My Daily MLB Selections are headlined by the most and least expensive pitcher.
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While there is value to be found at every position, catcher stands out as the position that features the greatest combination of upside and savings. Use these Daily MLB Selections to beat your opponents in some of my favorite contests such as the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff, and the Fantasy Sports Live League.
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Daily MLB Selections –Pitchers
My Pick: Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, $18,900
At a Glance: 2014- 2.41 ERA, 11.2% swinging strike rate, 5.5% walk rate, Phillies vs RHPs 80 wRC+
Teheran faces the 28th ranked offense versus right-handed pitchers. In addition to not generating much offense against righties, the Phillies also own the 11th highest strikeout rate at 21.3%. The Braves kill left-handed pitching, which makes a matchup against Cole Hamels less daunting, and coupled with the Phillies struggles against right-handed pitchers explains why the Braves are favorites in tonight’s game. Teheran has the pitch mix necessary to keep left-handed and right-handed batters in check. He’s in a great position to twirl a gem and pick up the win.
Value Pick: Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals, $7,500
At a Glance: 2014- 12.1% swinging strike rate, 54.6% groundball rate, Mets vs RHPs 83 wRC+
Martinez, a reliever for almost all of his time in the majors, is scheduled to start in place of Adam Wainwright. The flame-throwing right-handed pitcher has made one start in his big league career, and that was enough to capture PITCHf/x data showing he can carry over his plus-plus heater to the beginning of games. His strikeout rate doesn’t do his swing-and-miss stuff justice, and his ability to keep the ball on the ground at a high rate is a huge plus, too. Because he’s making his first start of the year after working in the bullpen, I’d suspect Martinez will be on a pitch count that will limit his ability to toss too deep into the game. The Cardinals are favorites though, and the Mets are so bad against right-handed pitchers that Martinez makes for a strong tournament game pitching option. His lack of starting experience in the majors (he has plenty in the minors) makes him a bit more volatile than I’d feel comfortable using in double-up and head-to-head games though.
Daily MLB Selections – Catchers
My Pick: Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies, $7,850
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 43 PA, 4 HR, 178 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 297 PA, .327 ISO, 164 wRC+.
Rosario has been miserable against right-handed pitchers this year, but he holds a sizable platoon split that favors facing lefties throughout his career and gets one today. He won’t be backed by his hitter friendly home confines, but thankfully Dodger Stadium features a right-handed batter homer park factor of 110. There aren’t many Daily MLB Selections that offer as much bang for the buck as Rosario does with a southpaw on the hill.
Value Pick: John Jaso, Oakland Athletics, $7,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 166 PA, 137 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 929 PA, .274/.374/.438, 132 wRC+.
Used mostly in a platoon, thus shielding him from left-handed pitching, Jaso thrives against right-handed hurlers. His plate discipline is top shelf and has led to a juicy 13.1 percent walk rate versus right-handed pitchers since 2011. He often hits second in the Athletics lineup, which is a nice spot for run production stats. He’s facing a pitcher who struggles mightily with left-handed batters. Colby Lewis has faced 881 left-handed batters since 2011 and they’ve hit .279/.342/.488 with a .359 wOBA against him, and he’s been even worse this year allowing a staggering .405 wOBA to the 148 lefties he’s faced.
Daily MLB Selections – First Basemen
My Pick: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles, $10,100
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 157 PA, 118 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,140 PA, .282 ISO, 147 wRC+.
Davis isn’t repeating his monstrous 2013 campaign, but the underlying stats against right-handed pitchers remain strong. He’s walking 16.6 percent of the time against them, and he’s still hitting a ton of line drives and flyballs, and very few infield flyballs against right-handed pitchers. He’s facing a right-handed pitcher, Jake Orodizzi, who doesn’t induce many groundballs against left-handed batters (33.3 percent in his career).
Value Pick: Garrett Jones, Miami Marlins, $8,100
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 208 PA, 139 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,465 PA, .269/.329/.491, 124 wRC+.
The left-handed hitting Jones is an above average slugger against right-handed pitchers, and he comes at a discount thanks to his overall numbers being driven down by struggles against same handed pitching. He frequently slots in the fifth spot in the Marlins lineup, which is an ideal spot for driving in runs, and he’s facing a right-handed pitcher, Jason Hammel, with a history of struggles against lefties. Hammel’s heavy reliance on a fastball/slider combo hasn’t hurt him against lefties this year, but since 2011 the 1,095 left-handed batters he has faced have hit .255/.341/.422 with a .336 wOBA against him.
Daily MLB Selections – Second Basemen
My Pick: Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers, $9,750
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 71 PA, 90 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 618 PA, .303/.378/.492, 135 wRC+.
Kinsler hasn’t been his usual lefty-killing self this year, but the sample is tiny and his work against them throughout his career, especially since 2011, speaks for itself. The Tigers have been an above average offense against left-handed pitchers this year tallying a 107 wRC+, and that provides Kinsler run production upside from the number two spot in the order. He’s also no slouch as a base stealer having stolen seven in 10 chances this year and 73 in 100 chances since 2011.
