When building my personal rosters, I usually address pitching first. I look for 20 point aces and then I evaluate the bargain options. Once I have some ideas for pitcher, I dive into the hitters. Today, we have nine games and a few obvious pitching choices. Plan A is to roster Jacob deGrom. Plans B and C involve Hisashi Iwakuma and Lance Lynn. It gets hairy after Plan C.
However, if you’re looking to roster an expensive hitting stack, you’ll need a fourth name. Consider J.A. Happ against the Marlins. Happ is a high floor, low ceiling pick in Miami. He’s opposed by one of the weakest offenses in the league. The Fish were just swept by the lowly Phillies. Happ can be expected to throw about six innings with four strikeouts and a couple runs allowed. If he wins, that’s a solid 12 point performance for $6,600.
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DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Todd Frazier – 3B – CIN (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Once again, we find Frazier atop the bargain bin. As we discussed on Saturday (a day when Frazier posted 8.75 points), he’s performed decently in recent weeks. With his potential for a multi-home run game against Buck Farmer, it’s very difficult to go with another option. I expect Frazier to be extremely popular tonight. Farmer has struggled mightily with home runs in 34 big league innings. The game is at homer friendly Great American Ball Park.
Jose Reyes – SS – COL (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Reyes is understandably bummed about being traded from the contending Blue Jays to the Rockies. Today’s game isn’t at Coors Field, but his matchup against Julio Teheran is decent. The Braves righty has suffered through some meltdown outings this season. He’s looked pretty sharp lately. Reyes isn’t as scary as past seasons, but he’s still a threat to swipe multiple bases. He has sneaky power too. It’s too bad his on base skills have diminished.
Brett Gardner – OF – NYY (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Gardner seems underpriced at home against Scott Feldman and the Astros. I fully expect this game to be a shootout with the lefty bats providing plenty of power. Gardner is in the midst of his best offensive season. He’s hitting .278/.365/.428 on the year with 12 home runs. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that nine of his home runs have come at home. He has a .193 ISO at home compared to a low .109 ISO on the road. Yankee Stadium definitely helps him.
Francisco Cervelli – C – PIT (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
When I think about punts, I usually want an easy layup. Cervelli is somebody who consistently provides some production without setting the world afire. He’s hitting .306/.372/.424 this season thanks to high quality contact. He doesn’t have much power (six home runs), and he’s unlikely to park one at Marlins Stadium. However, a multi-hit game is well within reach against Tom Koehler and a frequently collapsing bullpen.
Michael Cuddyer – 1B – NYM (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
With Lucas Duda on the disabled list, Cuddyer should play regularly at first base. He’s opposed by a mediocre southpaw – Adam Morgan. The Phillies lefty is an extreme fly ball pitcher. Cuddyer likes those; he has a .919 OPS against fly ball pitchers over the last three years. He also prefers to face lefties. Of course, Cuddyer’s 2015 campaign has been substantially worse than other recent seasons. He’s not as safe as most of my punt picks.
Ruben Tejada – SS – NYM (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
Tejada isn’t a sexy pick, but there are a couple indicators to like today. He’s solid against left-handed pitching with a .275/.359/.420 line this season. He also hits better against fly ball pitchers (.724 OPS). While I don’t personally put any credence into home/road splits for non-Rockies, Tejada has a .832 OPS on the road this year. If he played a different position, he wouldn’t be worth considering. As a shortstop, he’s a sneaky value pick.
Luis Valbuena – 3B – HOU (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Since the return of Jed Lowrie, Valbuena has played sparingly. If the Astros are smart (and they usually are), they’ll give Valbuena a chance at Yankee Stadium against Nathan Eovaldi. Valbuena’s had a frustrating season. He’s combined 22 home runs with a .209/.291/.423 triple slash. He’s a classic gamble in New York.
Eugenio Suarez – SS – CIN (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
If Reyes and Tejada aren’t your kind of shortstop, split the difference with Suarez. He’s the best power threat of the trio against Farmer and the Tigers shaky bullpen. Suarez has popped eight home runs in 240 plate appearances – a 20 home run pace. It’s an exact match for the pace he contributed in the minors. His home park certainly helps matters as does his tasty matchup with the Tigers.
Franklin Gutierrez – OF – SEA (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
I said it on Saturday and I’ll say it again – I did not see Gutierrez coming. He’s morphed into a surprising power threat with seven home runs and nine doubles in 111 plate appearances. He has more extra base hits than singles. Part of the success comes from mostly facing left-handed pitching. He’s slashing .338/.377/.634 in 77 plate appearances against southpaws. Today, he’ll see Felix Doubront. The journeyman has a solid 3.89 ERA in 39.1 innings. He’s always a meltdown threat.