An ace and a burgeoning star are among today’s MLB Fantasy Selections.
Top Pick: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies, $19,950
2014: 23.9% K, 7.5% BB, 45.9% GB, 3.13 FIP
Padres vs LHP: 21.7% K, 75 wRC+
Hamels has a cake matchup tonight against the Padres. The Friars have by far the worst wRC+ against LHP this year according to FanGraphs, and they also sport the 10th highest K%. They’d make even an average arm very attractive in DFS games, and Hamels is well above average ranking 18th in FIP and 17th in K% among qualified starting pitchers. The cherry on top is that tonight’s game is at run suppressing PETCO Park.
Value Pick: Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians, $13,050
2014 (As a Starter): 25.9% K, 5.6% BB, 51.6% GB, 2.57 FIP
Astros vs RHP: 23.5% K, 91 wRC+
A stint in the bullpen is apparently all Carrasco needed to finally turn the talent that made him a highly regarded prospect into a top flight starter. He’s only made 11 starts this year (and 26 relief appearances), so he doesn’t have nearly enough IP to be a qualified starter though. That said, in order to put things in perspective, his work as a starter would earn him ranks of eighth in K% and fourth in FIP if he had enough IP. His K total should be further padded tonight by an Astros team that has the second highest K% versus RHP this season.
Top Pick: Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians, $7,450
2014 vs LHP: 143 PA, 134 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 309 PA, 135 wRC+, .190 ISO
With a LHP on the hill against the Indians, Gomes figures to ascend to the fifth spot in the lineup, where he’s hit in the last two games against LHP. Brett Oberholtzer has allowed a .325 wOBA to RHB this year, and Minute Maid Park has RHB park factors of 114 for 2B/3B, and 109 for HR. Add it all up, and not only to do you have the top pick at the catcher position, but a cheap one at that.
Value Pick: Derek Norris, Oakland Athletics, $6,850
2014 vs LHP: 161 PA, 147 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 427 PA, 142 wRC+, .198 ISO, .374 wOBA
Norris is actually better against LHP than Gomes, but he doesn’t get the same ballpark factor boost. He hit in the cleanup spot for the A’s in their last game against an LHP, but hit fifth in the previous start against a LHP, so it’s unclear which spot he’ll slot in tonight. Either spot will provide him sufficient run production upside to warrant his cheap cost to roster him.
Top Pick: Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays, $9,150
2014 vs RHP: 253 PA, 174 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 931 PA, 147 wRC+, .207 ISO, .389 wOBA
I tend not to like to pay this much for a platoon hitter, but Lind is really good. He’s also a cleanup hitter in a Blue Jays lineup that crushes RHP. If that’s not reason enough to pay for Lind’s services, LHB park factors of 131 for HR and 117 for runs at Camden Yards will sway you to do so.
Value Pick: Lucas Duda, New York Mets, $7,950
2014 vs RHP: 437 PA, 156 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,022 PA, 137 wRC+, .226 ISO, .364 wOBA
The Mets cleanup hitter, Duda, is underpriced severely. He’s a stud against RHP, and his FB heavy batted ball profile always gives him a shot at reaching the seats with his big pop (he has the 27th highest average HR and FB average distance this year according to Baseball Heat Maps). Citi Field won’t do anything to dampen his pop either with a LHB park factor for HR of 102.
Top Pick: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, $11,050
2014 vs LHP: 169 PA, 130 wRC+
Since 2013 vs LHP: 286 PA, 129 wRC+, .163 ISO, .359 wOBA
Rendon is a LD hitting machine against LHP. He doesn’t have enough PA for it to have stabilized, but in his career he has a sizzling 27.7% LD rate against LHP and that has helped make him a well above average hitter against them. The former Rice Owl slots second for the Nationals, and he’s a sneaky good base stealer with 15 this season.
Value Pick: Arismendy Alcantara, Chicago Cubs, $6,500
2014 vs RHP: 182 PA, 61 wRC+, .163 ISO, .262 wOBA
There has been some all-or-nothing to the switch-hitting Alcantara’s game when a RHP is on the hill. His 31.3% K rate against them is obviously poor, but his seven HR and .163 ISO are solid. He’s a good gamble tonight because he’s facing a bad pitcher in Daniel Corcino. Corcino posted an ugly 4.86 FIP at the Double-A level in 26 games pitched (25 starts), was bad in five IP at the Triple-A level, and hasn’t kicked down the door in the bigs either. Alcantara is nice cheap exposure to the worst pitcher throwing tonight.
