June 27, 2014
Daily League Strategy
All of the Brandons
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.
I can tell you that I came upon what you’re about to see organically. It’s not a gimmick or a lame attempt at humor. I didn’t even notice until I had selected all four of them to start my Friday lineup.
1. Brandon McCarthy ($12,115 – ARI at SD)
I’m about at my wit’s end with McCarthy, but I’m giving him one more go because the matchup is just too good to bypass. I know they popped him for five earned back on May 26, but he dropped seven scoreless on them in San Diego on May 3. His skills are begging for so much more ERA-wise, but an absurd home run rate has him up at 5.38 for the season. His 4.01 FIP suggests better days should be ahead, but if he can’t keep the ball in the yard with a little more regularity, that won’t happen. This is last shot to show me something.
2. Brandon Cumpton ($10,200 – PIT v. NYM)
A whopping 40 percent of Cumpton’s season earned runs occurred in one beating at Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers. He was solid before that and has been since with a 3.09 ERA in his four June starts. He doesn’t miss many bats, but he can offer six-seven strong innings against an unimpressive Mets offense. Like McCarthy, Cumpton has a FIP (3.14) much lower than his ERA (4.93) and obviously a lot of that comes from getting bombed out in that one outing in Los Angeles.
3. Brandon Workman ($9,779 – BOS at NYY)
Workman hasn’t pitched since June 15 thanks at least in part to his suspension, but he had been a roll in the rotation before getting punished. In five starts he has a 3.21 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 28 innings. His 18.6 percent strikeout rate is just okay, while his 9.7 percent walk rate is on the high side. However, he’s given batters fits, holding them to a .190 AVG as a starter, thanks in large part to his cutter and curve that have allowed just nine hits in 60 AB (.150 AVG). He’s been building his stamina up, too, going past 100 pitches for the first time in his last outing with 103 against Cleveland.
1. Brandon Moss ($7,628 OAK at MIA)
I have a hard time not selecting Moss against any righty, let alone a lower-tiered one like Anthony Desclafani. Moss doesn’t have some outsized OPS split against them at .880, but his 15 homers are fifth and his .280 ISO is sixth in the league. He might not produce against every righty, but when he does, it’s going to be something big. Additionally, Moss has greatly improved against lefties this year, so you aren’t likely to lose those late-game at-bats when the opposition goes to the pen.
2. Jonny Gomes ($5,418 BOS at NYY)
Gomes is one of the most popular platoon guys in the game. His prowess against lefties is well known by now: He has a career .879 OPS against them with an .867 mark so far this year, and he’s back up over .300 for the first time in three years, with a .305 AVG in 101 PA and a sharp 20-to-17 K:BB ratio. Vidal Nuno has been horrible this year, and he’s tied for the league high in righty homers allowed by a lefty with 13, but he’s done so in some 130 fewer PA than either Wade Miley or David Price.
3. Khris Davis ($6,446 MIL v. COL)
A chic sleeper this spring, Davis got off to a slow start with a .683 OPS in April that dipped as low as .618 by mid-May, but he has put together a .946 in 161 PA since then with 10 of his 14 homers. A lot of that damage has come against lefties. He has a 1.049 OPS against them with six of his 14 homers in just a third of the at-bats he has against righties. He gets a crack at Tyler Matzek, who hasn’t been greeted warmly to the majors with a 5.19 ERA in three starts.
4. Aramis Ramirez ($6,700 MIL v. COL)
In fact, let’s double-up on Matzek. Ramirez has actually out-done Davis with a 1.096 OPS that will go up as he’s gone 2-for-2 with a homer against lefty Christian Friedrich as this is being written. While Ramirez is the fourth-highest price at third base, the position as a whole is down in pricing as he is just the 41st-most expensive bat on the board.
5. Michael Brantley ($7,975 CLE at SEA)
Brantley has already surpassed his 2013 homer total by two in half the amount of games with 12 as one of the game’s best breakout stories of the season so far. His .953 OPS against righties puts him just behind guys like Miguel Cabrera (.972), Edwin Encarnacion (.962), and Jose Abreu (.959) as he sits seventh and ahead of esteemed names like Yasiel Puig (.949), Giancarlo Stanton (.942), and Andrew McCutchen (.922). I remain skeptical of Chris Young and his 3.23 ERA, as it just doesn’t mesh with his 1.3 K:BB ratio and 5.19 FIP.
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Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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