Take two on attacking Wade Miley with my Daily MLB Selections.
Listen to the Fantasy Sports Live Podcast while you build your lineups.
He’s not the only pitcher I pick on today, as a few other soft matchups look ripe for the taking. Join me in using these picks to make a little extra cabbage in the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff. You can also come try and take me and the rest of the Fantasy Sports Live crew down in the Five Guys game. You could win yourself a spot in Saturday’s Freeroll!
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Daily MLB Selections –Pitchers
My Pick: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, $21,050
At a Glance: 2014: 26.8% K, 4.6% BB, 2.29 ERA, 53.4% GB. Padres vs RHP: 76 wRC+ and 22.4% K.
Another day on which both Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw pitch, but this time the decision was easy. The Mariners star has a decidedly easier matchup facing a Padres team that ranks next to last in wRC+ and strikes out regularly. He’ll also get the benefit of pitching in PETCO Park, a great environment for suppressing runs, where he won’t have to face a designated hitter. The realistically attainable ceiling for Hernandez is 50-plus points.
Value Pick: Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers, $13,700
At a Glance: 2014: 17.6% K, 8.5% BB, 4.17 ERA. Diamondbacks vs RHP: 92 wRC+ and 19.8% K .
It’s been a rocky road for Garza in his first season with the Brewers, but he has pitched six innings or more in six straight starts allowing three earned runs or fewer in five of them. Since striking out 17 batters in two starts on May 22 and May 27, he’s struck out just two in his next two starts. The best thing Garza has going for him is that he’s backed by an offense that should score a bunch of runs and put him in line for the win. He’s also facing an offense that is below average against right-handed pitching. Garza has the potential to turn in a clunker, but on a short slate of night games he’s a worthwhile gamble.
Daily MLB Selections – Catchers
My Pick: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, $10,350
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 65 PA, 159 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 381 PA, .330/.374/.574, 157 wRC+.
Lucroy looked like a great play yesterday with lefty Wade Miley in line for the start, but even with the lefty bumped back to today he turned in a gargantuan effort against the Snakes, belting a pair of homers. Considering he ranks 15th in wRC+ among players with 350 plate appearances since 2011 versus left-handed pitchers, there is no reason to think he’ll slow down tonight.
Value Pick: Hank Conger, Los Angeles Angels, $6,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 101 PA, 104 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 529 PA, .232/.291/.392, 91 wRC+.
He is for all intents and purposes Chris Iannetta’s backup, so it’s possible he’ll ride the pine tonight. However, that would be an unwise decision by manager Mike Scioscia since Justin Masterson has been death against right-handed hitters, but struggles mightily with left-handed batters. This season Masterson has faced 202 left-handed batters, and they’ve posted a .382 wOBA against him. Since 2011 he’s faced 1,741 left-handed batters and allowed a .340 wOBA.
Daily MLB Selections – First Basemen
My Pick: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $10,050
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 147 PA, 145 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,484 PA, .321/.454/.524, 166 wRC+.
Votto is a little more expensive than I’d ideally like to spend at pitcher friendly PNC Park, but the other top options have uglier blemishes than the former National League MVP. He didn’t let the ballpark slow him down last night, totaling 22 points in DraftDay games. Facing a hittable Edinson Volquez gives him a good shot at besting 20 points again tonight. Even with improved control under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Volquez is still walking 9.5 percent of the lefties he faces this year, and only a favorable BABIP is keeping his wOBA in check against them at .312.
Value Pick: Ike Davis, Pittsburgh Pirates, $6,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 185 PA, 126 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 993 PA, .258/.365/.476, 152 wRC+.
Davis is handled appropriately, being shielded from left-handed pitchers and facing righties only. He’ll be starting against Alfredo Simon tonight. His diminished power and the ballpark he’s playing in tonight make it unlikely he’ll hit a homer, but his ability to work walks 15.7 percent of the time against right-handed pitchers this year has helped him get on base almost 38 percent of the time. The ceiling isn’t high, but he’s been 26 percent better than the average hitter against righties as measured by wRC+, and he’s not priced like it.
Daily MLB Selections – Second Basemen
My Pick: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, $9,750
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 78 PA, 177 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 499 PA, .335/.372/.465, 132 wRC+.
Any concerns about Altuve’s hand contusion limiting him were put to rest with a four hit game against the Nationals last night. In addition to being hell for lefties both this year and since 2011, he’s also a great base stealer with 24 swipes in 27 chances this season. Gio Gonzalez does a good job of controlling the running game, but last season the Nationals fill-in catcher, Jose Lobaton, allowed 63 stolen bases in 73 chances over 76 starts.
Value Pick: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers, $6,050
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 62 PA, 123 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 459 PA, .249/.364/.396, 113 wRC+.
Part-time work in a platoon with Scooter Gennett hasn’t muted Weeks’ bat against left-handed pitchers this year. He’s facing a lefty, Wade Miley, who has allowed a .350 wOBA to the 319 right-handed batters he’s faced this year, and a .329 wOBA to the 1,794 he’s faced since 2011. Regardless of where Weeks hits in the Brewers order tonight his price tag is a bargain. If he slots atop the order as he did in his last start, he becomes one of the better Daily MLB Selections tonight.
Daily MLB Selections –Third Basemen
My Pick: Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers, $8,750
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 144 PA, 157 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 405 PA, .316/.358/.574, 151 wRC+.
Lucroy wasn’t the only one who had fun last night despite the lack of Miley on the hill, as Ramirez connected for his eighth homer of the season. The Brewers starting third baseman has been one of the best hitters in baseball against lefties since 2011, ranking 21st in wRC+ among hitters with 350 plate appearances.
