This Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis unearths two southpaws as excellent selections tonight.
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Four Cardinals hitters will be used heavily by me in DraftDay games such as the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff and the “Five Guys” game with the FSL crew. Join me in these games and use these Picks to Click to pull in some extra dough.
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - Pitchers
My Pick: Scott Kazmir, Oakland Athletics, $17,900
At a Glance: 2014: 21.7% K, 5.4% BB, 49.8% GB. Mets in 2014 vs LHP: 93 wRC+, 24.5% K.
Jake Arrieta got some brief consideration (yes, he’s legit and worth using on some rosters), but Kazmir’s matchup with the Mets is too good to pass up. With the Mets striking out in just a hair under a quarter of their plate appearances, Kazmir should be in store for a big strikeout total. With his squad a betting favorite, a win should be in the cards as well.
Value Pick: Andrew Heaney, Miami Marlins, $10,650
At a Glance: 2014 (Minors and Majors combined): 24.7% K, 4.8% BB. Phillies in 2014 vs LHP: 103 wRC+, 21.7% K.
Heaney was outdueled in his MLB debut last week, but he pitched a solid game throwing six innings of one earned run baseball on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He was touted by most reputable scouting outlets as the top left-handed pitching prospect, and he features a strong three pitch mix of a low-90s fastball that can touch higher, a plus slider, and an average changeup. The youngster is also considered by most to be polished and ready to make a smooth transition to life in the majors. The Phillies have been a slightly above average offense against lefties this year, but Heaney’s skills and price make him a great option in tournaments.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - Catchers
My Pick: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 63 PA, 137 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 422 PA, .314/.385/.524, 151 wRC+.
Molina is a well above average hitter when a lefty is on the hill, and he’ll get a further boost by playing at Coors Field and facing a southpaw who struggles with right-handed hitters. Coors Field has right-handed batter park factors of 115 for doubles/triples and homers, and 127 for runs. Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa has faced 251 right-handed batters this year allowing a .363 wOBA, and since 2011 he’s faced 1,076 allowing a .345 wOBA.
Value Pick: John Jaso, Oakland Athletics, $7,450
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 183 PA, 142 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 946 PA, .275/.375/.442, 133 wRC+.
Jaso ranks behind Molina at catcher today based on the difference in ballpark factors between Coors Field and Citi Field. The A’s catcher is fantastic against right-handed pitchers and faces Bartolo Colon tonight. Colon turned in a career best season against left-handed batters last year as measured by wOBA with a .297 mark, but it is clearly an outlier. This season his wOBA allowed to lefties is .327, and his career mark of .334 is nearly identical to his .333 wOBA allowed to them since 2011.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - First Basemen
My Pick: Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics, $9,700
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 233 PA, 145 wRC+. Since 2012 vs RHP: 884 PA, .271/.354/.571, 155 wRC+.
Moss is an even better hitter against right-handed pitchers than Jaso, and he’ll get the same bump in value against Colon. The first baseman/outfielder also possesses more power than his catcher teammate, and that’s noteworthy due to Citi Field’s left-handed homer park factor of 104. According to FanGraphs, Colon has a 44.2 percent flyball rate since 2011, and that plays into Moss’s power, too.
Value Pick: Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays, $7,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 137 PA, 179 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,208 PA, .290/.354/.510, 131 wRC+.
Lind’s 2014 stats versus righties this year doesn’t include his walk, single, and homer from last night. He’s crushing right-handed pitching this year, and has been very good against righties since 2011. Yankees right-handed starter David Phelps is demonstrating a reverse platoon split this year and dominating lefties, but in his first two years he allowed a .338 wOBA and .330 wOBA to them. He doesn’t do a very good job of inducing groundballs with a rate of 42.0 percent in his career, and that could pose problems at the Rogers Centre where left-handed batters have park factors of 130 for doubles/triples, 123 for homers, and 104 for runs.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - Second Basemen
My Pick: Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners, $9,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 192 PA, 144 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,208 PA, .270/.346/.452, 124 wRC+.
Seager narrowly edged his teammate who is also second base eligible, Robinson Cano, based on the difference in the price of rostering the two. The left-handed hitting Seager struggles with his same handed foes, but hits right-handed pitching very well. He’s facing a right-handed pitcher, Jake Peavy, who is a shell of his once dominant self. Peavy is getting clobbered by lefties and right-handed batters, and lefties have a .344 wOBA against him this season. A few other Mariners left-handed hitters warrant DraftDay consideration after rocking a better right-handed pitcher, John Lackey, the night before. Seager is the crown jewel of the group when factoring in cost.
Value Pick: Tommy La Stella, Atlanta Braves, $5,850
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 82 PA, 103 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP (minors): 916 PA, .322/.403/.484.
