Sonny Gray vs. Houston Astros ($10100) – Gray has been every bit the stud many thought he would be so far this year. He is currently 4-1 with an ERA of 1.61, a WHIP of 0.93, and 53 strikeouts in 55 innings of work. He faces a Houston team today that has a .229 batting average vs. right-handed pitching (3rd worst) and has the 4th most strikeouts in all of MLB (28.4% K rate). Gray is a -135 favorite here and his bats should be able to do some damage against Roberto Hernandez, so there’s a very high likelihood of a win. Houston is a high strikeout team and Gray has been stellar, so I think he goes deep, racks up the Ks, and limits the damage on his way to a win.
Trevor Bauer vs. Chicago White Sox ($6800) – The line on this game has already moved from 8.5 down to 7.5 and despite being an underdog, I think Bauer is in line for a solid outing. He already has two games this year with double digit strikeouts, and at a discounted price, those Ks create a nice floor. Bauer averages six innings per start and over a strikeout per inning. He has played with fire often this year and survived it, but those walks will eventually catch up to him if he can not figure out a way to limit them going forward. Still at only $6800 with his ability to strikeout batters, it makes a nice cost saving play today.
Russell Martin vs. Los Angeles Angels ($4600) – Despite returning home to the hitter friendly Rogers Centre, we see a price break here. Martin is still the most expensive catcher, but not by as much anymore. Martin has nine hits in his last six games, batting .360 over this stretch. He has three multi-hit games during this run, and a good matchup here. He faces Hector Santiago who struggles with homers to right-handed bats. He has already allowed three in 2015 and had given up 14 in each of the last two seasons. The Jays are expected to put up some runs and Martin is one of the few catchers with quality line up placement, so he makes a whole lot of sense for cash or GPPs.
Derrick Norris vs. Chicago Cubs ($3200) – Norris is another catcher with good lineup placement. He does not have the greatest matchup as the game is in Petco Park which is pitcher friendly and Hammel has been pretty good in his last few starts. Still $3200 is too cheap for a guy who hits a top one of the more potent offenses in baseball and has some real big sticks like Upton and Kemp protecting him. I debated the merits of him vs. AJ Pierzynski for this spot, but ultimately the downgrade in lineup spot for AJ is what pushed me towards Norris. I would not argue with anyone who started AJ either, but I would wait to see how far he falls down that order today.
Joey Votto vs. Kansas City Royals ($4300) – Votto has been very good so far in 2015 and gets a matchup with Yordano Ventura who has not been. Ventura has allowed a .272 batting average to left-handed bats, a WHIP of 1.52, and 4 homers in only 21 innings of work so far this season. Votto has all seven of his homeruns this year off right-handed pitching, so despite the game being in Kaufman Stadium (Bad park for HRs), I still think he hits a few balls hard and has a chance to take a Ventura mistake deep. Ventura just doesn’t look right at the moment and Votto has the best profile of a hitter who can take advantage of him.
Billy Butler vs. Houston Astros ($3800) – Hernandez has better splits vs. LHB than RHB over the last year and a half. The guys who have done the most damage to him are right-handed bats with a little bit of power. Butler fits that bill today. He gets a positive park switch with this game being in Houston and he is firmly planted in the cleanup spot for the Athletics. Butler has been real solid with 63 points in his last seven games. He is averaging nine points per game over the last week which is a nice return for a guy priced below $4K.
Dee Gordon vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4800) – Gordon has been getting on base and collecting hits in his recent games. He has nine of them in his last twenty-four at-bats over the last five games. Hellickson has been struggling with left-handed bats as well. He has given up a .403 batting average to them so far in 2015. If he does get on, Hellickson has already allowed three stolen bases this year. Tuffy Gosewisch is actually not an easy catcher to run on, but Hellickson is, so the matchup is good, but not ideal.
Neil Walker vs. Minnesota Twins ($3700) – Walker is still hitting in the two spot and his price has dropped. He gets a great matchup today with Ricky Nolasco who allowed left-handed batters to hit .334 against him last year. Walker has at least seven fantasy points in seven of his last ten and is averaging eight and a half points over this stretch. The Pirates should be able to get some runs on Nolasco today and Walker is a good candidate for a solid cost saver in cash games because of it. He lacks huge upside, so he does not make much sense for GPPs.
