Today’s MLB Fantasy Selections feature two premiere bargain bin hurlers.
Top Pick: Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres, $13,000
2014: 17.7% K, 6.1% BB, 50.0% GB, 2.95 FIP
Phillies vs RHP: 20.7% K, 84 wRC+
There are aces to choose from to be sure, but there is too much value to be passed up with Cashner. He’s pitching at home, which is excellent for suppressing runs, and he’s facing a bad Phillies offense that is tied for 24th in wRC+ versus RHP this year. His K% isn’t huge, but he is capable of missing bats, has a strong BB%, and keeps the ball on the ground. Overall, it’s a package that’s underpriced.
Value Pick: Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays, $12,900
2014 (As a Starter): 21.4% K, 5.8% BB, 54.8% GB, 2.75 FIP
Orioles vs RHP: 20.6% K, 105 wRC+
I actually like Stroman more than Cashner, and he’s my top overall pick at the position when factoring in talent and his silly low price. If he had enough IP to be a qualified starter, his FIP as a starting pitcher would rank eighth. His K% is better than what FanGraphs has as the league average (20.3%), and even though he was having a down year, Chris Davis’ absence from the Orioles lineup makes them look more punchless and ripe for the picking.
Top Pick: Devin Mesoraco, $9,500
2014 vs LHP: 90 PA, 151 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 219 PA, 138 wRC+, .184 ISO, .375 wOBA
I almost opted for Buster Posey, but I decided pocketing some savings and picking on a lesser pitcher was more enticing. Travis Wood has allowed a staggering .375 wOBA to RHB this season. The park factors at Wrigley Field are mighty fine for a RHB too checking in at 105 for 2B/3B, 107 for HR, and 101 for runs.
Value Pick: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, $6,500
2014 vs LHP: 133 PA, 69 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 366 PA, 120 wRC+, .183 ISO, .347 wOBA
Perez has had a down year, in fact a dreadful year, against LHP. But even a full season of work against a LHP is a fairly small sample, and John Danks is a giving LHP. The White Sox hurler has allowed a .368 wOBA to RHB this year. Add in that Perez has hit fifth for the Royals in consecutive contests, and his run production potential makes him worthy of his small hit to your salary cap.
Top Pick: Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays, $11,000
2014 vs LHP: 98 PA, 134 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 395 PA, 154 wRC+, .288 ISO, .399 wOBA
Oh so much power is packed into Encarnacion’s bat. Since 2012, he ranks fourth among all qualified batters in ISO versus LHP. He hits in the heart of the Blue Jays order, and he’s facing a FB prone pitcher, Wei-Yin Chen, that has allowed a .325 wOBA to RHB this year.
Value Pick: Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals, $6,900
2014 vs LHP: 142 PA, 137 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 501 PA, 144 wRC+, .203 ISO, .382 wOBA
Unlike his aforementioned teammate, Perez, Butler is having no problems abusing LHP this year. Butler didn’t play yesterday, but with a LHP on the rubber tonight he’s a safe bet to occupy the DH spot in the Royals lineup. There’s a good chance he’ll also occupy a sweet spot in the order, namely cleanup. Plenty to like here at his bargain bin price tag.
Top Pick: Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays, $8,350
2014 vs LHP: 160 PA, 153 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 584 PA, 122 wRC+, .126 ISO, .341 wOBA
Throw out Zobrist’s forgettable 2012 versus LHP and he’s doing what we’ve become accustomed to, hammering them. He has posted a wRC+ north of 140 in three of the last four years, and his high OBP skills are a perfect fit for the leadoff spot that he slots in. Yankees starter Chris Capuano has been tough on RHB allowing a .310 wOBA this year, but that’s out of the norm for him as he has allowed a .332 wOBA since 2012, tied for the 19th highest wOBA allowed to RHB among qualified pitchers.
Value Pick: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds, $7,600
2014 vs LHP: 112 PA, 67 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 481 PA, 92 wRC+, .142 ISO, .308 wOBA
It’s possible Phillips’ down year against LHP is attributed to playing at less than 100%, but nevertheless he continues to hit fifth for the Reds and faces Wood today. As I noted above, Wood has been exceptionally giving to RHB allowing a .375 wOBA to them this season.
