Today’s daily expert baseball plays are your key to victory.
Make the most of these daily expert baseball plays by getting in a wide variety of games. Start by entering the best value available, the Freeballin’ freeroll. You have literally nothing to lose. Don’t stop there though, jump in one of my favorite contests, the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff, or spend just a little more and chase some cash in the $15 Knuckleball.
Top Pick: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets, $18,650
2014: 22.9% K, 8.0% BB, 44.5% GB, 3.07 FIP
Marlins vs RHP: 23.9% K, 93 wRC+
I’ve seen some smart people on Twitter gripe about how bad the National League Rookie of the Year crop is, and that speaks just to how undervalued deGrom is. He throws hard, has a deep arsenal, and that helps justify his emergence as more than a smoke and mirrors non-prospect turned very good big leaguer. His K% is 2.6% better than the league average, and his 3.07 FIP easily bests the league average of 3.84. He’s facing a Marlins squad posting the highest K% of any team when facing a RHP this year, and that helps make deGrom’s upside immense tonight.
Value Pick: Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres, $13,150
2014: 18.5% K, 6.5% BB, 51.1% GB, 2.88 FIP
Diamondbacks vs RHP: 19.5%, 86 wRC+
Cashner has missed significant time this year totaling only 14 starts, but they’ve been good ones and served as a stellar encore to a breakout 2013 campaign. Since the beginning of last season he has made 40 starts and owns a 3.15 FIP, and his cost is one even stingy spenders on pitcher can get behind. The Diamondbacks offense is bad, and they rank 24th in wRC+ versus RHP this year. When you add in that the game is at PETCO Park, you’ve got a must use option in Cashner.
Top Pick: Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds, $7,900
2014 vs RHP: 280 PA, 148 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 687 PA, 92 wRC+, .176 ISO, .309 wOBA
Mesoraco has been an offensive force in his breakout season. Among catchers with 250 or more PA against RHP this year he’s tied for the lead in wRC+ among catchers, and he’s blowing his peers out of the water in ISO. All that punch, and a cleanup slot in the Reds lineup make him a great play for under $8,000.
Value Pick: Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians, $7,300
2014 vs RHP: 302 PA, 113 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 569 PA, 107 wRC+, .175 ISO, .324 wOBA
I loved Gomes against a LHP last night, but take a look at his numbers this year and since 2012 against RHP. To say he’s no slouch would be doing him a disservice. Beyond his own solid numbers against same handed opposition, I’m intrigued by him taking cuts against Justin Verlander, who inexplicably is hammered by RHB foes. Verlander is serving up a .387 wOBA to RHB this season.
Top Pick: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles, $10,200
2014 vs RHP: 334 PA, 93 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,212 PA, 143 wRC+, .286 ISO, .384 wOBA
If you believe Dylan Axelrod’s two starts with the Reds are sustainable, or legitimate, I’d advise against making serious decisions without consulting others. It’s important to keep perspective and realize Axelrod is a guy you want a piece of with LHB, especially a power hitting one like Davis. The Reds pitcher allowed a .379 wOBA to 358 LHB faced last season, and a .372 wOBA allowed to 108 in 2012. Spinning things back to Davis, despite an ugly season, he’s still hitting ropes against RHP owning a 28.8% LD rate against them.
Value Pick: Kennys Vargas, Minnesota Twins, $6,550
2014 vs LHP: 55 PA, 76 wRC+, .077 ISO, .281 wOBA
The switch-hitting rookie, Vargas, has been much better against RHP in the majors than LHP. That said, the sample size is small, and he hit LHP well in the minors. According to Minor League Central, as a RHB versus LHP he has posted an .830 OPS since 2011. As a cleanup hitter facing John Danks, who struggles against RHB, he’s great buy at such a tiny cost.
Top Pick: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins, $10,450
2014 vs LHP: 172 PA, 113 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 400 PA, 133 wRC+, .221 ISO, .365 wOBA
Dozier isn’t cheap, but with his well rounded skill-set he’s worth his cost. The Twins number two hitter has easily the highest ISO since 2012 against LHP among qualified second basemen. His hitting prowess against LHP should be enhanced tonight against Danks since the White Sox pitcher has allowed a .365 wOBA this season.
Value Pick: Omar Infante, Kansas City Royals, $7,600
2014 vs RHP: 344 PA, 83 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,084 PA, 89 wRC+, .102 ISO, .304 wOBA
For a ho-hum player, Infante seems to get a lot of love as one of my daily expert baseball plays. He looks good again tonight, for starters, because he barely cracks the top-20 in cost at the keystone position. He’s the number two hitter in his lineup, and he’s facing a pitcher, Nick Tepesch, who owns a .356 wOBA allowed to RHB and a 4.97 FIP this year.
