True confession: I can’t cope with trade deadline season. I find it a terrifying time to be 1) a baseball fan (of a team that is in sell mode [cough Blue Jays cough]) and 2) a baseball writer: 1) Because favorite players can be suddenly whisked off to dreaded rivals (I’m looking at you, brand-new-Yankee JA Happ) and 2) because things turn on a dime. For example, when I first started putting this post together, I was all “start Astro X against Cole Hamels!” Now…nope. So when you’re assembling your lineup for FantasyDraft today, I’ll give you the same caveat I give for weather: double-check your lineups before they lock. Anyway! Let’s talk about things that are hopefully more predictable: it’s a Coors day, so hitters gonna hit! (Right? Dear God, please give me something to hold on to in this crazy world.) Of course you’ll pay up for Rockies (Nolan Arenado, $10,400; Charlie Blackmon, $9,900; Trevor Story, $10,300) and A’s bats (Khris Davis, $11,100; Marcus Semien, $9,300), but it may be worth it. Also, Atlanta, second best in the league versus LHP, are seeing lefty Alex Wood today. Pitching options are tougher, but let’s see what we can do with them, after the jump.
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Programming note: FantasyDraft is featuring 11 games on its main slate today, starting at 7 pm Eastern. Sadly, as best I can tell at time of writing, this excludes the Royals-Yankees (both games of the double-header), Cubs-Cardinals, Indians-Tigers, and Phillies-Reds games. For the record, I (and Streamonator) love Luis Severino for the start versus KC. And Cleveland, fifth best in MLB versus lefty pitching, are facing Detroit’s LHP Blaine Hardy (it was supposed to be Francisco Liriano, and when I saw the change this morning, I thought gasp! Another trade! But no, some sort of allergic reaction). All that to say: if you have the chance to start Severino and any Cleveland bats elsewhere, do it. I think you could probably safely start Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger, too.
Justin Verlander, SP: $25,500 – I wrote about JV last Saturday and how I knew he was going to be delicious in the match-up versus the Angels, and lo, he was: precisely 0 runs earned over 6 innings and 11 strikeouts. This week he’s squaring up against the Rangers; in 26 IP this season, he’s kept them to a 1.73 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. He’s whimper-expensive, though, I know. In your second pitcher spot, you could put Kevin Gausman ($14,800) versus Tampa at home in Baltimore; it makes me very nervous, I’m not gonna lie, but he’s affordable. Or you could go really wacky, basically punt the second pitcher position and try John Axford, the bullpen day/”opener” for the Jays today, at $8,000, freeing up cash for big bats. Obviously he won’t go more than a couple of innings, but he should get you a couple of Ks while he’s at it ([shrug emoji]).
Patrick Corbin, SP: $20,300 – Verlander and Jacob deGrom (@PIT; $24,800) are your aces o’ the week, but let’s go a little further down the Streamonator list, and a little cheaper, to look at Mr. Corbin. The Padres are twentieth in the league versus LHP (.689 OPS), and this match-up takes place in the pitcher haven of Petco Park. You could pair him up with Gio Gonzalez ($14,600), Streamonator’s ninth-best-loved child of the day, in Miami. Risky, I know, and he may garner a boatload of walks, but we could hold on to park-factor hope and the Marlins’ team OPS of .654 versus LHP?
Xander Bogaerts, IF: $9,900 – I don’t know why I always forget about poor Xander. Maybe because he can be so streaky? But right now that streak is running to the hitting side, and today he gets to face Jake Odorizzi, whom he’s roughed up previously for a .973 OPS in 29 at-bats. That’s with 5 doubles and 5 BBs.
C.J. Cron, IF: $9,100 – Grey told you to buy and I concur with the big man upstairs (actually, because I’m in Canada, he’s kind of downstairs, and a little to the left). July has been good to C.J. — he’s hitting .379/.431/.724 over the month so far. I also like him for his 1.012 OPS versus the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman and .333 clip at Camden Yards.
Freddie Freeman, IF: $8,900 – I feel like I trot him out every week. It’s because I love him. He is so consistent (and hot! .368 over the last week!), and a little underrated/overlooked, generally. And today particularly so, at this price, for the match-up against lefty Alex Wood: he’s hitting a beautiful .360 off lefties this season. Add that to his .299 and 10 home runs at home, and nom. Simply.
Logan Morrison, IF: $7,300 – This is a suggestion for a cheapie possibility to slot in alongside your expensive pitching and/or Coors batting. LoMo’s been a little meh for much of the season, but I’ve got to say that in the recent Twins rout of the Jays that I had the misfortune of watching on telly, he was looking…better? And while I’m NOT dissing Rick Porcello’s start today against the Twins, the particular match-up might favor LoMo (lefty-righty; he has a .809 OPS over 37 at-bats against Porcello). He also has 3 homers in Fenway. Possibly worth a look, at this price. But if you’re not feeling it, why not try a little Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in your life? Only a little costlier at $7,700, and he has a record-breaking hitting streak going right now, and the best hair in the majors.
Mike Trout, OF: $10,400 – I know. Paying this much for Trout is about as pleasant as getting a fishbone stuck in your craw. But today it’s worth it, I promise. Not only is he, well, he’s Trout — I don’t need to tell you how hot he is — but consider his history versus Felix Hernandez. They have a robust BVP of 81 at-bats, in which time Trout has hit 7 home runs off him, stolen 3 bases and owns a 1.146 OPS. Pay the man.
Eddie Rosario, OF: $10,300 – Pricey, but Hittertron feels pretty good about the Eddie versus Rick Porcello today, in Fenway; he’s ranked twelfth overall today of all hitters. Meanwhile, he may be an under-the-radar play as your competitors fall all over themselves for Coors bats (and maybe actual Coors; if they’re drunk while drafting, that always helps). The lefty is smacking RHP for .326 this season.
Wil Myers, OF: $8,000 – Pleasantly cheap for someone who is so locked in, to the tune of .318 over the last week. Sadly (although happily for Patrick Corbin – see above) this game is in the hitters’ graveyard of Petco Park, but I do like his match-up versus Corbin (and Arizona in general: this year, he has a 1.440 OPS versus the team as a whole) for the righty-leftiness of it and for their 1.182 OPS history.
Nelson Cruz, OF: $7,300 – At this price he’d make a nice little slot-filler, for the match-up with Jaime Barria. He hasn’t been spectacular this season, but he always does something for you when he’s in the lineup (his OPS is .884), and he enjoys hitting in Angel Stadium: he has a .308 average there.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
I can’t actually believe this, but it’s pretty much clear today. Just keep your eye on New York: there’s a chance of a thunderstorm late in the 1 p.m. game.
Doing Lines In Vegas
It doesn’t count for our FantasyDraft purposes, but I think I’ve officially seen the biggest money line number ever on Teamonator: -350 in favor of Severino and the Yankees over KC. Yeah. Next highest: Justin Verlander and the Astros over Ariel Jurado and the Rangers, at -260. See also Jacob deGrom and the Mets over Trevor Williams and Pittsburgh, at -182. The Angels and Mariners could go either way, with a slight tilt in favor of the Mariners at -103. In terms of highest projected game runs, this may come as a shock, but it’s the game in Coors: 11.31. Next highest would be Boston and Minnesota, at 10.81.