Tonight’s expert fantasy baseball strategy involves heavy Brewers usage.
Top Pick: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians, $21,650
2014: 28.0% K, 5.3% BB, 48.0% GB, 2.38 FIP
Rays vs RHP: 17.3% K, 100 wRC+
Kluber is easily the most expensive arm, and the Rays aren’t a pushover offense, but the Indians ace is a no brainer as the top pitcher in Friday’s expert fantasy baseball strategy for MLB DFS team building. In terms of FIP, only Clayton Kershaw has been better than Kluber among qualified pitchers this year according to FanGraphs. A big part of the reason for Kluber’s success is the inability of opposing hitters to put the ball in play against him, Kluber ranks third in K%. Even a solid Rays squad will provide Kluber with some punch outs, and the hurler should be the top scorer at the position.
Value Pick: Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers, $10,650
2014 (As a Starter): 18.5% K, 6.4% BB, 48.2% GB, 3.74 FIP
Cubs vs RHP: 23.7% K, 84 wRC+
It’s with some trepidation I present Nelson as part of tonight’s expert fantasy baseball strategy. My greatest concern is the Brewers limiting his pitch count since he’s spent a few weeks in the teams bullpen, but he spent most of the year starting and no pitch count restriction appears to be floating around the interwebz. With that in mind, I’m less concerned about him getting yanked early. Nelson’s stats aren’t exceptional, but they’re passable, and the Cubs provide a juicy matchup since they have the second highest K% versus RHP this year and are tied for 24th in wRC+ versus them.
Top Pick: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, $8,850
2014 vs LHP: 147 PA, 128 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 373 PA, 150 wRC+, .208 ISO, .395 wOBA
Lucroy is the first cog in a Brewers stack as part of the expert fantasy baseball strategy I’m using tonight. He hits third, and is outstanding against LHP. Eric Jokisch is making his first big league start after just three relief appearances spanning 10.1 IP. That work is enough to see Jokisch doesn’t throw hard, and while the sample is itty bitty, the 36 RHB he’s faced have roughed him up with a .388 wOBA.
Value Pick: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals,
2014 vs RHP: 451 PA, 100 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,049 PA, 96 wRC+, .135 ISO, .313 wOBA
Perez has been exactly league average offensively facing RHP this year, and only a few ticks below that since 2012. His production should get a hearty boost facing Hector Noesi, owner of a .368 wOBA allowed to RHB this season, and the second highest FIP among qualified starters with a 4.96 mark.
Top Pick: Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers, 10,900
2014 vs RHP: 478 PA, 145 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,358 PA, 129 wRC+, .186 ISO, .356 wOBA
A down year in 2012 versus RHP for Gonzalez drags down his wRC+ some, but he’s killed RHP this year and last (131 wRC+ versus them in 2013). The number three hitter for the Dodgers is in a great spot for run production in the lineup, and he’s facing a pitcher who should amplify his already very good numbers versus RHP. Jordan Lyles is ceding a robust .370 wOBA to LHB this year and since 2012 the .357 wOBA he’s allowed to LHB is tied for the 13th highest mark among qualified pitchers.
Value Pick: Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals, $7,500
2014 vs RHP: 441 PA, 82 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,429 PA, 110 wRC+, .125 ISO, .332 wOBA
Butler is another RHB worth using against Noesi to take advantage of the terrible pitcher’s shortcomings against RHB. The big man has had a forgettable year against RHP, but Noesi is more like a batting tee than an actual pitcher, and hitting fifth is rather promising for fantasy point scoring too.
Top Pick: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, $10,400
2014 vs LHP: 173 PA, 132 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 290 PA, 130 wRC+, .161 ISO, .360 wOBA
Rendon is one of the few big ticket hitters touted in tonight’s expert fantasy baseball strategy. He can be used at second or third base, but this is my preferred spot for him. He’s put up consecutive strong years against LHP to begin his career, he hits in the top three in the Nationals order, and he’s facing a rookie LHP that has struggled mightily in his first (albeit limited) exposure to RHB in the majors allowing a .392 wOBA to the 70 he’s faced.
