The theme of today's breakdown is “tempered enthusiasm,” as a number of players have conflicting indicators which effectively cloud the decision of whether to roster them today in DFS.
With a career ERA of 4.50, Morton is a stackable pitcher against virtually any opponent, but his particular vulnerability against left-handed bats puts him in a precarious position against most teams. Lucky for Morton, the Twins are not one of those teams, with a lineup that drifts heavily to the right side and has become more exaggerated as batters like Oswaldo Arcia (lefty) and Kennys Vargas (switch-hitter) have been replaced by the right-handed bats of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton (the latter of whom is currently on the DL). The “target” tag is on the verge of “temper” due to the lack of players who receive the positive boost from facing Morton today, who has given up an absurd OPS of 857 to left-handed bats in his career, but DFS owners can find some value with the lower-priced bats in the Twins lineup.
Temper: LHB's Prince Fielder 1B ($4900, -162 OPS and -.066 ISO career vs. LHP), Rougned Odor 2B ($4300, -96 OPS and -.063 ISO vs. LHP) , Shin-Soo Choo OF ($4000, -239 OPS and -.104 ISO vs. LHP), and Mitch Moreland 1B ($4100, -161 OPS and -.089 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Chris Capuano ($4100, -146 OPS and -.076 ISO vs. LHB)
Capuano creates stacking opportunities due to his overall ineffectiveness in addition to his egregious platoon splits, and though the Rangers' leftward lean when it comes to the heavy hitters in their lineup would seem to play right into the Yankee starter's hands, his general susceptibility to hitters of all types motivates the “temper” tag that is attached to each of these players. Capuano has only had an ERA below 4.00 in three separate seasons, and each of those “good” seasons came dangerously close to the four-run threshold, including 3.72, 3.95, and 3.99 marks that are on his resume. He costs less than a good chunk of the hitter population for a reason.
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Jimenez is having a breakthrough year in many ways, from his stats (7.6-percent walk rate compared to previous season-low of 9.3 percent) to the mechanics that support those numbers, as his delivery has been more balanced and more consistent in 2015 than in any previous campaign. The vulnerability to thievery is still intact, however, as the pitcher who has surrendered 106 steals in 131 attempts since the start of 2011 has continued to let baserunners take off with impunity this season. The Braves don't have too many options to steal bags, but if Maybin gets on base expect him to look for his first opportunity at base larceny.
Iwakuma is starting to turn his season around, with strong performances in three consecutive starts for the right-hander who couldn't hit his spots before hitting the DL with a lat issue, but his ability to shut down the running game never left the building. Opposing baserunners are now 0-for-9 on attempted steals over the past two seasons, and the best chance for a base-thief to snag a bag is probably on a dirty splitter that the Mariners catcher handles less than cleanly, because good jumps against Iwakuma are virtually non-existent. Keep in mind that the mention of Goldschmidt in this space is centered on steals, but that his bat has ascended beyond avoidance no matter who's on the mound.
Target: RHB Randall Grichuk OF ($4200) versus RHP Mike Leake ($7300)
Last 15 Games (14 starts): .364/.444/.691 with 9 XBH in 63 PA
Grichuk is currently listed as day-to-day with a slight groin injury, but the team doesn't seem to think it's serious and there's a good chance that he's back in the lineup tonight. Grichuk has made a mockery of opposing pitchers recently, with a .364/.444/.691 line over his last 15 games with nine extra-base hits, 10 runs scored and 13 RBI during that stretch. The 18 strikeouts against six walks are cause for mild concern, but nobody minds the K's when they're attached to an 1135 OPS, and his OBP has been helped by a couple of HBP's during the hot streak. The Cardinals have been sliding him up and down the order as the rookie has hit in every spot except the three-hole this season, but the Cards would be wise to get one of their best hitters as many hitting opportunities as possible.
Head-to-head stats: .333/.471/.630 in 34 plate appearances
Carter is a notoriously streaky hitter who is equally likely to carry an offense on his back for two weeks as he is to go hitless for a fortnight. In fact, he has just about done the latter over the last couple of weeks, with just two hits in his last 35 plate appearances stretching back to July 5th (hence the “temper” label). His performance has nose-dived this season to a sub-Mendoza batting average and a 679 OPS, and though a date with Wilson might be just what Carter needs to bust his slump, never underestimate the power of inertia when it comes to it's sway on player performance.
Temper: LHB Matt Carpenter 3B ($3800) versus RHP Mike Leake ($7300)
The low price on Carpenter is reflective of his struggles this season, a what started as a 1000 OPS through his first 37 games has cratered, and for the last 53 contests he has limped his way to a .191/.329/.258 slash, a brutal combination of highs and lows that leaves one wondering what his “true” performance level looks like. Is he more similar to the player that knocked 55 doubles en route to an 873 OPS in 2013 or the one whose OBP matched his slugging percentage at .375 last season? Is he the masher who was on another incredible pace for doubles during the first six weeks of this season or the empty-swinging batter of the last two months? The price is cheap enough to find out an answer without breaking the bank, but optimism is muted by the longevity of his current slump, and is only slightly eased by the fact that Carpenter has three extra-base hits in his last five games.
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