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June 10, 2014

Daily League Strategy

Big Mike

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
There are some big arms available for Tuesday, including three north of $20,000. Adam Wainwright bounced back from a rough outing against San Francisco, but at $24,010, he’s too expensive to go with over the other big arms several thousand dollars cheaper. No one is hotter than Madison Bumgarner ($21,314), who has a 1.91 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 53-to-3 K:BB ratio in 47 innings over his last eight starts. I’d definitely use him over Waino with nearly $3,000 dollars in savings. Corey Kluber ($20,448) is the other $20,000 arm heading into KC, and while I have no issues using him, I’d prefer to jump down a level to the three guys in the $17,000 range.

Ian Kennedy ($17,575) has been reborn with the Padres, and it’s not just because of Petco. He has a 2.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a 4.0 K:BB ratio in 31 road innings. He gets an anemic Phillies offense this time around. Doug Fister ($17,199) is squaring off against Bumgarner in what should be the matchup of the day, and with a win only worth two points at DraftStreet, I’m not afraid to use someone who could go 7-8 strong innings and end up with a no-decision. Hisashi Iwakuma ($16,919) is my favorite high-end pick of the day because he’s every bit as talented as these other guys, but also the cheapest of the bunch. He gets a Yankees squad coming into Seattle that has done almost all of their damage at home while flailing on the road.

CATCHER
The lefty-mashing Derek Norris ($7,087) gets a struggling Hector Santiago returning to the majors with his 4.82 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. Santiago has allowed 1.4 HR/9 as well—a career-worst. Yadier Molina ($4,437) has been a bit chilly of late, but he was hitting .335 with an .839 OPS before a 15-game skid that has seen him log just nine hits. I’ll be using him regularly while his price sits in a trough because he just won’t stay down for long.

FIRST BASE
You could double up with money-saving options between Molina and Mike Napoli ($5,197), which would make affording one of those $20,000 arms a lot easier. Napoli returned from with the DL on Sunday with a 3-for-4 effort that included a home run against the Tigers, and he gets to face off against Chris Tillman on Tuesday. Tillman has been brutal this year with a 5.20 ERA, and he’s always been prone to the long ball (1.3 HR/9 this year, 1.4 for his career).

I’m usually looking at the bats up over $8,000 at first base to get an established star, but I like the idea of taking advantage of Napoli’s depressed price on a day with so many big, enticing arms. If you do prefer the bigger bats at first, then you can roll with Freddie Freeman ($7,398) in Coors against Juan Nicasio, who has been awful against lefties throughout his career and particularly this year (.957 OPS).

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano ($5,546) is a steal at his price, even facing a lefty. He’s only got a .734 OPS against southpaws this year, but with a .316 AVG, and Vidal Nuno isn’t exactly a lefty-killer, with a 1.088 OPS against them this year. Hopefully you jumped on Jason Kipnis while he was in the low-$5,000s, because he’s already up to $6,791 thanks to a seven-game hitting streak. He likely won’t take long to be up in the $8,000s with the top keystone bats, so even this price is something of a value. Howie Kendrick ($6,258) looks like a strong buy facing a lefty on Tuesday. While he doesn’t hold a major split, he does his best work against lefties, with a .295 AVG and .786 OPS against them compared to .290/.745 against righties.

THIRD BASE
It’s been hard to stay away from Josh Donaldson ($10,100), even at his position-leading price tag, but he gets another exploitable lefty in Santiago, and he has just decimated southpaws all year with an 1.146 OPS and seven of his 17 HR despite just a third of his at-bats coming against lefties. Of course, that might be a bit too rich for many of us if we double-dip with the big arms, so look at another staple recommendation of mine: Juan Francisco ($7,045), squaring off against Kevin Correia. Further down the board is Cano’s teammate Kyle Seager ($6,375) looking to reverse his fortunes against lefties with Nuno coming into town. Brock Holt ($5,454) has just been a godsend for his team, and he’s toting a nine-game hitting streak coming into action on Tuesday. And finally, I have to mention David Wright ($4,472) at his rock-bottom price against the home-run machine known as Marco Estrada. Estrada is allowing 2.2 HR/9 with an MLB-high 18 allowed this year.

SHORTSTOP
This position dries up quickly these days, and some of the best bargain options get really difficult matchups on Tuesday, pushing me toward the top names at the position like Jose Reyes ($7,946) against Kevin Correia. He’s been hitless in just two of his last 30 games with a .323/.382/.468 line during that stretch over 136 PA, including 2 HR, 10 RBI, 22 R, and 12 SB. Troy Tulowitzki ($8,716) is facing a more than viable arm in Mike Minor, but he’s been so good against lefties (1.402) and at home (1.452) that he’s worth a look, especially now that he’s back under $10,000.

OUTFIELD
Mike Trout ($9,025) isn’t exactly cheap at this price, but he feels like a bargain as the seventh-most-expensive outfielder on the board after spending so long at the top bat. His strikeouts are way up, which does impact his value at DraftStreet at -0.75 per, but he’s still carrying a strong 4.03 PPG rate. Similarly, Giancarlo Stanton ($8,661) has cooled from his otherworldly pace, bringing his price down to something more affordable just in time for him to visit the launching pad in Texas against Colby Lewis, who has been known to be a launching pad himself, with a 1.3 HR/9 rate since returning to the states in 2010.

Rajai Davis ($6,468) carries a very appealing price with a lefty on the mound. He’s always done his best worth against them with a .293 AVG and .781 OPS in 939 PA. He often jumps to the top of the lineup in these situations, too, which only adds to the value. Alex Rios ($6,436) is a tick cheaper than Davis despite a better PPG rate (3.23 compared to 3.14), and Rios is facing Tom Koehler, who hasn’t had much success against righties this year, with .261 AVG and .829 OPS compared to a .191 and .559 against lefties.

In the sub-$6,000 range, Justin Upton ($5,937) is very appealing in Coors even though Nicasio has more success against righties. Allen Craig is just over the threshold at $6,002, but he’s been surging of late with points in nine of his last 10 games. Both Jayson Werth ($5,988) and Mike Morse ($5,887) are tangled up in that difficult Bumgarner-Fister matchup, but if you’re in a budget pinch for last outfielder, you can take a chance on these studs in a difficult matchup and hope they get something against these studs or better yet, get a crack at an inferior reliever later in the game.

On March 24, 2014, Baseball Prospectus entered into a partnership with Draftstreet.com. Get all the details and learn how you can join in on the action here!

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

Related Content:  Fantasy,  DraftStreet,  Daily Leagues

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