Today’s MLB Fantasy Selections include two unevenly priced aces.
Top Pick: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians, $20,650
2014: 26.8% K, 5.4% BB, 48.7% GB, 2.55 FIP
Astros vs RHP: 23.6% K, 90 wRC+
Kluber has blossomed into one of MLB’s best pitchers. He ranks third among qualified starters in FIP, and he piles up the points in DFS by racking up the punchouts with the sixth highest K%. He’s in line for another big strikeout performance tonight facing an Astros team that has the second highest K% versus RHP this year.
Value Pick: Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs, $14,250
2014: 25.7% K, 7.0% BB, 48.5% GB, 2.41 FIP
Reds vs RHP: 20.6% K, 84 wRC+
Arrieta’s numbers aren’t a far cry from Kluber’s, yet the gap in price for the two is huge. In fact, Arrieta bests Kluber in FIP. He’s facing a bad Reds offense that is tied for 24th in wRC+ versus RHP according to FanGraphs. Opposing Johnny Cueto, while backed by the Cubs offense, isn’t ideal for Arrieta. However, getting an ace at a steep discount is too good to pass up.
Top Pick: Russell Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates, $8,550
2014 vs RHP: 329 PA, 149 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,061 PA, 111 wRC+, .158 ISO, .331 wOBA
Martin is having a banner year against RHP. Not a single qualified catcher has a better wRC+ against RHP this season than Martin. In addition to his hitting skills, he gets a bump by facing one of the worst starters toeing the rubber in Anthony Ranaudo and his sky high 7.62 FIP in five big league starts.
Value Pick: Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians, $7,750
2014 vs RHP: 330 PA, 119 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 597 PA, 111 wRC+, .182 ISO, .329 wOBA
Gomes looks to have been moved from the fifth spot in the Indians order to the sixth spot, which isn’t ideal, but his hitting skills help ease the move. The pitcher he’ll be facing, Nick Tropeano, doesn’t throw hard and his best pitch is what Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus called a plus changeup. Changeups are notorious for having a reverse platoon split, so he shouldn’t be especially tough on same handed (RHB) opposition.
Top Pick: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $10,300
2014 vs RHP: 438 PA, 144 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 862 PA, 133 wRC+, .163 ISO, .367 wOBA
Batters Martinez’s age aren’t supposed to be having career offensive years, but he’s doing just that. He’s rarely striking out (6.2% K rate versus RHP) and driving the ball with authority (.199 ISO versus RHP). V-Mart gets a terrible hurler in Ricky Nolasco and his 4.40 FIP, with a .404 wOBA allowed to LHB.
Value Pick: Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,250
2014 vs RHP: 401 PA, 137 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 687 PA, 137 wRC+, .201 ISO, .369 wOBA
The Cardinals number five hitter, Adams, has a sizable platoon split in which he pummels RHP. Further helping his cause tonight is that Wily Peralta has a sizable platoon split himself, as he gets rocked by LHB allowing a .367 wOBA this season.
Top Pick: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates, $9,400
2014 vs RHP: 407 PA, 137 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,256 PA, 130 wRC+, .198 ISO, .358 wOBA
I liked Walker’s teammate, Martin, in part because the pitcher the Pirates are taking cuts against is bad. That logic applies to Walker as well, and the cleanup hitter for the Bucs has an added advantage as a LHB. Ranaudo didn’t have a big platoon split in the minors, but he’s struggling mightily with them in his first taste of the majors allowing a .402 wOBA to the 69 he’s faced.
Value Pick: Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers, $7,500
2014 vs RHP: 404 PA, 125 wRC+
Since 2013 vs RHP: 593 PA, 137 wRC+, .173 ISO, .374 wOBA
Gennett has more going for him than a nifty price tag. Among second basemen with a minimum of 550 PA against RHP since 2013 (the year Gennett reached the majors), he ranks third in wRC+ and ISO. Also, as the number two hitter for the Brewers, he has stellar run production potential.
