Target: RHB's Matt Kemp OF ($4600, +131 OPS and +.025 ISO vs. LHP), Justin Upton OF ($4400, +86 OPS and +.044 ISO vs. LHP) and Derek Norris C ($3100, +185 OPS and +.052 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Chris Rusin ($4700, +140 OPS and +.033 ISO career vs. RHB)
With Myers back in the lineup the Friars are finally healthy, and though it's too late for the Pads to make a comeback the 2015 postseason, there is still time for a few of these key hitters to build their stat lines before closing shop on the regular season. Myers himself doesn't help in the platoon department, with reverse splits in his brief MLB tenure including -58 OPS and -.058 ISO against southpaws, but his mates in the outfield enjoy a significant platoon advantage. Kemp has gotten stronger as the season has progressed, as evidenced by his .301/.358/.552 line over the past 63 games (62 starts), including four homers in his last 10 ballgames. His OPS is nearly identical versus righties and lefties in 2015, but for his career Kemp is a proven lefty-masher who will take aim with Rusin on the hill for Colorado. Upton has been frustratingly inconsistent for the umpteenth season in a row, as he seems to flash elite potential for a short stretch each season before giving way to much more pedestrian numbers. He had a .560 slugging in late May, watched it plummet below .420 by mid-July, and has rebounded to the .456 slug that we see today. Similar to Kemp, however, Upton is having an off year against southpaws, so much so that he is hitting just .198/.264/.317 in 111 plate appearances with the platoon advantage this season, begging the question of what they're putting in the water in San Diego. Norris has faded badly in the second half, with a 627 OPS over his last 52 games (48 starts), but unlike his teammates, Norris' lefty-leaning ways have remained mostly intact this season and today's matchup should give him the opportunity to get a few more points on the positive side of the ledger. The right-handed power of the Pads earns the “Target” tag today despite some wayward splits this season, as the baseline skills of Rusin (which are reflected in the low price tag) created an opportunity that is just too enticing.
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Gardner and Ellsbury are the only threats that the Yankees have on the basepaths, as they are the only two members of the pinstripes with more than four steals this season. Jimenez has been his typical giving self when it comes to looking the other way on stolen base attempts, but the Yankee wheels earn a “Temper” tag due to the disappearance of those speed indicators in the second half of the season. Ellsbury has not been the same since returning from the disabled list on July 8, attempting just six steals in the past 52 games and stealing successful on just three of those attempts. His game has been leaking from all sides, including a .232/.273/.365 line with the bat over that span fails to make up the for the lack of speed, driving speculation that he is not fully healed from the knee injury that sent him to the DL in the first place, and those wheels have been further compromised recently by an issue with his right hip. Gardner has also struggled lately, as covered in the Recency Bias section of yesterday's edition of Fantasy Rounders, and given that one has to get on base in order to steal Gardner has been having a rough time with the initial part of that process. Adding insult to injury, Gardner is currently listed as day-to-day with a bum shoulder, but he is expected to be back in the lineup for tonight's game.
Last 14 games (14 starts): 2.60 ERA with 80 strikeouts over 91.3 innings pitched, with 28 walks, 85 hits and just four homers allowed; opposing batters hitting .239/.295/.317 in 388 plate appearances
After struggling for the first chunk of the season to find the consistency and success that he enjoyed in 2014, McHugh has quietly resurrected that level of efficiency with a slow build over the past couple of months. The above sample covers more than half of his season but the level of improvement takes on added emphasis when narrowing our focus to the past month. In his last six starts, McHugh has a 1.54 ERA with 40 strikeouts against 11 walks, with only 34 hits and one homer allowed in 40.3 innings pitched during a mixed stretch of opponents that has included the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks; the run also included a game against the A's, in which McHugh gave up two runs over six innings with eight punchouts.
Last 7 games (7 starts): 8.33 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 40.0 innings pitched, with 17 walks, 52 hits and nine homers allowed; opposing batters hitting .317/.387/.561 in 192 plate appearances
It's getting ugly for Samardzija, but just like Rocky, you gotta admire his guts for sticking around and taking a beating round after excruciating round. Even the stamina has been waning, as the pitcher that threw seven or more innings in 10 consecutive starts entering the month of August has hot that same benchmark just once in his last seven turns. The velocity is down and the splitter isn't finding paydirt this season, a wicked combination that has sucked Samardzija of his effectiveness, as the right-hander and free-agent-to-be picked a bad time to have an off season. The homerun rate has always been a bit high but has become even more troubling in recent games, and though many prognosticators saw a bad fit between Samardzija and U.S. Cellular Field for this exact reason, the issue has leaked over into his road stats as well, with Samardzija having surrendered a dozen homers each at home and on the road.
At 7.2 fantasy points per game this season, Forsythe has essentially earned his salary outright, and he brings a mix of FPP-accumulating skills to the table, including 45 extra-base hits and nine steals this season. He is especially potent against left-handers, with a career split that favors his bat against southpaws by nearly 200 points of OPS. The platoon advantage has been even more pronounced in this, his breakout season, as Forsythe has slashed .304/.382/.622 against lefties with nine homers in 157 plate appearances. Rays manager Kevin Cash has responded with batting Forsythe in the four or five spots in the order in 105 of his 132 games started, and the combination of the modest price tag and the soft southpaw of an opponent bring huge profit potential tonight for Forsythe.
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