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August 22, 2014

Daily League Strategy

"Prado of the Yankees"

by Paul Sporer


With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

1. Drew Smyly ($7,700 TB at TOR)
Smyly has been sharp in three starts since the trade to Tampa Bay with a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 20 innings. He also has 19 strikeouts and a 3.2 K:BB ratio. He has shown marked improvements against righties thanks a nearly unhittable curveball; he allowed an .889 OPS to righties with the Tigers, but it’s down to .682 so far with the Rays. And he’s turned the heat up on lefties, lowering his OPS against from .472 with the Tigers to just .318 in these last three since becoming a Ray.

2. Doug Fister ($9,100 WAS v. SF)
Fister’s gone at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, allowing zero earned runs in four of them and just two earned runs in the other. That’s good for a 0.51 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 35 1/3 innings with 25 strikeouts and a 6.3 K:BB ratio. Isolating those five alone kind of sells him short, though. He’s been pitching brilliantly for the overwhelming majority of the season. Since getting roughed up in his season debut at OAK (4 1/3 IP/5 ER), he has a 1.89 ERA in 114 1/3 IP over 17 starts. What he lacks in strikeouts, he usually makes up for in workload with an average of nearly 6 2/3 innings per start.

3. Carlos Carrasco ($6,600 CLE v. HOU)
I’ve bought in on Carrasco a few hundred times before over these last several years so maybe I should learn, but he’s been great in these last two starts with 12 shutout innings and an impressive 9-to-0 K:BB ratio. The opponent is a heavy factor here, of course. Carrasco has always been adept at missing bats and the Astros love to strikeout. Even if he doesn’t post another big scoreless outing, his strikeout upside could lead to a big night.

HITTING

1. Corey Dickerson ($4,800 COL v. MIA)
Dickerson just continues to rake, and like most Rockies, he does his best work at home with a 1.061 OPS in Coors. He also smashes righties to the tune of a .965 OPS with 14 of his 17 homers. Rockies in Colorado are often heavily used in the DFS game, but that doesn’t mean they are bad options, and I’m wondering if Henderson Alvarez’s excellent numbers will dissuade some from jumping on them tonight. Alvarez’s 2.43 season ERA is built on a 1.46 mark in 12 starts at home, while he’s been a relatively pedestrian 3.62 pitcher on the road. His pitch-to-contact strategy isn’t the best for Colorado.

2. Miguel Montero ($3,400 ARI v. SD)
Montero has almost been a platoon player this year with a .786 OPS against righties and just a .572 against lefties. He gets Odrisamer Despaigne tonight, and the Cuban import has a similarly large split, only mirrored in favor of Montero. The Padres rookie is holding righties to a .547 OPS, but lefties are up at .782. Add in that he’s also much worse on the road (2.45 ERA at home; 4.28 on the road), and it really plays well for the Diamondbacks lefties.

3. Martin Prado ($3,600 NYY v. CWS)
Prado hasn’t really done much for the Yanks with his OPS actually dropping from .686 to .659 thanks in large part to a .266 OBP in 64 PA. However, he has mauled lefties to the tune of a 1.011 OPS with four of his seven homers in just 19 percent of his plate appearances (97 of 500). John Danks has once again been a home run machine with an AL-high 23 allowed in 25 starts. He’s allowed 20 of those to righties en route to an .850 OPS. He has also been markedly worse on the road with a 5.40 ERA (4.46 at home) and 1.3 HR/9 rate. In the homer haven that is Yankee Stadium, this could be disastrous for Danks… and fantastic for us.

4. Alex Gordon ($5,000 KC at TEX)
Gordon will likely be my big bat of the day at $5,000 as he heads into Texas against that awful pitching staff. He is quietly having another great season and he’s done so by essentially eliminating his platoon split. He has an .815 OPS against righties and an .800 against lefties which helps later in the game when the Rangers might try to match up with Gordon and go left-on-left. He will be facing Colby Lewis to start the game, though, and I’m sure he’s licking his chops. Lewis is toting a near-200 point platoon split with a .952 OPS against lefties (.768 v. RHB). He has essentially allowed lefties an MVP-caliber season with a .363/.415/.537 triple slash. He has almost the same devastating split home and away with a .946 OPS allowed in Texas compared to .783 on the road. If you don’t want to spend big on Gordon, find a way to squeeze at least one Royals lefty into your lineup. Heck, even Mike Moustakas might be worth a gamble today.

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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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Inf... (08/21)
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Daily League Strategy:... (08/26)
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