It is a truth universally acknowledged that a betting girl (or boy) in want of a good fortune must take into her (his) possession Colorado and Cleveland bats today. For on this fine Saturday, the respectively 4th– and 5th-best teams versus LHP both happen to be facing the aforementioned lefty pitching — and the Rockies are doing it at home, to boot. Here’s the tricky thing. FantasyDraft has split its slate into two today. We want to pay up for pitching for the early slate, and late, for the main slate, we’re going to stack hitters (Rockies, Indians and Mariners) like our futures depend upon it, while we let pitching slide a tad. Luckily, there’s enough variation in decent pitching to pull all this off. Let’s take a look at some options, shall we?
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Gerrit Cole, SP: $22,900 (early) – Cole is Streamonator’s favorite son today for this match-up versus Detroit, in Houston. At time of writing, it has him pegged at 42.2 SON$; the next best, a certain Mr. Aaron Nola, is 18.1 SON$ (more on him below). That’s quite the gap, son. Cole hasn’t faced Detroit yet this season, but they’re seventh-last in the league, on a 5-game losing streak, and Cole has a 2.61 ERA at home. Of course FantasyDraft knows all this too, so they’ve hiked up the price. I know — ouch.
Aaron Nola, SP: $21,900 (early) – Leader in wins in the National League, recent shutter-outer of the Mets, today Nola gets to face the 27th-place Marlins in Marlins Park. Well, I’m not the world’s most passionate girl, but when I looked at those stats, I really fell for my Nola, N-O-L-A Nola. But just like Cole-a, he’s not cheap either. In the early slate, you could pair either of these somewhat pricey guys up with Reynaldo Lopez ($11,300 versus the Royals) or Danny Duffy ($10,900 versus the White Sox).
Jeff Samardzija, SP: $10,900 (main) – I briefly considered recommending someone else just so I wouldn’t have to try spelling Jeff’s surname, but then I thought to myself, no, Victoria: let us gird our loins, be strong and Google the damn thing. So I got only 2 letters wrong on the first try! Anyway. This is a call by Streamonator (a call by Streamonator = late-night, wistful, Lionel Ritchie or Adele singing either version of “Hello” down the line at you); ranked 3rd today, Jeff Sama-… Shark caught my eye, too. But there’s a chance he won’t catch your competitors’; i.e., that he may fly under the radar, because FantasyDraft has him at a miserable 6.01 FPG. Last week, his first start back since coming off the DL was a little meh: 3 earned runs in 5 innings pitched versus the Cards. But this should go better, versus the A’s in San Francisco, where he’s kept things to a reasonable 3.75 over the years. I’d match him up with Alex Wood ($16,700 — swapped in for Clayton Kershaw, who’s been bumped to Sunday, while Rich Hill’s been booted to the bullpen. All this happened as I was writing this, fact fans! Baseball, keeping you on your toes in very slow motion), or Andrew Heaney: he’s a little more expensive at $18,600, but I’m anticipating Ks.
Jose Abreu, IF: $7,300 (early) – I’m not gonna lie, the pickins’ are a tad slim for IF in the early slate, especially when you’re trying to save money because you’ve blown your cash on all that pricey pitching. Abreu has been a little dismal over the last week, but he had a good Friday night, and there’s hope for Saturday and the lefty-righty match-up with Danny Duffy, against whom he’s gone .333 in 48 at-bats, including 2 home runs.
Joey Votto, IF: $8,500 (early) – This recommendation is for the price and the lefty-righty match-up versus Jack Flaherty. Votto’s hitting a very pleasant .330 off lefties this year. Also, I passed my Canadian citizenship test a week ago, so I’m now obliged to follow the CanCon (“Canadian Content”) quota rules and include at least one Canadian thing per post. Next time: beavers!
