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April 21, 2014

Daily League Strategy

Stars-and-Scrubs

by Craig Goldstein


Paul is off this week, but I’ll do my best to embody his spirit:

/dons Tigers hat
/sets up picture of beagle

Okay, there we go.

Today we’re looking at a three-starter approach on the mound with a stars-and-scrubs look with the bats.

Lineup of the Day

DraftStreet offers one of the best lineup constructions in the industry allowing for three pitchers, two starters and a starter/reliever. Additionally, they don’t overvalue the win as it is worth just two points. The rest of the scoring and roster setup can be viewed here if you aren’t already familiar with it.

Catcher - Salvador Perez ($4,875)
Just last week Paul said that Perez was being undervalued, and that was when he cost almost $1,000 more than this. The fact of the matter is he’s hit a bit of a rough patch, but he’s contact oriented (a plus in this format) and facing the non-imposing Zach McAllister. This is being written Sunday night and Perez has yet to have a day off, so make sure he’s starting tomorrow before locking him in.

First Base - Brandon Belt ($5,694)
The Baby Giraffe has exceeded even optimist’s expectations thus far in 2014, and a matchup in Coors field isn’t any reason to go away from what works. The lefty-lefty matchup might scare you away, but Belt is actually hitting .321/.345/.429 in 28 at-bats against lefties so far. There’s not much power there, but Coors can help with that.

Second Base - Danny Espinosa ($4,267)
Espinosa is coming off a nice game on Sunday and has enough pop to make his price worthwhile. If he can turn on a Garrett Richards fastball, there’s a good chance he’ll be rounding the bases.

Third Base - Nick Castellanos ($5,271)
Another contact-oriented player, I’ve been riding Castellanos versus lefties in the early going on DraftStreet. It’s too early to count on splits with any reliability, but giving a right-handed batter the edge versus southpaws isn’t out of order either. Castellanos is at .286/.375/.857 versus LHP thus far on the season, and I’d expect a few hits versus John Danks.

Shortstop - Troy Tulowitzki ($9,998)
Finally, a star in the stars-and-scrubs approach. Ryan Vogelsogn hasn’t looked great in the early going, and Tulo in Coors is an easy sell for me. He’s been crushing the ball, and there’s no reason to think he’ll stop tonight.

Outfield 1 - Mike Trout ($10,879)
He’s the best player in baseball, and while Nationals Park isn’t exactly a hitter’s paradise, it’s friendlier than Trout’s home park. Throw in a struggling Tanner Roark and if you’re going to spend on Trout, this is a good night to do it.

Outfield 2 - Hunter Pence ($6,164)
I know, I know. Pence has been awful in italics thus far this season. But it’s brought his price down considerably, and if you’re not going to pick him to get right against a lefty in Coors, you’re not picking him at this point.

Outfield 3 - Dustin Ackley ($5,588)
Similar to Brandon Belt, you might not expect Ackley to be a solid pick in a lefty-lefty matchup, but in limited at-bats he’s crushed them so far this year to the tune of a .368/.368/.579 slash line and actually has hit them better than right-handed pitchers thus far in his career.

Utility - Starlin Castro ($5,607)
Castro is starting to look like Castro again, and seem really comfortable in the number five spot in that order. Bronson Arroyo has been lambasted thus far and Wrigley is a good place to hit in. An aggressive hitter like Castro could get fooled by a wily vet like Arroyo, just the same, he could put a charge into one if Arroyo leaves it up.

Starting Pitcher 1 - Julio Teheran ($17,661)
The Marlins have performed well offensively thus far, but consider this a vote for Teheran. He’s been stellar and, unlike his counterpart in this matchup Tom Koehler, he has the talent to back up his surface stats. I expect a team with Casey McGehee and Adeiny Hechavarria featured prominently to struggle eventually, and I think it starts Monday night in Atlanta.

Starting Pitcher 2 - Wily Peralta ($14,104)
First, the downsides: He’s opposing Andrew Cashner so a win is far from a sure thing, and this game is taking place in the much-more-hitter-friendly Miller Park as opposed to PETCO. However, the Padres have been the worst team at scoring runs in baseball and are middle of the pack in strikeouts. Peralta has a good shot to limit the former and while racking up the latter, and the price isn’t going to put you out either.

Pitcher - Paul Maholm ($9,650)
Philadelphia is in the bottom third of the league in runs scored, some of their best hitters are left-handed (Utley, Brown, … Howard?), and the game is taking place in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. While Maholm draws Cliff Lee as a counterpart, a third starter at this bargain basement price allowed for our previous splurging on Mike Trout and Troy Tulowitzki.

Money left in lineup: $332

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

Related Content:  DraftStreet,  Daily Leagues

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