There is a lot of positional flexibility with today’s daily expert baseball plays!
With so many roster combinations at your disposal, it stands to reason you should be entering a wide variety of games tonight! Start by saving some bucks, as in spending none, and jump in the Freeballin’ freeroll and the 400 Club (400 Target) game. Don’t stop there though, join the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff and also hop in the $15 Knuckleball.
Top Pick: Ian Kennedy, San Diego Padres, $15,650
2014: 25.5% K, 8.4% BB, 40.5% GB, 3.11 FIP
Diamondbacks vs RHP: 19.5% K, 85 wRC+
Kennedy’s peripheral numbers indicate his ERA should probably be about a half run lower, and the culprit that stands out is a .316 BABIP that is 28 points above his career mark. Partly inflating that BABIP is a career high in infield hits allowed, so in other words, there is probably more bad luck at work here than poorly located balls resulting in harder contact allowed. Kennedy ranks 18th in FIP and 12th in K%, and without question, at his cost he looks like a stronger play than Max Scherzer tonight.
Value Pick: Roenis Elias, Seattle Mariners, $12,900
2014: 21.7% K, 9.5% BB, 44.5% GB, 4.07 FIP
Rangers vs LHP: 19.5% K, 102 wRC+
Elias feels kind of like the best of a bad lot of pitchers today. In fairness, it’s not so much that Elias is bad, it’s just that he doesn’t stand out as good. His FIP is actually above what FanGraphs has as the league average this season (3.84), but I like his ability to miss bats. Elias K% bests the league average of 20.3%. The other cheap pitching options are either less talented or have tougher matchups, so with that in mind, I tepidly endorse Elias as your number two starter in DraftDay games.
Top Pick: Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds, $8,100
2014 vs RHP: 284 PA, 148 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 691 PA, 92 wRC+, .175 ISO, .309 wOBA
Chris Tillman has been lights out in the second half of the season, but his PITCHf/x data doesn’t show the type of changes that support his performance. With that in mind, grabbing a power hitter who slots in the cleanup role like Mesoraco looks good. No catcher with 250 PA or more this season against RHP has posted a better ISO than Mesoraco’s .257 mark.
Value Pick: Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners, $6,250
2014 vs LHP: 119 PA, 113 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 169 PA, 103 wRC+, .189 ISO, .318 wOBA
Zunino has a ton of swing-and-miss in his game, but it comes with thump. This season he’s posting a .204 ISO against LHP. The LHP he’s facing tonight, Robbie Ross, has had huge struggles against RHB in his first year working primarily as a starting pitcher. The 223 RHB he’s faced have posted a .381 wOBA against him.
Top Pick: Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox, $9,350
2014 vs LHP: 131 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 441 PA, 125 wRC+, .220 ISO, .361 wOBA
Napoli’s power is down some against LHP, but his .181 ISO against them isn’t terrible. He’s made up for it with a silly 19.1% BB rate though. His patience has helped fuel a .420 OBP against LHP this year. Napoli’s power will get a boost tonight at Yankee Stadium where the RHB park factor for HR is 124.
Value Pick: Kennys Vargas, Minnesota Twins, $6,950
2014 vs LHP: 56 PA, 73 wRC+, .075 ISO, .276 wOBA
Vargas’ 2014 line versus LHP above doesn’t include last night’s work, which included his first big league dong as one. As a switch-hitter who slots cleanup and has big raw power, it’s easy to like Vargas a lot at under $7,000. Hector Santiago will give Vargas a chance to tap into his immense power since he has allowed a 58.4% FB rate to RHB this season.
Top Pick: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins, $10,000
2014 vs LHP: 172 PA, 113 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 400 PA, 133 wRC+, .221 ISO, .365 wOBA
Dozier is another Twins hitter whose power will get a lift from facing a FB prone pitcher like Santiago. Power is noteworthy with Dozier because he has the highest ISO against LHP since 2012 among qualified second basemen. Don’t be scared off by Target Field, while the RHB park factor for HR is 93, it is 107 for 2B/3B.
