Thursday’s MLB fantasy selections are chock full of Rockies and Diamondbacks at Coors Field.
Top Pick: Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates, $16,100
2014: 22.4% K, 7.7% BB, 49.1% GB, 3.65 FIP
Red Sox vs RHP: 21.0% K, 87 wRC+
The Red Sox have been bad against RHP all year, and in an National League park that lineup will be without David Ortiz. Sound like an easy assignment for Cole? I thought so. Cole is no slouch as a pitcher, either. He’s really kicked things up a notch in the second half of the season with a 25.2% K rate, 6.9% BB rate, and 3.41 FIP. The gap in price between he and the two aces, Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez, is too large. Fade the duo on some teams and roll out Cole.
Value Pick: Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians, $15,300
2014: 24.5% K, 7.4% BB, 34.7% GB, 3.79 FIP
Astros vs RHP: 23.7% K, 90 wRC+
The Astros are a strikeout happy bunch with a RHP on the hill, and their K% is the second highest per FanGraphs. Their propensity for punch outs has been on full display the last two nights against the Indians striking out 14 times versus Corey Kluber on Tuesday, and 12 times versus Carlos Carrasco last night. Salazar is another electric armed RHP with big swing and miss stuff as his high K% indicates. Another double digit strikeout total from an Indians starter is very much within reach.
Top Pick: Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies, $7,800
2014 vs LHP: 96 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 352 PA, 156 wRC+, .312 ISO, .425 wOBA
Rosario is outstanding against LHP, but facing one at home? Fuhgeddaboutit. The Rockies backstop reached the majors in 2011 and has totaled 204 PA at Coors Field versus LHP with an absurd 187 wRC+ and .397 ISO. He’s a no doubt pick.
Value Pick: A.J. Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers, $5,100
2014 vs LHP: 77 PA, 102 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 307 PA, 97 wRC+, .108 ISO, .309 wOBA
If Rosario is a scratch, and that’s the only reason to not use him, Ellis is a nifty near minimum salary catching option. Ellis is a roughly league average offensive player versus LHP, and he’s facing Tsuyoshi Wada. The Cubs starter has allowed a .345 wOBA to RHB. That makes Ellis worth more than his cost, even if his ceiling is relatively low.
Top Pick: Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies, $10,450
2014 vs LHP: 43 PA, 233 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 293 PA, 135 wRC+, .256 ISO, .395 wOBA
Cuddyer hasn’t been healthy most of the year, but in his limited time on the diamond he’s hit LHP hard, which is much the same as he’s done the last few years and throughout his career. Hitting somewhere in the 2-through-4 range in the Rockies lineup is a good bet for him, and a juicy matchup with Vidal Nuno is certain. The Diamondbacks starter has allowed a .341 wOBA to RHB this year and his 39.5% GB rate allowed to them will do him no favors at Coors Field.
Value Pick: Mark Trumbo, Arizona Diamondbacks, $8,650
2014 vs LHP: 83 PA, 128 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 425 PA, 137 wRC+, .277 ISO, .368 wOBA
The Rockies hitters aren’t the only ones facing a bad LHP, as Yohan Flande projects to be quite giving to Diamondbacks hitters such as Trumbo. Flande has allowed a .357 wOBA to RHB this year and struggles to miss bats with a 12.0% K rate. When Trumbo makes contact, good things tend to happen as evidenced by him posting the fourth highest ISO against LHP since 2012 among qualified first basemen. As a RHB, Trumbo’s production will be enhanced by Coors Field park factors of 111 for 2B/3B, 118 for HR, and 132 for runs.
Top Pick: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates, $9,500
2014 vs RHP: 411 PA, 138 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,260 PA, 130 wRC+, .198 ISO, .359 wOBA
The Pirates cleanup hitter is one of the best offensive players at the keystone position when a RHP is on the hill. He ranks third among qualified second basemen in wRC+ when facing RHP since 2012, and he has the second highest ISO. The pitcher he’s facing, Brandon Workman, has allowed a .337 wOBA to LHB this year and has totaled a 4.39 FIP.
Value Pick: Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks, $8,150
2014 vs LHP: 127 PA, 92 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 428 PA, 118 wRC+, .195 ISO, .351 wOBA
Hill’s overall numbers as a hitter this year leave a lot to be desired, but he hasn’t embarrassed himself against LHP. His work against them since 2012 is even more promising. More importantly, he’s facing Flande and benefiting from the same sweet RHB park factors as the ones cited in Trumbo’s write-up. Getting lots of action at Coors Field is a must tonight, and Hill is a name worth using.
