May 6, 2014
Daily League Strategy
I’m going to mix it up a bit today with the Friday daily gaming piece, let me know how you like this format compared to the 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.
Jonathan Lucroy ($5742) has just the one homer, but he’s hitting .312 with a .380 OBP so he rarely puts up a goose egg. He gets Josh Collmenter and Bronson Arroyo the next two days so he’ll be a mainstay in my lineups. Yadier Molina ($6027) is the fifth-highest scoring catcher yet just the 12th-most expensive. I like him facing Gavin Floyd, who is returning after missing over a year.
Budget Play – Jordan Pacheco’s ($5117) playing time is slated to rise with Wilin Rosario hitting the disabled list, and while he hasn’t done much yet this year, he does his best work both at home and against lefties. He’s an interesting low-dollar option against Robbie Ross ($12731).
I’m sticking with my pick from last Friday, especially because the price has dipped. Paul Goldschmidt at $7,033 is too good to pass up at more than $2,000 less than any of the top four (Cabrera, Gonzalez, Abreu, and Pujols). I also like Abreu ($9,374) facing Edwin Jackson, but I think I’d like him facing just about anybody at this point.
I said this on Friday: “Anthony Rendon ($6,352) just hasn’t seen his price rise to a level commensurate with his production and thus he’s a mainstay in my lineups” and while the price has jumped to $7345, the point holds. Now he does get Clayton Kershaw ($23,012) on Tuesday, but he’s basically matchup-proof right now, plus he’s got a 931 OPS against lefties.
Bargain Shopping – Ben Zobrist ($6,087) and Aaron Hill ($5,765) are both great money-saving options. Zobrist only has a .172 AVG against Chris Tillman in his 32-PA sample, but three of the five hits have left the yard.
I wrote about Josh Donaldson ($9,323) on Friday as someone to ride until his price was on the level of his production, and now it is, after sitting at $7,929 as recently as four days ago. Both he and Nolan Arenado ($9,304) are the most expensive 3B by a wide margin (Trevor Plouffe $7,084 sits third), and yet I still have no problem putting either in my lineup right now. They’ve been delivering in spades and both get lefties on Tuesday.
On the Rise – Matt Carpenter ($5402) has averaged just 2.7 PPG for the season, but he’s at 3.5 in his last five games and 3.1 in his last 10 with only two zeroes. He’s going to be a staple in my lineup either at 3B or U until his price comes up to his talent level.
From Friday: “Troy Tulowitzki ($9,853) is the most expensive hitter at DraftStreet right now and yet he’s been so good that he’s almost worth it on a daily basis.” He’s over $1,000 more now, at $10,956, and he still feels absolutely worth it.
Elsewhere at the Position – Not everyone can afford Tulo on the reg without really altering their strategy, but there are some perfectly useful plays available for more than $4000 less including Alexei Ramirez ($6,813), Jed Lowrie ($6,423), and even Ian Desmond ($4,467). Jose Reyes ($6,194) appears to be heating up with a 3.1 PPG mark in his last 10 and an even 5.0 PPG in his last four.
Nelson Cruz ($8,527) should cost more as the second-highest scoring outfielder, but instead he’s the eighth-most expensive. He doesn’t seem to go much more than 2-3 games without hitting a homer. Of course if you like him at that price, you have to love Giancarlo Stanton at $7,327. He has matched Cruz’s 4.67 PPG and I can’t believe he’s coming that cheaply. Heck, there are plenty of enticing sub-$7000 options, too, including: Michael Morse ($6,835), Coco Crisp ($6,820), Austin Jackson ($6,792), and Jayson Werth ($6,749). They are all averaging over 3.0 PPG.
The Obvious “Must” Pick – Melky Cabrera ($6353) is out of his mind and I’m really surprised to see him coming so cheaply. He’s got to be one of the most popular picks at this price, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t join the pack.
There aren’t many obvious bargains on the mound Tuesday as the best picks will cost you. However, the cheapest arm of the day could be a great option. Tyler Lyons ($8379) doesn’t have an easy matchup against the Braves, as they do have a .795 OPS against lefties, but they also have a league-high 27.6 percent strikeout percentage against them, too. Plus a lot of that OPS damage came early in the season. Felix Doubront ($8,940) also looks like a worthy bargain play against a Cincy lineup that doesn’t excel against lefties and lost one of their biggest bats with Jay Bruce hitting the DL.
Against the Grain – Homer Bailey’s ($14,627) base skills portend a much better pitcher than the guy who has a 5.50 ERA through six starts. I’m getting him in at least one lineup each time out right now because the numbers are going to get better.
Stackables – Offenses worth loading up on
- Colorado and Texas – They have one more game in Colorado before jumping to Arlington for a pair. Rockies and Rangers will be popular picks for each of the next three days.
- Detroit – They only got a pair off of Jarred Cosart, but they still have three games against the Astros including Brett Oberholtzer on Tuesday.
- Chicago – More the White Sox than Cubs, but the Jackson-Noesi matchup should yield runs on both sides.
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Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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