Yesterday was a challenging day for my own daily fantasy success. I listed four 1B yesterday that were strong value plays, two of them homered and I happened to have the other two on the majority of sites. The same thing happened at 2B where I paid up for SP and couldn't afford Cano who went bonkers, instead opting for Neil Walker (who was fine). Then there was my belief in the Rays offense, or shall I say my lack of belief in Nick Tepisch. It went poorly and those who wrote in to ask if my opinion has changed, well it hasn't. I'll be looking for more opportunities to fade Tepisch over the course of the season and I think last night's start had more to do with the Rays than it did him, but we'll certainly see over time. Oh and then there was Brandon Maurer. I don't even want to elaborate on that one. Certainly a mixed bag for the Fix, but if you stacked up the Phillies and used Cano or Konerko like I mentioned you were probably off to a good enough start you could've probably withstood some of the other misses. Daily fantasy baseball is an exercise in patience and a short memory. Skilled players win out over time, but volatility is more present in baseball than in some of the other daily sports so we have to put bad days out of our heads and move forward. So let's get at Wednesday's slate!
Yesterday, as most days in MLB, what looked to be one filled with weather concerns went without a single delay. In general, most people get more amped up about weather than they should. There are times I will avoid games that look shaky, but 40-50% chances of rain aren't those times. Last night the Royals-Twins had 80+% on and the window moved prior to game-time from 7:00-12:00 to 9:00-2:00. The 2 hours of clear skies made it a non-issue for daily gamers. I usually check weather on www.dailybaseballdata.com and I suggest checking in periodically through the day.
Today we have two games with greater than a 70% chance of rain and an extended window for that rain and both games are in the Midwest.
The first is the TOR @ DET afternoon tilt. The two teams play each other on Thursday as well so with the extended window (all day and early evening on Wednesday), I'd be surprised if this one doesn't get played. There may be a delay or two during the afternoon, which makes me hesitate on the pitchers, but I wouldn't shy away from the hitting completely. Use the weather as a tie-breaker, not a decision-maker. The other game with a 70+% chance of rain and an extended forecast of trouble is in Chicago where the Brewers play the Cubs on Wednesday night. The Cubs have a Thursday afternoon game and these two teams are so geographically tight that MLB will have a quick-trigger in cancelling this game if weather is an issue. There are plenty of easy makeup dates with the two teams being division rivals. It's a night game and I'd avoid it completely for those playing in early lineup lock leagues. If the weather forecast stays the same I'll probably avoid it tonight as well, but it will be something to monitor as the day goes.
There are another handful of games with 40+% chance of rain in the forecast but the description of isolated thunderstorms in St. Louis and New York (Mets), and few showers in Texas doesn't have me particularly concerned. Perhaps there's a slightly elevated chance of a rain delay but I think all these games get played unless the forecast changes significantly.
Before we get into today's recommendations, it is important to remind everyone to understand your scoring format and the pricing of the individual players on the site you're playing. These vary from site to site and all daily sites price their players differently, which could make someone a must start on one site but not another. In the space below I will break down the best and worst plays by position and make notes as to which type of formats to utilize players. If you are new to the daily fantasy baseball scene, there are daily fantasy websites which offer one day contests. These contests are mostly salary cap games where you can take any players you want as long as you stay under the cap and meet the positional requirements and all are points-based (not roto). Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions regarding daily fantasy baseball.
Salvador Perez (KC) - I prefer using the young switch hitter when he's facing left-handed pitching, but Perez gets a below average right-hander on Wednesday in Liam Hendricks. Hendriks has allowed a 4.56 FIP and .341 wOBA to LHB's in his career and the Royals offense has a bunch of other LH power surrounding Perez in the lineup. This should help RBI/Run opportunities and help play up the career .281/.304/.398 hitter against RHP. In two starts against the Royals last year, Hendriks allowed 19 base-runners in 8 2/3 IP. Perez in a small sample has gone 4-7 with 1 XBH off of Hendriks which is nice but not particularly compelling. I'm more excited by the chance for the Royals to score a bunch of runs and for Perez to be in the middle of it because of Hendriks' struggles in his career against LHB's.
Buster Posey (SF) - If you play on a site that doesn't take into account splits and is pricing Posey based on his year-to-date production he's going to be an absolute must-play tomorrow. Posey gets a matchup against Jeff Francis who has allowed a .355 wOBA to RHB's in his last three years and over 1.1 HR/9. Posey has absolutely destroyed LHP in his career to the tune of .348/.403/.636 and against a below average left-hander in Jeff Francis he'd typically be in the "if you can afford" or "stud" category but on some sites he's not priced as a top tier catcher option. Make sure you exploit that. As if you needed any more reason to play Posey, he's 5-8 with a 2B and a HR in his career off Francis.
