 2015 prognosis.

Duffy got really lucky with .239 BABIP (.295 is mlb avg) and a 77.2% Strand Rate (73% is avg). His home run rate was also unsustainably low, considering he's a strong fly ball pitcher. All these factors point to dramatic rises in Duffy’s ERA & WHIP in 2015.

You might counter by saying we should expect Duffy to outperform his peripherals because he pitches in a strong pitcher’s park and KC's got great defense; in reality, KC's defensive rank was 12th in MLB = only slightly better than average, so not enough to make a big difference in his ERA & WHIP. Kaufman Stadium does suppress home runs somewhat but it does not in fact suppress runs; Kaufman Stadium is a neutral to slightly hitter-friendly ballpark that won't bail Duffy out of his messy peripherals.

Despite his lovely ERA & WHIP in 2014 he had a losing record of 9-12. It's pretty hard to have a losing record on a playoff team when you put up a 2.53 ERA.

Unlikely KC wins as many games in 2015 so expect Duffy to garner fewer wins himself. However he suffered a disproportionate # of blown saves in games he left with the lead; in 2014 he didn’t join the rotation until May and only started 25 games. In 2015 he will presumably get 32 starts if he remains in the rotation the entire season. So let’s budget for approximately 10 wins and 14 losses in 2015.

Duffy's biggest problem is his subpar strikeout rate of only 6.81 K/9 combined with his poor walk rate of 3.19 BB/9 innings. Both are worse than the MLB averages of 7.34 K/9 & 2.79 BB/9 among starting pitchers. His 2.13 K/BB ratio is way too low to allow him to have any kind of success over the long haul. A pitcher needs a 3.00 K/BB ratio just to be average; else it needs to be 4+ KK/9 and to be an ace it needs to be at 5+ K/BB. An even better way to gauge a pitcher’s effectiveness is his K% minus his BB%. Duffy’s 9.90 K-BB% is well below the league average of 12.07%. You just cannot be a good pitcher at that level. Duffy only struck out 113 batters total last year. That is not going to be good enough to help your team win a championship.

Duffy has good velocity, especially for a southpaw. He relies heavily on his 94 mph fastball, throwing it a whopping 70% of the time. He drastically reduced his changeup usage in 2014, choosing to feature the slider/curve instead. FanGraphs classifies all his breaking pitches as curveballs, whereas Brooks Baseball breaks it into a slider and a curve that he throws at the same speed (which is odd because usually a curve is slower than a slider if a pitcher has both). From the hitter’s perspective there is very little if any difference between the 2 pitches. To elevate his performance to another level, Duffy is going to have to develop an effective offspeed pitch to keep hitters from concentrating on his fastball.

[Trade Duffy with Alex Gordon..]