Target: RHB's Andrew McCutchen OF ($5800, +130 OPS and +.052 ISO vs. LHP), Starling Marte OF ($5300, +125 OPS and +.040 ISO vs. LHP) and Aramis Ramirez 3B ($4400, +71 OPS and +.051 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Chris Rusin ($5200, +158 OPS and +.044 ISO career vs. RHB)
It's not rocket science to recommend hitters in Coors Field, and the prices of Pirates and Rockies have been inflated to account for the friendly environs, but the platoon factors that are in play effectively stack the incentive to roster the right-handed bats of the Pirates tonight against southpaw Chris Rusin. The only downside to this strategy is that stockpiling players in Coors is such a common tactic that all of these players are likely to be highly owned, regardless of the oft-exorbitant price tag. Gamers must pick and choose the “right” options in Denver tonight in order to use their money efficiently, and the platoon splits suggest targeting McCutchen and Marte while steering away from the lefty bat of Gregory Polanco on one side and potentially fading lefties like Carlos Gonzalez ($4200, -182 OPS vs. LHP) and Charlie Blackmon ($4600, -67 OPS vs. LHP) on the other side, given that the Pirates are tossing their own southpaw in J.A. Happ. Perhaps the end is nigh for the 37-year old Ramirez, as the current iteration is a mere shell of the player that he was at his All-Star peak, but situations don't get much more favorable for the veteran lefty-masher.
Yesterday I targeted left-handed bats of the Mets against Shelby Miller, and today I will target the same players (Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, and also Daniel Murphy) against Matt Wisler. The sample is smaller but the split is even more disparate than that of Miller, and Wisler has been getting rocked for the last eight weeks with a 7.71 ERA and a 999 OPS by opposing batters in ten games (nine starts) since August 1st.
Target: Ryan Braun OF ($4600, 24-of-28 SB this season) and Jean Segura SS ($3400, 24-of-30 SB) against RHP Jake Arrieta ($14500, opponents 25-of-31 SB this season)
Braun has been battling back issues for most of the second half of the season, and he has been out of the lineup for the Brewers last three games as the team gives him a rest down the stretch (he will reportedly have back surgery in the off-season). Braun stole a bag the last time that he did play, back on September 18, and the Brewers might use him sparingly down the stretch.; giving him a rest versus the likes of Arrieta is also healthy for the stat-line at the end of the season. Segura is the more intriguing option here, as a value play against a tough pitcher who has further suppressed his price tag. Segura has been a relatively weak hitter regardless of splits or opponents, including a career OPS of 663 against right-handers and a 673 mark against lefties, such that the marginal value that is lost due to the man on the mound is minimal. If he does happen to slap a single or finagle a free pass, there's a good chance that the shortstop will attempt to use the basepaths to make the most of the opportunity.
Target: Matt Duffy 2B/3B ($3600, 9-of-9 SB this season), Brandon Belt 1B ($3800, 9-of-12 SB this season), et al., against RHP Tyson Ross ($10600, opponents 35-of-47 SB this season)
Duffy stole a bag in his last game, his first swipe of the month, though he had three successful steals in the final nine games of August. Belt also hasn't attempted a steal yet in September but he went four-of-five in steal attempts over his last 19 games of August, though concussion symptoms could keep him out of tonight's game. If he plays, then Ross might create the opportunity for either Duffy or Belt to hit double digits on the season total. The Giants are league average as a team when it comes to stolen bases, but they are an equal opportunity ballclub that spreads the steals around the roster rather than have them concentrated in one or two players. The team leader with 14 steals, Nori Aoki, is out with a concussion, while second on the list is Gregor Blanco and his 13 thefts, which are also missing in action due to a concussion. The head injuries are spreading like wildfire down the Giants' roster. Nobody on San Francisco receives a huge boost based solely on the steal potential, but the vulnerability of Ross lifts the value of nearly every starter in the Giants' lineup tonight.
Michael A. Taylor and Ian Desmond of the Nats were on the target list for steals yesterday against Ubaldo Jimenez, but that game was rained out so we'll give it another try for tonight's contest.
Target: RHB Starlin Castro SS ($3200) against RHP Tyler Cravy ($4600)
Last 14 games (11 starts): .465/.500/.814 with seven extra-base hits (including four HR), 11 runs scored and 15 RBI in 49 plate appearances
Castro is having a disaster season. Most were hoping that his horrid 2013 season was an aberration, particularly after he returned to career norms last season, but instead he cratered back to the 650-OPS strata from which he had emerged. The campaign has put his future with the organization at risk as the Cubs have promoted young players all around Castro, some of whom could cover shortstop if he were jettisoned out of town. It might be too little too late, but Castro's bat has finally started to come around during the season's final month, and though he has been used somewhat sparingly with just 11 starts in the Cubs' 20 September contests thus far, Castro is doing his best to impress upon Joe Maddon that he deserves a starting role in the postseason, though it remains to be seen whether he is convincing enough to stay off the trade market. Cravy is the third-cheapest pitcher on today's slate, giving an indication of his relative value among the SP set.
Target: RHB Yasmany Tomas 3B/OF ($3000) against LHP Alex Wood ($8000)
Tomas has had an inconsistent season in his first MLB campaign, currently sitting with a .282/.314/.416 slash and 105 strikeouts against just 17 walks in 407 plate appearances this season. That said, the cushy context makes him a very strong play today against Alex Wood: Tomas carries the platoon advantage and has an OPS that is more than 100 points higher against southpaws this season, with the difference lying almost entirely within the confines of isolated power; he has recency bias in his favor, with three extra-base hits in his last four games; and the combination of his cheap price tag and positional versatility triggers excellent roster flexibility, allowing his DFS managers to reach for higher-cost alternatives at other postions.
Resources used for this article:
Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards
Draft Kings player prices
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I also like Salazar. He has had a brutal run of opponents - in his last seven starts he's faced DET twice, NYY twice, BOS twice and KC once. He could pitch the same yet have a much better line tonight against MIN.