It's a very light slate today, almost journal-worthy, with just seven games that start at 7:00 pm EST or later. These half-days change the shape of the game a bit due to the shallow player pool, as it becomes more likely that the highest-end arms and bats will be owned by a larger portion of managers given the few options that exist to spread out the ownership. This isn't much of a problem in cash games, but in order to succeed in the GPP a player might want to stand out by looking in areas that are often ignored. It's also an interesting slate for platoon splits as it's raining southpaws tonight, with eight of the 14 starting pitchers who are scheduled to start hail from the port side of the mound.
Target: LHB's Ryan Howard 1B ($4000, +225 OPS and +.083 ISO career vs. RHP), Odubel Herrera 2B/OF ($3600, +95 OPS and +.022 vs. RHP), and Domonic Brown OF ($3600, +115 OPS and +.050 ISO vs. RHP) against RHP Rubby de la Rosa ($7500, +167 OPS and +.078 ISO career vs. LHB)
Last Friday it was Jorge de la Rosa in this space as a platoon target for opposing bats, and today Rubby de la Rosa gets a crack. Jorge DLR has an extreme platoon split that heavily favors right-handed batters, and right-handed Rubby DLR has an even more extreme split (based on OPS) in the opposite direction. The Phillies are not sought-after targets these days, but the lefty-leaning lineup presents a challenge for a player with platoon splits as bold as those of Rubby de la Rosa. Left-handed batters are slugging a clean .500 off of Rubby DLR in his career. Switch-hitter Cesar Hernandez ($3400) fares better when batting right-handed against lefties (+76 OPS), but he is a much more prolific basestealer when a right-hander takes the mound for the opposition (15 if his 18 steals this season).
Avoid: LHB's Adrian Gonzalez 1B ($3800, -138 OPS and -.070 ISO vs. LHP), Joc Pederson OF ($3500, -145 OPS and -.074 ISO vs. LHP), Andre Ethier OF ($2800, -249 OPS and -.091 ISO vs. LHP), Carl Crawford OF ($2200, -120 OPS and -.042 ISO vs. LHP) and switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal C ($3200, -91 OPS and -.065 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Gio Gonzalez ($9100, +7 OPS and +.017 ISO vs. LHB)
This avoidance tag is brought to you by the Dodger hitters, the best whom go in the tank with a southpaw on the mound. Gio has a neutral split through his career-to-date, but he is made more imposing during a tumultuous season by his recent run of dominance (a 1.77 ERA through his last seven starts). Adrian's power dissipates against lefties, as evidenced by 20 of his 22 homers this year coming against right-handed pitchers, but the discount is built into his low price tag. Pederson has been stuck in a performance valley for awhile, and Don Mattingly finally relented and moved the all-or-nothing Pederson out of the leadoff spot; a couple days late and he found himself hitting eighth in the Dodger lineup. Joc could wake up from his slumber with an offensive explosion, but if we're in the game of predicting when the next launch will start, I won't be the one predicting that it starts versus a lefty. Pederson was nearly chosen for the Recency Bias section, as he has only hit one homerun in his last 31 ballgames (29 starts) with a .179 batting average, and his next blast will be the first of August. Ethier and Crawford will probably not start tonight's game because of the presence of a lefty, conceding a lineup spot to the likes of Scott Van Slyke 1B/OF ($2600) or Alex Guerrero ($2300).
Join Doug in playing Baseball Prospectus Beat the Expert League on Draft Kings – click here for tournament lobby.
Details ($3 Entry):
Avoid: Rajai Davis OF ($3500, 17-of-22 SB this season), Anthony Gose OF ($2600, 16-of-24 SB), and Jose Iglesias SS/3B ($2900, 10-of-17 SB) against RHP Johnny Cueto ($10300, opponents 2-of-3 SB this season)
This is just your weekly reminder to fade speed players versus Cueto, who has made it a personal quest to halt opposing baserunners. Cueto already had a shutdown operation against thievery when he was with the Reds, but now in Kansas City he gets an additional layer of security thanks to the anti-theft device that is the right arm of Salvador Perez, who has caught 34-percent of runners attempting to steal. The prices for these bats are so low that it probably can't hurt to see if they can steal off a reliever or something, but don't expect any five-point swipes against the day's starting pitcher.
Temper: Chris Sale SP ($12000) vs. the LA Angels of Anaheim
Sale earns the temper tag due to the combination of his recent struggles and his past dominance, all for a price that is nearly 20-percent more than any other pitcher on the docket. A little over one month ago, the southpaw was earning praise and getting owned by the majority of DFS managers as he executed an incredible eight-start run of double-digit strikeout totals; now he's hit rock bottom, coming off of consecutive seven-run starts and carrying a combined 7.61 ERA across his last four starts. The strikeouts have remained intact even as the scoreboard lights up, with 29 K's in 23.7 innings through his rough patch. Sale draws the Angels tonight, a team known for its clout and star power but that is lacking in roster depth, an issue that adding the likes of David DeJesus and Shane Victorino near the trade deadline did little to address.
I know he's in a slump – five hits in his last 49 at bats, with one double, 17 strikeouts and three walks – but the sudden $1000 plunge in price seemed a bit much, especially considering his opponent. Frazier's price hasn't been below $4400 in the last 10 days and he's coming off of consecutive salaries of $4900 and $4700, yet tonight he faces one of the most homer-prone pitchers in the league and his price drops by a grand. Kennedy is averaging 2.0 homers allowed for every nine innings pitched, while Frazier has 27 homers among his 58 extra-base hits this season. Sounds like a slump-buster opportunity to me.
Resources used for this article:
Draft Kings player prices