Value Pick: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers, $6,750
2014 vs LHP: 146 PA, 132 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 431 PA, 113 wRC+, .161 ISO, .341 wOBA
Weeks is on the short end of a second base platoon with Scooter Gennett, but it should be his turn in the rotation with a LHP on the hill. He’s at risk of being lifted for a pinch hitter late in the game, but that’s forgivable given his low cost. A platoon role has fit Weeks well as he’s hammered LHP. As a RHB playing at Miller Park tonight, he’ll hit with park factors of 126 for HR and 109 for runs according to StatCorner.
Top Pick: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $9,300
2014 vs RHP: 486 PA, 122 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,216 PA, 137 wRC+, .136 ISO, .368 wOBA
Carpenter doesn’t hit for a ton of power, but he can damn sure barrel the baseball up. Since 2012 he has an obscene 26.5% LD rate and just a 1.7% IFFB rate. With just a 13.8% K rate versus RHP, he’s putting a ton of balls in play. That said, he’s just as willing to earn ball four with a 14.0% BB rate versus RHP this year. That skill set is dreamy atop a lineup, and that’s just where he slots for the Cardinals.
Value Pick: Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers, $7,600
2014 vs LHP: 109 PA, 193 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 341 PA, 174 wRC+, .305 ISO, .431 wOBA
Ramirez is my preferred option at third base given his tiny cost, but with so many Brewers suggested as part of today’s expert fantasy baseball strategy, there will undoubtedly be some roster combinations where he might be a tough cut. He should, however, be on the bulk of your DFS rosters given the previously cited RHB park factors, the unimpressive pedigree and production of the rookie pitcher he’s facing, and his own hitting prowess as well as lineup spot (cleanup).
Top Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,400
2014 vs LHP: 167 PA, 116 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 185 PA, 125 wRC+, .163 ISO, .356 wOBA
Bogaerts being suggested speaks partly to how I feel about the higher priced shortstops, but I also really like him this evening. He’s been very good against LHP in the majors, and while Yankees starter Chris Capuano hasn’t struggled with RHB this year, his .329 wOBA allowed to them since 2012 is more promising for Bogaerts. The young shortstop’s ascension to second in the order is pretty nifty too.
Value Pick: Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics, $7,100
2014 vs RHP: 391 PA, 102 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,109 PA, 115 wRC+, .165 ISO, .337 wOBA
Lowrie gets some love once again today as part of my expert fantasy baseball strategy due in part to facing another poor Rangers starter. Nick Tepesch has allowed just a .310 wOBA to LHB this year, but don’t be fooled, he has a pathetic 10.6% K rate and 9.3% BB rate versus them and a .231 BABIP can be thanked for his wOBA.
Top Pick: Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals, $10,250
2014 vs LHP: 149 PA, 154 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 360 PA, 176 wRC+, .201 ISO, .429 wOBA
Werth is one of the premier abusers of LHP in the game. Among hitters with a minimum of 350 PA against LHP since 2012, Werth has posted the sixth highest wRC+, and his .447 OBP is tied for tops with Andew McCutchen. That type of on-base ability sets something of a high-ish floor in a game of volatility, and his hitting skills give him an exciting ceiling hitting from third in the Nationals order as well.
Middle of the Pack: Chris Carter, Houston Astros, $7,950
2014 vs LHP: 158 PA, 143 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 442 PA, 134 wRC+, .248 ISO, .364 wOBA
I love to chase cheap power on occasion, and Carter offers that. Among qualified hitters, he ranks 10th in ISO versus LHP since 2012. He bounces between third and cleanup in the Astros order, which gives him run production potential, and Citi Field offers RHB a park factor of 111 for HR.
Value Pick: Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers, $6,750
2014 vs LHP: 131 PA, 113 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 181 PA, 130 wRC+, .279 ISO, .364 wOBA
Davis has shared time in the outfield with trade acquisition Gerardo Parra, but it is Davis who kills LHP and should be expected in the Brewers lineup tonight. Like Carter, in fact even more so (at least in regards to cost), he offers cheap power upside. Furthermore, and as I noted above, Miller Park offers a great back drop for power to RHB.
Wild Card: Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers, $10,000
2014 vs LHP: 133 PA, 128 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 437 PA, 132 wRC+, .240 ISO, .368 wOBA
There is little I can add to the Gomez write-up that I haven’t stated when discussing my expert fantasy baseball strategy in the other Brewers hitters’ write-ups. One thing I can add is that Gomez is hitting leadoff for the Brew Crew, and that’s a great spot to take cuts and score fantasy points.