The NBA has the night off and all eyes will be on Michigan and Louisville in their NCAA championship showdown. Traditional basketball leagues are down to the wire, and there’s no daily hoops action, but our attention has already turned to baseball for fun and profit.
Daily fantasy leagues are becoming more and more popular. If you enjoy the excitement of drafting a Roto or Head-to-Head team, you will love this game, with a new draft every day.
In basketball, my ‘expertise’ is limited to fantasy. Baseball is more like my religion. Over a lifetime of playing and coaching, I have made some great friends within the sport. Some are names you know, like the late George Steinbrenner. When those early 1990’s Yankees trained in Fort Lauderdale, I was the Director of Racing at nearby Pompano Park, where George’s trotters and pacers were stabled. Through the Boss, I got to know many coaches, players and scouts quite well. Current GM Brian Cashman was still an intern when we met.
Another circle of baseball friends is based in Toronto. Former GM J.P. Ricciardi, Keith Law and the rest of the front office welcomed me into the clubhouse and press box as the founder and editor of Batter’s Box, which remains a popular Canadian blog a decade later. When you’re around for batting practice every day, you feel like an insider.
In the scouts-vs.-stats “debate,” I’m firmly in the middle. Many of my best friends come from an analytical background and we have learned much from each other. One of them is Robert Dudek, who has written for The Hardball Times among other publications, and would be a great asset to any MLB team. His picks appear alongside mine in this space.
Yesterday we gave you Brett Anderson (W, 10 K), Jon Lester (W, 6 K) and Jose Fernandez (8 K, but the bullpen blew the SV) while warning you that Chris Davis (0-4) would cool off and Yu Darvish was overpriced. Even my longshot Jhoulys Chacin got the W and earned 6.65 points for just $7,604. You’re welcome.
It’s always free to join DraftStreet and you can start by joining free leagues. Once you’re ready to win some cash, make a deposit — use the code SHHOOP to get a 30% bonus — and choose your level of play, anywhere from $2 entry fees up to $420. This game doesn’t replace season-long fantasy leagues, which are the “meat and potatoes” of the hobby. Daily leagues are more like dessert. Or a cold beer. Give them a try.
Best Bets (Pitchers)
Matt Harvey ($11,708) was so dominant in his season opener that we both like him to repeat, even in a pitcher’s park. The salary is good value and the 24-year-old is a future ace, if he isn’t there already.
Sometimes, you play a pitcher because the opposition is weak. The Brewers have Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez on the DL, while Ryan Braun has missed three games with neck spasms and Jean Segura left yesterday’s game with a sore quad. This hobbled lineup makes hard-throwing Edwin Jackson look much better than usual at $11,429, but it’s always worth checking the wind direction at Wrigley.
Best Bets (Hitters)
The Royals are at home against a RH pitcher who isn’t a strikeout threat. The $9,049 price is a bit steep, but Eric Hosmer will be back after not starting the last two games in a NL park. He went 4-5 with 3 RBI from the 3-hole on Friday and could be involved in a couple of big innings tonight.
There was no stopping Cleveland’s Carlos Santana yesterday — 5-5 with a HR and two doubles for a whopping 19 points. At $7,044 he’s not a “must-start” — few hitters are — but there’s no C I’d rather own tonight.
Righty slugger Paul Goldschmidt ($9,503) has been in a groove for the last four games, and though he’s 0-5 against Wandy Rodriguez, that’s a ridiculously small sample size. He crushed lefties to the tune of .343/.423/.645 all last season.