I love this time of the year. You’ve got MLB teams fighting for their playoff lives, the NFL just started and young prospect-type hitters were just called up when rosters were expanded (September 1) are trying to showcase their stuff for the next season. There are a couple of youngsters in that exact situation that I’ve suggested for Friday, so keep that in mind while filling out your lineup.

 

Stud Pitchers

Jon Lester, Athletics ($12,300) – I know Lester is awfully expensive, but there’s not a safer pitcher available in my humble opinion. Lester has kept Phillies’ hitters to a .169 batting average over his career, so this one is shaping up nicely for you if you’re willing to spend the big bucks.

Phil Hughes, Twins ($9,000) – Even when Hughes gives up runs he manages to shake things out nicely with strikeouts and innings pitched – a favorite topic of mine in looking for points from the pitching slots. Over his last eight starts, Hughes has averaged almost 24 FPPG.

 

Value Pitchers

Brad Peacock, Astros ($6,200) – Peacock was dealing with a back injury and missed his last scheduled start, but it looks like he’s ready to go for Friday’s start. I love the price tag for what you’re getting in Peacock as he’s averaging just a smidge under 18 FPPG. He’s a great pairing if you go with Jon Lester as your primary pitching option.

Kevin Gausman, Orioles ($7,100) – You gotta dig that Gausman has been on top of his strikeout pitch of late, with an average of seven strikeouts over his last three starts. He’s a risk considering his age and lack of innings pitched, but I like the offense that’s behind him and that he’s been putting double-digit FPPG in eight of the last nine games he’s pitched.

 

Stud Hitters

Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies ($4,100) – Okay, I’ll finally suggest someone else aside from Russell Martin. Rosario has been scorching hot over the last few games with six hits in his last 12 at-bats, while netting a homer, three runs and five RBI. The price is a solid value too considering.

Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Rockies ($4,500) – Cuddyer has a mini-hitting streak going, but to be perfectly honest it’s just nice to see the dude healthy for the last couple weeks of he season. He hit a homer on Thursday night, and isn’t exactly facing a stout Diamondbacks pitcher in Chase Anderson who will be throwing in the thin air of Colorado.

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tigers ($5,000) – Kinsler is hitting a lifetime .304 (56 at-bats) against Royals starter Jason Vargas, with a couple of homers. The price tag isn’t anything special, but Kinsler is a fairly safe option to give his FPPG average of nine points a game.

Jose Reyes, SS, Mets ($4,700) – I’ve got Reyes here because of his 12-for-26 lifetime average against Yankees’ pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. The Jays’ shortstop also has hit a home run including six extra base hits off Kuroda, which pushes him up the top of my short list at shortstop on Friday.

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers ($4,100) – There isn’t a big sample size (12 at-bats) for Beltre facing Jason Vargas, although the results are pretty rad. Beltre has six hits, three of which are home runs – not bad. I like the chance of Beltre hitting a home run for the price.

Steve Pearce, OF/1B, Orioles ($4,700) – There isn’t a ton to say with Pearce. He’s about the hottest hitter in baseball right now, with five home runs and nine home runs in his last four games played. Take advantage of Pearce before his salary jumps over $5,000.

Juan Bautista, OF, Blue Jays ($5,200) – What if I said that $5,200 was actually a decent value for what Bautista? Yes, I’m serious. His salary has dropped $400 over his last five games with his recent struggles, but with his four career home runs against starter Hiroki Kuroda there lies the value. The four home runs happen to be Bautista’s only four hits in 16 at-bats. So, it’s all-or-nothing with Bautista. I’m banking on the “all”.

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates ($5,200) – In 52 at-bats, McCutchen has fared pretty well against Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo with a .327 average, four homers and eight RBI. McCutchen’s 9.6 FPPG average is third-best in the league this year at the outfield slot, behind Mike Trout and  Mike Stanton. Not bad company, eh?

 

Value Hitters

Yan Gomes, C, Indians ($3,800) – Six home runs and 14 RBI in 70 lifetime at-bats against the Twins is enough for me to slot Gomes in at catcher if I’m looking to save some lineup dollars. His batting average against the Twins  is nothing to get worked up over (.229), but the power he brings is legit.

Yangervis Solarte, 2B, Padres ($3,500) – Solarte will give you around eight FPPG right now, at least he has over his last six games played. While hoping for eight points is not a boom number to expect, I’m okay with that. A solid number from Solarte is what you want, while getting power and higher FPPG numbers from other guys in your lineup.

Jake Smolinski, SS, Rangers ($3,500) – I hate to harp on the same deal-io all the time, although I just can’t help but to look for middle infield values that are in the middle of hot streaks. Smolinski is giving us that at a nice price. Currently, he’s 9-for-16 over his last four games and has scored double-digit numbers in three of those games. Smolinski is also averaging almost eight FPPG since he was inserted into the everyday lineup.

Jimmy Paredes, OF, Red Sox ($3,800) – All Paredes has done is hit the ball, to the FPPG tune of 12, 19 and 13 over his last three-game stretch. Paredes is trying to impress Boston coaching/management before the season is over, which is something that should never be overlooked when assessing your lineup.

Good luck on Friday and I’ll see you next week!