Top Pick: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $9,550
2014 vs LHP: 127 PA, 166 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 470 PA, 134 wRC+, .187 ISO, .375 wOBA
The Rangers horrific season has partially overshadowed the still elite production of Beltre. He ranks third among qualified third basemen in wRC+ against LHP this year. His hitting skills coupled with hitting cleanup for the Rangers are enough to make spending nearly five figures on him advisable.
Value Pick: Conor Gillaspie, Chicago White Sox, $7,050
2014 vs RHP: 339 PA, 137 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 740 PA, 114 wRC+, .150 ISO, .342 wOBA
Adam Dunn getting dealt resulted in Gillaspie moving up to fifth in the White Sox order in their last game against a RHP. That’s a positive move in terms of run production upside, and one that shouldn’t be glossed over as negligible. He doesn’t hit for a great deal of power, but his .150 ISO against RHP is better than what FanGraphs has as the league average (.136 ISO). The real reason I like him is that he offers a cheap crack at Trevor May. The rookie RHP has limped to a 5.44 FIP in five big league appearances (four starts).
Top Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $8,500
2014 vs RHP: 386 PA, 108 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,211 PA, 112 wRC+, .135 ISO, .339 wOBA
As long as Reyes remains under $9,000, I’m going to continue to tout him with regularity. He gets positive marks for hitting leadoff, and for being one of the best offensive players at shortstop. Reyes has the fourth highest wRC+ against RHP since 2012 among qualified shortstops.
Value Pick: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox, $6,900
2014 vs RHP: 68 PA, 100 wRC+, .155 ISO, .321 wOBA
Like Gillaspie, Betts is the beneficiary of a move up in his club’s order. The rookie center fielder (who as you can see, is shortstop eligible) is hitting second for the Red Sox. His bat is very solid, even against same handed pitchers. He proved that by posting an .869 OPS against RHP since 2011 in the minors.
Top Pick: Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles, $10,200
2014 vs RHP: 426 PA, 119 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,248 PA, 109 wRC+, .233 ISO, .337 wOBA
I don’t love most of the pricey outfielders, but Cruz looks like a good tournament play thanks to his HR potential. As I noted above, Axelrod is playing above his skis. Axelrod doesn’t have a ton of major league experience, but since 2012 he’s faced 379 RHB and allowed a .377 wOBA to them.
Middle of the Pack: Brett Gardner, New York Yankees, $8,550
2014 vs RHP: 384 PA, 126 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 819 PA, 116 wRC+, .159 ISO, .343 wOBA
As Gabey mentioned on the live show yesterday, Gardner was dropped from leadoff to third in the order in yesterday’s game. That’s a change I’d love to see stick, but if Joe Girardi immediately pulls a 180 degree turn and moves him back to the leadoff spot, he remains a very good selection on DraftDay rosters. Gardner was an above average hitter against RHP prior to this year, but it’s an uptick in power against them reflected in his .207 ISO that has thrust his wRC+ to a new level. Whether his power remains is debatable, but Yankee Stadium will provide him with a LHB park factor for HR of 121.
Value Pick: Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles, $7,400
2014 vs RHP: 440 PA, 112 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,221 PA, 107 wRC+, .132 ISO, .330 wOBA
Davis and Cruz get nods in today’s piece due to their power and facing Axelrod, and while Markakis can’t match either slugger’s thump, he will get the first crack at the overachieving Reds hurler as the Orioles’ leadoff hitter. If Axelrod gets hammered by the Orioles, it stands to reason that the LHB who is above average against RHP and heading the attack would post a robust DraftDay point total.
Wild Card: Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox, $9,050
2014 vs RHP: 323 PA, 126 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 605 PA, 107 wRC+, .124 ISO, .332 wOBA
Eaton’s skill-set isn’t one I’d usually pay his cost for, but he’s leading off against Trevor May. May’s struggle to make the adjustment from pitching in the minors to doing so in the majors make him prone to getting rocked. The White Sox outfielder is a speedy slasher who makes a lot of contact and is a perfect fit for his leadoff role. I feel confident stating he won’t reach the seats, but his ability to reach base and potentially pile up runs are enough to look beyond his power shortcomings.
Listen the Fantasy Sports Live Podcast to start your research.
Batted ball data and splits information comes from that which is provided at FanGraphs unless otherwise stated, and ballpark factors are those found at StatCorner and are for a three-year rolling average.
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