Victor Martinez (DET) - Martinez's .143/.240/.143 start to the season already has people wondering if the 34 year old former catcher won't be able to recover from the microfracture surgery performed last season. But if you dig in on the peripherals you'll notice a lot of bad luck has led to the cold start. Martinez has posted a 26% LD Rate and a solid 1.00 EYE which is buoyed by exceptional plate discipline (17% chase rate) and contact (3.7% swinging strike rate). His skills all look great, but the performance has slumped because of an unfortunate .158 BABIP. On Wednesday Martinez gets a familiar matchup against Mark Buehrle. Martinez has racked up 74 AB's in his career against Buehrle thanks to their time in the AL Central and he's gone 27-74 with 6 XBH's and just 7 K's. Martinez has been ever so slightly better against LHP in his career than RHP and the familiarity with Buehrle should also benefit him. If Martinez is priced as an ordinary catching option on the site you're playing on, he's a nice value on Wednesday.
Best Value Play:
Adam LaRoche (WAS) - LaRoche got his season started on Tuesday night with a multi-HR game and there's reason to believe he leave the yard again on Wednesday. The White Sox will throw Gavin Floyd on Wednesday and Floyd's biggest issue in his career has been the long-ball. Floyd has allowed 1.2 HR/9 to LHB's over the last three years and given up a 20% LD Rate and 4.27 FIP. LaRoche has done the majority of his damage against RHP in his career, hitting .273/.347/.493 for his career. In most places his 2 HR performance yesterday isn't yet priced in providing some nice value on a league average 1B.
Outside of LaRoche most of the 1B are priced up on Wednesday and with plenty of favorable matchups it's easy to see why. Let's spend some time highlighting (quickly) some of the expensive 1B you should be targeting if you're going to spend at the position.
The expensive 1B to target:
Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) - Jonathan Sanchez has posted a 4.65 FIP and 4.58 xFIP against RHB's the last three years in large part because he walks nearly 14% of them and gives up 1.1 HR/9. Goldschmidt murders LHP to the tune of .307/.397/.591 and the Diamondbacks as a whole really crush LHP at home. On sites where they price by splits, Goldschmidt is going to be crazy expensive, but if he's priced reasonably compared to the other top options he figures to get some great run-producing opportunities against LHP on Wednesday.
Albert Pujols (LAA) - Priced more affordably, it seems, on the sites that heavily weight splits Pujols has an excellent matchup against a LHP as well. Tommy Milone has surrendered a 24% LD Rate and 0.95 HR/9 to RHB's in his brief career. Pujols has always crushed LHP and last year he posted a .996 OPS when facing LHP at home. In a small sample Pujols has gone 4-8 with 4 2B's against Milone and many of the other batters around Pujols in the lineup have similarly successful small samples. If priced similarly to other high priced options I think Pujols is a really nice play on Wednesday.
Joey Votto (CIN) - Votto gets to face Jake Westbrook who is unlikely to give up a long-ball (55% GB Rate vs. LHB's) but simply struggles to get them out. Westbrook has allowed a .335 wOBA to LHB's in the last three years, while walking 10% of the LHB's he's faced. Votto has seen a lot of Westbrook from being in the same division and it looks like Westbrook does his best to avoid Votto. In 18 career PA's Votto has walked 6 times and picked up 3 other hits. While Westbrook's GB Rate might limit the upside of Votto compared to Pujols and Goldschmidt who have a better chance to leave the yard, Votto is the surest bet of the group to get on base and likely will do so multiple times.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) - Kipnis has looked horrible at the plate to start the season. He's hitting just .138/.161/.241 and he's struck out in 32% of his plate appearances so far. As a result of the slow start his price has come way down compared to other potential top 10 2B. Kipnis has been much better against RHP's in his career than lefties, hitting .273/.341/.446 against them and on Wednesday he gets to face Ivan Nova who has allowed a 22% LD Rate, 1.16 HR/9 and 4.52 FIP against LHB's over the last three years. Kipnis is still a fixture in the middle of the Indians lineup which allows for more Run/RBI opportunities than many other 2B and he's now priced as a mid-tier option. While we'd like to see some indicators that he's turning the corner on this cold start, the matchup and price are enticing on Wednesday.
Robinson Cano (NYY) - Cano is a streaky hitter who is as hot as they come right now. The Indians haven't announced a starter as of this writing for Wednesday's game. It was supposed to be Brett Myers, but he threw batting practice for the Indians in relief on Tuesday night. As long as it's a right-handed pitcher and Cano is priced near the other top 2B options, he's the top play at the position.