Top Pick: Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics, $9,800
2014 vs LHP: 167 PA, 197 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 460 PA, 173 wRC+, .304 ISO, .418 wOBA
There hasn’t been a third baseman that’s been better offensively against LHP since 2012 than Donaldson, at least according to wRC+. As good as he’s been over that nearly three year stretch, he’s been at his best against LHP this season and has a 28 point margin over the next closest third baseman in wRC+. The A’s third baseman hits third for his club, and even a very good since being activated from the disabled list Derek Holland isn’t enough to deter me from using him.
Value Pick: Conor Gillaspie, Chicago White Sox, $7,100
2014 vs RHP: 370 PA, 132 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 771 PA, 112 wRC+, .150 ISO, .339 wOBA
The story remains the same with Gillaspie. He’s an underpriced, unexciting, yet above average hitter against RHP that hits in a favorable lineup slot. You can do much worse than saving money at the hot corner on Gillaspie.
Top Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $9,050
2014 vs RHP: 435 PA, 105 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,260 PA, 111 wRC+, .134 ISO, .337 wOBA
Reyes, the Blue Jays leadoff hitter, has three very talented hitters behind him that rip RHP. That’s not a bad spot to be, and as a LHB, he’ll enjoy Bud Norris’ platoon split. The hard throwing RHP has allowed a .325 wOBA to LHB this year and a .355 wOBA since 2012 (the 15th highest mark in that time frame among qualified starters).
Value Pick: J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles, $7,150
2014 vs LHP: 135 PA, 74 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 506 PA, 98 wRC+, .170 ISO, .317 wOBA
Hardy isn’t the type of hitter to carry a DFS squad, but he’s a nice glue guy at a fair cost. His down year against LHP this season has dragged his production against them since 2012 down to roughly league average, but he has some pop in his bat and faces a pitcher with a big platoon split. J.A. Happ has an odd reverse platoon split this year, but it’s likely that’s a product of a small sample size and the talent level of the LHB left in lineups to face him. He’s still allowing a .328 wOBA to RHB, and since 2012 the .332 wOBA he’s allowed is the 19th highest mark among qualified starters.
Top Pick: Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles, $11,250
2014 vs LHP: 154 PA, 162 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 430 PA, 146 wRC+, .228 ISO, .391 wOBA
I’ve already established that Happ is bad against RHB, and that means facing Cruz, the Orioles cleanup hitter, will be a nightmare. Cruz is unloading on LHP this season posting a .248 ISO, ninth highest among qualified outfielders.
Middle of the Pack: Steve Pearce, Baltimore Orioles, $8,850
2014 vs LHP: 104 PA, 192 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 279 PA, 142 wRC+, .232 ISO, .381 wOBA
Pearce has been a pleasant surprise for the Orioles this year, and he’s been a beast against LHP. In addition to his gaudy wRC+ against them, he’s tallied a staggering .330 ISO. Since 2012, among outfielders who have accumulated a minimum of 250 PA against LHP he ranks tied for 14th in wRC+ and ISO. His two most likely lineup slots are second and fifth, and either would be favorable for jumping all over Happ and piling up fantasy points.
Value Pick: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox, $6,500
2014 vs LHP: 50 PA, 152 wRC+, .167 ISO, .394 wOBA
Betts is a sneaky good value play. He’s hitting leadoff for the Red Sox, and he’s clobbering LHP in his rookie season. Francisco Liriano isn’t your typical LHP in that he can really tie up RHB with his changeup (his .285 wOBA allowed to RHB tells the story), but his wildness plays into the hands of the very patient Betts.
Wild Card: Travis Snider, Pittsburgh Pirates, $6,300
2014 vs RHP: 271 PA, 108 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 682 PA, 88 wRC+, .130 ISO, .296 wOBA
Snider was a highly regarded prospect with the Blue Jays, and essentially a forgotten man with the Pirates after another lackluster first half this year with the Pirates. However, he might have finally begun his breakout as a hitter in the second half. He has 141 PA in the second half and has accrued a 147 wRC+ and mashed his way to a .234 ISO. He’s moved back into the two-hole for the Pirates in their last two games, and facing Clay Buchholz will help his value tonight since the Red Sox RHP has allowed a .346 wOBA to LHB.