Tonight’s daily expert MLB plays will help you win big!
Turn some pocket change into a little more in the Quarters into Dollars game, or play for free and jump in the 400 Club (400 Target) game. It doesn’t take much of an investment to get a bankroll started, so join some games with these picks at your disposal tonight!
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Top Pick: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, $22,100
2014: 27.8% K, 4.6% BB, 56.4% GB, 2.22 FIP
Nationals vs RHP: 21.4% K, 95 wRC+
King Felix is the most expensive hurler on the bump tonight, and he’s the best one by a wide margin when factoring in Jon Lester’s tough matchup. The Nationals aren’t a pushover lineup, but Hernandez isn’t Joe Blow either. The King trails only Clayton Kershaw in FIP, ranks sixth in K%, keeps the ball on the ground at the third highest rate, and is a horse ranking fourth in IP. Hernandez has an exceptionally high ceiling.
Value Pick: Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians, $13,850
2014: 24.9% K, 8.1% BB, 33.7% GB, 3.90 FIP
Royals vs RHP: 15.5% K, 91 wRC+
The Royals are a toughest team to strikeout when facing a RHP. That’s not something working in Salazar’s favor, but he can miss bats and should still tally a handful of punch outs. His 10.3% swinging strike rate is one percent better than league average, and he’s been very good since returning from the minors. In the season’s second half he has 33 IP with a 6.6% BB rate and 24.1% GB rate. Those rates have helped him post a 2.92 FIP. He looks a lot like the guy who turned heads last season, and should be rostered heavily in DraftDay games tonight.
Top Pick: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, $9,950
2014 vs RHP: 400 PA, .183 ISO, .373 wOBA, 136 wRC+
Since 2012 vs HP: 1100 PA, .170 ISO, .337 wOBA, 120 wRC+
Lucroy has been the most consistent catcher at the dish this season, batting over .300 with a decent amount of power. Facing off with Ryan Vogelsong tonight isn’t the best matchup, because Vogelsong has allowed just a .301 wOBA to RHB. The thing that is working in Lucroy’s favor is that AT&T Park is huge, and Lucroy has 44 doubles on the season. In a spacious park, doubles turn into triples quickly, and it only adds to Lucroy’s value.
Value Pick: Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds, $7,650
2014 vs RHP: 273 PA, .265 ISO, .390 wOBA, 149 wRC+
Meso-RAKE-O is having a legitimate breakout season at the plate, and after a few down weeks his price is depressed here at DraftDay. This is a guy with a TON of power, even against same-handed pitching (.265 ISO). Edinson Volquez has pitched well at times, but is always prone to implosion. I’m targeting Mesoraco and his low price while I can.
Top Pick: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox, $12, 600
2014 vs RHP: 380 PA, .292 ISO, .405 wOBA, 159 wRC+
Big #79 has burst onto the MLB scene and exceeded even the loftiest of expectations so far this season, batting .311 with 33 HR and 97 RBI already. Justin Verlander is no longer the dominant ace we have seen in the past, and has really struggled against RHB this season (.384 wOBA, 33 XBH in 65.2 IP). Abreu is the perfect combination of power and consistency.
Value Pick: Steve Pearce, Baltimore Orioles, $8,850
2014 vs RHP: 217 PA, .203 ISO, .357 wOBA, 127 wRC+
Pearce has absolutely crushed LHP this season, but has still been very good against RHP as well. With five HR in his last 11 games, and at least one hit in each, he is one of the hottest hitters in the game. A matchup with Trevor May and his .445 wOBA allowed to RHB during his short time in the majors is a recipe for a huge night.
Top Pick: Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners, $10,350
2014 vs RHP: 341 PA, .172 ISO, .399 wOBA, 160 wRC+
Cano is the default top play at second base most nights, even with a solid righty on the mound. Jordan Zimmerman has been very good this year, but Cano has been better. He leads all second basemen with a 160 wRC+ and a .399 wOBA, and has found his power stroke in August, with five of his 12 hHR coming in the last month. Don’t let the matchup scare you, Cano can hit anyone.
Value Pick: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians, $5,000
2014 vs LHP: 36 PA, .063 ISO, .315 wOBA, 102 wRC+
Ramirez has been a great punt play since taking over the shortstop spot in Cleveland following the departure of Asdrubal Cabrera. Tonight is no exception, and with solid numbers in his first 36 PA against LHP, he remains a top punt play in a matchup against Jason Vargas.
