Josh Reddick, OF ($4700)
vs. LHP: .219/.281/.380 in 612 PA
vs. RHP: .262/.322/.460 in 1570 PA
Rangers' right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is due for a beating – and thus a short outing – but Reddick should have a couple of at bats to swing the weight of his platoon advantage. It's a hefty price tag, one that reflects the doubt inherent in an opposing pitcher whose 0.90 ERA is off-set by 12 walks and just 10 strikeouts in 30.0 innings. Reddick's recent history leaves a little something to be desired as he hasn't homered since June 12, and though the thumper is often overlooked, I would also look the other way today (or any day an opposing lefty is on the mound) due to the other options available at that cost of investment.
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Details ($3 Entry):
Lucas Duda, 1B ($3600)
vs. LHP: .230/.308/.357 in 540 PA
vs. RHP: .258/.361/.478 in 1624 PA
Duda has been streaky this season, particularly in the homerun department, as six of his 10 homers this season came in a seven-game stretch during late May. He's currently on the downswing, with a slugging percentage that has dropped 74 points since the calendar flipped to June, but he's facing a homer-prone opponent tonight in the form of Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers, whose 1.55 WHIP should make the low price tag an easy value for Duda to match or exceed.
Yunel Escobar, SS/3B ($3500)
vs. LHP: .282/.357/.384 in 1299 PA
vs. RHP: .278/.346/.383 in 3387 PA
We're just beyond the one-third mark of the campaign, so a lot could change between now and October, but at his current pace Yunel Escobar will finish with the most productive season of his career. Taking over for Ryan Zimmerman as the Nats' primary third baseman, Escobar has already tallied a trio of five-hit games this season, a fact which is somewhat trivial considering that he hasn't had a four-hit game yet this year. Regardless of how he got there, he has convinced Nationals manager Matt Williams to pencil him into the top three spots of the batting order for 57 of his 63 games started this season (the other six games were chunked into the middle third of the batting order). This trend continued after Anthony Rendon reentered the fray, putting Yunel in a prime position to stockpile the counting stats while hitting in front of Bryce Harper and Co. He's facing Alex Wood and the Braves today, a matchup that is both familiar (Escobar came up with Atlanta) and friendly(he has a .316/.379/.462 slash for his career in Nationals Park).
Zack Greinke, LAD at CHC ($10500)
Greinke has been extremely consistent this season, whether looking at his run prevention (two runs allowed or fewer in every non-Colorado start since April), K counts (between five and nine for each of those games), fantasy points (between 21.1 and 28.8 points on Draft Kings for his last five starts at sea level), or even pitch count (between 89 and 105 pitches in each of the aforementioned games). The subpar K rate and apparent workload limitations conspire to limit his ceiling, perhaps dulling the interest in his services for GPP tournaments, but he is an ideal play for cash games who should put gamers in the position to earn big bucks if the bats hold up their end of the bargain.
Greinke might receive a boost in the strikeout department due to his opponent, but stockpiling K's are not the main incentive to roster Greinke tonight, as he seems to have solved the single-inning implosions that have marred his previous campaigns. The bigger worry is that the patience of the Cubs (their collective 3.98 pitches per plate appearance lead the majors) will limit his innings-count in tonight's ballgame.
Jason Hammel, CHC vs. LAD ($8500)
Perhaps it's the influence of Chris Bosio, or maybe there's something about deep dish pizza that brings out the best in Jason Hammel, but he is simply a different pitcher when donning a Cubs uniform. He has a 25.7 percent K rate this season that's the highest of his MLB career, paired with a 4.2-percent walk rate that's the lowest frequency of free passes that he has allowed at any point in his professional career (caveat: in a season with more than ten innings pitched). The great run has hit a bit of a speed bump in recent weeks, with Hammel's lack of pitch efficiency getting him chased early in games against the Reds and Indians, and he will have to be careful with a Dodger lineup that was recently re-energized with Yasiel Puig and which has a streaky rook in Joc Pederson who appears to be heating up at the top of the order.
Collin McHugh, HOU at LAA ($7100)
McHugh was a fantasy darling last season, seemingly arising from out of nowhere (along with Dallas Keuchel) to spearhead the rotation of the Astros. Between McHugh and Keuchel, I pegged McHugh as the pitcher more likely to sustain his breakout of 2014 into this season, but that prediction has gone spectacularly wrong as McHugh's struggles have mounted throughout the season. The right-hander started the season strong, but over the past two months he has watched his ERA balloon (from 2.92 at the end of April to his current 5.04 mark) while his K rate has deflated from the 25.4 percent of last season to a 2015 figure (19.1 percent) that fails to crack the 20 percent barrier that represents league average.
Fans of BABIP as a luck indicator will point to last season's .263 mark and the .321 of this year, figuring that much of McHugh's fall is tied to regression, while acknowledging that the rise in FIP (from 3.11 to the 4.43) indicates that something more sinister could be afoot. He's walking fewer yet catching larger swatch of plate, resulting in a rate of extra base hits that has swelled from 5.3 percent last season to 9.0 percent in 2015, including the same number of homers allowed (13) in just over one-half as many innings. He draws the Angels at the wrong time, with Albert Pujols scorching baseballs once again and Mike Trout continuing to swim upstream.
The eastern seaboard is under tornado watch tonight, so check the following locations for potential game-altering weather patterns:
Boston (BAL-BOS) – check here for updates
Washington, DC (ATL-WAS) – check here for updates
New York City (PHI-NYY) – check here for updates
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