Josh Donaldson vs. Los Angeles Angels ($4700) – Josh Donaldson feasts on left-handed pitching. Last year he hit .275 with 14 homers off of them in only 153 at-bats. He was also playing in a much tougher ballpark in Oakland. So far this year in Toronto he is hitting .483 against southpaws with 2 homers and 2 doubles in 29 plate appearances, so the trend is even stronger now. He faces Hector Santiago who is a lefty that has struggled with right-handed power bats as discussed with Russ Martin above. Donaldson has been batting near the top of that order and should be in line to do some damage in a great matchup for him at home in a friendly hitter’s park.
Jimmy Paredes vs. Seattle Mariners ($4300) – Paredes is someone to consider against right-handed pitching as his outperformance now dates back all the way to last year. At some point he stops being a guy who is hot and is just a guy who is pretty good.He gets a matchup with Walker today who struggles big time away from SafeCo. At home so far he is a solid pitcher with an ERA in the 3.30’s and a WHIP in the low 1.10s. On the road though those numbers balloon to above 10 on the ERA and over 2 on the WHIP. He has also been victimized for 4 homers in 4 road games and faces an Orioles team with some pop in their hitter friendly home park of Camden Yards. Paredes is cash game safe with GPP upside so I think he is useable in all formats today.
Freddy Galvis vs. Colorado Rockies ($4200) – Even with the premium price bump in Coors I would roll with Galvis today over some of the bigger names. He has averaged just shy of ten fantasy points per game over his last ten and has double digits in four of his last five. He is batting in the two hole for the Phillies and gets to play in Coors Field today against a gas can in Chad Bettis. Galvis has already shown the ability recently to pick up multiple hits and he has been walking and stealing bases as well. He should get on a few times today and will be off to the races if and when he does. A single, stolen base, and run scored would be a nice return here for him, even if he does little else which is highly doubtful in such a good matchup.
Jung Ho-Kang ($3500) – Kang has been spending time in the five hole for the Pirates and has a decent matchup today against Ricky Nolasco. It’s tough to find shortstops with upside, and as long as he is hitting behind guys like Walker, Cutch, and Marte, he should have upside because of his RBI opportunities. Nolasco allowed a .297 batting average to right-handed bats last season in addition to the .334 to left-handers, so it’s not a huge deal to me that they are the same handedness. Kang seems to be too cheap for his new role and makes a good salary saver if you need one at the position.
Kole Calhoun vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($4300) – Calhoun is the best lefty stick currently on the Angels roster. He gets a matchup today with Aaron Sanchez who has struggled early on with lefty bats. He has already allowed five homeruns in only 29 innings to them so far in his MLB career. Calhoun has been placed in the cleanup spot for the Angels, so he has the chance to hit behind Trout and Pujols with a great splits matchup today in a good hitter’s park. He should be in line for more RBI opportunities there than he was when he was leading off, so it only helps his overall fantasy value in my eyes.
Bryce Harper vs. New York Yankees ($5600) – There is no one in baseball as hot as Bryce Harper right now. His worst fantasy score in the last ten games is a nine and he has two 30 point, three 20 point, and four more 10+ point games to go with it. He gets a matchup with Nathan Eovaldi today who allowed left-handed batters to hit .296 with 10 homers in 2014. This year in a smaller sample size, lefties are hitting .346 with 2 homers in 15 innings of work. Harper has a good matchup, is red hot, and should remain in the meat of that order to produce some runs. He is the priciest outfielder, but has been the best recently by any measure or metric.
Denard Span vs. New York Yankees ($4300) – Two Nationals in the outfield might seem like overkill, but both guys have been great and are worth inclusion. We already discussed the .297 and .346 of Eovaldi against left-handed batters the last two seasons. Span is one of the best and most underrated fantasy players in all of MLB. His scores last year made him a top 25 outfielder on the DK scoring scale, and he is currently riding a streak of six straight double digit fantasy scores and seven of his last nine. Span is on top of this suddenly potent Nationals lineup and should be in line for a few hits, runs, and maybe even a stolen base today against Eovaldi.
Grady Sizemore vs. Colorado Rockies ($3600) – The lefty has everything going for him today to be a solid value play. The one drawback is we said the same thing yesterday and it did not work out. Sizemore is a lefty facing a weak right-handed pitch in the hitter friendly confines of Coors Field. He has been moved up to third in that order and has been pretty good against right-handed pitching. Sizemore has had a few multi-hit games in the last week and has seen his average shoot up. He is not safe enough for a cash game play, but he is cheap and in a good enough matchup where he could provide upside for a tourney at his price.