You can pair a pricey ace with a cheap young arm using today’s MLB fantasy selections.
Top Pick: Jon Lester, Oakland Athletics, $20,700
2014: 24.8% K, 5.5% BB, 43.2% GB, 2.81 FIP
Phillies vs LHP: 21.9% K, 90 wRC+
It’s impossible to fault Lester directly for the A’s tailspin, as he’s been lights out all year. The LHP ranks tied for 12th among qualified starters in K% and he rounds out the top 10 in FIP ranking 10th. He should enjoy seeing the Phillies lineup tonight as they rank 25th in wRC+ versus LHP and are tied for the seventh highest K% according to FanGraphs.
Value Pick: Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners, $9,850
2014: 19.6% K, 14.0% BB, 46.3% GB, 4.69 FIP
Astros vs RHP: 23.8% K, 90 wRC+
With their recent run of huge strikeout totals, the Astros have moved to the top of the heap in K% versus RHP. Walker is a well-regarded prospect, and while his 5.30 FIP at the Triple-A level this year is reason for pause, it’s largely the product of HR allowed. His 23.5% K rate and 7.9% BB rate are just fine. Walker’s upside and price point make him a great GPP option.
Top Pick: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, $9,500
2014 vs LHP: 141 PA, 126 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 367 PA, 150 wRC+, .211 ISO, .394 wOBA
The ballpark factors at PNC Park are the lone detractor for Lucroy tonight. Otherwise, Lucroy’s lineup spot, third, hitting skills against LHP (ranks third in wRC+ since 2012 versus LHP among catchers with a minimum of 300 PA), and pitching matchup against Jeff Locke (.333 wOBA allowed to RHB this year) make him worth his cost.
Value Pick: Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks, $7,100
2014 vs RHP: 424 PA, 102 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,172 PA, 110 wRC+, .140 ISO, .340 wOBA
My preferred pick at catcher isn’t Lucroy though, it’s Montero. The Diamondbacks backstop has been primarily hitting fifth, and Coors Field will provide him LHB park factors of 112 for 2B/3B, 123 for HR, and 140 for runs. Facing Jordan Lyles is dreamy. Lyles has allowed a .371 wOBA to LHB this year, and the .357 wOBA he’s ceded to them since 2012 is tied for the 12th highest mark among qualified pitchers.
Top Pick: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, $10,450
2014 vs RHP: 392 PA, 126 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,021 PA, 160 wRC+, .278 ISO, .410 wOBA
Ortiz, even at his advanced age, remains damn good against RHP. Camden Yards will be a perfect venue for him to hit in tonight against Kevin Gausman. The reasoning is simple, Camden Yards has a LHB park factor of 134 for HR and 119 for runs, and Gausman has just a 37.0% GB rate versus LHB this year. Big Papi is your leader in the clubhouse for dinger of the day.
Value Pick: Lucas Duda, New York Mets, $8,500
2014 vs RHP: 445 PA, 159 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,030 PA, 138 wRC+, .226 ISO, .367 wOBA
Duda is another candidate to reach the seats. The Mets cleanup hitter has a 48.9% FB rate versus RHP since 2012, and an even higher 50.2% FB rate this year versus them. Braves starter Julio Teheran has just a 36.2% GB rate allowed to LHB this year, and with Citi Field having an exactly neutral LHB park factor for HR (100), he could be playing with fire allowing FB to Duda.
Top Pick: Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers, $8,600
2014 vs LHP: 173 PA, 101 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 531 PA, 131 wRC+, .164 ISO, 369 wOBA
The Tigers have been the second best offense as measured by wRC+ against LHP this year, and that helps make Kinsler, hitting leadoff for them, a very enticing option at the keystone position. Jason Vargas isn’t especially bad against RHP, but Kinsler is quite good against LHP as his numbers above suggest. He won’t break the bank to squeeze onto DFS teams, and the variables are right for using Kinsler.
Value Pick: Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies, $7,200
2014 vs RHP: 228 PA, 74 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 634 PA, 80 wRC+, .131 ISO, .313 wOBA
Another game at Coors Field, another tout for Rutledge. Tonight he gets to face a RHP, Chase Anderson, who has a sizable reverse platoon split in which he’s allowed a .363 wOBA to RHB. It’s way too small a sample size to stabilize, but RHB have a staggering 29.4% LD rate against Anderson in his rookie season.
