When making predictions for a one-week period, there is not much room for error. Examples of that emerged in each of my first two set of weekly picks, when a single game made sitting Aledmys Diaz costly and one 0-fer performance ruined an otherwise good week for Francisco Cervelli.
In Week 3, start recommendations went well enough for Andrew Triggs and Manuel Margot, but things didn’t go quite the way I expected. The same can be said for James McCann, who went 2-for-12, yet managed to finish as one of the 13 most productive catchers in Roto and points formats (CBS default scoring) amongst a unproductive group of cohorts. In the Matchup Report, I highlight the players who have the greatest chance for an extraordinarily good or bad week, so when oddities occur (like Margot getting thrown out in two stolen base attempts, one of which was on a Zack Greinke pickoff), there is enough cushion so that a potentially great week can still be a good week.
Sometimes a player needs a smaller margin for error. Jonathan Schoop was a recommended sit due to matchups against Amir Garrett, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez, and all he had to show against that trio of lefties was a single off of Garrett. However, Schoop drove in a run with that single. More foreseeable were the home runs that Schoop hit against righties Scott Feldman and Steven Wright, as Schoop has a .225 Iso against right-handed pitchers since 2015.
My takeaway from the bad call on Schoop, as well as the prior ones on Diaz and Cervelli, is that I could strengthen the criteria I use for recommending players with strong (or weak) splits. Three or even four starts in a given week against a favorable type of opponent, whether a lefty, a flyball pitcher or a catcher who has a poor record of throwing out basestealers, is not enough to have a high level of confidence in a recommendation.
However, by increasing the minimum number of favorable or unfavorable matchups necessary to earn a start or sit recommendation, I would have to reduce the total number of targets included in the report each week. So going forward, players included in the report will not only get a “thumbs up” or “danger” label for each matchup category, but also a “strong” or “weak” designation. So, for example, in Schoop’s case, he received a “danger” warning for opposing pitcher handedness, but there was nothing to indicate that it was a “weak” warning.
Here is a recap of the players who received my strongest overall recommendations last week and how they performed.
1. START Andrew Triggs: 1-1 record, 10 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. By start: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K vs. TEX; 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K vs. SEA.
I further explained why I liked Triggs in his Seattle start in my weekly Sunday Streamers column for FanRag Sports. One thing I was counting on was a poor start from his opposite number, Yovani Gallardo, but instead, he had his best start of the season. However, Triggs himself did not pitch well enough to win. I argued that Triggs could ring up called strikes and ground balls against the Mariners, and he did get the former at a healthy 21 percent rate. However, he induced only five grounders, whereas his previous low mark this season was 10. The real problem for Triggs were the back-to-back walks he issued, followed two batters later by Taylor Motter’s grand slam on a 90 mph fastball grooved right down the center and belt-high.
2. START Manuel Margot: 8-25, 3B, 2B, 2 BB, 3 K, 4 R, 0-2 SB
A good week that would have been a little better witihout Greinke’s pickoff.
3. SIT Salvador Perez: 3-17, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 RBI
Best recommendation of the week. Perez was started in 96 percent of CBS leagues in Week 3, so if you took the recommendation, you had an edge over your fellow Perez owners.
4. START James McCann: 2-12, HR, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 RBI, 2 R
Because of his home run, McCann wound up not being a bad pick in one-catcher leagues, but that just shows how low the bar is set.
5. SIT Jonathan Schoop: 5-20, 2 HR, 2 BB, 5 K, 4 RBI, 2 R
As illustrated above, Schoop was true to his long-standing pattern of reverse splits. If anything, I need to take his mastery of righties more seriously going forward.
Photo credit: By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA (Salvador Perez awaits a pitch) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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