Value Pick: Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners, $8,100
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 168 PA, 145 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,184 PA, .270/.346/.451, 124 wRC+.
Seager faces a tough right-handed pitcher, Tyson Ross, who I nearly suggested as my top pick. Ross has been brilliant against left-handed batters this year, despite his limited arsenal (roughly 95 percent of his pitches have been fastball or sliders this year). That said, Ross occasionally has bouts of wildness, and Seager is an above average hitter against righties.
Daily MLB Selections –Third Basemen
My Pick: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays, $9,600
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 78 PA, 130 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 506 PA, .291/.385/.559, 157 wRC+.
Longoria is a star level hitter, and that is amplified with a southpaw on the hill. He ranks 12th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers since 2011. Longoria’s opponent, Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, isn’t particularly good against right-handed batters, having allowed the 1,275 of them he’s faced to hit .263/.314/.440 with a .327 wOBA since joining the majors in 2012.
Value Pick: David Wright, New York Mets, $7,950
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 240 PA, 70 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,388 PA, .274/.344/.442, 119 wRC+.
Wright’s struggles against same handed pitchers is most certainly the driving force for his sub-$8,000 cost. His line drive rate remains strong against them, though, and his recent numbers against right-handed pitchers suggests his early season work is nothing more than a blip on the radar. Grab shares of the Mets number three hitter, especially on rosters you don’t use value pick pitcher Carlos Martinez.
Daily MLB Selections – Shortstops
My Pick: Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,550
At a Glance- 2014 vs LHP: 61 PA, 158 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 436 PA, .291/.372/.553, 153 wRC+.
The temptation was there to suggest Troy Tulowitzki against a southpaw, but Ramirez has nearly been his equal in wRC+ against lefties since 2011 with a gap of just four points. Ramirez is an elite offensive player at a position lacking firepower, and he’s facing a rookie lefty, Tyler Matzek, who pitched above his skills in his MLB debut. Pocket the extra nearly $3,000 and use Ramirez instead of Tulowitzki at shortstop if you’re going to spend heavily on one of your Daily MLB Selections at the position.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,900
At a Glance: 2014: 279 PA, 122 wRC+, vs RHPs- 190 PA, 110 wRC+.
Bogaerts late season promotion last year notwithstanding, he’s fared very well against right-handed pitchers. Yes, he’s been better against lefties, but his well above average production against right-handed pitchers extends to his time in the minors. Twins starter Kevin Correia has been awful this season posting a 5.60 ERA, and he hasn’t posted a strikeout rate north of 15 percent since 2010. Correia is little match for the third ranked shortstop in wRC+this year.
Daily MLB Selections – Outfielders
My Pick: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves, $10,500
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHPs: 52 PA, 6 HR, 271 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHPs: 569 PA, 156 wRC+, 17.2% K-rate.
Upton’s top shelf power often comes with swing-and-miss, but not against left-handed pitchers since 2011. His walk rate, 17.2 percent, is identical to his strikeout rate. Cole Hamels isn’t an easy assignment, but Upton’s 197 wRC+ against lefties since the start of last year leads the league in that time frame.
Middle of the Pack: Drew Stubbs, Colorado Rockies, $7,550
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHPs: 64 PA, 179 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHPs: 515 PA, .302/.377/.450, 128 wRC+.
I was torn on Stubbs. Ultimately the fact that he offers more power than Davis (13 more homers versus lefties in 201 fewer plate appearances against them), and is in a better offense against lefties (Rockies 115 wRC+ compared to 106 wRC+ for the Tigers) swung the pendulum his way. In addition to his hitting prowess against lefties, Stubbs is a great base stealer with 94 in 113 chances since the start of the 2011 season.
Value Pick: Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers, $6,700
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHPs: 69 PA, 150 wRC+. Minors vs LHPs since 2011: 394 PA, .311/.384/.455.
Royals lefty Jason Vargas isn’t awful against right-handed batters, but the Tigers hitters highlighted today get the nod due to their own favorable splits versus lefties. Castellanos seems to be settling in at the big league level with more experience in his rookie season, and in the last 30 days he’s totaled 100 plate appearances and hit .326/.380/.424 with a 126 wRC+. The Tigers lineup has enough length to provide Castellanos run production upside even in the bottom third of the order.
Wild Card: Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics, $10,250
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHPs: 210 PA, 147 wRC+. Since 2012 vs RHPs: 861 PA, .271/.354/.574, 155 wRC+.
Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis’s struggles against left-handed batters were highlighted above, and coupled with Moss’s dominance against right-handed pitchers since joining the Athletics in 2012 makes him a must start tonight. Moss usually slots cleanup for the Athletics against right-handed pitchers, and that’s prime run production territory if the A’s pummel Lewis.
* 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.