Top Pick: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays, $9,800
2014 vs LHP: 167 PA, 136 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 446 PA, 155 wRC+, .250 ISO, .389 wOBA
Longoria is great against LHP. Among qualified third basemen, according to FanGraphs he ranks fourth in wRC+ against LHP and second in ISO. He hits third for the Rays, which should award him plentiful run production opportunities, especially if Zobrist gets on base and plays well as I clearly expect him to.
Value Pick: Conor Gillaspie, Chicago White Sox, $6,950
2014 vs RHP: 363 PA, 133 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 764 PA, 113 wRC+, .151 ISO, .340 wOBA
Gillaspie is settling into the role as the value pick at third base. He remains cheap, is well above average against RHP this year, and continues to hit cleanup (directly behind studly Jose Abreu) in wake of the Adam Dunn deal. James Shields is a tough draw, but there are enough favorable factors to sneak Gillaspie onto a few rosters, especially on those on which you roster some of the pricier pitchers throwing today.
Top Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $8,550
2014 vs LHP: 164 PA, 90 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 474 PA, 97 wRC+, .125 ISO, .317 wOBA
The switch-hitting Reyes is actually better against RHP than LHP, but as the leadoff hitter for the Blue Jays, and a roughly average hitter at a bad offensive position, he’s a nice option to slot in at shortstop. Chen isn’t particularly good against RHB, so that will help as well. Pass on spending bigger dollars on the shortstops priced above Reyes, they simply aren’t worth it.
Value Pick: Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies, $7,950
2014 vs RHP: 215 PA, 68 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 621 PA, 78 wRC+, .131 ISO, .310 wOBA
Rutledge isn’t any great shakes against RHP in the majors, but he’s at home and facing a bad pitcher in Roberto Hernandez. The Dodgers starter has a 4.66 FIP this season. Does that sound like a pitcher you’d like to get a piece of? Of course it does. And there is a chance that Rutledge has a little more in his stick against RHP since, according to Minor League Central, he owns a .869 OPS against RHP in 869 PA in the minors since 2011.
Top Pick: Corey Dickerson, Colorado Rockies, $9,150
2014 vs RHP: 354 PA, 144 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 527 PA, 132 wRC+, .251 ISO, .387 wOBA
Dickerson is one of my favorite plays tonight. He’s been a beast against RHP at Coors Field since reaching the majors last year. He has 237 PA that fit that criteria and he’s totaled a 192 wRC+ and .346 ISO.
Middle of the Pack: J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $8,300
2014 vs RHP: 304 PA, 142 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 833 PA, 105 wRC+, .167 ISO, .326 wOBA
Martinez has been quite the find for the Tigers, and while I liked him more when it looked like Tommy Milone would be getting the start for the Twins, he remains a strong play with Anthony Swarzak getting the ball. The former Astros outfielder is unloading on RHP from the fifth spot in the Tigers order, and Swarzak isn’t exactly a tough assignment.
Value Pick: Seth Smith, San Diego Padres, $7,800
2014 vs RHP: 419 PA, 136 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,103 PA, 123 wRC+, .181 ISO, .346 wOBA
Smith’s lineup slot has been fluid of late, but he’s a safe bet to hit somewhere in the top five (most likely second or third). In addition to his lineup slot being desirable, he is facing a pitcher that should have him licking his chops. Jerome Williams has posted a 4.36 FIP this season and allowed a .375 wOBA to LHB.
Wild Card: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,050
2014 vs RHP: 397 PA, 142 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 915 PA, 123 wRC+, .182 ISO, .348 wOBA
Someone from the Dodgers has to be highlighted as a top notch play at Coors Field facing Christian Bergman, and Kemp is the man. The Dodgers cleanup hitter is facing a pitcher that has a 4.62 FIP this season and a reverse split. This year he’s allowing a .428 wOBA to RHB and he had a very small standard split in the minors, rarely missing bats against RHB though. Kemp provides gamers the best upside with price point combination of the Dodgers hitters that are likely to do damage.