My Daily MLB Selections will be picking on a Twin making his debut.
Listen to the Fantasy Sports Live Podcast while you build your lineups.
White Sox players will be rostered heavily by me in the Wiz Walkoff and Fantasy Sports Live League “Five Guys” Game tonight. You should join me with these picks at your disposal and reap the rewards of hammering the competition.
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Daily MLB Selections –Pitchers
My Pick: Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals, $15,450
At a Glance: 2014: 20.7% K, 4.4% BB, 49.2% GB. Braves vs RHP: 83 wRC+, 22.5% K
Zimmermann already established himself as a really good pitcher before this season, but with a sizable uptick in swinging strikes and strikeouts, he’s even better in real life and DraftDay games. He’s facing a Braves team that ranks 27th in wRC+ versus right-handed pitchers and is prone to striking out. Zimmermann has been locked in as of late, pitching eight innings or more in three straight starts. In his lone start against the Braves on April 4, he struck out nine while allowing just one earned run in five innings.
Value Pick: Zack Wheeler, New York Mets, $11,800
At a Glance: 2014: 23.5% K, 10.1% BB, 55.1% GB. Marlins vs RHP: 99 wRC+, 23.9% K
Wheeler cracks the top 20 qualified pitchers in strikeout rate, and he keeps the ball on the ground at the ninth highest rate. His walk rate leaves something to be desired, but the rest of the profile is strong, and he will be facing a Marlins lineup that will most likely be without Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton exited last night’s game with a wrist injury, and while the severity of the injury hasn’t been revealed, one would expect the Marlins to be cautious with their star. A Marlins lineup without Stanton is ugly, and even with him they were posting the highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers.
Daily MLB Selections – Catchers
My Pick: John Jaso, Oakland Athletics, $7,350
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 172 PA, 141 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 935 PA, .276/.376/.440, 133 wRC+.
Among catchers with over 900 plate appearances since the start of the 2011 season, Jaso ranks third in wRC+ behind a couple of guys who no longer catch, Joe Mauer and Mike Napoli. Red Sox starter Jake Peavy has been getting rocked this year, and the 193 left-handed batters he has faced have posted a .347 wOBA against him. Neither his sinker nor fourseam fastball are missing bats often, yet he’s inexplicably throwing his sinker at an all-time high rate, and still throwing his fourseam fastball more than 31 percent of the time according to Brooks Baseball. If Peavy is going to continue being a glutton for punishment leaning on his fastballs, Jaso won’t disappoint in delivering.
Value Pick: Brian McCann, New York Yankees, $7,100
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 179 PA, 58 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,154 PA, .247/.335/.431, 109 wRC+.
McCann’s wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this year has been dreadful, but nothing in his plate discipline stats indicates he’ll continue to struggle. Chalk his slow start up to a blip on the radar. McCann has a flyball rate of 43.8 percent against right-handed pitchers since 2011, and Drew Hutchison struggles to induce groundballs against lefties. The combination of their batted ball data is a great fit for McCann in Yankee Stadium where the left-handed batter homer park factor is 134.
Daily MLB Selections – First Basemen
My Pick: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox, $12,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 184 PA, 14 HR, .277/.332/.614, .337 ISO, 152 wRC+.
Abreu ripped his 20th homer of the season yesterday, and he’s been a star with the stick in his rookie season. Today he’ll be playing at Target Field, where his power will be suppressed a tiny bit by a right-handed batter homer park factor of 97. He’ll also be facing a 30-year old journeyman starter making his big league debut though. Yohan Pino owns a 1.92 ERA at the Triple-A level this year, but in six seasons at that level his ERA is 4.30 according to Baseball-Reference. Brooks Baseball captured some Spring Training PITCHf’/x data back in 2011, and his fourseam fastball only sat in the upper-80s. The Twins unwillingness to promote him before now despite his glowing numbers should tell you all you need to know about him.
Value Pick: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox, $8,650
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 196 PA, 136 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,476 PA, .214/.335/.434, 109 wRC+.
Dunn joined Abreu in reaching the seats yesterday, as he belted his 12th homer of the year. His bat has bounced back this year, and his power remains of the top shelf variety (he ranks 37th in home run and flyball average distance this year). Pino’s below average fastball leaves him with little room for error against Dunn and the White Sox lineup, and I anticipate him having a rough go of it in his MLB debut.
Daily MLB Selections – Second Basemen
My Pick: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $9,000
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 225 PA, 114 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 972 PA, .308/.394/.446, 138 wRC+.
Carpenter is one of the better Daily MLB Selections when a right-handed pitcher toes the rubber. In his big league career against them he’s pounded out line drives at a 27.6 percent rate, and he almost never gives away an out with an infield flyball hitting them just 1.4 percent of the time. Phillies right-handed pitcher, and rookie, David Buchanan does a poor job of missing bats with a 16.8 percent strikeout rate. Hitters have had little trouble squaring him up too, as they’re hitting line drives 23.7 percent of the time. Line drive rate takes a long time to stabilize, but Buchanan’s high contact rate against will provide Carpenter a great chance at spraying the ball all over the diamond.
Value Pick: Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals, $5,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 133 PA, 82 wRC+, Since 2013 vs RHP: 188 PA, 62 wRC+.
