By last count, there are nine southpaws scheduled to take the hill, so please excuse the leftward lean of today's episode of Fantasy Rounders.
The price is surprisingly low for the rookie masher, particularly considering his southpaw opponent, but Bryant's recent three-for-18 slump must be influencing his salary. We are dealing with a negligible sample on Bryant's part, but the fragility of his opponent also factors into this recommendation. Niese might have minimal platoon splits, with an OPS that's just 42 points higher versus right-handed batters than lefties, but he's an attractive option if stacking Cubs due to Niese's overall vulnerabililty to crooked numbers.
Chris Young OF ($3400, +133 OPS), versus LHP Andrew Heaney
His lefty-swatting skills have been in top form this season, including a .388/.453/.731 slash in 76 plate appearances with the platoon advantage, a line that stands out further when stood up against his paltry .190/.213/.352 performance in 110 PA against right-handed pitchers. Young has gone deep twice in the last three games, one each off of a righty and a lefty, and though his 10-game hitting streak was just broken, the deck is stacked for him to stay hot against the Halos.
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Rodriguez hasn't shown much in the way of splits in his brief career, but the trepidation with rostering him today has everything to do with his opponent. The platoon factor grants boosts to southpaw slayers like Josh Donaldson 3B ($4800, +210 OPS, +.170 SLG), Jose Bautista OF ($5200, +.037 SLG), and Edwin Encarnacion ($5300, +59 OPS). The Red Sox starter has played over his head and now faces the league's toughest offense.
Hosmer has a history of struggles against southpaws, and the results have been more of the same thus far in 2015 with a limp line of .274/.333/.396 versus lefties to date. The same goes for Moustakas, whose OPS is 197 points lower against fellow left-handers this season, amd ,pre than 100 points of OPS lower for his career. Both players started the season on a roll but have since cooled considerably,heading into the frosty conditions of tonight's matchup with the suddenly dominant Dallas Keuchel.
Cole is having the breakout season that was predicted of him, it's just came a year later than the fantasy community had hoped. He's been one of the best pitchers in the game this season but the right-hander's one weakness is the stolen base, as opposing baserunners already have 14 steals (fourth-most in baseball) in 20 attempts this season. Attempted thieves went 21-for-26 last season, for a two-year total of 35 steals in 46 attempts across 233.7 combined innings. Davis and Gose might have a tough time getting on base versus the stingy Cole, but expect them to run if given the opportunity.
The standard metrics might not be impressive, but the one area in which Tillman has consistently shown has been his limiting of stolen bases. Baserunners have pulled off exactly one successful steal attempt in each of the past three seasons, and even stretching back to the early days reveals that no more than nine baserunners have dared to run on Tillman in a single season. They are three-for-15 since the start of 2013, and speed-first players such as Martin and Andrus see their values take a serious hit if the bases are locked.
The extra-base hit power that Duffy has put on display in the bigs this season was a piece of his minor-league resume, to an extent, though his .303/.349/.491 line would mark a career-best for any level. His bat has really caught fire recently, with six extra-base hits in his last four ballgames, including his falling just a single short of the cycle on Sunday. His positional flexibility and favorable salary allow a DFS manager to fit Duffy into the lineup without compromising any of the anchors on roster.
Avoid: Alexei Ramirez SS ($2900), facing RHP Lance Lynn
Some years he hits for power and some years he runs, and though his OPS consistently ends up in the 650-750 range, his complete evaporation of offensive skills this season has been baffling. The slash currently stands at .216/.240/.286, with an OBP that should be unplayable regardless of glovework. Perhaps the 33-year old is hitting a rapid decline phase or maybe it;s just a temporary fluke, but Ramirez's offensive ineptitude has only gotten worse in recent weeks. He has just four hits in his last 45 at bats, has managed only a pair of extra-base hits (both doubles) in the past month, and hasn't stolen a bag in 13 games. The price is almost a gimme, but the odds of Ramirez garnering the six points needed to justify his salary seem far-fetched.
Votto hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire recently, with nary an extra-base knock in his last 12 games, a stretch that has knocked 58 points off of his OPS for the season. He's still be getting on base via the walk during his mini slump, and facing a pitcher like Hughes (who has already surrendered 17 homers this season) could potentially bring Votto out of his funk in short order.
Billy Butler 1B ($3300), facing Jorge de la Rosa
A cheaper option than Votto if plugging a player into the cold corner, Butler brings a nice platoon advantage (+138 OPS versus southpaws) into tonight's matchup with de la Rosa and the Rockies. The A's have kept Butler in the middle of the order against left-handers, against whom he has hit .309/.391/.511 for his career, though his overall performance of the past two seasons leave much to be desired.
Avoid: Russell Martin C ($4400), facing LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
Martin is the second-most expensive backstop on the market for today, and he clears all other non-Posey catchers by $400 or more of salary cap commitment. He has always had a bit of pop in his bat, but Martin has graduated to the next level of power with 11 homers this season and a gaudy 8.2 fantasy points per game on Draft Kings. Martin is yet another Blue Jay who incurs a platoon advantage against the Boston lefty, but the cost is just too high to expect the 32-year old's breakout to continue, and his recent 1-for-15 skid is hardly endearing.
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