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June 20, 2014

Daily League Strategy

Latent Latos

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

1. Mat Latos ($16,003 – CIN v. TOR)
Latos will soon be priced among the studs, so get in while the gettin’ is good. He catches the Jays at a good time as they’ve been stuck in a trough for a while. They’ve scored just 3.2 runs per game in 16 June games after an impressive 5.5 per game in 30 May games. Latos may be managed a bit for another outing (he had 87 pitches in his season-debut), but he can still very easily get into the seventh with 95 or so pitches.

2. Jaime Garcia ($14,866 – STL v. PHI)
Garcia’s ERA is up in the high-3.00s, which is normal for him, but his scant 0.96 WHIP suggests better days may be ahead, especially if he can start shaving down that 1.2 HR/9 rate. While the Phillies have been league average against lefties this year, they’ve struggled of late with a paltry .558 OPS against them in June—26th in the league.

3. Garrett Richards ($16,737 – LAA v. TEX)
If I’m spending in the top five, I’m going with Richards. Hisashi Iwakuma is appealing, but with strikeouts at one point and walks at just -0.25 points, I need a strikeout stud. Richards has upped his strikeout rate significantly this year, going from 6.3 to 8.9 K/9, which more than mitigates the 2.7 to 3.1 jump in BB/9. The Rangers offense hasn’t been too bad lately, but the scary batter count has faded rapidly the last two-plus months.

HITTING

1. Paul Goldschmidt ($7,858 – ARI v. SF)
This is the one batter v. pitcher I actually put some stock into and play every time out. Now I realize it’s not hard to back Goldschmidt regardless of the reasoning, but he’s just flat-out owned Tim Lincecum, so I’m going to let it ride and hope Goldy doesn’t regress from his 1.994 OPS. He has seven HR and 17 RBI in 24 PA against the righty.

2. Joey Votto ($7,119 – CIN v. TOR)
Votto is even cheaper than he was on Wednesday, so of course he still feels like a bargain here. He’s still rolling with hits in every game back from the DL, so we are playing him as much for his high floor and near-guaranteed production as we are for his upside, which also remains substantial.

3. Brian Dozier ($7,155 – MIN v. CWS)
I’d prefer to deploy Dozier against left-handers, but he has held his own against righties despite a .229 AVG thanks to a 39-to-37 K:BB ratio that has helped prop his OBP to .357 against them. Hector Noesi has a .909 OPS against righties this year, after a .931 a year ago. He also has elevated home run and walk rates, which play right into Dozier’s strengths.

4. Xander Bogaerts ($5,147 – BOS at OAK)
Maybe I shouldn’t play this one because the A’s are starting Brad Mills, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since his five innings in 2012, and they always seem to find the right scrap-heap guys. Alas, I’ll take my chances, especially at this price. Mills has exactly zero MLB success with an .868 OPS against righties (and .903 against lefties if you want to look at Red Sox southpaws) and a career 7.76 ERA. Bogaerts has a .299/.393/.494 line against lefties with three of his six homers in less than half as many PA (89) as he has against righties.

5. Wilin Rosario ($7,502 – COL v. MIL)
Rockies will be stacked furiously on Friday with Marco Estrada and his 2.5 HR/9 rate coming to town. Estrada’s allowed an MLB-high 23 homers this year, including 13 to righties, who have a .911 OPS. Rosario has not fared well against righties this year with a .512 OPS, but that’s far below the .750 mark he amassed over the last two seasons, so I expect to see some improvement going forward. There are few better matchups than Estrada to jumpstart said improvement.

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Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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<< Previous Article
Eyewitness Accounts: J... (06/19)
<< Previous Column
Daily League Strategy:... (06/18)
Next Column >>
Daily League Strategy:... (06/24)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My ... (06/20)

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