Yesterday had a bounty of high-end performances that raised the profit bar, with four players having multi-homer games and 40-plus points in Draft Kings, bats that ranged in cost from the $3100 of Ben Paulsen to the $5000 of Mike Trout. The surge was helped by a day game in Colorado (note to self: stack Rox whenever they play at home on Sundays), a contest that featured 24 combined runs and two of the four lineup-defining performances. The extra padding thrown into player prices to account for the thin-air of Denver has been minimally discouraging, as players have learned that the Coors effect is strong enough to outpace the price adjustment.
There were several stud pitchers taking their turns over the weekend, and what we're left with today is a weak slate of arms that make identifying the top bats an even greater priority.
Lynn is probably the safest play in a thin pitching slate tonight, but he is going to have a tough time with the big lefties in the Cincy lineup. Votto is on fire, hitting .528/.638/.833 over his last 10 games, and Bruce has rebounded from a sluggish start to the season to make 2014 look like an aberration rather than the start of a downward spiral. The split leans more toward the pitcher than the bats, but on top of those two mashers the Reds have their top hitter this season, Todd Frazier, who has handled fellow right-handers just fine with a .274/.335/.526 line including 16 homers. Lynn has his work cut out for him if he wants to earn the 22 or more points necessary to justify his salary.
Temper: LHB's Charlie Blackmon OF ($4700, career +84 OPS and +.036 ISO vs. RHP), Carlos Gonzalez OF ($4100, +169 OPS and +.081 ISO vs. RHP), and Corey Dickerson OF ($3400, +220 OPS and +.117 ISO vs. LHP) against RHP Kyle Hendricks ($5200, -42 OPS and -.004 ISO vs. RHB)
Potentially avoiding these Rockies has everything to do with their home/road splits, as the lineup that plated 17 runs in yesterday afternoon's Denver tilt now goes back on the road where the team's OPS drops 127 points while they collectively lose .097 ISO. Blackmon's platoon disadvantage isn't too strong, but the speed portion of his game is heavily impacted wen he travels. Only 23 of 66 career steals have come on the road for the career Rockie.
The steals are no longer part of CarGo's profile (he had four consecutive seasons of 20+ swipes from 2010-13), but his bat is marginalized away from Coors, though everything looks like a volleyball to Gonzalez right now no matter the context (.429/.467/.946 with eight homers in his last 14 games). Dickerson just came back from lingering plantar fasciitis issues but sat out of yesterday's contest, and he will likely start this game as his triple-slash falls into the abyss of platoon splits when a lefty is on the mound but he is one of the best in the game when facing a right-hander. His price is ridiculously low and Dickerson might be the biggest bargain on the board if he can overcome the sea-level atmosphere.
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Hamilton can steal off of anyone, but his opportunities will likely be dented against a right-hander who has given up just three total steals (in six attempts) over the past two seasons. Opposing base thieves are just 21-of-41 (51 percent) on steal attempts versus Lynn in his career. Hamilton should have many opportunities to time the delivery of division-rival Lynn over the next few years, but Hamilton has yet to test the right-hander in their 15 head-to-head plate appearances. Phillips hasn't attempted a stolen base in a full month, so he is unlikely to re-ignite his running game against the anti-theft system that Lynn brings to the table.
Last 32 Games (30 starts): .367/.406/.675 with 19 XBH in 134 PA
Young players often have growth spurts, and Odor's stark improvement since returning to the Ranger lineup on June 15th is a bold reminder that the kid is just 21 this season and is going through development that is typically endured under the radar in the minor leagues. The Rangers sent him down after 103 plate appearances of a pitcher-like .144/.252/.233 performance, let him iron out his swing in Triple-A for a month, and upon recall Odor has been a monster. He ravaged the PCL with a .352/.426/.639 slash to force the Rangers hand, and he hasn't slowed down since the recall, needing just 32 games to raise his season stats to .279/.339/.486. The price is ridiculously low, particularly for such a hot hitter (who has hit three homers in his last four games) facing such a hittable pitcher.
Avoid: RHB Mookie Betts OF ($4400) versus LHB John Danks ($6100)
Last 10 Games (10 starts): .140/.196/.186 with 2 XBH and 0-for-0 SB in 46 PA
Betts has been a streaky player this season, at times seeming unstoppable (i.e. the middle of June) and other times swinging empty lumber. He has done little-to-nothing since the All-Star break, with merely two doubles as part of a 6-for-46 performance over his last 10 games. He could break out of his funk at any time and Danks has a way of bringing the best out of opposing hitters, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt, but Mookie has two things going against him: recent performance and current price tag. For a cost that is less than his $4400 price one could employ either of the following outfielders (among others): Carlos Gomez, Hanley Ramirez, or Carlos Gonzalez.
Jones' price has been all over the place recently, climbing up to $5000 less than a week ago, incrementally dropping to $3900 over a three-day span until settling in the $4000-$4100 range over the last few days. Wood's numbers are down this season, and though Jones has a reverse platoon split for his career, he has the multi-tooled skill-set to carry the O's offense for a day no matter the handedness of the opposing pitcher. Jones is ridiculously consistent, as he is currently hitting in the .280's for the fourth year in a row, is slugging between .490 and .505 for the third time in four campaigns, and even his counting stats have stayed on point thanks to playing at least 159 games in each of the last three seasons. He's a $4500 player that defies most conventional splits, so I'm happy to roster him at a 10-percent discount against a mid-tier pitcher.
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