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June 19, 2013

Sporer Report

The Fantasy Platoon Advantage, Part Two

by Paul Sporer

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Last week, I dove into the world of streaming hitters by way of platoon advantages, particularly with guys who excel against lefties. In part two, we will look at some righty mashers. With these guys being on plus side of the playing-time split, they won’t all be as readily available as the lefty guys should be in your 10- and 12-team mixers, but if you have one of these guys you might consider getting someone from the first piece to pair with them instead of starting these guys all the time.

Here are five guys making life extremely difficult for right-handed pitchers so far this season.

Player

TM

POS

PA

AB

H

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Mike Carp

BOS

OF-1B

100

90

30

7

22

0.333

0.390

0.722

1.112

Carp actually has a better career OPS against lefties than he does righties, but the Red Sox see his value being highest almost exclusively against right-handed pitchers. He had just five home runs against them in 145 PA last year, but has needed 45 fewer turns to notch two more than that total so far this season. Furthermore, his new home has been a godsend, as evidenced by his 1100 OPS in Fenway Park. Of course, the road has served him well this year, too, but he’s no doubt happier as a Red Sox player. His ownership rates have surged of late, but he is still available in half of ESPN leagues and 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Player

TM

POS

PA

AB

H

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Eric Chavez

ARI

3B

115

103

35

7

25

0.340

0.386

0.631

1.017

Chavez has been on the disabled list since May 31, which no doubt increases his availability, but he is slated to return soon and he appears to have found his niche as a righty killer. He was tremendous with the Yankees a season ago, clubbing 16 homers with a .298/.365/.543 line in 274 PA against right-handers. He has also had two excellent home venues to take advantage of, posting an 804 OPS in Yankee Stadium and currently toting a 1033 mark in Chase Field.

Player

TM

POS

PA

AB

H

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Matt Adams

STL

1B

73

69

22

4

15

0.319

0.356

0.565

0.921

Adams showed a stark advantage against righties last year with a 739 OPS that easily eclipsed his 440 mark against lefties, but this year he has taken it up another level with that killer line so far this season. The Cardinals are in a position to limit his time to best-possible situations, which happen to be against righties. You will have to be especially diligent with him, because he isn’t guaranteed the start against every righty the Cardinals face. But he hits. Like several unheralded Cardinals prospects before him, he doesn’t have flashy tools, but he gets the job done exceptionally well.

Player

TM

POS

PA

AB

H

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Gerardo Parra

ARI

OF

209

190

63

5

20

0.332

0.375

0.532

0.907

Parra has been a full-time player this year, but he has done most of his best work against right-handers. His .273 AVG and .379 OBP against southpaws are fine, but he lacks even a modicum of power, as evidenced by a .318 SLG. Thus, his ideal deployment for your fantasy team would be exclusively against right-handers. He started showing some progress a couple of years ago with a .427 SLG against them, but it dipped to .405 last year before his 2013 surge.

In fact, he has matched his extra-base production from 2012 in 126 fewer plate appearances, adding 19 doubles and a pair of triples to the five home runs. He was thought to be the odd man out coming into the season with new free agent signee Cody Ross, last year’s addition Jason Kubel, and youngster Adam Eaton manning the outfield. But Eaton’s injury opened up a spot, and Parra has taken a firm hold of it, so much so that I’m not sure he’ll relinquish it even when (if?) Eaton returns.

Player

TM

POS

PA

AB

H

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Jason Castro

HOU

C

197

178

52

8

20

0.292

0.350

0.522

0.873

We saw signs from the former top prospect a year ago when he smashed righties to the tune of an 831 OPS in 238 PA, but that served as 81 percent of his work, and even for a catcher, that is scant. Hence, he didn’t really hit the radar is traditional mixed leagues. So far this year, Castro has really shown why he was twice rated by Kevin Goldstein in the top 100 (2009, 2010). He has improved markedly against lefties as well, making him a passable full-time player (651 OPS, up from 361), though in one-catcher mixed leagues you could definitely platoon Castro with someone like Chris Iannetta or A.J. Ellis to maximize your catcher roster spot. I think we could see some improvements in the coming year or two that narrow the gap in Castro’s platoon split, but for the remainder of 2013, he is best utilized on the long side of the right/left platoon.

Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Paul's other articles. You can contact Paul by clicking here

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