Left-handed hitters are always going to be popular given their tendency to hold the larger “half” of a platoon’s playing time situation, but as we enter the final five weeks of the season — or in DFS — production of any type is worth employing. While most of these names aren’t flashy, all of these players have something to offer in terms of counting or rate stats for hitting southpaws. The ownership rates (not the availability) are listed after each player for the three major fantasy sites. To add an arbitrary filter to things, we’re looking at 50 plate appearance minimums, with numbers excluding Monday’s games.
Josh Phegley, Athletics: .299/.346/.485 vs LHP. Other good options are James McCann, Tigers or J.T. Realmuto, Marlins, however Phegley has — by a 30 point margin — the best minor league OPS against lefties, though playing in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League skews those numbers a bit. All three of their home parks rank in the bottom half of right-handed home run index, though the Tigers are at least near league average. The Tigers offense around McCann is better than what the Marlins or A’s trot out, so he or Phegley are smart plays.
CBS: Phegley 6%, McCann 15%
Yahoo!: Phegley 1%, McCann 3$
ESPN: Phegley 1%, McCAnn 4%
Darin Ruf, Phillies: .371/.439/.557 vs LHP. Before you break your arm reaching for the last few FAAB dollars to your name, Ruf sports a .397 BABIP against left-handers thus far, a number that is bound to regress. That said, he owns a .299/.380/509 line versus lefties in 256 big league plate appearances, a figure corroborated by his 1.045 OPS against them throughout the minor leagues. With Ryan Howard sitting more often against southpaws, grab Ruf in deep leagues or DFS.
Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers: .381/.444/.730 vs LHP. A .467 BABIP is helping inflate his line — and that is bound to regress — yet I’m still a fan of the surrounding lineup. He managed to post a .751 OPS in the minors when holding the platoon advantage compared to a .711 OPS when digging in against a right-hander. I’d prefer if he moved back to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, but at this price/ownership rate, I can’t complain.
Wilmer Flores, Mets: .306/.352/.529 vs LHP. Flores’ hitting lefties like this at the major league level is new, though his history in the minors and a .874 OPS against southpaws bodes well for his continued success in the show. His .324 BABIP isn’t outlandish and his 12 total home runs (only four versus lefties) adds to his value as well.
Nick Castellanos, Tigers: .355/.413/.559 vs LHP. Before writing off his triple slash due to a .446 BABIP, it should be noted his 36.2 percent Hard% contact rates 26th out of 144 qualified batters against lefties. Similarly Castellanos’ 14.5 percent Soft% is tied for 42nd. He’s making solid and consistent contact and even if he regresses to career levels against lefties, he’d be at .287/.353/.440, solid enough when hitting sixth in the lineup behind on-base machine Miguel Cabrera, slugger J.D. Martinez and the aging-but-still-useful-against-southpaws Victor Martinez.
Delino DeShields Jr., Rangers: .270/.354/.380 vs LHP. More like DeSteals, amirite? Sure, his average is nothing to write home about, but I’m all about the speed here! He’s coming off back-to-back 50+ steal seasons in the minors and already has 21 bags in 26 attempts. DeShields is cemented at the leadoff spot in the Rangers offense and makes for a solid albeit punchless option.
Chris Young, Yankees: .339/.398/.635 vs LHP. Young has hit lefties better than right-handers for his career, but if he hits one more home run, he’ll have tied his highest home run total since 2012. If that sounds good, don’t get too excited as he’ll be at 14 dingers. He’s still a pretty extreme pull hitter, with all of his homers going to left field, and his 59.4 percent Pull% ranks second highest among qualified hitters when facing a lefty. I don’t think the average is going to hold, but he does have power and should sock at least a handful more homers in these final weeks.