It’s a standard all-play Sunday. The Pirates and Cubs play the evening game. Don’t plan to use any hitters there since you’d be flying blind. However, Jake Arrieta gets the ball tonight, and you can use him. He’s the top pitcher in the second half of the season, and he’s twice handled the Pirates during that run. If you buy him at $12,500, you’ll need some bargains.
If you prefer to zig while your opponents draft Arrieta and scrubs, try Henry Owens out for size. He costs just $5,900. He’s allowed to work deep into the game when he’s pitching well. Two starts ago, he posted 15.66 points against the Orioles over 7.2 innings. He’s opposite Ubaldo Jimenez this time. Another 15 point outing is possible.
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DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Gregory Bird – 1B – NYY (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Bird has been buried by Chicago lefties these last few days, but he’s finally free to mash versus a righty today. Erik Johnson will take the bump in New York this afternoon. The fly ball pitcher has allowed six home runs in 23 innings this year. An afternoon in power friendly Yankee Stadium isn’t going to help matters.
Brian Dozier – 2B – MIN (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
We’ve talked about Dozier a few times over the last couple weeks. His platoon splits have leveled out this season, but he’s still hitting for power (career best 28 home runs). Even if you no longer view him as a lefty masher, he’s an excellent play against Randy Wolf. The Tigers southpaw has tossed three solid, seven inning outings. Over his other three starts, he’s allowed 14 runs over 11 innings. He’s been homer prone too.
Evan Longoria – 3B – TBR (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Longoria is usually an automatic start against left-handed pitchers not named David Price. Mark Buehrle certain doesn’t fit into that elite lefties category, but he does keep right-handed bats off balance. Let’s put it this way. Longoria is a .352/.404/.593 hitter against lefties. Buehrle has held righties to a .264/.300/.416 line. It’s up to you to decide which player has the advantage today.
Stephen Vogt – C – OAK (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
If you dismiss a hot start to the season, Vogt is hitting only .240/.316/.385 over 370 plate appearances since May 13. Various nagging injuries have held him back, and he only returned to action from the latest issue a few days ago. Yesterday, he recorded his first since September 5. So why consider him at all? He hits right-handed pitchers well (.269/.352/.491). He’s opposed by Chris Heston who has his own platoon splits (.264/.355/.446 vs. left-handed hitters). Assuming he’s in the lineup, Vogt will probably bat fifth.
DJ LeMahieu – 2B – COL (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
I conceptualize punts in two ways. The first is the common definition of an extremely cheap player who might do something. LeMahieu doesn’t fit that definition. However, he should be considered one of the most reliable options in the bargain bin. He has a near-.400 OBP versus left-handed pitching. The Rockies will see southpaw Alex Wood. The club is terrible against left-handed pitchers, but LeMahieu is an exception to the rule.
Dustin Ackley – OF – NYY (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
Here’s a more classic punt. You’ll notice a lot of Yankees listed in today’s column. Johnson’s matchup against a mostly left-handed lineup at Yankee Stadium strikes me as a disaster in the making. The White Sox also have a bad bullpen. Assuming Dustin Ackley starts today, he could fly way under the radar. The lefty has mostly played first and second base for New York. He’s earned his minimum price, but he does have a .190 ISO against righties. That figure should only increase at his new home.
Darin Ruf – 1B – WAS (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Ruf possesses one of the biggest platoon splits in the league. He’s mashing southpaws with a .382/.447/.663 line. Righties have held him to a puny .463 OPS. Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is also slightly worse versus right-handed hitters, but it’s not a huge split. Once Washington summons the bullpen, Ruf will be unlikely to contribute anything but outs.
Alex Rodriguez – 3B – NYY (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Rodriguez is hardly the last Yankee to consider today, but he is the only righty I’m evaluating. In his case, I’m not too concerned about the missing platoon advantage. He mashes fly ball pitchers. The way Johnson has used his repertoire this year has produced a crazy 52 percent fly ball rate (in a teeny tiny sample). Despite a semi-slump, A-Rod could easily pop his 33rd home run today.
Michael Conforto – OF – NYM (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Reds starter Keyvius Sampson has a normal home run rate. Everything else is a problem. His 6.65 K/9, 4.84 BB/9, and .342 BABIP have produced way too many base runners. And while he isn’t homer prone, he’s not suppressing them either. With today’s game to be played at Great America Band Box, Conforto could power up. He’s a .291/.363/.546 hitter versus righties. Sampson has allowed a ridiculous .366/.458/.543 line to lefties.