My Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis has me suggesting you save money on your arms.
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With a couple of pitchers getting the nod who cost less than $15,000, that leaves plenty of dough to spend on Brewers again tonight while joining me in the “Five Guys” FSL game, or in games such as the $3.30 Wiz Walkoff or $5.50 Infield Single.
All salaries listed use DraftDay pricing.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – Pitchers
My Pick: Jesse Chavez, Oakland Athletics, $14,200
At a Glance: 2014: 21.3% K, 6.5% BB, 45.1% GB. Marlins vs RHP: 96 wRC+, 24.2% K.
I’ve got nothing against the aces battling in San Francisco, and I nearly opted for Julio Teheran as my top pick, but Chavez gets the nod. Chavez is the latest outcast journeyman that the A’s have turned into a legitimately good player. As a full-time starter this year he has solid rate stats that have helped him to a 3.50 FIP. He’s facing a Marlins offense that has been below average on the whole against right-handed pitchers, and one that has struck out more than any other against righties. The A’s are betting favorites tonight, and Vegas gets it right more often than they get it wrong, so I like his odds of picking up a win.
Value Pick: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers, $13,100
At a Glance: 2014: 16.6% K, 9.1% BB, 42.2% GB. Astros vs RHP: 88 wRC+, 23.5% K.
Like Chavez, Verlander is pitching for a betting favorite tonight. The Tigers former ace is having a rough season, but pitched one of his best games in his last turn against the Indians, a team that is the best in the league against right-handed pitchers. According to Brooks Baseball, his fastball is still cooking in the mid-90s on average, and he tallied 10 whiffs on 100 pitches against the Tribe. The Indians have struck out in just 19.1 percent of their plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, and the Astros fan much more often than that. Against a team that is below average against right-handed pitchers and strikes out second only to the Marlins in frequency when facing a righty, I have faith in the good Verlander showing up tonight.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – Catchers
My Pick: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins, $8,450
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 207 PA, 106 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,204 PA, .319/.403/.458, 137 wRC+.
Mauer is by no means having one of his better seasons at the dish, but he’s still been an above average hitter against right-handed pitchers and he has a track record of high level play with one on the hill. He’s been hitting third for the Twins most of the time since the end of May, and that’s a good spot for run production. Mauer also gets a boost facing Nick Tepesch since the Rangers starter has a .356 wOBA allowed to the 338 left-handed batters he’s faced since reaching the majors last year. Also, Globe Life Park in Texas has favorable park factors to left-handed batters of 113 for homers and 111 for runs.
Value Pick: John Jaso, Oakland Athletics, $7,450
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 188 PA, 143 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 951 PA, .276/.376/.442, 133 wRC+.
Jaso’s sizable platoon split continues to help drive his price down and make him a value when he faces a right-handed pitcher. He’s been great against righties this year and since 2011, and he’s facing the worst probable starter tonight in Anthony DeSclafani. The Marlins rookie pitcher has only faced 52 left-handed batters, but they’ve thoroughly beaten on him posting a .414 wOBA. Since beginning professional baseball in 2012, minor league left-handed batters have a slash line of .277/.323/.387 against him, which isn’t exceptional, but it does indicate he’s hittable.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – First Basemen
My Pick: Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays, $12,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 69 PA, 155 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 501 PA, .281/.377/.560, 151 wRC+.
Encarnacion is worth every penny of his exorbitant price tag. He demolishes lefties, and he’s at the Rogers Centre where right-handed batters have park factors of 122 for doubles/triples, 118 for homers, and 110 for runs. The lefty he’ll face tonight, John Danks, finally paid for his high wire act in his last start, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and four walks to the Twins. Danks has been crushing his underlying stats, and a team finally punished him for not being able to strikeout batters while issuing walks at a high rate. Since 2011 he has been very giving to right-handed batters, allowing a .337 wOBA to the 1,399 of them he’s faced. Better yet, he has a groundball rate of just 39.8 percent against them.
Value Pick: Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals, $7,400
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 78 PA, 120 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 414 PA, .310/.338/.556, 147 wRC+.
Facing a left-handed pitcher, the Cardinals will likely slot Craig third or fourth in the order. That already gives him value from a run production standpoint, but it’s his above-average hitting skills against lefties that makes him the most valuable. Hyun-Jin Ryu is surprisingly good against right-handed batters, but there is enough upside to more than warrant Craig’s cost.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – Second Basemen
My Pick: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox, $8,650
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 101 PA, 130 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 723 PA, .331/.420/.502, 151 wRC+.
Since 2011, there isn’t a qualified hitter at second base who’s been better than Pedroia against left-handed pitching. The diminutive second baseman is facing one of the worst starters throwing today, and Vidal Nuno has a bloated .374 wOBA allowed to the 231 right-handed batters he has faced since reaching the majors last year. Pedroia also gets a nudge up in value playing at Yankee Stadium where the right-handed batter park factors for homers and runs are 131 and 107 respectively. This Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis reveals Pedroia as one of the best values available today.
Value Pick: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers, $5,600
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 79 PA, 105 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 476 PA, .244/.359/.392, 110 wRC+.