Wong’s production at the Triple-A level hasn’t made a seamless transition to the majors, but hitting second in the Cardinals order will award him a chance to get in on beating up Buchanan. His appearance as one of my Daily MLB Selections is more about the pitcher on the hill than Wong’s offensive skills. In addition to scoring points through run production against a bad pitcher, Wong is a strong base stealer with nine in 10 chances this year, and 12 in 13 chances if you include his regular season work last year.
Daily MLB Selections –Third Basemen
My Pick: David Wright, New York Mets, $8,500
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 72 PA, 173 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 533 PA, .327/.435/.512, 162 wRC+.
Wright is a terror against left-handed pitching, ranking ninth among qualified batters in wRC+ against southpaws since 2011. He’s continuing to slaughter them this year, and while I like Andrew Heaney a lot, the rookie making his debut has never seen a player of Wright’s caliber on his travels up the minor league ladder. At under $9,000 Wright is one of the best Daily MLB Selections today, and I’ll be using him on almost all of my teams.
Value Pick: Juan Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays, $7,650
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 141 PA, 160 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 740 PA, .249/.311/.488, 116 wRC+.
Francisco’s biggest problem is his propensity to strikeout, but I can overlook that when his elite power is placed in a homer friendly park like Yankee Stadium. Yankees starter David Phelps isn’t the type of big strikeout pitcher who will scare me off of rolling the dice on Francisco at his cheap-ish cost.
Daily MLB Selections – Shortstops
My Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $9,450
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 177 PA, 117 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,446 PA, .310/.361/.462, 124 wRC+.
The switch-hitting Reyes ranks second in wRC+ since 2011 among shortstops who have 1,000 or more plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. He is back to wreaking havoc on the basepaths with 15 steals in 16 chances this year. Phelps’ high walk rate to left-handed batters both this year, 12.9 percent, and over his career, 10.6 percent, gives Reyes an obvious avenue for reaching base and possibly testing McCann’s arm. The Yankees catcher has been very good controlling the running game this year, but I’m not ready to forget that he allowed 47 stolen bases in 62 chances last year in his 92 games played.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 89 PA, 145 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP in the minors: .269/.362/.472.
Lefty Scott Kazmir has been death on right-handed hitters, so Bogaerts has a tough assignment. At under $7,500 I don’t care though. The Red Sox rookie shortstop is a well above average offensive option at the position, ranking tied for third among qualified shortstops in wRC+ with a mark of 118, and fifth when isolated against left-handed pitchers.
Daily MLB Selections – Outfielders
My Pick: Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics, $9,850
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 220 PA, 146 wRC+. Since 2012 vs RHP: 875 PA, .271/.355/.575, 156 wRC+.
Moss crushes right-handed pitchers. Since joining the Athletics in 2012, among qualified batters he ranks eighth in wRC+. The Coliseum isn’t the best hitting environment, but as I noted above, Peavy has been getting walloped this year. That makes pairing Moss and Jaso against him a no-brainer.
Middle of the Pack: Carlos Beltran, New York Yankees, $8,050
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 110 PA, 99 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,435 PA, .290/.366/.492, 137 wRC+.
Even in a down year, he’s been basically a league average hitter against right-handed pitchers. Recent history, and in fact his entire career, shows he’s a much better hitter against right-handed pitchers than that. Since 2011 he ranks tied for 18th in wRC+ against righties. The switch-hitting 37-year old has shown he can still lift the ball against right-handed pitchers with a 40.0 percent flyball rate this year, and as I noted in McCann’s write-up, Hutchison does a poor job of inducing groundballs from left-handed batters.
Value Pick: Alejandro De Aza, Chicago White Sox, $7,600
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 195 PA, 98 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,305 PA, .274/.339/.422, 106 wRC+.
De Aza has been just a couple ticks below league average against right-handed pitching this year, and even over the last few years he’s hasn’t been much better than average against them. Regardless, he’s facing a right-handed pitcher I expect to get stomped, and in addition to his hitting ability, De Aza brings stolen base skills into the fold. The White Sox outfielder has reached or exceeded the 20 stolen base plateau in consecutive years, and he already swiped eight bags this season. Kurt Suzuki has done a pitiful job controlling the running game this year, allowing 24 stolen bases in 30 chances over 50 games played. He was even worse last year, allowing 57 stolen bases in 65 chances over 93 games played. If De Aza reaches first base, the green light will most certainly be on.
Wild Card: Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox, $8,850
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 176 PA, 111 wRC+. Since 2012 vs RHP: 458 PA, .256/.332/.379, 95 wRC+.
Eaton will be leading the offensive onslaught against Pino sitting atop the White Sox order. The left-handed hitting outfielder has a sizable split that favors facing right-handed pitchers, and he’s cashing in on the promise of his minor league numbers this year. Speaking of minor league numbers, in 939 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers since 2011 he’s hit .354/.449/.523. His above average offensive production this year against them is no fluke, and they could be just scratching the surface. His base stealing efficiency hasn’t been sharp, but Eaton has above average speed, and as mentioned in the write-up immediately above, Suzuki is awful at stopping would be base stealers. There are plenty of ways for Eaton to score points, and he should pile them up tonight.
* 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.