Don’t ask me how I stumbled across this (*cough* Wikipedia *cough*), but today I learned that a “toxophilite” is a “lover or devotee of archery; an archer.” And that’s me and Stream-o-Nator both today: lovers of Chris Archer versus the Rangers. Archers and Rangers! I feel like I’m assembling a party for Dungeons & Dragons rather than a lineup for FanDuel. Or maybe I’m just reading too much fantasy right now (Lev Grossman and The Magicians series! Spoiler: it’s awesome! It’s the Narnia books crossed with Catcher in the Rye!) and jonesing for a quest of some sort. Anyway, as usual, I’ll throw out some ideas for how your ragtag squad of adventurers might come together — more details below, but in summary it’s a good day for cheap-ish pitching and good stacking. Let’s restring our bows, fill our quivers, and practice sliding our swords in and out of our scabbards so we don’t look like dummies, and get to it.
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Here’s the lineup I’ll be entering into FanDuel on Saturday 22 July (GPP, all-day, 4:05 p.m. [late start alert!]):
Chris Archer, SP: $10,300
Robinson Chirinos, C: $2,300
Mark Reynolds, 1B: $3,900
Jonathan Schoop, 2B: $3,500
Manny Machado, 3B: $3,500
Addison Russell, SS: $2,500
Mallex Smith, OF: $2,800
Clint Frazier, OF: $2,500
Starling Marte, OF: $3,600
Quick housekeeping note [Sidebar: why do we say “housekeeping” for this sort of thing? I don’t do housekeeping in my own house, never mind in here. <shoos away family of Razzball dust bunnies>]: By the magic of engineering, I’ll be in the air (this Brit-South African-Canadian is holidaying in ’Merica!) when this post goes up, but leave any questions, eyerolls or corrections in the comments section, regardless — Matt Truss, who is an officer and a gentleman, will field them for me until I’m back on the ground and wifi’d up.
Stacks of stacks: From the bottom up, these 3 pitchers are Stream-o-Nator’s lowest-ranked for the day: Andrew Cashner versus Tampa Bay; Mike Pelfrey at Kansas City; and Chris Tillman at home in Baltimore versus Houston, so consider leaning on hitters facing these guys. There’s also a Rockies home game and I expect the homers to be homering. And also the visitors.
Chris Archer, SP: $10,300 – As preambled in the preamble, Archer leads my merry band of FanDuelers today. He’s also FanDuel’s most expensive pitcher, but they seem to be lukewarm on him, as this isn’t that expensive in the grand scheme of things (excellent news for our hitting stacks!). I also think he has a good chance for a win, as the Rangers are on a 5-game losing streak at time of writing, and oh ya, did I mention that Andrew Cashner is the lowest-ranked pitcher on SON today (mind you, Cashner has had two quality starts lately. … That’s about the best I can say about him)? Archer has an excellent K% rate of 28.7%, and hitters just keep whiffing on him — he’s ranked 4th in Ks in MLB. Meanwhile, the Rangers are 5th highest in Ks in MLB. Note that of the Ranger class, Elfish Elvis Andrus could give Archer some trouble — in 15 ABs against him, he’s seen him for 7 hits. However, a home run on Friday night notwithstanding, Andrus has been pretty quiet since the All-Star break.
Rich Hill, SP: $9,200 – However, if Archer isn’t nocking the arrow on your bow (ooh, missus), try Rich Hill — who sounds like he’d be the barkeep in the imaginary tavern where our party begins its quest; a survivor of the Great Blister Wars of 2017, he now spends his days polishing beer mugs and nodding sagely. Anyway, when he does make it to the mound, he’s been terrific, earning a grand total of 2 runs in July so far. He has a lovely K/9 of 10.77. Or if you want to save yet more cash, there’s Sean Manaea ($8,600), SON’s 4th-rated pitcher for today (Matt Moore is 3rd, but I don’t trust him — even versus the Padres), pitching at Citi Field versus the Mets: he’s been quietly putting together quality starts of late, keeping the earned runs and walks down.