Jhonny Peralta (DET) - Peralta has walked a lot more and hit for more power in his career when facing LHP. His .772 OPS vs. LHP isn't significantly different from his .739 OPS vs. RHP, but Peralta also tends to move up in the order a bit against LHP and that provides more RBI opportunities for the Tigers SS. Peralta has also seen a lot of Mark Buehrle from Buehrle's time with the White Sox and Peralta has enjoyed what he's seen. He's gone 24-82 (.293 avg) with 10 XBH's and a decent 6:11 BB:K Ratio. If Peralta is hitting 6th in the order (which I expect) after Miggy, Fielder, VMart, he'll be primed for RBI opportunities against a pitcher he has a strong familiarity with.
Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) - I typically prefer to take Cabrera when he's facing LHP as he has better splits as a RHB, but the slow start to the season for Cabrera has caused his price to fall on most daily sites. Cabrera is above average as a LHB with a career .270/.337/.407 line to his name and Ivan Nova has been vulnerable to LHB's to the tune of a 4.52 FIP and .330 wOBA. Cabrera's price has fallen enough on many sites that he's being priced as an average SS and at that price, I'm willing to take the chance on him in a slightly above average matchup.
Sean Rodriguez (TB) - Rodriguez typically finds his way in the lineup against LHP and that's with good reason. For his career Rodriguez has hit .249/.359/.385 against LHP, posting a strong 12% BB Rate and his K Rate falls to 20% when hitting against lefties. Derek Holland is a pretty talented LHP but he's had issues with right-handed power in his career. Over the last three years he's allowed 1.51 HR/9 to RHB's and he's walked over 8% of them. The 4.61 FIP against right-handed bats the last three years is within the bottom five of the pitchers going today. Rodriguez is near the minimum on most sites and at that price he represents a value against LHP in a strong hitting environment in Arlington.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulowitzki has been on fire to start the season (.346/.419/.731) and in his career he has been dominant against LHP (.306/.387/.537). On Wednesday Barry Zito will take the bump for the Giants and over the last three years Zito has allowed a 4.84 xFIP to RHB's. He gives up a 20% LD Rate and 40% Fly-Ball rate to RHB's making him prone to giving up the extra base hits. Tulo's been racking up the extra base hits early in the season and while he's had a rather poor history against Zito (6-41 with 8 K's), I'm going to lean on the way Tulo is swinging the bat right now and his career track record against left-handed pitching. On most sites where Tulo is within ear-shot of the other top tier SS's on price, I'll be using him tonight.
Mike Moustakas (KC) - The man we often refer to as "Moose Tacos" is off to a slow start this season (.214/.267/.286) and as a result he's priced much more favorably than many of his 3B counterparts. He's been hitting clean-up for the Royals and on Wednesday they take on Liam Hendriks who has allowed a .341 wOBA and 4.56 FIP to LHB's over the last three years. The Royals figure to be one of the higher scoring teams on Wednesday because of Hendriks struggles and being able to get their clean-up hitter for a relative bargain is a strong start to building your lineup.
Juan Uribe (LAD) - Uribe went deep yesterday and will likely be in the 5th spot in the lineup against today against another LHP, Eric Stults. Uribe's gotten off to an incredible start this year posting an 18.2% BB Rate against just a 9.1% K Rate. He's hitting just .111 but the plate discipline suggests he's seeing the ball really well. In his career Uribe has shown zero split differences in his major league career but the pitcher he's facing on Wednesday certainly has. Eric Stults has allowed a 5.00 xFIP against RHB's over the last three years, including a whopping 25% LD Rate. He walks nearly 10% of LHB's and struggles to put them away with a sub-15% K%. With Uribe seeing the ball so well right now and Stults' career struggles against RHB's, this seems like a good matchup to take advantage of a very cheap price for Uribe.
Ryan Roberts (TB) - Roberts has hit .260/.341/.433 against LHP in his career and figures to draw a start for the Rays against Derek Holland. Roberts also has a solid 0.64 EYE against LHP and as mentioned before Derek Holland is susceptible to the long-ball against right-handed power bats. I like the other value options so much that I probably won't use Roberts (perhaps if he qualifies at 2B), but I think he's a nice salary relief option on a number of sites.
Evan Longoria (TB) - Longoria disappointed me yesterday but the Fix is having an unusual pattern of late of being one day early on guys. Last night Chris Carter homered twice just one day after Mike Leone recommended him a few days back Will Middlebrooks homered three times and Mike Napoli homered once just one day after I recommended them, so I'm going back to the well with Longoria. For his career Longoria has hit .289/.376/.555 against LHP and he's had a strong history against Wednesday's opposing starter Derek Holland. Longoria has gone 9-22 with 4 2B's and 3 HR's against Holland, who also happens to have allowed 1.51 HR/9 to RHB's over the last three years. Everything about this matchup suggests Longoria should have a strong performance, so he's the stud I'm paying up for on Wednesday.
