Joc Pederson, OF ($4600)
vs. LHP: .303/.395/.515 in 38 PA
vs. RHP: .243/.377/.559 in 168 PA
The sample is obviously too small to draw any conclusions, and the default assumption that left-handed bats struggle versus like-sided arms is probably safe until we get a larger sample at the highest level (though it's worth noting that he mashed pitchers of all types in the minors in 2014), but it is encouraging that Joc has already mashed a couple of homers against southpaws this season, so there is little fear in rostering him against southpaw Jorge De La Rosa in game one of today's double-header. DFS owners will be more interested in the nightcap, which pits the leadoff-hitting Pederson against right-hander David Hale of the Rockies, where the thin air and weak opponent could result in a big day if Mother Nature permits a full nine innings tonight in Denver.
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Details ($3 Entry):
Jorge Soler, OF ($4500)
vs. LHP: .292/.368/.396 in 57 PA
vs. RHP: .270/.315/.470 in 248 PA
Soler lit the world on fire when he came up last season, but his performance quickly dropped off, and he has exhibited a remarkably similar pattern in 2015, including just two home runs on the power hitter's resume in since April 14th. His paltry sample against left-handers is easy to wave away, but he has yet to go deep against a southpaw in 57 career plate appearances against them. The bat has started to come alive over the past couple of weeks, and today's matchup with Miami lefty Brad Hand could present the opportunity for Soler to get off the schneid.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B ($3300)
vs. LHP: .293/.353/.546 in 1910 PA
vs. RHP: .280/.339/.480 in 6711 PA
vs. Lance Lynn: .115/.179/.115 in 28 PA
This season could be Ramirez's swan song, and one player that he has yet to check off his list of “pitchers to mash” is tonight's starter for St. Louis, Lance Lynn. The Cardinals right-hander has completely thwarted Aramis in their head-to-head matchups to date, retiring the veteran third baseman in 24 out of 26 at bats with zero extra-base hits in those meetings. Ramirez has had no trouble putting the ball in play, with just four strikeouts and two walks in the 28 times that they have squared off. Ramirez has really struggled of late, going 4-for-30 with one extra-base hit in his last 10 games, and the poor run will likely continue unless Aramis can defy the mountain of odds that are against him.
There's something about the water in Pittsburgh that agree with Burnett (or maybe it's coach Ray Searage), as the 38-year old has enjoyed a career year for the Pirates, making his return after a disastrous 2014 season spent in Philadelphia. The 1.81 ERA is the first stat that pops off the page, but his league-average walk rate has largely been the difference maker when contrasting his time in Pittsburgh against all of his other innings of the last nine years; he has walked 7.8 percent of the batters he has faced with Pittsburgh over three of the past four years, yet that rate is 9.8 percent when pitching for anybody else over the last nine years.
Lance Lynn, STL vs. MIL ($8500)
Lynn has shut down the Brewers in his career, with a 2.78 ERA across 77.7 innings, and in particular he has shut down the big bats on the Milwaukee roster. In addition to the aforementioned line against Ramirez, Lynn has also stopped Carlos Gomez (3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts) in his tracks and gotten the most of Ryan Braun with rare exception (7-for-25 with one homer, six K's, and no walks). The Brewer who has had the most success against Lynn is Jean Segura, whose .391/.417/.522 line in 24 plate appearances against Lynn are reminiscent of the shortstop's 2013 breakout. Jonathan Lucroy just got back from injury, and he has had some luck in hitting Lynn in the past (.304/.429/.391), but the backstop was having an empty season before the injury and could take time to rediscover his swing.
Mike Wright, BAL at HOU ($4800)
Wright was playing a bit over his head in his first couple of turns, allowing zero runs across his first pair of starts covering 14.3 innings. It helped that he was facing the top-heavy yet slug-light offenses of the Angels and Marlins, and Wright faced a very similar foe in his next start versus the White Sox. He faces a bigger challenge today against the Astros (it feels odd just typing that), and though his career K rate of 19.3 percent in the minors was relatively modest (especially for a pitcher whose average fastball is over 95 mph), he should have a chance to up the ante on his big-league rate against a Houston offense whose 474 strikeouts are 14-percent more than the second-place AL club in that category. The cost is absurdly low for a quality pitcher, especially given the big-K upside provided by today's matchup with the Astros, and those willing to spend the $12000 on Max Scherzer might find Wright to be a worthy tandem partner that doesn't stand in the way of a thick lineup.
Johnny Cueto, CIN at PHI ($10400)
It's amazing just how quickly a reputation can be altered, particularly when it comes to the health records of ballplayers. Cueto spent much of the last few years with the “fragile” label stamped on his uniform, this despite his making 30 or more starts in four of his first five big-league seasons, as the dearth of 200-inning campaigns on his baseball card was easy fodder for sportswriters and broadcasters alike. He did crack the 200-frame barrier in his fifth full campaign, but followed it up with a 60-inning season that was cut short by a strained lat in his throwing shoulder, further cementing his reputation as a medical risk.
Then Cueto went and led the league with 243.3 innings last season, and suddenly the narrative shifted as he had crossed the magical 200-inning threshold twice in the last three seasons. Cincy had a thinning rotation, thanks to the trade of Mat Latos and the injury to Homer Bailey, and Cueto was counted on to anchor the pitching staff this season. His K-per-inning rate of 2014 was a career-best rate, and he has thus far followed it up with 8.3 strikeouts per nine, indicating that he held onto some of his bat-missing gains from last season. Trade winds have been swirling given the Reds' poor standing and Cueto's continued success, but recent worries with his right elbow have brought everything to a halt as the injury concerns of his youth have resurfaced. He was dominant through the first month of the season but had been more hittable prior to taking a couple of starts off, and today he will go up against a weak opponent in the hopes that he can re-establish his trade value.
Rain is threatening a ballgame in D.C. once again, though skies should be clear for the first game of today double-header while Game Two is facing a sub-50-percent chance of showers – click here for updates
They only have one game scheduled in Boston (MIN-BOS) after yesterday's postponement, and though light rain will make an appearance in the area this afternoon, they should be cleared for tonight's ballgame – click here for updates
Rain is likely heading through Philadelphia this evening (CIN-PHI), but the likelihood of precipitation is under 50 percent – click here for updates
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