Value Pick: Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers, $7,000
2014 vs RHP: 362 PA, 132 wRC+
Since 2013 vs RHP: 551 PA, 142 wRC+, .179 ISO, .381 wOBA
Gennett has been moved around the Brewers lineup a bit, but he routinely hits in favorable spots and has hit leadoff in three straight contests against RHP. The diminutive second baseman doesn’t have enough PA to be a qualified hitter, but since 2012 if you drop the minimum number of PA to 550, he ranks second to only Robinson Cano in wRC+ versus RHP.
Top Pick: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays, $9,150
2014 vs LHP: 152 PA, 142 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 431 PA, 157 wRC+, .255 ISO, .394 wOBA
Longoria feasts on LHP, plain and simple. Since 2012 Longoria has the fourth highest wRC+ against LHP among qualified third basemen, and his ISO is the second highest. In addition to his hitting skills, Longoria gets the nod in large part because he’s a cleanup hitter, and thus his run production upside exceeds many of his peers at the position.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,100
2014 vs LHP: 146 PA, 101 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 164 PA, 113 wRC+, .129 ISO, .339 wOBA
Bogaerts has warts that don’t make him a perfect selection, but he’s one of my daily expert baseball plays because of his price and park factors. He is also above average against LHP.
Top Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $9,100
2014 vs RHP: 390 PA, 111 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,215 PA, 113 wRC+, .137 ISO, .341 wOBA
As I’ve noted the last few days when including Reyes as my top pick at shortstop, he’s one of the best offensive players at the position when facing a LHP or a RHP thanks to being a talented switch-hitter. He’s still leading off for the Blue Jays, and he remains priced fairly.
Value Pick: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox, $7,500
2014 vs LHP: 36 PA, 157 wRC+, .176 ISO, .402 wOBA
Betts zoomed to the majors thanks to his outstanding offensive skills. Those same skills have helped him move up the Red Sox order and settle in as the club’s number two hitter. From that lineup slot he’ll get to take aim at Chris Capuano. He is tied for having the 17th highest wOBA allowed to RHB since 2012.
Top Pick: Yoenis Cespedes, Boston Red Sox, $10,100
2014 vs LHP: 131 PA, 99 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 478 PA, 127 wRC+, .219 ISO, .352 wOBA
Another Red Sox hitter? You betcha. I don’t need to repeat the park factors, or point out Capuano has been bad against RHB since 2012. Instead, I’ll point out that Cespedes is tied for the 14th highest ISO against LHP since 2012 among qualified outfielders. His FB heavy batted ball profile will be perfect at Yankee Stadium.
Middle of the Pack: Brett Gardner, New York Yankees, $8,400
2014 vs RHP: 387 PA, 124 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 822 PA, 115 wRC+, .158 ISO, .342 wOBA
The move from leadoff to third in the Yankees lineup stuck for Gardner, as he was there once again on Wednesday. The speedy outfielder with newfound power looks like a strong play against Brandon Workman and his 4.57 FIP and .336 wOBA allowed to LHB this season.
Value Pick: Corey Hart, Seattle Mariners, $6,600
2014 vs LHP: 86 PA, 55 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 232 PA, 107 wRC+, .176 ISO, .331 wOBA
Hart has battled injuries over the last few years, missing all of last year and a huge chunk of this season. He announced his return to the Mariners lineup in style on Wednesday sending a Jon Lester offering into the seats. As I noted in the Zunino write-up, Ross is terrible against RHB and that makes Hart an intriguing option at such a cheap cost.
Wild Card: Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays, $6,150
2014 vs LHP: 117 PA, 117 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 420 PA, 108 wRC+, .151 ISO, .323 wOBA
Rodriguez is an odd choice, but on a day where I’ve suggested a handful of muli-position eligible options, I wanted to give Rodriguez some due since he’s a super cheap play at second base or in the outfield. If you’re looking to load up on star players and fill in the gaps with super cheap options, Rodriguez fits the bill of a worthwhile option as one of the “cheap options” thanks to having solid power.
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.
To read the glossary of important terms click here.