By: John Heffelfinger
Jake Odorizzi – Odorizzi seems like another Rays pitcher who just gets things done. The list seems to keep growing with Shields, Price, Archer, Moore, and now Odorizzi who is really becoming one of the better pitchers in the MLB. On the year, he has 59 K’s in 72 IP, basically a 1.00 WHIP, a 2.61 ERA and 4 wins. These are all solid numbers across the board and while you hope for a few more strikeouts, he is going against the Mariners who seem to be doing that a lot lately. They have climbed to a tie for the 3rd most strikeouts in the MLB with 451 and have the 27th best batting average at .237 which doesn’t bode well for them today. They may hit better at home (still pretty unimpressive numbers), but they really struggle against righties (.228 AVG/.291 OBP/.377 SLG line). I like Nelson Cruz as much as the next person, but he has no other help in that lineup right now, so if he isn’t hitting a HR, they are hurting for runs. Odorizzi also may have better numbers at home than on the road, but pitching at Safeco give me a great deal of confidence that he will put up a gem. His splits against both sides of the plate are great as well so I would be really surprised to the Mariners put a big offensive game today.
Kyle Gibson – It is really nice to see Gibson finally living up to the potential that many thought he had. Last year he was so confusing having a couple great starts, and then he would get shelled in the next couple starts. This year though he has kept things under control with a 2.61 ERA, 30 K’s in 62 IP (my only major concern with him), and 59 hits allowed. He does have 21 walks on the year which I don’t love, but he seems to get out of trouble with the double play ball a lot and the Brewers offense just doesn’t do anything for me. They have struck out 437 times which is the 7th most in the MLB, they have the worst batting average in all of baseball at .230, and have the 27th most runs in the MLB at 198. While Gibson might not strikeout many guys normally, this clearly shows that he could and should be in line for a great game. The Brewers may hit righties a little better than lefties, but Gibson’s home numbers cancel those out for me pretty easily only giving up 5 ER in in 31.1 IP which is a 1.44 ERA. Gibson has shown he can go late into games, and if he can get a few strikeouts today I expect some great value from him.
Buster Posey – With Vogt being out today, and Posey having a great matchup against Jerome Williams, Posey is one of favorite plays of the day. He has come down in price a bit over the last couple weeks which makes him even more appealing today. His numbers against righties have come down a bit as well, but they are still solid and well worth the price. His line against them this year is .292 AVG/.376 OBP/.451 SLG with 7 HR in 144 AB’s. His home and road splits are about even so there isn’t an advantage or disadvantage there, but Jerome Williams has really struggled against right handed batters. He is giving up a line of .329 AVG/.361 OBP/.555 SLG with 9 HR in 155 AB’s. He has been a little better at home than on the road this year but still has a 4.01 ERA and has an opponent batting average of .290 against. The Giants are a great team lead offensively by Posey, and today I expect some runs out of them.
Russell Martin – I will start out by saying that I like him much more against lefties, but he today at home and against a below average right handed pitcher, I am willing to take the chance on him. Martin has a modest line against righties this year of .241 AVG/.322 OBP/.444 SLG which makes me a little weary of picking him, but with some other circumstances, it’s definitely reasonable. He has a line of .304 AVG/.378 OBP/.544 SLG at home which are all higher than his road numbers obviously. He is going against Roberto Hernandez who is one of the cheapest pitchers on the slate and hasn’t been very good this year. He has a line of .280 AVG/.313 OBP/.512 SLG with 6 HR in 125 AB’s this year against righties which makes me believe more Jays than just Martin will have a good day. The Jays have the 2nd highest offensive WAR as a team this year, and with Hernandez pitching today at Toronto, some runs should be scored and Martin has a good chance of being involved
Miguel Cabrera – The Tigers have been in a massive slump lately, and getting out of it is going to have to start with Miguel Cabrera. He is having another great year so far, which can’t be said for many of the other Tigers players. He is going against the lefty Jose Quintana today who is pretty solid, but with the Tigers having a lot of right handed bats, they should be able to do something. Cabrera has a line of .306 AVG/.468 OBP/.583 SLG with 3 HR in 36 AB’s which is a small sample size, but we all know Miggy can crush from anywhere. What I find a bit concerning is that 10 of his 11 HR have come during the day. That seems like a very odd split, but he isn’t hitting the ball as well at night. I would expect that to change as the year goes on though. Then there is Quintana who does not pitch well to right handed batters. They have a line of .308 AVG/.368 OBP/.442 SLG against him this year which is completely different than the lefties split. He has only given up 3 HR in 172 AB’s to righties which is a real good number, but Miggy has shown he can do more than just hit the long ball. All in all picking Miggy is never a mistake, but picking him against a pitcher who struggles against righties is a recipe for success.