Top Pick: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays, $9,850
2014 vs LHP: 173 PA, 134 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 452 PA, 154 wRC+, .247 ISO, .387 wOBA
Jose Quinatana isn’t an easy LHP to get the better of even for RHB, but Longoria’s hitting skills against LHP are too hard to ignore. Longo has the fourth highest wRC+ among qualified third basemen facing LHP since 2012, and he ranks second in ISO at the position in that time frame.
Value Pick: Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers, $8,250
2014 vs LHP: 103 PA, 206 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 335 PA, 178 wRC+, .310 ISO, .437 wOBA
This is another position where my preferred option at the position is actually the value play. Ramirez has been better against LHP since 2012 than Longoria, and any third basemen with a minimum of 300 PA versus LHP in that time frame (as measured by wRC+) for that matter. And among third basemen with a minimum of 100 PA versus LHP this year, Ramirez has a 14 point lead in wRC+ over the second ranked player at the position, Josh Donaldson.
Top Pick: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,600
2014 vs LHP: 133 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 444 PA, 128 wRC+, .194 ISO, .361 wOBA
You have to get a piece of LHP David Holmberg, and Peralta is the best option to use against him. The pricey offseason acquisition for the Cardinals has delivered, especially against LHP. Among qualified shortstops, Peralta has the second highest wRC+ and highest ISO against LHP. Back to Holmberg, he’s not very good. He’s been torched in three big league starts walking more batters than he’s struck out and earning a 11.07 FIP.
Value Pick: Didi Gregorius, Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,000
2014 vs RHP: 212 PA, 84 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 515 PA, 99 wRC+, .152 ISO, .321 wOBA
Gregorius isn’t a particularly exciting player based on his own hitting ability against RHP, but he’s not trash either. The reason for using him, though, beyond saving money, is getting another piece of Lyle’s massive platoon split and the park factors at Coors Field. If he’s in the Diamondbacks lineup he’s a nifty cheap play at shortstop.
Top Pick: Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies, $10,650
2014 vs RHP: 126 PA, 104 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 810 PA, 120 wRC+, .197 ISO, .371 wOBA
Cuddyer went deep last night, but I’m not chasing last night’s numbers with this selection. He’s a strong offensive player against RHP, and the park factors at Coors Field and Anderson’s reverse platoon split are the reason for spending big on him again. Another high scoring affair in Colorado looks to be in the making.
Middle of the Pack: Corey Dickerson, Colorado Rockies, $9,050
2014 vs RHP: 367 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2013 vs RHP: 540 PA, 134 wRC+, .255 ISO, .391 wOBA
Dickerson won’t get to take advantage of Anderson’s shortcomings with RHB, but who cares. He can really rake at Coors Field against RHP. In 275 PA versus RHP at Coors Field since reaching the majors last year, Dickerson has totaled a 195 wRC+ and .351 ISO. He’ll likely hit fifth for the Rockies, which is just fine for run production when the guys in purple hang a big runs scored total.
Value Pick: David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,800
2014 vs RHP: 242 PA, 138 wRC+, .199 ISO, .378 wOBA
Peralta is listed as day-to-day after missing Wednesday’s game, but Thursday’s seat on the pine was likely a product of a LHP being on the hill. If Peralta is in the lineup, he’ll likely hit third, and even with a layoff of over a week, I’d be willing to roll the dice at his price point facing Lyles at Coors Field. If he’s scratched again, Khris Davis was the tough cut as a value pick and he owns a 136 wRC+ and .286 ISO in 177 PA versus LHP since reaching the majors last year.
Wild Card: Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels, $9,750
2014 vs RHP: 398 PA, 132 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 586 PA, 126 wRC+, .182 ISO, .345 wOBA
You absolutely have to use someone against Lisalverto Bonilla. The Rangers RHP has made just one big league start, and only six of his 39 appearances at the Triple-A level were as a starter. Bonilla isn’t a blue chip prospect, and according to Minor League Central, he’s struggled with LHB allowing a .749 OPS to them at the Low-A through Triple-A levels combined since 2011. Calhoun is the first one to get a crack against Bonilla, and when the Angels batter him, the outfielder will pile up fantasy points.