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June 13, 2014

Daily League Strategy

Picking on Ubaldo

by Paul Sporer


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.

PITCHING
Homer Bailey is on a bit of a run right now with four straight quality starts yielding a 3.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 27 innings of work with a 3.4 K:BB ratio. His composite 4.60 ERA still keeps his price depressed at $14,445, though. I like him again today despite a relatively scary matchup against the Brewers. Bartolo Colon ($15,778) isn’t much more expensive, and he’s today’s contestant on “Who Gets to Destroy the Padres?” His 4.31 ERA is still inflated by three bad starts, but he’s almost outrun them. He has a sparkling 1.61 ERA over his last four, going into the eighth in three of them.

Jordan Zimmermann ($15,897) is very fairly priced despite riding back-to-back scoreless outings including a shutout against the aforementioned Padres. The Cardinals are obviously tougher than either the Padres or Phillies—his victims over the 17 scoreless innings—but peak Zimmermann is completely matchup-proof. And finally, Jose Quintana ($12,439) hasn’t been particularly sharp over his last two, but he’s gone at least six innings in 10 of his 13 outings, including 7 1/3 solid innings against the Royals back on May 21. He gets them again today, this time at home where he has been markedly better this year.

CATCHER
The elite backstops have rather difficult matchups today, so I’m going to zig a bit and double-down on Derek Norris (assuming he’s in the lineup). He’s facing a righty so there’s a chance he sits, but he’s been passable against them this year thanks in part to a 1.0 K:BB with 16 apiece. Meanwhile, David Phelps has been punished by righties to the tune of a .957 OPS compared to .605 against lefties. Norris is still fairly priced at $5,836. Otherwise, I’ll jump down and save some money with Yan Gomes ($4,210) even though he, too, has a tough matchup. All seven of his homers have come against righties.

FIRST BASE
The Blue Jays are ice-cold of late, having scored just nine runs in their last six games, including three shutouts. Edwin Encarnacion ($9,631) is 0-for-12 over his last three games after an insane May and start to June, and I like him to get back on track with a matchup against Ubaldo Jimenez. Or you can save money big time at first base and go with one of the struggling superstars: Joey Votto ($5,838) or Adrian Gonzalez ($5,666). Both are hitting under .270 and Gonzalez has actually dipped below .250 after his torrid start. You will rarely see either priced this low, and so you might consider riding one for a little while as they are unlikely to stay down.

SECOND BASE
Chase Utley ($6,678) has registered points in nine of his last 10, including two-plus points in five of seven. Robinson Cano ($7,112) still feels underpriced despite a surge that has seen him score in 10 straight, averaging 4.0 PPG during that run.

THIRD BASE
I’m feeling lazy by constantly going to Josh Donaldson, but now he’s $1,690 cheaper than he was Tuesday at “just” $8,410 and he gets Phelps, who struggles against righties as I covered earlier. He’s still the most expensive bat at the hot corner, but with a 4.1 PPG average, he’s worth it. Juan Francisco ($5,601) gets a very juicy matchup against Jimenez to continue his righty-destroying ways. He has a .274/.351/.598 line against righties this year with nine of his 10 homers. Jimenez has been equally inept against righties and lefties, but patience may be the key to a successful evening for Francisco as Jimenez has 28 walks against southpaws in 159 PA.

SHORTSTOP
Ugh, shortstop. It’s just not a fun position. I don’t see a worthwhile matchup in the upper echelon, so I’d rather roll the dice on some of the sub-$5,000 options. Stephen Drew ($4,774) gets a shot at Justin Masterson, whose struggles against lefties have returned in full-force this year. Elvis Andrus ($4,749) and Jean Segura ($4,724) both have tough matchups, but their speed gives them a chance to score even in an 0-for-4 night. There just aren’t many appealing options at short today, (or seemingly ever, unless you want to spend on Tulowitzki) so try to save some money here.

OUTFIELD
Melky Cabrera ($8,051) is the best value option among the top nine most expensive in the outfield as we’re clearly picking on Jimenez today. Jose Bautista ($8,873) is a consideration if you have the money for the same reason, but I’d rather save the $822 and jump down to Melky. Adam Jones ($7,778) is red-hot right now with 5.3 PPG over his last 10 and yet can still be had a very reasonable price. I’d like the matchup against Drew Hutchinson much more if it were in Toronto, but even still, I’m considering riding Jones’ hot streak.

Josh Willingham ($6,435) has always done his best work against lefties and he gets Drew Smyly today. He’s also been absolutely on fire since returning from the disabled list with a .316/.467/.632 line that includes five homers, 17 RBIs, 11 runs scored, and 14 walks in 75 PA. I’m actually surprised to see him this fairly priced given his surge.

In the bargain bin, I like Shin-Soo Choo at just $4,417 even with a matchup against Felix Hernandez. He hasn’t been great lately with just two games over two points in his last 10, but at this price he doesn’t need to be great to give some value, plus there is the upside that he will be great despite a very difficult matchup.

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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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<< Previous Article
The Lineup Card: 9 Une... (06/12)
<< Previous Column
Daily League Strategy:... (06/10)
Next Column >>
Daily League Strategy:... (06/18)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: In-... (06/13)

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