Top Pick: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, $10,900
2014 vs LHP: 169 PA, 130 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 286 PA, 129 wRC+, .163 ISO, .359 wOBA
Nationals regulars got a day off yesterday after clinching the National League East the night before, so Rendon should be well rested for tonight’s contest. Between his lineup spot, second, hitting skills against LHP, and Brad Hand’s sizable platoon split which features a .339 wOBA allowed to RHB, Rendon looks to be well worth a pretty penny.
Value Pick: Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners, $8,300
2014 vs RHP: 394 PA, 149 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,252 PA, 132 wRC+, .187 ISO, .359 wOBA
Seager can really hit RHP, and he’s never been better than this year. Among qualified third basemen, the Mariners third baseman ranks first in wRC+ and ISO against LHP. Weaver is fairly good against LHB, but he’s not a guy who has tied them up this year allowing a .314 wOBA. The cherry on top is that Seager has hit cleanup for the Mariners in the last two games in which a RHP has started against them.
Top Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $9,150
2014 vs RHP: 439 PA, 105 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,264 PA, 111 wRC+, .134 ISO, .337 wOBA
The switch-hitting Reyes is solid against LHP, but he’s better when facing a RHP. That’s good for the Blue Jays leadoff hitter since he’s facing RHP Shane Greene today. Further working in his favor is the fact that Greene has struggles with LHB allowing a .340 wOBA to them in his rookie season. An added bonus is that Yankee Stadium has a LHB park factor for HR of 126 and slightly enhances runs with a park factor of 102.
Value Pick: Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies, $6,650
2014 vs LHP: 75 PA, 116 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 274 PA, 71 wRC+, .175 ISO, .302 wOBA
While I’ve touted Rutledge a couple times this week facing a RHP as a decent play, I love him versus a LHP tonight. A horrific 25 wRC+ versus LHP last year cripples Rutledge’s overall numbers against them since 2012. That looks like something of an aberration though, since he posted a solid 92 wRC+ versus LHP in his rookie year in 2012 along with a gaudy .272 ISO, and he’s been an even better offensive player against them this year. Furthermore, he annihilated LHP in the minors with a 1.045 OPS versus them in 259 PA according to Minor League Central.
Top Pick: A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks, $9,050
2014 vs LHP: 47 PA, 158 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 293 PA, 123 wRC+, .224 ISO, .358 wOBA
I don’t need to rehash the RHB park factors at Coors Field or Flande’s struggles versus RHB, so as for Pollock, he’s the number three hitter for the Diamondbacks and one who has beaten up on LHB in his time in the bigs. Hitting third in what figures to be an offensive outburst makes Pollock a high upside play.
Middle of the Pack: Drew Stubbs, Colorado Rockies, $7,900
2014 vs LHP: 139 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 456 PA, 120 wRC+, .165 ISO, .355 wOBA
Stubbs has been a perfect fit for Coors Field. He was already strong against LHP, but he’s been lethal at Coors Field facing them. It’s a tiny sample no doubt, but in 75 PA at Coors Field against a LHP Stubbs has a 240 wRC+ and .368 ISO. He’s not likely to maintain the pace, but when considering that Coors Field takes some serious bite out of curveballs, a pitch Stubbs struggles mightily with, there is almost certainly more than good luck working in his favor.
Value Pick: Cody Ross, Arizona Diamonbacks, $5,350
2014 vs LHP: 71 PA, 81 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 342 PA, 152 wRC+, .228 ISO, .398 wOBA
Ross is one of my favorite plays tonight, and a must for those using the pricey aces not touted in this piece. Even with my suggested arms, adding Ross to the mix allows for an insane amount of spending elsewhere. The best part is that his ability to crush LHP means you’re getting more for less.
Wild Card: Scott Van Slyke, Los Angeles Dodgers, $7,150
2014 vs LHP: 119 PA, 185 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 221 PA, 145 wRC+, .266 ISO, .378 wOBA
If I’m picking between Van Slyke and Ross, I’ll take Ross. However, Van Slyke is a nice option too. As a RHB, his FB profile and power will be great at Wrigley Field where the RHB park factors for 2B/3B are 103 and HR is 106. And don’t forget about Wada’s struggles with RHB. As long as Don Mattingly pencils Van Slyke in the lineup, he should get play in DFS games.