Temper: LHB's Freddie Freeman 1B ($3900, +153 OPS and +.061 ISO vs. RHP) and Nick Markakis OF ($3500, +80 OPS and +.048 ISO vs. RHP) against RHP Bartolo Colon ($8700, +73 OPS and +.042 ISO career vs. LHB)
This is a fun one, because: A) I rarely target Braves due to the general ineptitude of the offense, and B) Colon has rather hefty platoon splits for an 18-year veteran who has faced more than 12500 batters in his career. His splits are closer to even this season, which is one of a combination of factors that are contributing to the “Tamper” tag. Colon's recent run of success (a 1.21 ERA in his last 37.3 innings) combined with Freeman's offensive futility since returning from the disabled list offer further points to put on the “con” side of the ledger for this matchup, as the decision to roster one or more of these players depends on how one weighs recent performance. Freeman has the largest platoon split of them all, he he has hit just two homers in his last 33 games and 140 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list and has had stretches in which the majority of his value is tied up in walks. Markakis has morphed from a lineup threat with gap power into a singles-hitting machine, one well-exemplified by a .323/.300/.435 slash over his last 15 games. Put the pieces together and we have some underwhelming bats in a non-ideal context facing a pitcher who has been shutting down opponents for over a month; but the superficial splits are in their favor.
Temper: LHB's Eric Hosmer 1B ($4200, -121 OPS and -.069 ISO vs. LHP), Alex Gordon OF ($3500, -49 OPS and -.003 ISO vs. LHP) and Mike Moustakas ($4200, -74 OPS and -.021 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Roenis Elias ($7500, -71 OPS and -.028 ISO career vs. LHB)
All three of these left-handed Royals hover around 800 OPS this season, and though they each take a hit when faced with a southpaw on the mound, the only player that stands out for his platoon split is Hosmer. Hosmer's split has been more exaggerated this season, including 179 points of OPS and .087 ISO. Gordon recently returned from the disabled list, but the 680 OPS indicates that he is still locking down his timing and shaking off the rust in his swing, while his power isn't compromised by the platoon disadvantage though his batting average and walk rate do get dented. Moustakas had a torrid hot streak recently, and for the season he has become a respectable bat to employ against pitchers of any handedness. Overall, the splits on the Royals' lefty bats are very mild, and the general hittability of Elias overrides the platoon-specific numbers, as he leaves much to be desired and is not worth avoiding on merit alone. The Royal in the best boat here is Lorenzo Cain, who has clobbered lefties with a .339/.395/.575 line in this his breakout season, setting the stage for a big night from the right-handed hitter.
Avoid: Brad Miller SS ($2800, 12-of-16 SB this season) and Ketel Marte SS/2B ($3500, 7-of-11 SB) against RHP Yordano Ventura ($8600, opponents 1-of-5 SB this season)
Ventura has fallen off of his track after an excellent rookie campaign, having lost a touch of velocity to go with inconsistent pitch command, but one skill that has remained intact is his ability to halt the running game. Opposing baserunners are now just two-of-seven in attempted steals off of Ventura in his career. Both Miller and Marte are speed-first players who are rostered at least somewhat for their speed and who occasionally come in handy with DFS due to their defensive positions and low price tags, but today is not the day to find room in your lineup for base-stealing Mariners (of which there are few, especially after Austin Jackson left town). Marte has only played 47 games so you can safely triple his stats in order to get a semblance of his steal pace, but doing so today is unnecessary against a pitcher who shuts down the base-stealing operation.
Target: RHB Darin Ruf 1B/OF ($2300) against LHP Adam Conley ($6100)
Ruf is best employed in a platoon situation as an option only when a lefty is on the hill, but when that's the case then it's all systems go. His career slash against southpaws is an impressive .302/.388/.556 with more homers than he has against righties (15 to 14) despite having 50-percent more plate appearances against right-handers in his career. Ruf was hitting cleanup yesterday against a right-handed starter so one can only assume that he'll be back in the middle of the Philly lineup today with an opposing southpaw on the hill. Be careful with the FPPG numbers for platoon players like Ruf, as his numbers are brought down by 46 plate appearances as a substitute this season, a sample in which he is just 5-for-44 with a double and a homer – but as a starter he's had a very respectable line of .267/.322/.433 this season. Those sub appearances have taken 77 points of OPS off of his overall line, and his FPPG of 4.0 would look much more impressive if the stat only counted those games in which he was starting, where he has 338 total fantasy points in 50 starts, or 6.7 fantasy points per game. The latter number is a better reflection of his value, which takes another leap forward with the platoon split and which easily justifies the $2300 price tag.
Target: LHB Clint Robinson 1B/OF ($2500) against RHP Chris Tillman ($4800)
Robinson 1B/OF ($2500) is in a similar boat, given his extremely low price tag, his penchant for the substitute appearance – he has subbed in 49 of his 113 games this year – and his complete lack of offense when starting. He has a .158/.304/..289 line as a sub this season and his FPPG when starting are a whopping 7.2 points per start. The guy has been hitting fifth in the order against right-handers, adding further fuel to the fire behind his candidacy for a DFS roster spot. He is facing the reverse platoon split of Chris Tillman, but that willl hardly stand in the way of Robinson generating a positive return on investment this evening. In general, gamers should be careful of the FPPG numbers for part-time players who occupy just one side of the platoon, as it fails to capture their true value when employed to optimum advantage. Is it just me, or would the left hitting Robinson (who can play first base and corner outfield) make for an ideal platoon partner for the righty-hitting Ruf (who can also play first base and corner outfield)?
Resources used for this article:
Baseball Prospectus Stats and Player Cards
Draft Kings player prices
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