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Platoons

Target: LHB's Joey Votto 1B ($5400, +81 OPS and +.025 ISO career vs. RHP) and Jay Bruce OF ($3600, +94 OPS and +.026 ISO vs. RHP) against RHP Rubby de la Rosa ($4000, +164 OPS and +.070 ISO career vs. LHB)

I made this same hitter recommendation on Wednesday when the Reds faced Jeremy Guthrie, but Rubby DLR's splits are so egregious that it's worth revisiting, with OPS and ISO differences that exceed those of the lefty-phobic Guthrie. Votto won't come cheap, as his .400/.514/.833 line over the previous eight games has boosted his price. He's essentially guaranteed to get on base tonight but his point total will be limited if the bat stays on his shoulder for another three-walk day – he's had six of those in his last 26 games. Bruce falls on the other side of the recency tree, batting just .120/.148/.120 over his last seven games (six starts), but he is little more than a week removed from a hot streak and the dent to his salary will make it easier to fit Bruce into the lineup.

Target: RHB's Josh Donaldson 3B ($5500, +188 OPS and +.121 ISO career vs. LHP), Jose Bautista OF ($4800, +41 OPS and +.009 ISO vs. LHP), Edwin Encarnacion 1B ($4200, +52 OPS and +.007 ISO vs. LHP), and Troy Tulowitzki SS ($4200, +106 OPS and +.031 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Hector Santiago ($8000, +120 OPS and +.103 ISO career vs. RHB)

Santiago absolutely squashes left-handed power to the tune of a .294 slugging against for his career, but right-handers enjoy a hefty platoon advantage with a slug that swells to .411 against the southpaw. Today he faces a lineup that is loaded with menacing right-handed hitters, and the attack on Santiago will begin right from the first batter of the ballgame, with Troy Tulowitzki primed to shake off his empty .161 batting average of the last eight games. Josh Donaldson's two-homer outburst on Wednesday ended a seven-game drought of leaving the yard, following a tear in which he hit seven jacks in 11 ballgames. He has been hammering the horsehide against left-handers from day one, with a .596 career slugging and .299 isolated power for his career against lefties (those numbers are up to 667 slug and a .333 ISO this season). The cost is prohibitive, but JD is worth the investment – consider that his 10.0 FPPG overall this season is worth $5k in a vacuum, then give him a boost for the platoon aspect. Bautista's splits don't look so big, but he has become more of a lefty-killer over the past three seasons, and this year it's a +118 OPS and +.123 ISO vs. left-handed pitching after 2014 featured a +191 OPS and +.057 ISO. Encarnacion is like Joey Bats in that the splits aren't that impressive on surface, but the two sluggers are exact opposite in the sense that EE has a reverse split this season, with a -89 OPS and -.100 ISO vs. LHP, the latter value representing a shocking lack of power, so he might be more of a temper than a target, relatively speaking.

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Details ($3 Entry):

  • Baseball Prospectus Private Daily Fantasy League
  • Starts tonight
  • Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10: 8 fielders and 2 pitchers
  • Roster Format: 2 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS and 3 OF

Steals

Target: Michael Taylor OF ($3200, 15-of-18 SB this season) and Ian Desmond SS ($3600, 10-of-13 SB) against RHP Jimmy Nelson ($8200, opponents 18-of-22 SB this season)

The 18 steals against Nelson ties him with Ubaldo Jimenez for the seventh-highest total in the game, and for his career baserunners are 27-of-31 (87.1 percent) on steal attempts against Nelson. There aren't a lot of options to exploit these weakness, as the Nats' team speed is compromised by the fact that Denard Span is on the disabled list, but they still have a couple of guys that might be able to take advantage of Nelson's vulnerability to thievery. Taylor has been the everyday centerfielder since Span went on the shelf in early July, but in that time Taylor has limped his way to a .233/.266/.370 line in 37 games, with only his seven steals offering any fantasy value. Desmond's struggles for the first half of the season are well known, but he has turned things around of late to hit .321/.390/.623 with four steals (in four attempts) over his last 14 games played.

Avoid: Mookie Betts OF ($4200, 16-of-20 SB this season) and Xander Bogaerts SS/3B ($3800, 7-of-8 SB) against RHP Johnny Cueto ($10000, opponents 2-of-3 SB this season)

It's been five days since the last reminder, but it bears repeating that baserunners just don't steal off of Cueto. They are just 24-for-61 (39.3 percent) lifetime in steal attempts against the right-hander. The Red Sox aren't a steal-savvy team so there are few players whose values will be dinged by Cueto's thief-prevention skills, but the young duo of Bogaerts and Betts are probably best served by staying chained to the bag when/if they get on base. Betts has thrice as many steal attempts as any other player on the roster, so his value is most impacted, whereas rostering Bogaerts is probably best left to those occasions to when he is playing a southpaw.

Recency Bias

Avoid: RHB Mike Trout OF ($4200) against LHP David Price ($12300)

Last 21 games (21 starts): .213/.344/.373 with two HR and zero SB in 90 PA

Avoid Mike Trout? That's baseball heresy, and at $4200 he might have the cheapest price tag that he's had all season, further cementing the case for a trip to the looney bin. Of course the “Avoid” tag is from the viewpoint of recent performance only, and how each manager weighs recency bias is different, but there's a possibility that his recent slump is tied to a busted wrist (sustained on July on 26th) as the above sample captures his performance since returning to the lineup. Trout tripled and homered in his second game back, which seemingly alleviated the wrist-related concerns, but he has hit just .191 with one homer since that game. The fact that he's facing new Toronto ace David Price, against whom Trout is 3-for-13 lifetime with seven strikeouts and no extra-base hits, adds another layer to the anti-Trout argument, though at that price I can't say that I'm totally convinced. I hope that the wrist is fine and that he blows up with a pair of bombs off of Price, but hope and likelihood are two trains that often ride in opposite directions.

Price

Target: Cardinals Matt Carpenter 3B ($3900), Jason Heyward OF ($3700), Kolten Wong 2B ($3300), Johnny Peralta SS ($3200) and Yadier Molina C ($2800) against RHP Andrew Cashner ($6000)

It looks like something went haywire in the DraftKings calculation for Cardinal hitters today, as if it had them facing Chris Sale, because the price tags attached to their bats are low across the board. The Cards are facing Andrew Cashner, about whom I was very optimistic prior to the season but has proven (many times) that 2015 is not the year that he puts it all together, and DK's view on Cashner's value is reflected in his $6000 salary (ranked 23rd out of 28 pitchers on the evening slate). Hitter prices are generally depressed today, but the value to be found on Cardinal bats is ridiculous, as no pitcher on the San Diego pitching staff warrants such a heavy discount. I found myself stacking Cards without intention. Caution: Heyward is day-to-day with a hammy issue, and that problem could limit his speed if he is in the lineup.

Target: RHB Ryan Braun ($4300) against LHP Gio Gonzalez ($8500)

The Brewers are no longer stacked to rake southpaws, what with the trade departures of Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez in addition to the offensive deflation of Jonathan Lucroy this season, but Braun stands out with his career slug of .633 and a .296 ISO against southpaws. Gonzalez was on a nice little run until his last start, when disaster struck and he allowed six runs without escaping the third inning against the Giants, but even with his dead-even platoon splits Gio's presence fails to explain the relatively low price on Braun. The Nats' southpaw does keep the ball in the yard and hasn't allowed a homer in his last six starts. so perhaps the homer-suppression was enough to drive down Braun's salary, but I like his chances to post a positive return on investment.

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Resources used for this article:

Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards

Draft Kings player prices

Brooks Baseball

Baseball-Reference