Josh Johnson SP (MIA) - Johnson is almost a must start today in daily fantasy baseball contests. He has the best matchup you could ask for (San Diego) and is pitching at home (3.35 ERA) where he has been much better than on the road (5.48 ERA) this season. Also, due to some bad luck (.338 BABIP, strand rate 5 points less than career mark) Johnson has a 4.14 ERA and is priced accordingly. Skill wise, Johnson has a 2.98 FIP. The gap isn't all luck as Johnson is giving up a lot of line drives. However, this is what you want to do in daily leagues. Take a guy with a good matchup (SD), where the splits favor him (at home) and is probably underpriced to begin with (ERA-FIP gap).
Starlin Castro SS (CHC) - While Castro has not been disappointing this year, many owners (myself included) were expecting a safe .300 plus season from Castro in the BA department. He is currently at .283. With BA being one of the more volatile categories to predict, let's see if Castro's dip in BA is due to skill or randomness/luck. I think it becomes quite clear off the bat that this is skill related. Castro's contact rate has dipped from 86.6% to 83.9%. The increased swinging and missing is a result of Castro being over-aggressive at the plate. He is chasing 40.5% of pitches outside of the strike zone (just 33.1% last year), and his swinging strike rate has jumped up from 7.2% to 8.8%. Short-term I think this means the dip in average is real. Long term, I'm not concerned. Castro is just 22 YO. I think his willingness to be aggressive will help him find a balance in the future between a high contact-high BA hitter and one that utilizes some power as his body matures.
Tyler Moore OF (WAS) - Moore hit his 6th homer in just over 102 PA for the Nationals and added a second hit to boost his current BA to an impressive .301 mark. While I am inclined to believe in the power (.347 ISO before getting called up, 31 HR in each of the previous 2 seasons) Moore's BA should come crashing down over the final 2 months. His skills, particularly a contact rate of just 72.5%, do not support him being a .300 hitter. Consider that Moore's singles average is a whopping .327. I feel confident in saying that a hitter with Moore's EYE (.32) is likely to have a singles averages closer to .250 (around league average) and perhaps even lower. If Moore had had a .255 singles average his BA would sit at .258. I wouldn't expect Moore to hit more than .250 the rest of the way.
Jordan Zimmermann SP (WAS) - Zimmermann pitched very well last night en route to victory: 1 ER in 6 IP, 6 K's, 1 BB, 53.3 GB%. Zimmermann is not a high K pitcher but makes up for it with outstanding control (4.5 BB%, league average is 8.1). Also, this year Zimmermann has been slightly GB oriented (46.9 GB%). Add it all up, and you get a good pitcher, not the dominant one we've been seeing (2.28 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). Look for a mid 3's ERA ROS for Zimmermann as his FIP (3.41) and xFIP (3.58) currently indicate should be the case. The WHIP should easily be on the rise too. Currently Zimmerman has a low .266 BABIP, which is not sustainable given his career mark (.289) and a high LD% allowed (22.7%). We also should not expect Zimmermann's 83.6 LOB% to come down towards his career mark of 75.1%.
Christian Friedrich SP (COL) - Friedrich got rocked (again) last night to the tune of 7 ER in 4.1 IP. His ERA now sits at a whopping 6.17. Friedrich strikes me as a league average pitcher who is stuck in Coors. Both his K and BB percentages are pretty much in line with league averages, and with a 42.2 GB%, he is more or less GB neutral. Unfortunately, the batted ball data is definitely below league average. Friedrich is giving up a high LD rate of 23.2%, which has led to an elevated .342 BABIP. Friedrich's HR/FB% is also quite high at 15.4%. Given Friedrich's environment (Coors) and the fact that he struggled with the HR ball (1.03 per 9 in '10, 1.35 in '11) and stranding runners (67.7 LOB% in '10, 65.5 in '11) in the Minor Leagues, Friedrich is a long shot to post a low-mid 4's ERA as his expected ERA's indicate is possible.