So much for yesterday's recommendation of Rockies vs. a left-handed pitcher, as a rain delay forced Braves starter Alex Wood from the game after throwing just two pitches. The weather appears to be drying up in Denver, so feel free to stack your lineups full of Rox without fear of a washout.
Target: RHB's Josh Donaldson 3B ($4800, +207 OPS and +.135 ISO vs. LHP), Jose Bautista OF ($4800, +51 OPS and +.015 ISO) and Edwin Encarnacion 1B ($4500, +61 OPS and +.008 ISO) facing LHP Danny Duffy ($6000, +160 OPS and +.075 ISO vs. RHB)
All hands on deck for the majors' highest-scoring club, as the Blue Jays have a ridiculous 841 OPS versus opposing left-handers this season, and their biggest bats enjoy the largest gains when there's a southpaw on the mound. Donaldson is an MVP candidate who is basically an auto-start whenever he's facing a lefty, with an extreme platoon split that includes a career line of .299/.377/.598 against left-handed pitchers. The fence-clearing possibilities for Joey Bats and E-5 also receive a small boost though much of their platoon-related gains are in the on-base department, and the young southpaw Duffy faces an uphill climb back to respectability.
Avoid: LHB's Robinson Cano 2B ($3800, -109 OPS and -.056 ISO vs. LHP), Kyle Seager 3B ($3400, -114 OPS and -.031 ISO vs. LHP), and Seth Smith OF ($3500, -214 OPS and -.086 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Hector Santiago ($7700, -154 OPS and -.112 ISO vs. RHB)
Santiago has rather extreme splits that shut down opposing left-handers, particularly sapping power, as lefty bats have a meager .275 slugging percentage against Santiago in his career. The M's can counteract with Nelson Cruz (+100 OPS vs. LHP) and the newly-acquired Mark Trumbo (+90 OPS vs. LHP), and as a team they have pretty even platoon splits this season, but practicing avoidance is likely a shrewd move for the above trio of left-handed Seattle bats.
Join Doug in playing Baseball Prospectus Beat the Expert League on Draft Kings – click here for tournament lobby.
Details ($3 Entry):
Rizzo has become a legitimate threat on the bases this season, and though he is on the roster to hit bombs, his ability to snag a base here and there further inflates his value. Facing a left-handed pitcher hardly fazes Rizzo these days, and given that Rodon is the rare left-hander that can't hold baserunners, I'd say that odds are pretty good that either he or Dexter Fowler (or both) ends up with a stolen base in this one. Be aware that this game is the solitary contest that starts before 7:00pm EST, so it will only be part of the All Day slate on Draft Kings.
Avoid: Ben Revere OF ($3300, 20-of-25 SB this season), Cesar Hernandez 2B/SS ($2600, 12-of-15 SB) and Odubel Herrera 2B/OF ($2600, 9-of-13 SB) facing LHP Madison Bumgarner ($11100, opponents 0-of-3 SB)
There have been only three steal attempts against MadBum this year, not one of which has been successful, and for the past three seasons the lefty has been thwarting opposing baserunners with an opponents success rate of just 43-percent (15-of-35) on steal attempts. This was a problem for Bumgarner prior to 2013, coming off of a 2012 campaign in which he saw 27 baserunners steal bags out of 37 attempts. The Phillies have a lot of cheap filler players to fill the up-the-middle positions in a DFS lineup and steals carry a big part of their value, but Philly players may have a hard time extracting that extra value on the basepaths with Bummer on the mound for the Giants.
Head-to-head stats: .369/.468/.585 in 77 plate appearances
Take the above numbers (and the target suggestion) with massive grains of salt, as both players are shells of their MVP candidate selves from a handful of years ago. Most of those numbers were compiled by the batting-champ version of Mauer, but to be fair, they were also established against perennial Cy-contender Verlander. Mauer's 77 plate appearances against Verlander are more than any other pitcher in his career, as the long-time AL Central foes have compiled a decent sample size of head-to-head competition, and at the very least Mauer is unlikely to be overwhelmed by anything that Verlander throws in his direction in this matchup.
Wieters has been much better versus left-handed pitchers in his career, and though Gio's has been virtually the same pitcher against hitters on either side of the plate, the fact that Wieters is a switch-hitter puts an extra onus on his particular numbers. The price tag is exceedingly inexpensive, a reflection of Wieters' .140 batting average over his last 10 games, but his last big score also came versus a left-hander.
Lynn has been an underrated asset for much of his career, but the chicken has come home to roost tonight as Lynn cracks the $10k threshold in Draft Kings salary, a high price to pay for recent history, as Lynn has posted a 0.85 ERA over his last five starts with 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 31.7 frames. His high-point in strikeouts this season was achieved with a 10-K performance against these Pirates back on May 1st, but even with that feather in his cap, I would rather commit those funds to Gerrit Cole ($10000) or Cole Hamels ($10700).
Resources used for this article:
Draft Kings player prices