Value Pick: Juan Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays, $7,350
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 137 PA, 159 wRC+. Since 2011: 736 PA, .248/.310/.487, 116 wRC+, .239 ISO.
Francisco’s all-or-nothing approach can be maddening, but his breakout year has featured more “all” than “nothing.” He’s hit 11 homers in just 166 plate appearances, and he’s even working walks at an all-time high rate of 9.0 percent. His numbers become even more impressive when isolating them against right-handed pitchers, against whom he’s hit 10 of his 11 homers in just 137 plate appearances. His 46.8 percent flyball rate this year against right-handed pitchers plays very well in Yankee Stadium, where the left-handed homer park factor is 135.
Daily MLB Selections – Shortstops
My Pick: Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,350
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 64 PA, 153 wRC+. Since 2011: 439 PA, .289/.371/.550, 152 wRC+.
Ramirez is a menace for left-handed pitchers. Since 2011, among batters with a minimum of 400 plate appearances against lefties he ranks tied for 16th in wRC+ with a guy named Edwin Encarnacion. That’s elite company for any hitter, and for one that plays shortstop it’s almost unfathomable. The southpaw he’s facing, Jorge de la Rosa, is terrible against right-handed batters too. This year the Rockies lefty has faced 237 right-handed batters and they have a .348 wOBA against. Since 2011 he’s faced 1,062 allowing a .341 wOBA. Spend some dough and make Ramirez one of your Daily MLB Selections this evening.
Value Pick: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, $7,200
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 91 PA, 72 wRC+. Since 2011: 513 PA, .339/.395/.489, 143 wRC+.
A grey-bearded Jeter’s production against lefties since 2011 probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but even while hobbled in the 2013 season he hit .350/.440/.500 with a 151 wRC+ and one homer in 25 plate appearances against them. Over the last 30 days Jeter hasn’t shown much pop, but he has hit .284 and stolen three bases. Mark Buehrle is a crafty lefty, and crafty means he doesn’t have much room for error with a fastball that would struggle to break a pane of glass. If the Blue Jays southpaw isn’t on point tonight, Jeter will be in a good position to benefit while hitting in his customary two spot in the order.
Daily MLB Selections – Outfielders
My Pick: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, $11,200
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 59 PA, 109 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 451 PA, .349/.412/.661, 187 wRC+, 30 HR.
Braun has been the second best qualified hitter against left-handed pitchers since the start of the 2011 season. He’s facing a pitcher who struggles with right-handed batters, and doing so in a ballpark that has a right-handed batter homer park factor of 104, a doubles/triples factor of 116, and a run factor of 108.
Middle of the Pack: Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers, $8,700
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 61 PA, 217 wRC+. Since 2013 vs LHP: 111 PA, .314/.369/.716, 198 wRC+, 11 HR.
Davis rarely gets cheated in an at-bat against a southpaw, slugging a homer in every 10.09 plate appearances in his young major league career. As a minor league hitter he also drummed lefties, hitting .304/.416/.507 in 329 plate appearances since 2011 according to Minor League Central. Expect him to join in the fun of hanging a big number in the runs column against Wade Miley tonight.
Value Pick: Scott Van Slyke, Los Angeles Dodgers, $7,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 68 PA, 239 wRC+. Since 2012 vs LHP: 164 PA, .239/.354/.543, 152 wRC+, .304 ISO.
Van Slyke costs more than the guys I tend to feature as a Value Pick in the outfield, and if you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel while looking to skimp pennies then Alfonso Soriano is a fair choice at $6,400. The thing is though, Van Slyke’s work against lefties demands attention. In addition to the gaudy numbers illustrated above that he’s compiled in the majors, he demolished southpaws in the minors. Since 2011, he has 353 plate appearances against lefties in the minors, and has hit .343/.422/.614 against them. His uppercut swing is tailor made for raw power, and he’s hit 52.0 percent of his batted balls in the air. With a left-handed batter homer park factor of 120 at Dodger Stadium, a flyball from Van Slyke tonight is likely to get lost with the beach balls in the stands.
Wild Card: Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels, $9,850
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 64 PA, 111 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,334 PA, .287/.357/.525, 134 wRC+.
Hamilton’s contract is an albatross, but lost in that shuffle is that he is still very good against right-handed pitchers. Even in limited time this year he’s been 11 percent better than the average hitter against righties, and I’d venture to guess that with more plate appearances he’ll approach last year’s 123 wRC+. The Angels outfielder still has plus raw strength, and that will play well at Progressive Field where the left-handed batter homer park factor is 108.
* 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.
Glossary of important terms: Full definitions can be found by clicking on the stat. You’ll be directed to FanGraphs’ glossary. For the purpose of easy understanding, I’ve simplified FanGraphs’ definitions while retaining the integrity of the full explanation of the stat.
wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus)- This is a statistic that attempts to roll a player’s offensive value into one number to determine how many runs they’ve created. A 100 wRC+ represents league average, and every point above that is one percent above league average, and every point below represents a percentage point below league average. FanGraphs notes that the stat is park and league adjusted, thus, putting all players on an even playing field regardless of their offensive environment.
wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average)- This is another offensive stat that attempts to roll offensive performance into one number. It assigns a different weight to different types of hits and different means of reaching base since they are not all created equal. Unlike with wRC+, the league-average varies year-by-year so FanGraphs has a rough approximation of how to value various wOBA scores, for instance 0.400 is deemed excellent, and .290 is awful. The full chart can be seen here.
ISO (Isolated Power)- This statistic measures power by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage. Therefore it strips singles from slugging percentage leaving a number that represents extra bases divided by at-bats.