1. Scott Kazmir ($9,100 OAK v. HOU)
He has definitely bounced back from his big hiccup of the season. He allowed seven earned runs in Citi Field back on June 24, a clunker that accounted for 24 percent of his season earned runs to that point. Since then, he has a 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in three starts with 24 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. The Astros have handled lefties quite well this year, but not Kazmir. He allowed just three earned in 14 innings in back-to-back starts against Houston in April. Pros: Tremendous ratios; big strikeout potential. Cons: Likely a common pick canceling out his impact.
2. Yusmeiro Petit ($7,600 SF at PHI)
Petit always had decent component numbers in the majors back in the mid-2000s, but he showed virtually zero command of the zone with a 2.0 HR/9 rate in 229 1/3 innings. Since reemerging with the Giants, he has improved his strikeout and walk rates to the tune of a 4.4 K:BB ratio in 111 innings, and he has paired that with a 0.8 HR/9, making him a rather useful swingman for the Giants. He’s done a lot of his best work in the bullpen this year, but he still has a few solid starts under his belt. The Phillies offer a strong matchup. Pros: Lightly used giving you an edge if he pops; solid ratios. Cons: HRs can end his and your night before it starts.
3. Kyle Hendricks ($6,500 CHC v. SD)
There isn’t a ton of next-level thought here. He’s facing the Padres and he’s dirt-cheap. He struggled some in his debut outing against Cincinnati, but he did miss plenty of bats and showed some impressive stuff. He was excellent in Triple-A this year, too, which is almost certainly tougher than the Padres lineup right now. Pros: Big strikeout potential; easiest possible matchup. Cons: It’s his second start ever and we’ve yet to see a good one as a major leaguer.
1. Anthony Rendon ($4,800 WAS at COL)
Yohan Flande will be picked on a lot on Tuesday, especially in Coors Field. Rendon will likely be a relatively popular pick, but I wouldn’t necessarily avoid him because of that fact. I feel like pitching is where you get your big edge while hitting is where you’re just looking for steady production. Even if 25 percent of the Midsummer Classic has Rendon’s big night (assuming he has a big night, of course), there are still plenty of avenues to acquire a hitting edge. If a similar percentage loads up on Kazmir, you only have your secondary pitcher to gain your pitching edge.
2. Mike Napoli ($4,500 BOS at TOR)
Speaking of lefty killers, Napoli is toting a .923 OPS against them this year (actually, it’s higher as he just popped a homer off of Brad Mills as I wrote this), adding to his career mark of .910 (besting his .837 mark against righties). He gets J.A. Happ in Toronto a night after the Red Sox absolutely trounced the Jays. With Drew Hutchison lasting only 2 2/3 innings, the Jays bullpen is taxed, which could keep Happ in beyond his expiration date and get Napoli and Co. an extra appearance against the modest lefty.
3. Jayson Werth ($5,300 WAS at COL)
Let’s get a second serving of Flande! Werth’s .982 OPS against lefties is more than 200 points higher than his .769 mark against righties. Meanwhile, I’m going to fade Werth’s recent record at Coors and bet for a big regression. He went 1-for-11 there last year in three games after a 2-for-15 effort back in 2011. Despite that horrid effort his last two times out there, he still has a .953 OPS there in 128 PA.
4. Dayan Viciedo ($3,700 CWS v. KC)
Viciedo has long been a lefty killer with a career .881 OPS against them, though just a .776 mark this year so far. He’s been a streaky hitter forever, but the pop is there. He is hitting homers at a 30 HR pace over the last two month,s which has helped mitigate the .590 OPS somewhat. He looked like he was ready to take a step forward this year with a big hot start, but he’s tapered off significantly since that early surge. I like the power upside and low price to round out of my outfield. His 33 PA against Bruce Chen are his most against any pitcher and he does have a .989 OPS with three homers, more than he has against anyone.
5. Xander Bogaerts ($3,300 BOS at TOR)
Hey, we've got to save money somewhere. Affording Napoli, Rendon, and Werth means bargain spending in at least two spots, but I like this gamble. Bogaerts is better than the .663 OPS hitter we’ve seen this year, but we might not see it consistently until next year. However, his .733 OPS against lefties is far more palatable at that price point as a 3B/SS option. His power comes against lefties with a .394 SLG (yes, that constitutes as the better end of his power right now) and three of his seven homers. I don’t think he’s automatically better at one position over the other because both have been thin in the fantasy game, but I’m using him at third with Elvis Andrus at shortstop.
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