It was a busy weekend, with monster performances from individuals that fueled some massive points on Draft Kings. I mentioned in last Thursday's column that the 100-point threshold represents my profit line, but I should emphasize that it is just a general guideline – for a point-saturated day like we had on Sunday, my 127 points were just enough to break even, and I knew that I was in trouble early due to the surrounding chaos. The Orioles also showed why a stack can be immensely profitable at times, getting the whole lineup involved in pushing 18 runs across the plate against Wade Miley and the Red Sox, a game that also saw Hanley Ramirez knock a pair of homers for Boston. There were a couple of key games that were washed out over the weekend, including yesterday's tilt between the Giants and Rockies in Denver, so those who were not paying attention to the weather had to suffer through dead spots in their rosters.
J.D. Martinez, OF ($4700)
vs. LHP: .279/.336/.490 in 423 PA
vs. RHP: .269/.311/.430 in 1111 PA
Martinez has gone from after-thought to middle-order producer in the blink of an eye, further bolstering an already potent Tigers offense. As a Houston Astro from 2011-13, Martinez was a .251/.300/387 hitter in 975 plate appearances that went through his age-25 season. The former 20th round pick was released in March of 2014, only to be swooped up two days later by the Tigers. A few mechanical alterations later (inspired by new teammate Miguel Cabrera) and J.D. was transformed into a hitting machine who pumped out hits against pitchers of all types, but whose power has been especially potent against southpaws.
vs. LHP: .303/.356/.613 in 146 PA
vs. RHP: .309/.346/.527 in 413 PA
The sample is tiny and the most obvious takeaway from the above numbers is that Martinez just raked everyone last season. He has continued mashing so far in 2015 and is regularly on my radar to roster if the price is right, and facing a soft-tossing lefty like Tommy Milone just adds to the appeal.
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Details ($3 Moonshot):
Jay Bruce, OF ($4300)
vs. LHP: .226/.296/.427 in 1207 PA
vs. RHP: .260/.333/.480 in 2814 PA
Home: .256/.334/.505 in 1994 PA
Road: .243/.310/.425 in 2027 PA
Bruce and Martinez seem to have swapped baseball identities, because they essentially traded batting lines last season. It must have been a two-year deal because this season is starting out much as the last, and Bruce is doing his part with a .161/.257/.321 slash that features three homers and nine RBI, as he has made his few hits really count. Bruce should relish situations like today – parked at the GAB with a right-hander on the mound – if he is to rediscover former glory. If there's a knock against him, it's that Bruce is vulnerable to the bender and is facing a pitcher in Jimmy Nelson who relies on a fastball and a pair of breaking balls, with nary an off-speed pitch in sight.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B ($3900)
vs. LHP: .273/.337/.434 in 2025 PA
vs. RHP: .302/.378/.536 in 4384 PA
vs. Lincecum: .246/.299/.246 in 67 PA
That is an extremely low price on Gonzo, and I found myself wondering how he could possibly slip below the $4k threshold. He has a massive platoon advantage and has been raking this young season to the tune of seven bombs and 18 RBI in 17 games, leading the majors with an .809 slugging percentage this season. Then I saw Adrian's career line against Lincecum, and I began to understand. Gonzalez has faced Lincecum more times than all but one other pitcher (Matt Cain, an incredible 85 plate appearances head-to-head), having clashed for 67 plate appearances over the years, and Timmy hasn't just won that battle but dominated it. You might have noticed that the slugging percentage and batting average are identical, the natural byproduct of a career-long stretch of at bats without a single extra-base hit. To put that into perspective, the next-highest pitcher on the list of plate appearances without an XBH is Carlos Zambrano with 25 PA.
James Shields, SD vs. HOU ($9600)
There are a lot of enticing pitchers today, from David Price to Cole Hamels and Collin McHugh, but the pitcher with the rosiest context is the Padres James Shields. He draws the free-swinging, low-scoring Astros in Petco for a night game, providing the weak opponent and the spacious ballpark to encourage a big outing under the marine layer tonight. He's rattled off four solid starts in a row, with 25 innings of 29 strikeouts and eight walks, and though no single outing stands out as a bread-winner the typical raised floor is joined by a vaulted ceiling of potential performance tonight.
Jarred Cosart, MIA vs. NYM ($6200)
Cosart is squaring off against a depleted Mets squad, packing his mid-90s cutter that the right-hander throws more than 80 percent of the time. The predictable usage pattern is part of Cosart's pitch-to-contact approach which simultaneously tarnishes his fantasy value and leaves him vulnerable to the vagaries of balls in play. The Mets are 1-2 in their last three games, following a perfect 10-0 homestand, and the down-side of the team's rash of injuries is starting to show. The NL East is still on its head, with the 14-5 Mets sitting seven games in front of the paper-champion Nats. The Braves run was predictably short lived, and the Marlins needed five wins in a row to bring their record back into reality, so with Washington seven games behind the leaders it looks like the division will be a greater battle than anticipated.
Hector Noesi, CHW at BAL ($5500)
His price tells a lot of the story, and a DFS manager is only rostering Noesi with the intention of rechanneling the cost savings toward the offense. That said, I would look elsewhere. Noesi has a very bad case of gopheritis, having coughed up a total of 28 homers in 172.3 innings between three different clubs last year. He has been hit hard his entire career, as his lack command results in too many baseballs near the middle of the plate and his pedestrian stuff gets hammered when misexecuted. Facing a Baltimore club that scored 18 runs yesterday and which leads the majors in runs this season, things could get ugly in a hurry. I smell a tall stack of O's for today.
Jimmy Paredes, 3B/OF ($4000)
The DFS darling of last week, Paredes put up huge numbers for bargain basement prices while qualifying in multiple spots to exploit the value that he brought to a lineup. Paredes cost between $2000-$2500 during the week, and though he didn't need to do much to justify his salary, over the last nine Oriole games (of which he's played eight), Paredes has hit .429/.444/.857 with eight hits going for extra bases. He's driven in nine runs, scored nine more and threw in a stolen base for good measure. Typically when you roster a player for two grand, the purpose is to open up the payroll flexibility for other roster spots, so that anything the cheap guy does is gravy.
So where did this guy come from? Is it fact or fiction? And what's with the price tag?
Paredes was a thief in the minors, busting the 50-steal mark one season and clearing the 30-SB hurdle in another campaign. He's flashed occasional power in the minors, but his season-high in longballs is 13 and his career ISO in the minors is just 140. Hitting three homers in a four-game stretch was completely out of character for Paredes, and though it was a fun ride, the best part might already be finished. The price not only caught up but sprinted ahead, essentially doubling to $4000, instantly transforming Paredes from a must-own to unlock roster potential to another temporary casualty of the market.
Jacoby Ellsbury (hip, $4800) could be back in the lineup today.
Rajai Davis ($4800) left yesterday's game with groin tightness and is day-to-day.
After a weekend full of rainouts and cancelations, it looks like we will be given a relatively dry Monday
The exception is in Arlington (SEA at TEX), where thunderstorms are expected throughout the afternoon and evening, and there is a chance of cancelation of the game. – check here for updates
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