Use this expert fantasy baseball strategy to shake your case of the Mondays.
Value Pick: Nick Tropeano, Houston Astros, $8,950
2014: 22.0% K, 9.8% BB, 39.3% GB, 2.53 FIP
Rangers vs RHP: 19.5% K, 81 wRC+
I’m always skeptical of RHP that lack top end velocity, but Tropeano’s success from the upper minors is translating well to the majors through a pair of starts. The fact Tropeano has yet to give up a HR despite a low GB rate is a bit lucky, and his 4.27 xFIP indicates that, but his K% is stellar and supported by an above average swinging strike%. Equally important, he’s facing the worst offensive squad against RHP.
Top Pick: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals, $7,850
2014 vs LHP: 101 PA, 123 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 341 PA 150 wRC+, .210 ISO, .389 wOBA
Molina’s ability to rake against LHP meshes nicely with Travis Wood’s struggles against RHB. The Cardinals backstop will take hacks against a pitcher with a .369 wOBA allowed to RHB this year. Hitting sixth for the Cardinals isn’t ideal, but it’s not terrible, and the price point makes him a steal.
Value Pick: Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks, $7,350
2014 vs RHP: 431 PA, 103 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,179 PA, 111 wRC+, .139 ISO, .340 wOBA
Montero is coming off an off day, so he should be fresh. His lineup spot isn’t clear since he’s hit fifth, cleanup, and sixth in his last three starts, but either of the spots in the top five in the order would be great. Even hitting sixth against Ricky Nolasco will make him worth his cheap cost. Nolasco has allowed a .398 wOBA to LHB this year.
Top Pick: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $10,300
2014 vs RHP: 456 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 880 PA, 135 wRC+, .162 ISO, .369 wOBA
The switch-hitting Martinez is turning in the best offensive season of his career, and his upside against an inexperienced non-star level pitcher while hitting cleanup for the Tigers tonight is enormous. Chris Bassitt has made three starts and has an ugly 10:11 BB:K ratio in 16 IP. Only a lack of HR allowed has resulted in a non-ugly FIP, as his 5.14 xFIP as a starter does a better job of painting the picture of how he’s pitched.
Value Pick: Chris Carter, Houston Astros, $8,150
2014 vs LHP: 154 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 438 PA, 135 wRC+, .249 ISO, .366 wOBA
Carter is one of the elite power hitters in the league. His top shelf pop is best exemplified by his ranking ninth among all qualified batters in ISO versus LHP since 2012. As a RHB, his power won’t get a boost at Globe Life Park in Arlington according Stat Corner, but he should have little trouble lifting the ball against Derek Holland since he’s allowed a 44.8% FB rate to RBH this year.
Top Pick: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates, $9,050
2014 vs RHP: 426 PA, 136 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,275 PA, 130 wRC+, .198 ISO, .357 wOBA
Walker is very good against RHP, and as the cleanup hitter for the Pirates his run production potential is rock solid. What pushes him over the edge tonight is a matchup with Aaron Harang. Harang has turned in an improbably good year, but he’s still allowed a .335 wOBA to LHB this season.
Value Pick: Marcus Semien, Chicago White Sox, $7,200
2014 vs LHP: 81 PA, 122 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 97 PA, 118 wRC+, .171 ISO, .345 wOBA
Semien was up earlier in the year and struggled. He’s ended up spending most of the year in the minors, but one thing he’s done well in the majors is hit LHP. That’s an extension of what he did in the minors as well. Since 2011, according to Minor League Central, he owns a .943 OPS against LHP in 467 PA. Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein hasn’t embarrassed himself tallying a 3.90 FIP in four big league starts, but he’s not the type of pitcher you fade facing.
Top Pick: Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics, $9,050
2014 vs LHP: 170 PA, 192 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 463 PA, 171 wRC+, .302 ISO, .415 wOBA
Donaldson is one of the best hitters in the game when a LHP is on the hill. He ranks fourth among all qualified hitters in ISO versus LHP since 2012, and tied for seventh in wRC+. He’s never been better against LHP than this year, and coincidentally, C.J. Wilson has never allowed a higher wOBA to RHB as a starter than this year. He’s serving up a .344 wOBA to RHB this year.
Value Pick: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants, $7,550
2014 vs RHP: 410 PA, 141 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,132 PA, 129 wRC+, .166 ISO, .351 wOBA
Sandoval is an underpriced cleanup hitter who does the bulk of his damage against RHP. Among qualified third basemen, he is tied for fifth in wRC+ versus RHP. He won’t, unfortunately, benefit from Dan Haren’s reverse platoon split, but his 4.18 FIP this year suggests he could be in prime position for run production hitting fourth for the Giants.
Top Pick: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,050
2014 vs LHP: 136 PA, 145 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 447 PA, 128 wRC+, .193 ISO, .360 wOBA
Peralta has shed any PED concerns with a strong first year with the Cardinals. Furthermore, it’s his second straight season of bashing LHP. Since the start of 2013 Peralta owns not only the highest wRC+ versus LHP among qualified shortstops, but he’s blowing the competition out of the water. He has a 40 point gap over the next closest shortstop, Ian Desmond, and he’s the only shortstop with an ISO above .200 in that time frame (.209 ISO). As if that wasn’t reason enough to pay for Peralta’s services, Travis Wood is lost against RHB, allowing a .369 wOBA to them this year.
Value Pick: Didi Gregorius, Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,100
2014 vs RHP: 218 PA, 84 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 521 PA, 99 wRC+, .150 ISO, .321 wOBA
If you’re straying from Peralta, you had better save a great deal of money because his price point is silly. Gregorius is an option for those looking to save at the position, and while his work against RHP isn’t anything special, Nolasco’s shortcomings against LHB make him intriguing.
Top Pick: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves, $9,600
2014 vs LHP: 131 PA, 172 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 484 PA, 152 wRC+, .248 ISO, .396 wOBA
Francisco Liriano isn’t your typical LHP. When he’s locked in he can pile up strikeouts against LHB and RHB alike. When the erratic starter is off, though, he’ll walk batters in droves and miss location. Upton is a stud against LHP, and more than capable of punishing mistakes. Since joining the Braves last year, he’s tied for the third highest ISO against LHP among all qualified hitters. As a RHB he’ll hit with a park factor for HR of 112.
Middle of the Pack: Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox, $8,150
2014 vs LHP: 43 PA, 212 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 155 PA, 117 wRC+, .171 ISO, .345 wOBA
Garcia looks the part of a physical specimen, and he has tools to match the look. Translating them into game skills hasn’t been super smooth, but he’s using them to pummel LHP this year. He’s now also using his tools from the fifth spot in the White Sox order. This isn’t a case of chasing yesterday’s stats either, because I failed to mention above that Lobstein has allowed a .746 OPS to RHB in the minors since 2011. Not bad for both Garcia and Semien.
Value Pick: David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,500
2014 vs RHP: 246 PA, 138 wRC+, .197 ISO, .378 wOBA
Peralta has made consecutive starts for the Diamondbacks, and had a pinch hit appearance in the game before that following a two week absence due to an injury. He’s hit second and fifth in his two starts, and another top five lineup slotting would be excellent. Like Montero and Gregorius, though, the reason I really like Peralta is due to the fact he’s facing Nolasco.
Wild Card: J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $9,550
2014 vs RHP: 326 PA, 153 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 855 PA, 110 wRC+, .170 ISO, .333 wOBA
Martinez’s emergence has been one of the more shocking storylines of the baseball season. He’s hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, not a bad lineup slot. His power has been of the standout variety this year, and he has a .223 ISO against RHP.