Top Pick: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies, $9,350
2014 vs RHP: 339 PA, 99 wRC+
Since 2013 vs RHP: 706 PA, 79 wRC+, .149 ISO, .311 wOBA
Arenado isn’t a world beater against RHP, but at home this year he’s posting a 114 wRC+ against them in 182 PA. That’s not even the best part, as he gets a RHP who has been dreadful against RHB. Dan Haren has a .348 wOBA allowed to RHB this year, so if Arenado (who is day-to-day) is back in the Rockies lineup on Tuesday, he’s a worthwhile investment at the hot corner.
Value Pick: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants, $8,250
2014 vs RHP: 396 PA, 142 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,118 PA, 130 wRC+, .168 ISO, .352 wOBA
The switch-hitting Sandoval is much better against RHP than LHP. Since 2012 he ranks fifth among qualified third basemen in wRC+ versus RHP. He has dropped from the cleanup spot to fifth in the order, but that’s still a fine spot for run production. Taking his hacks against Josh Collmenter will be a good thing too, as the Diamondbacks pitcher has allowed a .341 wOBA to LHB this season.
Top Pick: Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,850
2014 vs LHP: 112 PA, 162 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 401 PA, 150 wRC+, .240 ISO, .389 wOBA
Ramirez is an abuser of LHP, and facing one, Tyler Matzek, who is terrible against RHB at Coors Field is almost too good to be true. Matzek has allowed a .366 wOBA to RHB this year, and Coors Field has RHB park factors of 110 for 2B/3B, 116 for HR, and 130 for runs.
Value Pick: Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies, $7,400
2014 vs RHP: 216 PA, 67 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 622 PA, 78 wRC+, .130 ISO, .310 wOBA
Opposing Ramirez is the value pick at shortstop, Rutledge. Last night he was the value pick at the position due to park factors and Roberto Hernandez being bad. Today he’s featured due to the same logic, and he gets an even softer matchup against Haren. The .349 wOBA the RHP has allowed to RHB since 2012 is the seventh highest mark allowed.
Top Pick: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,400
2014 vs LHP: 149 PA, 116 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 370 PA, 150 wRC+, .232 ISO, .387 wOBA
Kemp has somewhat surprisingly been better against RHP than LHP this year, but the Dodgers cleanup hitter will get a nudge up in value thanks to Matzek’s shortcomings against RHB. With a dreamy run production spot in the lineup, at an offense enhancing ballpark, and against a bad pitcher, how can you even consider fading Kemp?
Middle of the Pack: Corey Dickerson, Colorado Rockies, $8,450
2014 vs RHP: 355 PA, 143 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 528 PA, 131 wRC+, .250 ISO, .386 wOBA
Another Coors Field pick. He won’t get the same boost his RHB teammates will against Haren, but he doesn’t need one. Dickerson has hit like a man from another planet in 263 PA at Coors Field since reaching the majors last year and owns a 192 wRC+ and .346 ISO.
Value Pick: Scott Van Slyke, Los Angeles Dodgers, $7,250
2014 vs LHP: 116 PA, 182 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 218 PA, 143 wRC+, .270 ISO, .375 wOBA
A LHP like Matzek that struggles with RHB is little match for Van Slyke. The Dodgers platoon outfielder hits for a bunch of power against LHP, and that has translated to a .337 ISO this year against them. He taps into that thump with a 44.8% FB rate against LHB, and flyballs tend to result in good things happening in the thin air in Colorado.
Wild Card: Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians, $9,900
2014 vs RHP: 411 PA, 163 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,237 PA, 129 wRC+, .150 ISO, .356 wOBA
Brantley is a little less costly than the other stud outfielders, and it’s hard to understand why with him tallying the third highest wRC+ against RHP among qualified outfielders this season. The Indians number three hitter will look to make life tough for rookie Tropeano in his second start in the majors. Also, as a LHB at Minute Maid Park, Brantley will hit with park factors of 118 for HR and 104 for runs.