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MLB DFS & Statcast for April 16th: Buy Max Fried wherever you can

Heath explores the main slate on FanDuel with Baseball Savant as the backdrop.

Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

I am guilty of not really having a process when it comes to daily fantasy sports. But I’m slowly trying to rectify that. Here’s a little morning overview...some things I’m doing to get a big view of the slate.

Part of what I’ve been doing is making lineups early in the morning while the previous night’s events are still fresh on my mind. In essence, I jam in what worked the day before, to some extent. I feel like it’s easier to do that with football, but you get the idea.

Next I look at each position as a whole, and scribble down names I like, who might be undervalued, who is cheap and hot, etc.

Next, I go to Baseball Savant to see who leaps out at me. This is where I am at currently. What follows is a result of this morning’s scribbles. Guys I liked or disliked before reading Statcast, and AFTER reading Statcast. Here goes nothin’.

Note: I am on vacation, and I’ll type until it’s time to hit the waves. I’m starting with pitchers, first, since I think that also helps me find hitters.

PITCHING

Max Fried is allowing a negative 1.1 degree launch angle thus far in 2019. There are only 12 guys ahead of him who have “more negative” (read: better) average launch angles against, but all 12 of them are relievers. Fried also hasn’t allowed a barrel in 2019. His average exit velocity of 83.1 mph is among the best in the league compared to other starters. By my count it’s only Kenta Maeda, Noah Syndergaard, and Luis Castillo ahead of Fried. Lastly, Fried’s average distance allowed is only 108 feet, the best mark in the MLB for a starter (15 RPs are better). Today, Fried draws the Diamondbacks in Atlanta, fresh off of stymieing the Rockies at Coors Field.

I didn’t like Marco Estrada when I saw his name against the Astros, and it doesn’t help that he’s allowed 70 batted ball events already alongside a whopping 31.8 degree launch angle. Only six hurlers have allowed more batted balls so far, and only two allow a greater average launch angle. Oakland’s cavernous home park will surely help Estrada’s fly ball tendencies, but these numbers are still pretty damning. Estrada is fresh off of a whipping by the Orioles in his last turn (at Baltimore) where he allowed nine hits and six earned runs.

I didn’t like Reynaldo Lopez either, and his 94.0 average exit velocity against is startling. Among starters, it looks like only Alex Cobb, Carlos Carrasco, Heath Fillmyer, Felix Pena, and Ervin Santana have been worse. Hardly historic company. The 24.2 average launch angle allowed isn’t friendly either, ranking inside the highest 25 marks in the league (including relievers). I didn’t expect to see Matthew Boyd allowing a greater average launch angle than Reynaldo, at 25.4 degrees. But Boyd is significantly better everywhere else, so no big deal...right?

If you’re a Rays fan, you like seeing Dylan Bundy’s name on the scorecard today. Bundy is tied for 25th (meaning the 25 worst) in rate of barrels per batted ball event, at 18.2%. That’s the bottom 6% of the league, for reference. Bundy’s walk rate, average launch angle, exit velocity against, XSLG, wOBA, XWOBA, and hard hit rate are all worse than last year. Saddle up those Rays.

HITTING

I liked the Mets bats right off the, umm, bat. And Pete Alonso leads all hitters in barrels per batted ball event, with a 31.6% rate. Mmm mmm good!

Whit Merrifield’s 63 batted ball events rank second in the MLB, to only Marcus Semien’s 64. That sounds like good news against Reynaldo today.

All right, I’ll have to dig into hitters more in a bit. I know it’s an abrupt end, but t’s time to hit the beach again. Tell me who you guys like today!