Jose Abreu – Now I am not going to say that Abreu is having a bad year because I don’t think that is true, but I do think he is underperforming compared to his expectations this year. The White Sox offense as a whole hasn’t been very good around him which doesn’t help, but I expect his numbers to go up from where they are. He is going up against the lefty Kyle Ryan who is making his first start of the year, and is one of the cheapest pitchers on the slate. Abreu hasn’t done much against lefties this year only have 7 hits in 30 AB, but I went back and look at last year for a bigger sample size and I loved what I saw. He had a .353 AVG/.437 OBP/.662 SLG with 10 HR in 136 AB’s which is more of what I expect out of Abreu. His home numbers last year were also really good with a .410 OBP which I always like for DFS. Ryan doesn’t have much of a sample size, but I will take the known commodity in Abreu over the unproven Ryan especially on the righty vs. lefty matchup
Jason Kipnis – I wanted to switch up my stud for today, but we all know by now how well Kipnis does against right handed pitching, and Chris Tillman has really struggled so far this year. It seems I am posting these numbers almost every other day but Kipnis’s line against righties is .383 AVG/.463 OBP/.567 SLG with 3 HR in 127 AB. Now for the high price that Kipnis has, I would really prefer some more power, but when you get on base almost 50% of the time that can easily make up for that fact. This is combined with the fact that Chris Tillman has really poor numbers across the board and could easily see Kipnis getting on a few times. Against lefties, he is allowing a line of .283 AVG/.372 OBP/.384 SLG with 1 HR in 99 AB’s. Now those HR rates are fantastic, but we aren’t counting on Kipnis reaching his value by HR so the other numbers are much more telling. The Indians have a lot of lefties who can do some damage, and Kipnis will be the one leading that charge.
Brandon Phillips – His price has gone up a bit over the last week, but I still consider him a good value play. Phillips hits leadoff for the Reds which is always a good thing, and I like Votto, Frazier, and Bruce hitting behind him. I know he is going against one of the better pitchers on the slate today in Tyson Ross, but Phillips He has 10 hits in his last 4 games along with 6 RBI’s 6 runs 2 walks and 2 stolen bases. Now I don’t expect him to keep that up forever, it is evident that he is seeing the ball well. His numbers against lefties are better this year, but a line of .299 AVG/.331 OBP/.394 SLG isn’t too shabby and Tyson can give up some hits and walks. He gives up a hit an inning, and walks a batter every 2 innings meaning guys do get on base against him. He does pitch better against righties but with Votto and Bruce hitting behind him, getting on base is the most important thing. If he can do what he’s done the last 4 nights, he might be the best second basemen tonight.
Troy Tulowitzki – He is the best shortstop in baseball, and while he may be expensive, he can often times be worth it since he is that much better offensively than most shortstops. Tulo is also on a major hot streak right now having 10 hits in his last 5 games along with 4 HR. He is playing at home tonight against Tom Koehler who is one of the cheaper pitchers on a below average slate tonight. Tulo has been bad against righties this year, but from 2012-2014 he had a line of .318 AVG/.390 OBP/.541 SLG with 38 HR in 702 AB’s. In that time frame he also hit much better at home with a .354 AVG and a .437 OBP which his numbers this year are also way below that. Koehler has given up a HR to a right handed batter yet this year in 113 AB’s, but Tulo has shown he can hit for a good average and get on base. Also we all know anything can happen at Coors Field as average fly balls can turn into home runs. I definitely like a Rockies stack tonight and hopefully Tulo can keep up the hot streak.
