Here we are on the doorstep of the playoffs, in other words the final week of the DFS baseball season. Hopefully you've finished in the black this season, and for those still sitting in the red (looks in mirror) we are presented with one final week to balance the account. Cheers to the grinders and the chippers, and I hope to meet you one last time on the field of battle.
Target: LHB's Eric Hosmer 1B ($4400, +115 OPS and +.065 ISO vs. RHP), Alex Gordon OF ($3500, +50 OPS and +.003 ISO vs. RHP) and Mike Moustakas 3B ($4200, +69 OPS and +.018 ISO vs. RHP) against RHP Kyle Hendricks ($6900, +133 OPS and +.047 ISO vs. LHB)
Hendricks has given up three or more runs in eight of his last nine ballgames and left-handers have found him very much to their liking, particularly in the homer department, as Hendricks has given up twice as many longballs to left-hand hitters as he has righties (14 to seven) despite having faced them fewer times (469 plate appearances to 550). Hosmer's season has been a rollercoaster ride full of peaks and valleys, but he appears to be ending the season on a high note, with a .325 batting average and six extra-base hits over his last nine games, and Hendricks will help to tilt the odds in Hosmer's favor as he leads the Royals' charge into the playoffs. Gordon is actually more of a Temper candidate, as the only platoon advantage that stands out is an enhanced walk rate, in addition to the recency bias that sees a player who has hit just .257/.329/.338 with 24 strikeouts, seven walks, and four extra-base hits in 85 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list. Moustakas is in a similar boat as far as his splits, leaning as much on Hendricks' vulnerability to left-handers as his own penchant for hitting righties, but the recency bias paints a very different picture – in his last 19 games Moustakas has hit .270/.325/.568 with six bombs among ten extra-base hits in 80 plate appearances. Maybe it's just a good month, or perhaps the prodigious power that Moustakas teased in the bush leagues is starting to come to fruition, but today sets up nicely for the young Royal to add to his breakout season.
Avoid: Dexter Fowler OF ($3800, 20-of-27 SB this season), Anthony Rizzo 1B ($4800,17-of-23 SB), Kris Bryant 3B ($4800, 13-of-17 SB) and Chris Coghlan 2B/OF ($3200, 11-of-13 SB) against RHP Yordano Ventura ($7200, opponents 1-of-5 SB this season)
Just a couple of reminders here. First, Ventura shuts down the basepaths like the bank of Santa Fe (link). Second, the “Avoid” tag pertains specifically to stolen bases. I understand the impetus to roster the likes of Rizzo and Bryant for completely different reasons, with the understanding that steals are not likely to be part of their respected profiles today. Thou shalt not steal against Yordano.
Avoid: Gregory Polanco OF ($3300, 27-of-37 SB this season), Starling Marte OF ($4200,29-of-39 SB) and Andrew McCutchen OF ($4200, 10-of-15 SB) against RHP Lance Lynn ($8500, opponents 4-of-5 SB this season)
This is the second time in his five-year career that Lynn has given up more successful steals than those caught, and the first was a rookie campaign that saw two successful swipes in three attempts. With a career mark of 23 steals in 44 attempts and surrendering just four successful steals in this his worst season (from an efficiency standpoint), MLB baserunners have obviously gotten the memo not to run against the battery of Lynn and Yadier Molina. Polanco is seven-for-eight on the basepaths over his last 29 games and Marte is three-for-three in his last 12 contests, but neither is a good bet to snag a bag against Lynn tonight. McCutchen has been not been thieving on the basepaths with his usual regularity, but an early-season knee injury might be related to his modest total this season and he has turned up the jets in recent weeks, with three steals in four attempts over his last 13 ballgames, but rostering McCutchen has more to do with his lumber than his legs (and the price is right for doing so). And once again for those that skipped the Cubs section, this is not a recommendation to purely avoid the Pirate outfielders, just a reminder that stolen bases will be hard to come by versus Lynn. This will likely impact Polanco and his appeal more than that of Marte and especially McCutchen.
Last 12 games (12 starts): a 5.77 ERA with 45 strikeouts, 33 walks, and 55 hits allowed in 57.3 innings; opponents batting .242/.336/.524 with 14 homers in 263 plate appearances
The overall numbers superficially appear that they're par for the course with Santiago, with a 3.47 ERA and 4.74 FIP that are both right in line with the previous three seasons, in which his ERA has finished between 3.33 and 3.75 while his FIP has registered in the range of 4.29 to 4.70. Santiago was a beast in the first half of the season, earning him a selection to the Midsummer Classic, but since the All-Star break the southpaw has completely lost it. He has struck out more than four batters just twice, more than five batters just once, and never more than seven hitters in any of the past dozen turns. His walk rate has skyrocketed and too many baseballs are leaving the yard, leaving Santiago with few feathers left in his cap as he plays out the season.
It's a rare day that I recommend a hitter against Kluber, but Sano is a rare talent and his $4000 price tag is the cheapest that he has been in months. Kluber has also been off his game recently, as a hamstring injury has compromised his momentum and thus the timing of the stride portion of his delivery, and the fact that he has thrown fewer than 75 pitches in each of his last two outings (following a few skipped starts due to the hammy woes) and has failed to go past 12 outs in either contest adds potential value under the possibility that Cleveland's door to the bullpen will swing open early. Sano hasn't homered in eight games and has taken just one trot in his last 16 games, but even during a downturn in performance the rookie has mustered a .394 OBP.
Resources used for this article:
Draft Kings player prices
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