Target: RHB's Jose Altuve 2B ($5400, +187 OPS and +.047 ISO vs. LHP), Carlos Correa SS ($5100, +144 OPS and +.094 ISO vs. LHP) and George Springer OF ($4500, +69 OPS and +.015 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Martin Perez ($4200, +102 OPS and +.048 ISO career vs. RHB)
The low price tag reinforces the idea that Martin Perez is a stack-worthy option today against a Houston ballclub that leans heavily to the right side of the plate. The prices are exorbitant to roster the Astros' middle infielders today, possibly due to the further integration of platoon splits into the recipe for player salaries on DraftKings or because of strong recent performance, but regardless of the reason it will require a heavy investment to secure their services. Altuve becomes a power threat against southpaws, with a .492 slugging percentage for his career and a nearly equal tendency to take off for steal against pitchers who pitch from the left side of the rubber or the right. Correa's numbers were obviously compiled in a tiny sample that fails to inspire much additional confidence, so the fact that he's the best option at his position will have to suffice. The oft-injured Springer suffers from a similar issue with sample size, and the bigger question mark with him is whether his performance is dented by either the time off or due to the healing process of his latest injury.
Target: Anthony Rizzo 1B ($4700, 15-of-20 SB this season), Dexter Fowler OF ($3900, 19-of-26 SB), Kris Bryant 3B ($4500, 12-of-16 SB) and Chris Coghlan ($3400, 11-of-13 SB) against RHP A.J. Burnett ($7900, opponents 28-of-36 SB this season)
Consider that Burnett has only pitched 140.3 innings this season due to injury, that he is likely to be shaking off some rust in his return from said injury, and that he might not be at 100 percent. Then consider that he has surrendered the third-highest total of successful steals in baseball this season. Add in a young Cubs team that features a handful of power hitters who can also steal a bag, and you have the perfect opportunity for players like Rizzo, Bryant, Fowler and Coghlan to net a positive return on investment.
Burnett's opponent on the mound is right-hander Jake Arrieta ($14000), who is also steal prone (opponents 23-of-29 SB this season) provided that speed players like Gregory Polanco ($3700, 24-of-34 SB) and Starling Marte ($3900, 26-of-36 SB) can get on base.
Avoid: Erick Aybar SS ($2700, 11-of-16 SB this season) and Mike Trout OF ($4500, 10-of-17 SB) against RHP Hisashi Iwakuma ($8800, opponents 1-of-3 SB this season)
Every week I suggest to stay away from steals guys when Iwakuma is on the opposing mound, and with a lone exception (I'm looking at you, A.J. Pollock), the recommendation has held firm. Baserunners learned their lesson last season when they went oh-for-eight on basepaths against Iwakuma, and Pollock is the only one to snag a successful steal in the three attempts this year. Trout is less of a base-stealing threat than he was in the past, playing as more of a pure power hitter this season, and the “Avoid” tag from above is narrowly focused on the stealing portion of his game. The price point, on the other hand, is very friendly for a league MVP whose bat is starting to come alive.
Target: LHB Bryce Harper ($5900) against RHP Alec Asher ($4200)
Last 11 games (11 starts): .410/.511/1.103 with 11 extra-base hits in 47 plate appearances
Harper is one of those grooves again. Yesterday's two-homer effort put him at eight bombs over the past 11 games, with two doubles and eight walks to add to the positive side of the performance ledger. He has also scored a dozen runs and knocked in another 11 over that stretch, and while yesterday's matchup with right-hander David Buchanan was enticing, tonight's pairing with Alec Asher might offer an even greater mismatch. Asher has been knocked around for 23 hits and 17 earned runs in 14.3 big-league innings this season and has seen his K rate take massive hits as he's elevated from Double-A to Triple-A and eventually the majors this season. Harper's the most expensive hitter on the slate, just as he was yesterday, and similar to yesterday he could prove to be easily worth the investment.
Target: LHB Corey Seager ($3200) against LHP Jorge de la Rosa ($7700)
Seager has had a nice introduction to big-league ball, hitting .419/.528/.628 with six doubles, a homer and two stolen bases in his first 12 games. He has the platoon disadvantage from a theoretical standpoint, but according B-Ref he has mashed lefties for a slash of .346/.382/.584 with nine homeruns in 199 plate appearances against southpaws spread between the minor leagues and the majors. The Dodgers are playing in a much less forgiving environment (from the hitter's standpoint) this season, moving their Triple-A affiliate from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City, so those stats aren't as inflated as the we've come to expect from Dodgers hitting prospects.
Avoid: RHB Wil Myers OF ($5100) against LHP Robbie Ray ($7000)
Despite having the theoretical platoon advantage, Myers' power has disappeared against southpaws in a small sample for his career, with a .109 ISO in (276 plate appearances) that is 59 points lower than his slug against right-handers. Even if those numbers were reversed, the $5100 price tag is too rich for a player that A) has a 775 OPS this season with four steals, B) has only been back from his latest injury for 11 days, and C) wasn't that good to begin with. Put check marks next to all of the above and move on to the next outfielder.
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