After taking a look at some lefty mashers last week, Paul brings you five players who could help your fantasy squad on the long side of a platoon.
Last week, I dove into the world of streaming hitters by way of platoon advantages, particularly with guys who excel against lefties. In part two, we will look at some righty mashers. With these guys being on plus side of the playing-time split, they won’t all be as readily available as the lefty guys should be in your 10- and 12-team mixers, but if you have one of these guys you might consider getting someone from the first piece to pair with them instead of starting these guys all the time.
Here are five guys making life extremely difficult for right-handed pitchers so far this season.
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Five older players on contending teams have defied the aging curve by having unexpected success this year. How have they done it, and can it continue?
Most players tend to peak in their mid-to-late 20s before declining after age 30. But not every player adheres to the typical trajectory. Several contending teams have benefited from unlikely resurgences or career years by players who’ve struggled in recent seasons and have already reached the point on the aging curve at which we would have expected their declines to continue. Who are they? How have they turned back the clock? And most importantly, can their surprising success continue?
Ryan Ludwick, Reds, 34
What he’s done: The Reds are 65-38 since their .500 April and 25-10 since losing Joey Votto to knee surgery in mid-July. No player has been more responsible for that run than Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick was a below-average batter with the Padres over the past two seasons even after adjusting for Petco Park’s pitcher friendliness, and when he hit .207/.289/.405 through June 6th of this season, Reds fans called for his playing time to be curtailed. Then he got hot. Ludwick’s .340 TAv since the start of June ranks 13th among all hitters with at least 200 plate appearances, and his .356 TAv since the start of July ranks eighth (min. 150 PA), behind only Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. How he’s done it: Ludwick hit much better before and after his stint with San Diego, so it’s possible that Petco hurt him even more than it hurts the average hitter. Great American Ball Park, however, is a haven for right-handed hitters and the perfect place to restore his power. This is also the first season in which Ludwick has avoided the disabled list since his career year of 2008, so good health is also a factor. Can he keep doing it: Ludwick can’t keep producing like a perennial MVP candidate, so some regression is in store, but little about his line looks fluky. Any decline in his production should be more than offset for Cincinnati by Votto’s impending return.
Three players tell Sam about the toughest pitches they've seen this season. They weren't the ones you'd expect.
Since the very first Best Pitches Thrown This Week, we’ve bumped up against the limits of what we can really conclude about a pitch. The pitch is not meant to impress us; it is meant to impress the batter, and we are not the batter, so our conclusions are answering the wrong question. So this week I asked some baseball players to name the nastiest pitch they have seen this year. These are their answers, which are interesting to me because these are absolutely not the answers I would have given for them. None of these guys even fell over! Batter falling over is 90 percent of my typical assessment. But they know. I don’t know. They know. Here we go.
Jake Peavy doesn't have Jake Peavy's fastball anymore. Here's how he is still good.
Jon Lester and Jake Peavy engaged in a pitcher’s duel on Saturday afternoon. Officially, Lester and the Red Sox won 1-0, but Peavy stole the show as he threw back-to-back complete games for the first time in his career. All told, Peavy’s line through five games moved to 37 2/3 innings pitched, 21 hits allowed (one home run), seven runs against, and 28 more strikeouts than walks.
The temptation to label Peavy’s April as “vintage Peavy” is as strong as it is inaccurate. Peavy no longer sits in the mid-90s (he touches 94 mph) and he no longer strikes out a batter per inning. But Peavy is still a bulldog on the mound, his tenacity evident in both his pitching and in his unwillingness to be forthcoming about injuries. A certain air of invincibility is required in order to make it as a major-league pitcher; however, being a pertinacious pitcher can have its drawbacks—like being in denial about lost velocity and continuing to ride a subpar heater.
The A's make a Moneyball move with Manny Ramirez, the Yankees round out their bench with Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, and the Red Sox finally get what was coming to them for Theo Epstein in Cubs reliever Chris Carpenter
Not much to see here other than sorting out some corner spots and back ends of rotations.
In a wee bit of roster oddity, the AL West has both some of the most and least compelling job fights going for it. Whereas every other team in the junior circuit has a meaningful battle for a frontline job-as opposed to the inevitable, smaller combats for back-end bullpen assignments, bench roles, backup catchery, or the like, TA's bread and butter for 15 years-the short stack has one club that has no meaningful job fights, the Angels.