Top Pick: Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics, $9,650
2014 vs RHP: 422 PA, .143 ISO, .320 wOBA, 106 wRC+
Since 2012 vs HP: 1091 PA, .148 ISO, .332 wOBA, 113 wRC+
As you can see from the numbers, Donaldson isn’t nearly the hitter against RHP that he is against LHP. That doesn’t concern me tonight. Jered Weaver has slowly regressed all season, and really struggled in August, allowing a .359 wOBA to opposing batters. On paper, you see Weaver’s .280 wOBA allowed to RHB, but that number has been steadily rising over the past two months. With some other top options struggling, DONGaldson becomes the top play in a good matchup.
Value Pick: Danny Valencia, Toronto Blue Jays, $6,550
2014 vs LHP: 98 PA, .135 ISO, .397 wOBA, 155 wRC+
Valencia is one of the best kept secrets against LHP this season, with a staggering .397 wOBA. Capuano has been solid against RHB with a .304 wOBA allowed, but I like Valencia to get the better of this matchup. With big bats likely right in front of him in the lineup, he should see plenty of RBI chances as well.
Top Pick: Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox, $8,650
2014 vs RHP: 414 PA, .131 ISO, .325 wOBA, 103 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1434 PA, .104 ISO, .300 wOBA, 84 wRC+
Ramirez hasn’t been a very consistent hitter throughout his career, but has certainly done well recently posting double-digit scores in five of his last seven games. With Verlander’s struggles against RHB that I mentioned above (see Abreu, Jose), Ramirez is in a great spot if he is in the 2-hole again batting in front of Jose Abreu.
Value Pick: Zach Walters, Cleveland Indians, $5,800
2014 vs LHP: 30 PA, .429 ISO, .499 wOBA, 193 wRC+
Obviously Walters won’t maintain this torrid pace against southpaws, but at his price point against an average pitcher, I’m all aboard the train. A middle infielder with legitimate power is hard to find, especially under $6,000. He has four HR in 30 PA against LHP so far, and barely missed one last night when he was robbed by Alejandro De Aza. He isn’t much in the way of contact hitting, but at this price, you’re just hoping he gets ahold of one.
Top Pick: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays, $11,300
2014 vs LHP: 118 PA, 192 wRC+
Since 2012 vs LHP: 328 PA, 147 wRC+, .270 ISO, .389 wOBA
Bautista hits for a great deal of power, obviously, but let’s put that in perspective. Among outfielders with 300 or more PA against LHP since 2012 he ranks fifth in ISO, and he does a fantastic job of tapping into that thump with a 49.4% FB rate. He should have little trouble lifting the ball against Chris Capuano. The Yankees LHP has just a 38.5% GB rate versus RHP since 2012 according to FanGraphs. Hitting tonight with a RHB park factor of 120 for HR at Rogers Centre could lead to joyous celebration for Bautista and his DraftDay owners.
Middle of the Pack: Dexter Fowler, Houston Astros, $8,650
2014 vs RHP: 295 PA, 112 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,004 PA, 109 wRC+, .158 ISO, .347 wOBA
Fowler is a repeat visitor as one of my daily expert MLB plays once again tonight. He’s a bit cheaper than he was yesterday, and I love using the Astros leadoff hitter as cheap exposure to Colby Lewis. Lewis has allowed a .395 wOBA to LHB this year, and his .368 wOBA allowed to them since 2012 is the eighth highest mark among qualified pitchers.
Value Pick: David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,950
2014 vs RHP: 219 PA, 136 wRC+, .201 ISO, .375 wOBA
A number three hitter for less than $7,000? Yup. Sign me up for that. Peralta is a hard player to buy into from a narrative stand point, but his production against RHP has been very real this year even if it has been aided by a slightly elevated BABIP. His penchant for contact against RHP is helpful, and he packs some thump with an ISO north of .200. Perhaps the best part is that he’ll be taking cuts against one of the worst starters throwing tonight. Christian Bergman owns a 5.71 FIP this year in four starts, and his 4.60 FIP in 15 Triple-A starts does little to discourage picking on him.
Wild Card: Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays, $6,900
2014 vs RHP: 402 PA, 90 wRC+
Since 2012 vs RHP: 1,231 PA, 94 wRC+, .133 ISO, .302 wOBA
Location, location, location as they say. Jennings is parked in the leadoff spot for the Rays, and while he’s no world beater against RHP, he offers more upside than your standard cheap outfielder. Red Sox starter Anthony Ranaudo has been solid at the Triple-A level posting a 3.87 FIP in 24 starts, but in two big league starts this year he’s actually issued more BB, five, than K, three. His 4.50 ERA isn’t unsightly, but with such poor walk and strikeout rates in a couple turns, it’s no surprise his FIP sits at a jaw dropping 7.13. Two starts is a tiny sample, but even if Ranaudo pitches at his Triple-A level he’s a player worth getting some exposure to.
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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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