La Stella has quickly ascended to the Braves leadoff spot. Since he doesn’t offer much in the way of home run power or stolen base speed, the move is huge for his value since he’ll get more plate appearances to put his good average to use, and he’s in a better spot to score runs. Astros right-handed starter Scott Feldman is one of the lesser starters on the hill tonight, and La Stella has been much better against righties than lefties. It doesn’t take Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis to see that La Stella’s price won’t require him to do much to justify his roster spot.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - Third Basemen
My Pick: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $9,100
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 60 PA, 132 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 531 PA, .302/.369/.529, 138 wRC+.
Beltre is one of the elite offensive players at the hot corner, and he’s better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers. Tigers southpaw Drew Smyly was able to mask his struggles with right-handed batters out of the bullpen in 2013, but used primarily as a starter in 2012 he allowed a .327 wOBA. This year he’s been even worse, allowing a .372 wOBA to right-handed batters. Hitting cleanup for the Rangers further aids Beltre’s cause for usage since he’ll be in a prime position to score points through runs and RBIs if the club jumps all over Smyly.
Value Pick: Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers, $6,250
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 175 PA, 77 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP (minors): 1,343 PA, .298/.348/.440.
Castellanos probably seems like an odd selection since he’s much better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers, but getting a piece of Colby Lewis for cheap is the objective here. The Rangers starter is getting crushed this year, allowing a .426 wOBA to left-handed batters and a .346 wOBA to right-handed batters (Castellanos is a righty to be clear). Diminished stuff seems to be the problem for Lewis, and tallying a 6.5 percent swinging strike rate (9.2 percent is the league average according to FanGraphs) suggests he isn’t beating anyone. Mixing some Tigers into your rosters along with the picks I’ve suggested in this article today is advised.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - Shortstops
My Pick: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,050
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 71 PA, 102 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 555 PA, .257/.341/.444, 113 wRC+.
Peralta received a recommendation last night when he was set to face a right-handed pitcher at Coors Field, and he gets an even more enthusiastic endorsement against lefty de la Rosa tonight. Between the park factors for right-handed batters at Coors Field, the lefty’s struggles with right-handed batters, and Peralta’s above average production against lefties, he’s an easy pick.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,250
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 206 PA, 101 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP as a RHB (minors): 975 PA, .301/.369/.512.
It’s possible the book is out on Bogaerts as he’s scuffling in the month of June, but if it is, it’s not in a language Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez can read. The Mariners right-handed starter has a 4.62 ERA through 10 starts that might be even a bit lucky according to his 5.39 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). Ramirez’s best pitch in his career according to FanGraphs’ run value stat has been his changeup, and most reports from scouting types would second the numbers. Because that is his best pitch and it exhibits a small reverse split, his steady decline in production against right-handed hitters probably shouldn’t come as a shocker. This year right-handed batters have posted a .364 wOBA against him. Bogaerts has a good chance to get the better of Ramirez.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis - Outfielders
My Pick: Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals, $9,750
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 80 PA, 117 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 513 PA, .288/.409/.479, 149 wRC+.
Holliday returns to his former home ballpark from the early part of his career (2004-2008), and in 1,402 at-bats at Coors Field he has hit .359/.426/.655. That line includes his work against right-handed and left-handed pitchers, and all variables point in his favor tonight with a lefty who struggles with a right-handed batters toeing the rubber. He’s a must use according to my Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis, and the fact he can be had for less than five figures is gravy.
Middle of the Pack: Alex Rios, Texas Rangers, $8,750
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 72 PA, 215 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 546 PA, .312/.349/.515, 129 wRC+.
Rios joins Beltre as another very talented right-handed batter who will give Smyly fits. He hasn’t quite been Beltre’s equal since 2011 in terms of wRC+, but one added dimension he brings to the table is the threat of stealing bases. The outfielder has stolen 13 bases this year, and he swiped 42 last year.
Value Pick: Scott Van Slyke, Los Angeles Dodgers, $7,850
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 68 PA, 240 wRC+. Since 2012 vs LHP: 170 PA, .246/.365/.542, 155 wRC+.
Van Slyke is quickly earning a role in the crowded Dodgers outfield as a lefty killer. His dominance against southpaws extends to the minors, and in 353 plate appearances since 2011 he hit .343/.422/.614. Kauffman Stadium suppresses right-handed home runs, and Danny Duffy has befuddled right-handed batters this year with electric stuff, but neither of those things will dissuade me from using him on a few rosters thanks to a price tag south of $8,000.
Wild Card: Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals, $7,800
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 71 PA, 126 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 407 PA, .310/.339/.561, 148 wRC+.
I saved the best for last. Between the batter versus pitcher matchup from their splits perspective, ballpark factors, and Craig’s cost there isn’t a better value on the board at DraftDay tonight. Craig needs to be used across all lineups. The first baseman/outfielder is used mostly out of the cleanup spot, and that puts him in a perfect spot to ring up points in an ambush of de la Rosa.
* 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.