Not included in Weeks’ stats above is his great outing against the Rockies last night when he went 3-for-5 with a homer. He’ll see another terrible southpaw with Tyler Matzek getting the call for the Rockies tonight, and that means another night leading off for the Brewers at hitter friendly Miller Park.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – Third Basemen
My Pick: Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers, $10,450
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 48 PA, 195 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 418 PA, .318/.361/.587, 155 wRC+.
Since pulling a rabbit out of his hat in his MLB debut, Matzek has made two starts in which he’s totaled 10.1 innings allowing 17 hits, six walks, and eight earned runs while striking out just two batters. The Brewers thumped him in his last start at Coors Field, and it won’t be much easier for him at Miller Park tonight where Ramirez will hit with right-handed batter park factors of 124 for homers and 105 for runs. Ramirez joined Weeks in homering last night, and hitting fifth he should be in the middle of another offensive onslaught.
Value Pick: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates, $8,300
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 224 PA, 131 wRC+. Since 2011 vs RHP: 1,561 PA, .274/.347/.452, 123 wRC+.
There is no overthinking the room with this Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis. Walker is one of the better offensive players at the keystone position and third base when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound, and Jacob deGrom is a slightly below average pitcher. The best part is that the Pirates slotted Walker in the cleanup spot last night, and the same lineup slot would be a boon to his run production potential tonight.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – Shortstops
My Pick: Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, $8,650
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 76 PA, 79 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 528 PA, .275/.347/.405, 106 wRC+.
Last night I picked the switch-hitting Reyes against a right-handed pitcher, and tonight I like him flipped around facing a lefty. He’s only been a tick above average against southpaws since 2011, but Reyes’ patience (9.8 percent walk rate since 2011 versus lefties) will serve him well atop the Blue Jays order against Danks and his 9.6 percent walk rate this year. I expect the Blue Jays to hammer Danks, and so does Vegas with a 9.5 over/under line and the Blue Jays just a modest dog (+120) when laying 1.5 runs.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $6,650
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 101 PA, 118 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP (minors): 367 PA, .269/.362/.472.
Bogaerts’ June skid isn’t ideal, nor is the fact that he recently moved down to seventh in the order, but he’s still a very talented hitter. Most importantly the variables working in his favor make him a steal at his price. As I noted above, Yankee Stadium is a run and homer enhancing park for right-handed batters, and Nuno is terrible against righties.
Expert Fantasy Baseball Analysis – Outfielders
My Pick: Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers, $10,600
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 71 PA, 146 wRC+. Since 2012 vs LHP: 375 PA, .284/.340/.538, 137 wRC+.
Gomez had a quiet night compared to his teammates on Thursday, but he did manage to record a hit and steal a base. The decision for top pick honors once again came down to Gomez and Ryan Braun with a crappy lefty on the hill against the Brewers. Ultimately the nod goes to Gomez again due to his superior base stealing skills and a juicier lineup slot hitting cleanup. While I like Weeks, the odds of Gomez having batters on base for him hitting two spots behind Braun, and directly behind Lucroy, are greater than Braun’s hitting second behind Weeks and the pitcher’s spot before the lineup turns over. Furthermore, Gomez’s chances of scoring runs aren’t much lower than Braun with lefty killers Ramirez and Khris Davis behind him.
Middle of the Pack: Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers, $8,700
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 75 PA, 191 wRC+. Since 2013 vs LHP: 125 PA, .302/.352/.681, 184 wRC+.
Speaking of lefty killer Khris Davis, he didn’t add another extra base hit last night, but he did go 1-for-3 with a sac fly. The power he has shown against lefties in the majors is unreal, and his minor league success against southpaws makes small sample size in the bigs easier to swallow. Since 2011 Davis has 329 plate appearances against lefties in the minors and has hit .304/.416/.507.
Value Pick: Jonny Gomes, Boston Red Sox, $6,900
At a Glance: 2014 vs LHP: 101 PA, 142 wRC+. Since 2011 vs LHP: 595 PA, .282/.392/.487, 143 wRC+.
Gomes is a platoon outfielder who annihilates lefties. He works walks (13.9 percent walk rate versus lefties since 2011), and hits for power (.205 ISO and 25 homers since 2011). The total package results in the 14th highest wRC+ among qualified outfielders since 2011. You add that to the Yankee Stadium park factors and Nuno’s shortcomings against right-handed batters, and my Expert Fantasy Analysis indicates Gomes is a sneaky good pick for thrifty outfield shoppers.
Wild Card: Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics, $9,600
At a Glance: 2014 vs RHP: 241 PA, 144 wRC+. Since 2012 vs RHP: 892 PA, .270/.353/.571, 154 wRC+.
With a bad right-handed pitcher on the hill against the A’s, you didn’t think I’d fail to highlight Moss did you? While I like Jaso and shed light on DeSclafani’s problems with retiring left-handed batters in his write-up, I love Moss even more. In short, Moss is a better hitter than Jaso against right-handed pitchers, and he has more power and a greater chance of muscling up and leaving the yard. Banking on Moss hitting a homer in Miami, where the left-handed batter homer park factor is 61, isn’t wise, but he won’t need to in order to pile up points from the heart of the A’s order.
* 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.