Trevor Story, IF: $10,700 (main) – All the Rockies and Mariners are going to be stratospherically expensive today, of Coors, but do squeeze as many as you can into your lineup, poppets. Specifically, Trevor Story. He has been ON. FIRE. for weeks, is hitting .325 at home and .310 versus lefties. That’s a Story with a beginning, a middle and a happy ending. As a slightly cheaper Coors option, also look to Dee Gordon ($8,300).
Francisco Lindor, IF: $10,000 (main) – Yes, he costs a fortune, but remember above how I mentioned Cleveland are 5th best in MLB versus lefties? Lindor would be a big part of that. He’s hitting .381 off LHP generally this year, and .500 specifically off CC Sabathia (in 12 at-bats). And oh yeah, he’s .319 at home. Soooooo….
Manny Machado, IF: $9,500 (main) – He’s got a .984 OPS versus lefty Martin Perez, and he’s smacking things around to a mere .379 pace. Also, he’s hitting .360 at home this season. Machado about nothing? In short, no.
A.J. Pollock, OF: $8,700 (early) – This is not a bad price for a guy who’s been ticking along nicely, which includes hitting .300 versus lefties like Sean Newcomb — who has earned 5 runs in each of his last 2 starts. Cust kayin’.
Nick Markakis, OF: $8,400 (early) – Sparkakis! Gonna start a forest fire he’s been so damn hot! … Well, let’s hope not. But the fact remains that he’s hitting .309 at home. And don’t let the match-up versus Greinke scare you too much: Markakis actually has a pleasant .776 OPS against him.
Nelson Cruz, OF: $9,000 (main) – You take a stroll through Hittertron’s top 20 today, and you see it’s littered with Mariners and Rockies, not surprisingly. In my lineup, I’m grabbing number 5 on the entire day, Mr. Nelson Cruz. It’s an interesting one. He hasn’t been hitting hugely lately, but he loves it in Coors (.412 over 3 years) and he’s happy against lefties such as Kyle Freeland (.280). Meanwhile, he may get overlooked, because while Hittertron knows what’s what, FantasyDraft has relegated him down the list a little. Worth a go, in my book.
Nomar Mazara, OF: $8,000 (main) – Here’s an attempt to find you a relatively decently priced player who isn’t a Rockie, Mariner or Indian, and who’s hitting well lately. Today Nomar-is-an-island finds himself in a nice lefty-right match-up versus Yefry-with-1-F Ramirez in Camden Yards.
Bonus content: It turns out that neither the Jays-Red Sox nor the Brewers-Pirates games are counted on FantasyDraft today, but I’d already written blurbs for a couple of players from said teams. So have ’em anyway, and play these guys elsewhere if you can:
- Justin Smoak, IF – He hot. (No, I’m not going to make the “where there’s Smoak, there’s fire” joke. [Have you ever seen him running the bases, though? Where there’s Smoak, there’s lumber, let me tell you.]) I think today’s his day. He should be better against lefties than he has been so far this season (let’s face it, he should be better against EVERYone than he has been for much of this season). This week was his week (hitting .444) and now he gets to face the Sox’ LHP Eduardo Rodriguez in a park where he’s hit 5 home runs in the past.
- Starling Marte, OF – My love for Marte knows no bounds (except when he spent all that time on suspension, the dummy). Tied leader for steals? Check. Hits for power and average? Check. Has a 1.360 OPS in 22 at-bats versus Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson, at home in PNC Park, where he has a .301 average? Check, please — I’m taking him home with me.
- Eric Thames, OF – Play him if you’ve got him (and if he’s starting) today, for the hot hot heat this week and the .308 average versus righty Ivan Nova.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Doing Lines In Vegas
Vegas agrees with Streamonator and me on the whole Cole thing, predicting it to go the Astros’ way over Detroit at a hefty -240. I’m watching the Rays-Tampa game with interest, namely the pitching match-up between Archer and Berrios; Vegas is hedging its bets, with the subtlest gesture in Archer’s favor at -101. I’m not sure. Berrios is my boo. And as far as projected runs go, Mariners-Rockies is natch up there, at around 11.07, but Rangers in Baltimore could actually go even higher: 11.35.