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July 31, 2015

Fantasy Rounders

Countdown to Launch

by Doug Thorburn

Trades will steal the headlines today and the flurry of activity means that some everyday players will be in transit between ballclubs rather than on the field, so be sure to double-check lineups as they get close to lock.

Platoons

Target: RHB's J.D. Martinez OF ($4600, +53 OPS and +.027 ISO career vs. LHP), Ian Kinsler 2B ($4100, +117 OPS and +.039 ISO vs. LHP), Jose Iglesias SS ($3100, +136 OPS and +.081 ISO vs. LHP) and Rajai Davis OF ($3200, +152 OPS and +.067 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Wei-Yin Chen ($8200, +88 OPS and +.081 ISO vs. RHB)

The Tigers are completely packed with hitters that eat southpaws for breakfast. Chen is particularly susceptible to the longball, having given up more than 1.0 homers per nine innings in every season of his MLB tenure and maintaining a career rate of 1.2 homers per nine. Opponent power takes the biggest boost due to platoons, with 16 of Chen's 19 career homers allowed coming versus right-handed batters, putting further emphasis on the right-handed power bat of J.D. Martinez (and to a lesser extent Kinsler). Rajai is just as likely to take off on a steal attempt with a lefty or righty on the mound, but he is a far superior hitter against southpaws, and though he has often been benched recently against right-handed starting pitchers we can expect him to be penciled into the leadoff role to start tonight's game against Chen.

Avoid: LHB's Adrian Gonzalez 1B ($4000, -136 OPS and -.070 ISO career vs. LHP), Joc Pederson OF ($3700, -132 OPS and -.079 ISO vs. LHP), and switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal C ($3300, -97 OPS and -.057 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Hector Santiago ($9300, -116 OPS and -.096 ISO career vs. LHB)

Santiago unplugs power from left-handed bats, with just seven of his 56 career homers coming from fellow lefties and a lifetime slugging percentage of just .296 when he has the platoon advantage. His batting average and on-base percentage against hitters from either side are a near-match, but with almost 100 points of isolated power separating the splits he effectively removes that component from consideration when up against a left-handed hitter. The fact that both of the Dodgers' major power sources hit lefty and struggle against southpaws plays further into Santiago's favor, as does Grandal's difficulties when the switch-hitter bats right-handed. Pederson is outside his peak season to make it rain, and with only three of his 21 career homers having been against southpaws there is a very low likelihood that he'll bring precipitation against Santiago.

Steals

Avoid: Alexei Ramirez SS ($3200, 13-of-16 SB this season) and Adam Eaton OF ($4000, 8-of-12 SB) against RHP Nathan Eovaldi ($6200, opponents 2-of-3 SB this season)

Eovaldi is one of the stingiest right-handers in the game when it comes to halting thieves on the base paths, making him a regular subject of avoidance for speed-only players. The White Sox are lacking in true stolen-base threats and few DFS managers are rushing out to secure the services of Ramirez or Eaton, but today's match-up effectively mutes their likely contributions.

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Recency Bias

Avoid: Gregory Polanco OF ($3500) facing RHP Michael Lorenzen ($4300)

Last 39 games (34 starts): .234/.325/.365 with 0-for-3 SB

This recommendation for avoidance has nothing to do with Lorenzen and everything to do with Polanco. The Pirates outfielder has been dealing with compromised wheels for awhile as a knee injury has sapped Polanco of his greatest asset. He stole 17 bags in 21 attempts in his first 58 games of the season, but the thievery has since come to a halt, as Polanco has zero steals in three attempts over his last 39 games. Without wheels Polanco has little value to DFS players, and I would avoid rostering the Pirate until he proves that the knee is healthy.

Matchups

Avoid: LHB Curtis Granderson OF ($3600) versus LHP Gio Gonzalez ($8700)

Head-to-head: .111/.143/.259 in 28 PA

Gonzalez neutralizes the left-handed threats in the Mets lineup, and his personal history with Granderson and Lucas Duda (.176/.300/.235 in 20 PA) backs up the platoon numbers for the two left-handed bats. Granderson has managed to rip a couple of extra base hits among his three safeties in head-to-head matchups with Gio, including one homerun, though the blast was back in 2011 and Granderson has gone 1-for-14 since with with six strikeouts and zero walks against Gonzalez.

Price

Target: RHB Anthony Rendon 2B/3B ($2900) versus RHP Matt Harvey ($11200)

Not that it's necessarily a wise choice to stack against Matt Harvey but there will be a lot of bargains on the Nats roster tonight, the biggest of which is Anthony Rendon, who at $2900 checks in with a lower price tag than teammate Danny Espinosa 2B/3B ($3100). Harvey has been off his A-game for several weeks now, and though Rendon is still waiting for the power to show up this season (his next homer will be his first of 2015), he has posted a .360 OBP over his 100 plate appearances and has batted in the top half of the Nationals' batting order in each of his 22 games started this year.

Avoid: RHP Matt Harvey ($11200) versus the Washington Nationals

There's no reason to hate on Harvey, who returned from the perils of Tommy John Surgery with his elite velocity intact – he's averaging 97 mph on the four-seam this season – and flaunting his A-grade delivery, but he is currently going through the type of funk that we have come to expect from pitchers during their first year back on the hill following surgery. I think that the dominance will return in due time, but he's priced with those expectations tonight against a Nats lineup that was recently restocked by the returns of Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. Even Ian Desmond has started to come alive at the plate. Harvey would need to break 22.4 fantasy points on DraftKings in order to theoretically justify his salary, but he has only cleared that bar once in his last six games. The price is just too steep on the Mets' right-hander, and I would rather save $900 of cap room and roster Madison Bumgarner ($10300) versus the Rangers.

***

Resources used for this article:

Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards

Draft Kings player prices

Brooks Baseball

Baseball-Reference

Doug Thorburn is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Doug's other articles. You can contact Doug by clicking here

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Daily Fantasy

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (07/31)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Rounders: Alli... (07/30)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Rounders: For ... (08/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Weekly Wrap: July 31, ... (07/31)

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