Best Value Plays:
Brett Gardner (NYY) - Gardner finally got things going yesterday with a 4-5 effort and like Cano we're going to keep riding a hot streak as long as whoever Cleveland eventually decides on is a RHP. Gardner's priced way too affordably on a number of sites after missing last season and yesterday's strong performance isn't yet captured in the pricing. If he's still being priced as a "throw-away" OF, I would continue to take him any time the Yankees are facing non-elite RHP's until the pricing changes.
Denard Span (WAS) - Gavin Floyd wouldn't seem to be the type of pitcher Denard Span would dominate as I tend to think of Span as a guy who takes advantage of RHP's who lack command that he can get into favorable counts. Floyd actually has decent command against LHB's but he allows 1.2 HR/9 which has really been his undoing. Span has seen a lot of Floyd from his days in Minnesota and he's hit 17-35 with 4 2B's against him. There are a lot of singles in there (13 of them) which typically we don't want to weight too strongly but the larger sample combined with its recent-ness makes me lean towards it being acceptable pitcher-vs.-batter data to use. In addition, I'm comforted by the fact Span is seeing the ball so well right now. He's posted a ridiculous 28% BB% through the first 7 games and he's getting on-base at a .484 clip. If you can get him for a below average price because he doesn't hit for a ton of power, I think he's a good bet to get on base today and score a run which would be enough to hit value on most sites.
Carlos Beltran (STL) - Homer Bailey is pretty good away from Cincinnati and he doesn't have atrocious splits against LHB's so this is purely a play on price. Beltran's price has come way down due to a .200/.259/.200 start to the season. He's battling a toe injury and some have speculated that has impacted his power early on. If that's the case perhaps he's priced that way for a reason, but from the AB's I've seen of Beltran of late he seems close to putting it together. He's priced down so much that much of the risk is taken out in owning him and it just becomes a question of opportunity cost. I'm not building my lineups around Beltran, but if I need to save money he's a player I'm looking to.
Chris Heisey (CIN) - Keep your fingers crossed that Dusty Baker will not only play Heisey but put him back in the #2 spot in the order on Wednesday. Heisey is one of those unusual reverse-split hitters who actually does much of his damage against RHP's. For his brief career Heisey has posted a .784 OPS vs. RHP and a .659 OPS vs. LHP. In addition, according to Baseball-reference.com, Heisey has posted an .893 OPS against GB pitchers in his career, which Jake Westbrook certainly qualifies as. Heisey has also had particularly strong history against Westbrook as he's gone 6-12 with 3 HR's and a BB in his 13 PA's. Sites that are more aggressive with their pricing, Heisey isn't much of a value right now, but on some sites he's priced below the average OF. In those spots I'd strongly consider using him today in the favorable matchup, especially if he's hitting #2 in front of Joey Votto.
Other high priced OFs to consider: Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), Michael Cuddyer (COL), Matt Kemp (LAD), Alex Gordon (KC), Andrew McCutchen (ARZ), Matt Holliday (OF), Austin Jackson (DET), Ben Zobrist (TB), Mike Trout (LAA), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)
Best Value Plays:
Mike Minor (ATL) - Minor's biggest issue as a SP is he allows a lot of HR's. The Marlins only have 2 players on their roster that can even leave the park in batting practice (Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Ruggiano). If Minor can keep those two in the yard, he should have an exceptional day. I think Minor is the strongest SP option today.
Blake Beavan (SEA) - Only a recommended play on multi-pitcher sites, Beavan gets the same matchup with the Astros that Brandon Maurer burned us with last night. I think Beavan is a better bet for success and even picked him as a spot-start in a couple NFBC (15-team) leagues this week. Beavan isn't a particularly great starter, posting a career 4.75 FIP and 4.80 xFIP but the Astros are striking out in 32% of their PA's against RHP and have posted just a .645 OPS. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment after getting beaten badly by Maurer but I think Beavan has better command of the zone and is more likely to put the Astros hitters in unfavorable counts than Maurer was on Tuesday night. It also helps that Beavan is considerably cheaper than Maurer was on most sites last night, so there's less risk.
Matt Moore (TB) - I think Moore is the 2nd best SP option on the board today which speaks to my love for Matt Moore. It also speaks to my faith in Ron Washington to ignore Moore's reverse splits and run out a heavy RHB lineup which should suit Moore's skills nicely. Moore has struck out 26% of RHB's he's faced in his brief career and he's posted a 3.63 FIP against them. Against same-side hitters he's struggled to the tune of a 4.2 FIP and 5.05 xFIP as his K Rate drops to just 17% and his walk rate jumps near 12%. Moore has an outstanding change-up that is relegated useless against LHB's and he doesn't have a breaking ball that gives them trouble yet. In what I expect to be a RH-heavy lineup for Moore, I think he'll continue to flash his brilliance even in a tough environment to pitch.