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Daily Forecast: The Lester

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Unfortunately, a Clayton Kershaw auto-win against Edwin Jackson is the sole afternoon game. It takes an easy lay-up out of the hands of 50/50 and double-up owners. We're left with 14 late games. You may just want to avoid the one in Minnesota. There is an increasing risk of storms throughout the game, and there's no compelling reason to use any of those players.

 

For the top stack of the day, we have two obvious choices to ponder. We could return to Colorado or pick a very exploitable hurler at pitcher friendly Busch Stadium. While the stadium situation isn't ideal, let's target Cincinnati lefty David Holmberg. He's a typical soft-tossing southpaw who breezed through the minors with a command and control profile.

As sometimes happens with command-types, his major league results have taken a huge step backwards. In 21.2 major league innings, he has a 5.40 K/9, 6.23 BB/9, 6.23 ERA, and 7.96 FIP. We're looking at a tiny sample, but the numbers suggest Holmberg is a long way from major league success. First and foremost, he needs to cut his walk rate at least 67 percent. The fly ball pitcher also must figure out a way to avoid long balls. While the Cardinals don't have a ton of valuable righties, they have enough to make a useful stack.

 

TOP SHELF

 

Kole Calhoun - LAA: Calhoun is one of my favorite leadoff hitters for DFS. His combination of extra base power and placement within the Angels lineup ensures he has plenty of opportunities to produce big point values. He doesn't have much of a platoon split, so there's little reason to worry about him being neutralized late in a game. In the meantime, he's often a good bet for five plate appearances. 

 

Carlos Gomez - MIL: While he may or may not be playing through an injured wrist, there's no mistaking that Gomez has a positive matchup this evening. Once a pure platoon hitter, Gomez has done well to minimize his splits. He still hits for more power against southpaws, which is why he's attractive against Jeff Locke. The game is at PNC Park, so home runs will be hard to dial up. 

 

J.D. Martinez - DET: One of this season's breakout power stars, Martinez features eye-popping numbers against lefties like Jason Vargas. On the season, he's posted a .294/.352/.633 line against southpaws. He has a higher average against righties, but that's due to a fortunate .409 BABIP. Kauffman Stadium is only slightly pitcher friendly for right-handed hitters, so the matchup looks pretty tasty. Keep an eye on other Tigers too.

 

Also Consider: Corey Dickerson - COL, Jose Bautista - TOR, Victor Martinez - DET

 

BULK PURCHASE

 

Robinson Cano - SEA: Unsurprisingly, Cano lost about half of his home runs moving from Yankee Stadium to Safeco Field. The rest of his skill set remains - a high average and on base percentage with a low strikeout rate. In many ways, he's a more affordable Michael Brantley at a shallower position. Today's opponent is Brad Peacock. I'm counting on two or more hits from Cano.

 

Jonathan Lucroy - MIL: While Lucroy doesn't possess notable splits this season, he has shown better power against lefties in past seasons. More importantly, he's facing an unimposing pitcher in Jeff Locke. The ground ball specialist has lost the luster on the command and control he exhibited earlier in the season. In turn, he's walked more hitters and become more hittable. Lucroy should provide the fulcrum in a stacked righty attack against Locke.

 

Evan Longoria - TAM: There's little doubting that Longoria likes facing lefties. His season split of .274/.382/.452 is closer to what owners expected overall - not just against southpaws. While Jose Quintana isn't the easiest of opponents, Longoria will have his platoon advantage and comes at a reasonable price.

 

Also Consider: Matt Holliday - STL, Adam Jones - BAL, Adam Lind - TOR

 

BARGAIN BIN

 

Jhonny Peralta - STL: We talked about Holmberg in the intro. The Cardinals lineup leans a bit lefty, which is why the right-handed Peralta will probably bat cleanup against the Reds. If Holmberg pitches anything like in his other major league outings, Peralta will have a ton of RBI opportunities.

 

Miguel Montero - ARI: Montero's cold second half has been attributed to fatigue. Regardless, his .255/.351/.393 line against righties is moderately useful at a cut-rate price. Remember, he's playing at Coors Field, which is always a big bonus.

 

Wil Myers - TAM: It's been a lost season for Myers, which is exactly why his price tag has fallen to the bargain bin. It wasn't long ago that Myers was touted as a doubles machine with massive growth potential. Injuries derailed his season, but he's finally playing consistently enough to add a little spark. He'll have the platoon advantage against Quintana, although he hasn't shown a split over his short career.

 

Also Consider: Randal Grichuk - STL, Kyle Seager - SEA, Mark Reynolds - MIL

 

STARTING PITCHER

 

Jon Lester - OAK: The most expensive pitcher of the day happens to also be an easy pick. He's home against the piteous Phillies. He should easily find himself among the top point scorers of the day by lasting deep into the game, averaging a strikeout per inning, and earning the victory. 

 

Jose Quintana - CWS: Quintana is often an iffy choice due to his hitter haven home park. Today's game is at pitcher friendly Tropicana Field, which makes Quintana very intriguing. The lefty has a solid 3.30 ERA, 8.00 K/9, and 2.52 BB/9. He's very reliable week to week, but he should do even better tonight with the ballpark in his favor.

 

Lisalverto Bonilla - TEX: Bonilla is not recommended due to a good situation. I noticed he has a $3,000 price tag on FanDuel, which is uniquely low. With a pitcher that cheap, you can take the best hitters at every position. Bonilla went six innings against the Braves and posted 11 FanDuel points last week. The Angels are a difficult assignment, but a similar performance is more than possible. Is a lineup stacked with top hitters worth giving up 20 point upside from your pitcher? Other platforms aren't quite as friendly with their Bonilla pricing. For what it's worth, I recommend picking a good pitcher, this just opens an alternative strategy.

 

Also Consider:  Doug Fister - WAS, Yovani Gallardo - MIL, Taijuan Walker - SEA

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.