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June 24, 2014

Daily League Strategy

Going Cheap on the Mound

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. Bartolo Colon ($14,440 – NYM v. OAK)
We’re going cheap on the mound today with Colon as our top arm, price-wise. His former teammates are unlikely to go easy on him, but he’s carved up everyone lately with a six-start run that has yielded a 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 3.9 K:BB ratio in 43 1/3 innings of work. He doesn’t miss too many bats with just 31 strikeouts in that run, but he’s only allowed eight free passes, equal to the number of earned runs he’s allowed in the six starts. Colon is still chiseling down an ERA that was heavily inflated by three disastrous outings and he’s finally under 4.00 for the first time since his second start of the season. Fifty-five percent of his 40 earned runs came in those three outings; he has a 2.10 ERA in his other 11 starts.

2. Wade Miley ($13,906 – ARI v. CLE)
Miley hasn’t been able to maximize a career-best 21.9 percent strikeout rate because of his 1.5 HR/9 rate, which has left him with a 4.62 ERA so far this year. Some of that is his own doing, but some of it is no doubt due to an unfortunate 18 percent HR/FB rate, too, especially given that his batted ball data is nearly equal to last year when he had a 0.93 HR/9 and 12.5 percent HR/FB rate. Cleveland flails against lefties with a .651 OPS that ranks third-lowest in the league, and it drops to .615 on the road, although that actually jumps them to fourth-lowest in the league.

3. Danny Duffy ($12,166 – KC v. LAD)
You’re essentially choosing to forgo the two points available for a pitcher win by picking Duffy, as his teammates have to try to figure out Clayton Kershaw at the dish. I mean, Duffy could come away with a win obviously, but betting on it is a losing proposition. But at this price tag, we don’t need him to secure that win to be more than worth it. If he comes close to matching his June performance, you’ll be more than pleased with the purchase: 1.75 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 23 K, and a 3.8 K:BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings of work, averaging nearly 6 2/3 innings per outing.

HITTING

1. Jose Abreu ($8,021 CWS at BAL)
Spending less on pitching is going to allow us to splurge with some of our hitters today, and we start with one of the most electrifying hitters in the game right now. Miguel Gonzalez is a homer-prone pitcher in a homer-friendly park going against everyone’s favorite new home run hitter. Gonzalez has allowed 70 percent of his 10 homers to righties despite fewer plate appearances against them. Meanwhile Abreu is crushing righties to the tune of .285/.333/.624 with 16 homers. He’s hitting a homer every 11.6 at-bats, with his best work coming on the road, where he has one every 10.4 at-bats.

2. Victor Martinez ($8,444 DET at TEX)
Martinez almost feels underpriced here, which seems weird to say about the eighth-most-expensive bat on the board. Of course, I’m not complaining about it by any stretch, I just expected him to be north of $9,000 when I first jotted down his name as an option for today. While V-Mart has done his best work against lefties from an OPS standpoint (1.146 to .923), he’s raking everyone this year. Colby Lewis is getting destroyed by lefties with an OPS 200 points higher than against righties at .988, and while that makes this Tigers lineup as a whole not as tough for Lewis, he will have to find a way to tame Martinez. And if there’s any traffic on the bases ahead of him, Lewis is dead meat.

3. Allen Craig ($5,873 – STL at COL)
Craig is still working his overall numbers into shape, but he has been much better over the last two months compared to a wretched April. He’s always fared much better against lefties and this year is no exception with an .806 OPS (compared to .645 v. RHP), and maybe facing one in Coors will jumpstart his power production a bit. The price is right and he doesn’t take up the precious 1B spot where so many studs live, so I like gambling on him here.

4. Corey Dickerson ($8,166 COL v. STL)
Staying in Coors, Dickerson has been something of a platoon player with just 29 PA against lefties meaning the bulk of his 1.076 OPS comes from his destruction has come against righties. He has a 1.142 OPS with nine of his 10 homers and 26 of his 29 RBI. Shelby Miller has blended a unique mixture of smoke and mirrors en route to a 3.56 ERA this year, despite a FIP over a full run higher at 4.60, and he has been markedly worse against lefties with a .779 OPS against compared to .635 when facing righties. Charlie Blackmon ($8,514) and Justin Morneau ($9,315) would also be suitable options, as I believe we will see Miller struggle here, but I went with the most bang-for-buck with Dickerson.

5. Kole Calhoun ($4,965 LAA v. MIN)
Calhoun was just catching fire when a sprained ankle cost him just over a month of time. He had three straight multi-hit games in late-April to raise his lagging OPS from .578 to .797 before the injury struck. He had just five hits in his 10 May games upon returning, but he’s ramped it up in June, playing a lot more like the chic sleeper he was tabbed as this spring. He has gone hitless just four times along with five multi-hit efforts in 16 June games, en route to a .933 OPS with three homers, eight RBI, and 12 runs scored. Kyle Gibson has been pretty good this year despite uninspiring component skills, though he is markedly worse against lefties with a .693 OPS against (.510 v. RHB). I’ll be using Calhoun regularly at this depressed price tag, though I doubt he’ll stay south of $5,000 for very long.

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Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: Josh ... (06/23)
<< Previous Column
Daily League Strategy:... (06/20)
Next Column >>
Daily League Strategy:... (06/27)
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Fantasy Article The Stash List: 11th E... (06/24)

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