September 2, 2014
Daily League Strategy
A Pair of White Sox
With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.
1. Shane Greene ($8,600 NYY v. BOS)
Another decimation of Detroit left him with a 2.93 ERA in 30 2/3 IP during August with 35 strikeouts and a 3.9 K:BB ratio. He’s got real velocity (averaging 94-95 MPH on his fastball) and a slider/cutter (slutter) that is classified as two separate pitches because of the velocity difference, but however you want to classify them (or it), it/they work(s) very well. A full two-thirds of his strikeouts have come via those pitches and batters have a meager .553 OPS against them in 95 plate appearances.
2. Mike Minor ($7,900 ATL v. PHI)
Minor went through a disastrous mid-summer run that shot his ERA up well north of 5.00 as his previous home run issues returned with a vengeance. He had six multi-HR games in his first 22 starts, but he’s allowed just two (though it was a multi-HR game) in the four starts since. His fastball command has returned in a big way and spurred an impressive four-start run (2.22 ERA, 24 strikeouts in 28 1/3 IP with just two homers allowed). He’s avoided these division foes so far this year, but he does have a pretty strong record against them in 42 2/3 career innings (3.59 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 4.0 K:BB ratio).
3. Wade Miley ($7,900 ARI at SD)
San Diego’s offensive renaissance has died down quite a bit. They were fifth in the league against lefties in the final two weeks of July after the break, but they were back down to 22nd in August. Miley has allowed a total of seven earned runs in four starts after that 10 ER start against Kansas City to open August. He was lucky in Washington (14 base runners, no runs), but the other three have been strong. He fanned 11 Padres, a season high, back in late May, too.
1. Jose Abreu ($5,500 CWS at MIN)
Abreu tumbled off of his pace in August with a “meager” .941 OPS! Okay, it was just the power that came up a little short with a season low of two homers (he had banged at least five homers in each of his first four months including a pair of 10s) as he still had a very impressive .376 AVG and .466 OBP during his 118 August plate appearances. Abreu is a relatively easy pick on most days, but of course he also costs quite a bit to roster. He bashes righties and lefties almost equally, and he’s handled the road even better (.996) than his favorable home park (.967). Good luck, Tommy Milone. He did saddle Abreu with an 0-for-3 that included two strikeouts in their first go-‘round, but I’m leaning on Abreu this time around.
2. Adam Eaton ($4,500 CWS at MIN)
In fact, Abreu isn’t the only White Sox hitter I’m interested in today. Eaton is a miserable May (.479 OPS) away from a huge season. He’s still having a really strong season on the whole, but he has taken off since the break with a 1.035 OPS. He isn’t quite as sharp on the road like Abreu (.709), but that’s mostly due to a lack of power which isn’t why you get Eaton in the first place. He still has a .294 AVG and .344 OBP on the road. He does his best work against righties with an .805 OPS including 18 of his 23 doubles and seven of his eight triples (plus his only HR). Eaton didn’t see Milone his first time through the White Sox lineup back in May when Milone was still with Oakland.
3. Albert Pujols ($4,400 LAA at HOU)
You’ll have to pick between Abreu and Pujols, but maybe you can let the rest of your lineup dictate that. If you go with Pujols, you can pump up your pitching. If you like a pair of low-dollar arms, go with Abreu. Pujols had that huge April and then dipped down in May-June before back-to-back .827 OPS months in July and August. He’s had a strong rebound season as he’s gotten back to hitting lefties (.690 OPS last year after a career 1.037) with an .803 OPS that is two points higher than his work against righties. He doesn’t get a lefty today, but Brad Peacock has an .831 OPS against righties this year, and he has really fallen off since the break.
4. Lucas Duda ($4,300 NYM at MIA)
Have you noticed how good Duda has been this year? Mind you, it has been a straight platoon as he dominates righties (.922 OPS) while getting destroyed by lefties (.445), but when 80 percent of your plate appearances are against righties, you can succeed with that kind of split. His power saved him last month has he managed just a .708 OPS, but still popped seven homers. Brad Penny has only thrown in four games this year and it (predictably) hasn’t been too special, complete with a sub-1.0 K:BB ratio. Lefties have long had success against him, but it’s been really bad in his last two MLB spells (albeit both very small) with a 1.093 OPS back in 2012 and a .926 so far this year.
5. Matt den Dekker ($2,500 NYM at MIA)
We’ll have to save somewhere if we are going to afford these bigger bats, and den Dekker can be the dirt-cheap gamble you look to here. This is based primarily on Penny and his inability to retire lefties as den Dekker really hasn’t done much with the bat this year. Okay, he hasn’t done anything (.563 OPS), but we are just hoping for a hit or two to register a few points from our low-dollar bat. Make sure he’s in the lineup if you’re going to go this route since he obviously doesn’t play regularly right now.
Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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