Xander Bogaerts – Bogaerts has really been turning it on as of late with 11 hits in his last 5 games. He is going against Kazmir today who is a really good pitcher, but Bogaerts has hit lefties well all year. He has a line of .333 AVG/.396 OBP/.417 SLG against them which is great for a shortstop of his price. He isn’t going to provide a ton of power, but what he can provide is some consistency. He has also hit far better at home this year with a .299 AVG and .383 OBP which provides for a lethal combo. Kazmir has pretty even splits against both sides of the plate and both are pretty impressive, but with the numbers above and Fenway playing to batters I am still okay with this matchup. The Red Sox have been struggling offensively a bit as of late, but if the other players can get hot, I see Bogaerts putting up even more points
Nolan Arenado – Arenado may be more known for his defense, but he is no slouch when it comes to offense, and has been putting up some great numbers so far this year. He usually hits in the cleanup spot with Blackmon, Tulo, and sometimes Cargo in front of him, so usually there is at least one guy on base. The big thing for Arenado is that most of his power comes against right handed pitching. He has 12 HR in 148 AB’s against righties with only 3 of his HR’s coming at home. That is a little surprising, but one would think that if you have power outside of Coors that it will eventually even out. Koehler has struggled against lefties a bit with .269 AVG/.364 OBP/.510 SLG with 7 HR in 104 AB’s. Now this is a great stat for Arenado because he is definitely going to be prone to the long ball tonight. As I stated, I like a Rockies stack tonight and Arenado will be in that as well.
Evan Longoria – I wouldn’t pick him again today if I didn’t totally believe in him tonight against J.A. Happ. The guys in front of him have been doing solid lately in Guyer and Butler, so he has had chances but hasn’t cashed in on them. His split is falling down to .298 AVG/.404 OBP/.447 against lefties, but so has his fantasy price. I get that he has only hit 5 HR this year and for a 3B that isn’t good enough, but right now he doesn’t need to hit a HR at his price. Happ has been pretty even against both righties and lefties this year but all 6 of his HR’s he has given up have been to right handers. The Rays aren’t a potent offense overall, but against lefties they can hold their own and I can see some runs being scored
Giancarlo Stanton – We have seen some of his massive home runs this year, but imagine how far he might hit a couple in this series in Colorado. To me the matchup isn’t that important, but it’s not like it’s a bad one for Stanton. Lefties have hit Butler better this year, but he is still allowing a line of .267 AVG/.353 OBP/.422 SLG with 3 HR in 90 AB. As you can expect, he has also pitched worse at home this year which helps out Stanton. Giancarlo does not have good splits against righties, but he does have 12 HR in 166 AB’s and has hit 9 HR in 97 AB’s on the road so far this year. For a guy like Stanton, you aren’t paying for a walk or two, you are paying for HR’s and at some point this weekend, he is going to get ahold of one.
Joey Butler – Butler is currently on a 6 game hitting streak right now with 2 HR in those 6 games. He is batting 2nd in the lineup at a very moderate price, and frankly is doing what I hope Longoria could be doing. He has a line of .361 AVG/.361 OBP/.639 SLG with 3 HR in 36 AB’s. Now you can see he hasn’t taken one walk in those 36 AB, but he is making up for that by getting a lot of hits. He has a pretty small sample size overall this year, but on his current hot streak he should be well worth his price. Also as I mentioned, Happ has given up some HR’s to right handed batters and Butler has shown that he can take lefties deep this year. A Rays stack may be good for GPP’s because they likely won’t be high owned, but definitely have some potential tonight.
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