Yadier Molina, C: $2,800 – Yadi’s the deceptively fiercesome-looking warrior in our crew of adventurers: neck tattoos hiding a sad backstory and heart of gold. A couple of weeks back, Dr. Easy and I talked about how Yadier Molina is such a great set-it-and-forget-it catcher, for his high $ value (per the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater). However, some days he’s also a great one-day play, for his match-up history. Yadi hasn’t been en fuego since the All-Star Break, but steady, with at least a hit most games. I’m throwing him out here as a suggestion if you’ve got a little extra catcher cash, for his 12 for 30, 1 HR history versus Jon Lester. However, I also note on Friday night that he’s DTD with an ankle thang, so watch out for that. You might also do like VictoriaB and go even cheaper on catcher, looking to…
Robinson Chirinos, C: $2,300 – Or Jonathan Lucroy (also $2,300). Both of them are probably going to suck against Chris Archer, but this is a cheap-warm-body-in-the-catcher-slot situation. TBH, I’m hoping for Chirinos, as he’s hitting so much better than Lucroy and should be playing more in general IMHO, but IDK WTF.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B: $4,100 – Rizzo came back from the All-Star break with a bang, belting out 3 homers in as many days. Since then, he’s fizzled a tad. But perhaps righty Rizzo can turn it back around again versus lefty Adam Wainwright at home, where he has pretty significant splits this year: .310 at home versus .207 away. He also has an 11 for 40 BVP history versus Wainwright, with 1 HR to the Rizzo. But he’s pricey. I’m going to go Coors and Mark Reynolds at a surprisingly reasonable $3,900, but if you need to spend less, perhaps look to…
Eric Hosmer, 1B: $3,600 – First, the caveats: Hosmer’s 7 for 14 versus Mike Pelfrey is a small-ish sample size, and Hosmer has been cool overall since the All-Star break (hitting .217; .318 before it). And Hosmer’s out on “a personal matter” on Friday night; it’s assumed he’ll be back today, but keep an eye on that. But all that said! Thursday night saw him showing signs of life, with a homer and 3 runs, and I still like this match-up for the lefty-righty aspect. I’m hoping Hosmer casts a shape-shifting spell and turns himself into Homers.
Jose Altuve, 2B: $4,100 – You could go Pittsburgh or Colorado for 2B, or you could keep it classic with mi novio, Jose Altuve. (I’m not gonna say anything about how every D&D party needs a dwarf. Not gonna say it.) Hittertron’s third-ranked 2B today is hitting (and stealing — OK, maybe he’s our thief!) everything in sight, and this match-up versus Chris Tillman shouldn’t be much different. Tillman has settled down a little from his rough start to the season, but Houston are a tough match-up. They don’t strike out (team strikeout rate of 6.78 for the year) and Tillman doesn’t do much striking out (K/9 of 6.38). Match made in heaven!
Jonathan Schoop, 2B: $3,500 – I think I own Schoop in every one of my roto leagues. In every draft, I bitched about picking him up, but I kept picking him up because I needed a 2B and he just kept falling to me. He just seemed the most yawnstipating option possible…and yet, he’s been fantastic all season. Steady as a rock, hitting .300, 18 homers, 60 RBIs, .349 OBP; the last 7 days, he’s hit .375 with 3 XBHs. He’s like the knight: mysterious, masked, quietly does his job and doesn’t expect anything in return except a good joust every now and then (this may be a euphemism).
Manny Machado, 3B: $3,500 – Here’s the guy I’m playing because I can’t afford Nolan Arenado ($4,800) … sigh. But Manny, whom Hittertron likes 3rd best at 3B today (behind Arenado and Josh Harrison [$3,700 — I can’t even afford him at this point!]), is finally, finally showing signs of life after a miserable first half. He’s hitting .328 in the month of July and at long last is cutting down on the Ks: from 31 in May, to 18 in June, to 9 in July so far. Manny — our Everyman, if you will — is like the commoner who gets taken along for the quest and is cold and miserable for the first half and then warms to it all somewhere during the second act. He’ll face more obstacles, of course, but here’s hoping for a happy ending.
