Target: RHB's Brian Dozier 2B ($5000, +147 OPS and +.063 ISO vs. LHP) and Trevor Plouffe 3B ($3900, +121 OPS and +.033 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Carlos Rodon ($7500, +339 OPS and +.138 ISO career vs. RHB)
It's been an incredibly small sample of exposure, but so far Rodon has owned fellow southpaws with a 503 OPS while turning the average right-hander into the equivalent of Buster Posey at the plate. Rodon has surrendered all 10 of his homers to right-handed batters, and 31 of his 34 extra-base hits overall, so the fate of this game lies in the hands of the righty bats of the Twins. Brian Dozier has ripped southpaws throughout his career and 2015 is no exception, though his breakout has been fueled by improvements against same-side pitching that have resulted in a slight reverse split this season. Trevor Plouffe, on the other hand, has kept closer to career norms, if not quite so large a disparity based on pitcher handedness. He has fallen off the pace of his career year of 2012 but has enjoyed his second-best season in '15, and he has taken an every-other-month approach to performance this year that puts him on track for a big September. Miguel Sano might head this list one day, but has been so busy bludgeoning right-handed pitchers that he hasn't turned his attention to southpaws… yet.
Join Doug in playing Baseball Prospectus Beat the Expert League on Draft Kings – click here for tournament lobby.
Details ($3 Entry):
Target: Justin Upton OF ($3900, 18-of-22 SB this season), Matt Kemp OF ($3800, 11-of-12 SB) and Corey Spangenberg 2B/3B ($2200, 7-of-9 SB) against LHP Cole Hamels ($10800, opponents 20-of-22 SB this season)
Hamels gets to pitch back home in San Diego, something that will be a more rare occurrence now that he's no longer in the National League. He has now given up 20 or more steals for four of the past five years, and in the odd year out he gave up 19 thefts, so what we are seeing this season is just par for the course. There are several factors working toward rostering Upton today, starting with the low price tag and continuing to his affinity to hit southpaws, but his recent drought in the steals department creates a hedge. Upton has been unsuccessful in his last three attempts and hasn't recorded a successful steal in 22 games, this after going a perfect 16-for-16 in his first 81 games of the season. Kemp has a similarly attractive salary and an even heavier platoon split, but like his compadre in the San Diego outfield, the bag pilfering has been kept at a minimum lately for the former Dodger; Kemp has just two steals in his last 28 games, but DFS owners should be encouraged that both of those swipes came during his last four ballgames. For Spangenberg, keep in mind that he has played just 80 games, so he's on a 14-steal pace over a whole season.
Avoid: Anthony Gose OF ($2700, 19-of-29 SB), Rajai Davis OF ($3400, 18-of-23 SB this season) and Jose Iglesias SS/3B ($2900, 11-of-19 SB) against RHP Yordano Ventura ($7700, opponents 1-of-5 SB this season)
His performance on the mound has been shaky this season, but the basepaths have remained closed whenever Ventura takes the bump. Davis might ride the pine versus a right-hander, Gose has just one double-digit day of fantasy points on DraftKings out of his last 11 games, and Iglesias packs half the punch when he lacks the platoon advantage; the context provides further disincentive to roster these speed-only Tigers. Ventura casts an imposing enough figure on his own, as opposing baserunners are just two-for-seven on steal attempts against Yordano in his career.
Target: RHB Josh Donaldson ($5600) at home versus RHP Trevor Bauer ($8000)
Last 13 games (13 starts): .377/.429/.792 in 63 plate appearances
JD was making a case for MVP consideration in the first half of the season, a case that has only strengthened over the past two weeks. Donaldson's success has also made him expensive, coming in as the third-priciest bat on the evening slate and trailing only a couple of players who get to enjoy high-altitude baseball at Coors Field. He has 11 extra-base hits in his last 13 ballgames, five of which left the yard, while his 16 runs and 21 RBI over that stretch have gone a long way toward the Jays winning games (the team is 10-3 over that stretch) and taking over the lead in the AL East. He leads the majors with 102 runs scored and 108 runs driven in, dominating the categories with a nine-run lead over second place and 10 more RBI than anyone else in baseball. Regardless of whether these stats have predictive value or are reflective of any particular skill is up for debate, but it's easy to understand that putting a great hitter in an incredible lineup that plays its home games in a bandbox is going to boost the counting stats, and DFS players are encouraged to take note.
Target: RHP Kevin Gausman SP ($6200) against the Tampa Bay Rays
Warning: not for the faint of heart. There's always heavy risk involved when dumpster-diving for arms, but Gausman might be the gem at the bottom of today's barrel of arms. He has busted 20 or more fantasy points on DraftKings in four of his past seven starts, and though his zig-zag pattern of performance is far from trustworthy or predictable at this point, he is buffered by facing a Rays club whose OPS is 96 points higher against southpaws than versus right-handers. Those with extreme recency bias might penalize Gausman for the 11 runs that Tampa scored in yesterday's ballgame and the former top-five draft pick carries a palpable risk of blow-up, but the price tag is so low and the upside so high that one can easily justify Gausman's place on the roster.
Avoid: Chris Gimenez C ($3700) against RHP Ian Kennedy ($8600)
Gimenez is not about to cause shoppers to bust down doors and break windows to acquire his services, but his 7.9 fantasy points per game stand out among the catcher cohort and could drive some interest. He is currently ranked ahead of Buster Posey ($3600 vs. Clayton Kershaw), Sal Perez ($3500 with the platoon advantage against LHP Randy Wolf), and Yasmani Grandal ($3100 vs. Mike Leake). Grandal has been nursing a sore shoulder and is one-for-his-last-32 and Posey is facing the greatest pitcher in all the land, so one can understand how their stock fell to these depths, but for his part Gimenez is batting just .175 over his last 10 games, and he's facing a pitcher in Ian Kennedy who has been pitching very well, including two or fewer earned runs allowed in seven of his last eight turns on the bump.
Resources used for this article:
Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards
Draft Kings player prices
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now