With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.
1. Lance Lynn ($9,500 STL v. MIL) – Lynn has done a better job of avoiding that implosion start this year, which has yielded a breakout season and his first with a sub-3.00 ERA. He hasn’t seen any major skills uptick to spur the ERA improvements, but instead we’ve some small improvements in a few different areas, including a return his above-average LOB rate from 2011-2012. He fell from the mid-70s to 71.8 percent last year, but he’s back up to 76.3 percent this year. His .293 BABIP is also a career-best, as is his 0.39 HR/9. The ERA predictors aren’t quite buying him at this level, but his 3.12 FIP says he has at least been very good, if not elite. His 23 outings of at least six innings is tied for sixth most in the league.
2. Jake Peavy ($8,800 SF at ARI) – The Giants picked up a struggling veteran before the deadline and he had been resurgent with them. That never happens…………. Peavy was solid in his first four starts with the Giants, but he’s really taken off during his last five, with a 1.08 ERA, 32 strikeouts, and an 8.0 K:BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. A major key has been cutting the homers. He had 1.5 HR/9 in 124 innings with Boston, but only 0.3 per nine with San Francisco, which makes this venue a little less daunting. Injury returns have fattened up the Diamondbacks offense a bit, with A.J. Pollock and Chris Owings back atop the lineup.
3. Drew Hutchison ($7,500 TOR at BAL) – He has been incredibly volatile this year, with eight outings of 5+ ER (tied for fourth most) and 11 outings of 1 ER or fewer (tied for sixth most), and that can actually be a desirable profile in the daily game. The downside keeps his price well below his peak value and the throng of dud outings dotting his ledger will scare many off, particularly with this matchup. All of this creates a nice buying opportunity for us. He hasn’t been fazed by Baltimore, whether home or away. He has a 0.98 ERA and 0.76 WHIP against them in four starts, which includes 13 scoreless innings in Camden Yards. He has two 30+ scores in his last three and another just a few starts before that, when he dismantled the O’s, allowing just one hit in 8 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts en route to 36.3-point evening. The volatility makes him a poor 50/50 option, but he will be a rare pick in the tourneys and he could pay off massively.
1. Victor Martinez ($5,000 DET at MIN) – Our first hitter of the day will come with a lower-priced secondary option. I don’t always like to do that, because ideally you should be able to use all five guys I recommend, but I realize that’s rare and so I just give my favorite picks even if there are position conflicts. Ricky Nolasco’s .928 OPS against lefties is the league’s worst among pitchers with at least 300 PA against southpaws. In fact, Nolasco and Justin Masterson are the only two pitchers north of .900. Martinez has destroyed all comers this year, and while his best work does come against lefties (.374 AVG, 1.133 OPS), his work against righties is still excellent (.315, .905) and should get a boost from Nolasco.
2. Adam Lind ($4,200 TOR at BAL) – Lind’s career resurgence (.868 OPS the last two years after a .724 in the previous three years) has come with his evolution into a platoon player. He has almost exclusively faced righties and returned to an elite level against them with a .946 OPS. (He has a paltry .496 OPS against lefties in that same span.) Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound for Baltimore, which is good news for all Jays hitters.
3. A.J. Pollock ($4,500 ARI v. SF) – He’s back! And he hasn’t wasted any time before once again showing the electric upside he had before breaking his hand. He has hits in seven of 11 games with four extra-base hits, seven RBIs, and four walks against just six strikeouts. The best part about a diverse talent like this is that he can deliver in so many ways. He has the power, the speed, and he can even take a walk every once in a while (he has a seven percent rate, so I don’t want to overstate it). If Jake Peavy's 3.3 percent HR/FB rate chooses today to correct itself, Pollock will be there to take advantage of it.
4. Neil Walker ($4,500 PIT v. BOS) – Have you noticed how good Walker has been this year? He’s one batting average point, one run and one RBI away from .280 AVG-20 HR-70 R-70 RBI. The switch-hitter has muscled up against righties for 18 of his 20 homers, making the Anthony Ranaudo matchup an intriguing one. Ranaudo has made only five starts, but he has an obscene 2.7 HR/9, having allowed eight bombs in his 26 2/3 innings. Walker dropped a ridiculous 26-point night his last time out on Sunday. It was his second 26-point effort in his last 10 games and his third double-digit game in four. He has gone scoreless just once in his last 10.
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