Target: RHB's Evan Longoria 3B ($3800, +124 OPS and +.046 ISO vs. LHP) and Logan Forsythe 2B/1B ($3700, +205 OPS and +.116 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Wade Miley ($7400, +92 OPS and +.036 ISO career vs. RHB)
Longoria has gone through an up-and-down season that hit bottom over the summer, but he is currently on the upswing with a .364 batting average and five homers in his last nine ballgames. He has always hit southpaws well but the platoon splits are even more egregious than normal this season, as his line against lefties is a robust .361/.424/.580 with seven of his 19 homers just 20.4-percent of his plate appearances coming with the platoon advantage. Logan Forsythe is nearly as great of a deal as he was two days ago, still costing $3700 and he's facing another malleable lefty in Wade Miley. The matchup isn't quite as cushy as when Kyle Lobstein was on the mound, but Miley's own platoon splits will further encourage another big day for Forsythe. Similar to his right-handed Rays counterparts, Miley's platoon splits are more pronounced this season than in years past, including a 127-point difference in OPS that favors right-handed batters this season.
Target: Starling Marte OF ($4100, 26-of-35 SB this season) and Gregory Polanco OF ($3800, 24-of-34 SB) against RHP Jimmy Nelson ($7600, opponents 24-of-30 SB this season)
Nelson is becoming well-known for two things that pitchers typically strive to avoid: massive platoon splits and allowing stolen bases. Polanco gets the added benefit of both factors, as the left-handed batter has a 750 OPS against right-handed pitchers this year, nearly 200 points higher than his mark against lefties, and 23 of his 24 steals on the season have come against righties, as well. A knee injury slowed him over the summer, but Polanco has displayed his leg health with four steal in five attempts over his last 16 games (15 starts). Marte doesn't receive the platoon benefit but his stat-line still stand to benefit, as 95 of his 109 career steals (87 percent) ave come against right-handed pitchers. Note that Marte left Thursday's game after taking an HBP to the shoulder; he is considered day-to-day so there's a chance that he won't be in the lineup tonight.
Avoid: Charlie Blackmon OF ($4000, 36-of-49 SB this season) and DJ LeMahieu 2B/3B ($3900, 21-of-24 SB) against RHP Hisashi Iwakuma ($8500, opponents 1-of-3 SB this season)
Iwakuma just doesn't allow steals. A.J. Pollock got him back in July, but that was the only successful steal against Iwakuma in 11 total attempts over the past two seasons. The combination of this stinginess with the fact that Blackmon was caught in each of his last three attempts at steals – and hasn't attempted thievery in the 11 games since he was last apprehended – lowers the expected fantasy production from a player whose success on the basepaths is a major part of his value. The same could be said for LeMahieu, whose efficiency on the bases and high-altitude skills are commendable, but who takes a massive hit when away from Denver or with a steal-thwarting pitcher like Iwakuma on the mound.
Target: RHB Yoenis Cespedes ($5100) against Matt Wisler ($4400)
Last 9 games (9 starts): .390/.419/1.000 with 6 homeruns, 2 triples and 3 doubles in 43 plate appearances
Playing for his fourth organization in 15 months, Cespedes has quickly become a mercenary for hire, and his offensive explosion under the bright lights of New York City will only shine brighter this off-season as his next employer signs on the dotted line. Yesterday's 0-for-4 performance was his first ofer in nine games, a stretch that includes 11 extra-base hits, 13 runs scored and 13 runs driven in. In his 37 games as a Met, Cespedes is hitting .304/.353/.658 with 14 HR in 173 PA, compared to his 18 jacks in 427 plate appearances with Detroit this season. He has basically gone deep twice for every three games he has played for the last week and a half, and yesterday's empty line might just set the stage for a big day against vulnerable rookie Matt Wisler, who has given up 12 homers this season in 74.3 innings across 15 games (14 starts).
Avoid: Switch-hitter Billy Hamilton ($3800) against RHP John Lackey ($8700)
Last 15 games (15 starts): .204/.267/.278 with 3 stolen bases 2 extra-base hits in 60 plate appearances
Perhaps no player in baseball has so much of his fantasy value tied into one statistic, but such is the case when it comes to Hamilton and stolen bases. The bat won't carry Hamilton on it's own, and though stolen bases are more choice-oriented than any other stat, Hamilton has to get on first base before he can steal second. He just returned from a three-week hiatus on the disabled list, and though the bum shoulder won't impact his ability once on the bases, it may hamper his already weak attempts to get on base in the first place. John Lackey will only make life tougher, as the right-hander has only given up five successful steals this season in eight attempts, and though he can certainly thank Yadier Molina for some of that fine police-work on the basepaths, Molina will likely be there again in tonight's ballgame. Hamilton has just three steals over his last 16 games (15 starts), so he might decide to wait another day to attempt his first steal of September even if he does manage to get in stealing position.
Target: RHB Marcell Ozuna OF ($3100) against LHP Gio Gonzalez ($7900)
Ozuna has quietly gotten back on track after a miserable start to the season that earned him a demotion in early July. Back since August 15, Ozuna has hit .267/.300/.512 with four homers and nine doubles in 23 games (22 starts) since his recall, and the young outfielder has frequently found himself penciled into the middle of a weak Miami lineup. He has hit a double or a homer in five of his last seven games, and though Ozuna has been more of a doubles machine this year than a pure homer guy, and that trend could very well continue tonight against lefty Gio Gonzalez, giving Ozuna the platoon advantage (he has a career .293/.335/.470 line versus lefties) against a pitcher who excels at keeping the ball in the yard.
Resources used for this article:
Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards
Draft Kings player prices
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