Alcides Escobar, SS: $2,800 – I’m pleasantly surprised at how cheap he is today. He’s 9 for 25 versus SON’s last-place Mike Pelfrey, and has been hot: 8 for 22 over the last 7 days, with 1 homer and a double.
Addison Russell, SS: $2,500 – Ya, it’s a small sample size, but it’s cray-cray: In past meetings, Addison has gone 6 for 12, with 3 doubles, versus Adam Wainwright. He’s also (finally!) been heating up, after being pretty dismal all season, with hits most games since the All-Star break, and he had that excellent 4 for 4 showing, with 2 doubles, on Thursday night. For this price, I’m going to give him a go.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF: $4,300 – He’s totally the warrior mage of my group: he can do it all. One runs one’s eye down Hittertron’s top hitting options for today and one is stuck by the repetitiveness of the players’ provenances: COL, PIT, MIL, HOU. That makes sense. However, Giancarlo, that magnificent beast, is his own little outlier: the sole Miami player, sitting right there at 2nd overall. He’s never faced Cincinnati’s Jackson Stephens, but not many have, except for the Cubs back on July 1, who earned 3 runs off him but also struck out 8 times. Regardless, Hittertron seems pretty confident that Razzball’s collective boyfriend is going to continue on his 4-HRs-so-far-this-week rampage against Mr. Stephens.
Starling Marte, OF: $3,600 – He’s Hittertron’s top-ranked hitter today, in any position — for the Colorado factor, natch. He didn’t make it to Coors before getting suspended earlier this year, but in past years he’s hit .377 there. He’s a little slow out of the gate post-suspension, but it has been a mere 2 games at time of writing, so I’m prepared to roll with this. And if he somehow manages to avoid the hitting charms of Coors, he’s always a threat to steal.
Mallex Smith, OF: $2,800 – Here’s another player of great interest to Hittertron, ranked 11th overall for the day, and at a relatively cheap price. This lefty is facing righty Andrew Cashner in the Trop, where he’s hit .367 so far this year in 60 ABs.
Clint Frazier, OF: $2,500 – Here’s the doomed knight of the crew (the poor guy in the red t-shirt on Star Trek; the poor black guy on The Walking Dead): all the blurbs I read about him today are talking about how he’ll be sent back down as soon as Aaron Hicks is healthy. Talk about the sword of Damocles hanging over your head. It’s like being the starting pitcher out on the mound with bases loaded and the ominous words “<INSERT RELIEF PITCHER NAME> warming in the bullpen” running across the jumbotron behind you. Anyway! Aaron Hicks Threat Watch notwithstanding, Clint Frazier is actually doing quite well — in a mere 14 games, he’s slashing .298/.306/.638, and for $2,500, I’m going to run him out there against Ariel Miranda (ERA 4.35; WHIP 1.16); Frazier is hitting .333 against lefties.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Uh oh: rain rearing its ugly head in numerous places tomorrow — there’s the chance of a thunderstorm for the Cardinals-Cubs, Astros-Orioles, Brewers-Phillies, Marlins-Reds, Jays-Cleveland and A’s-Mets games (phew! <fans self after all that>). Basically, the east-ish. The bits we’re flying through. Wish us luck!
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Rays are the heavy favorite over Texas, at -185; even heavier: Rich Hill’s Dodgers start over Teheran’s Braves, at -224. Vegas is feeling the Giants over the Padres at -142: I think I agree, but I still don’t totally trust Matt Moore. The Astros and Orioles game is projected to be a closer call than I would have thought: only -127 to the Astros. Lastly, I’m going to be watching the Jason Vargas start closely; the Royals are -149 over the White Sox, but there’s been a lot of Vargas implosion of late…