It's a night of aces, with Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, David Price, and Johnny Cueto taking the hill for their respective clubs. Mixed in with the cream is a modest dollop of crud. Chief among the scrubs may be Colby Lewis. He's not the least talented pitcher of the day, but his tendency to allow a lot of hits coupled with a fly ball profile may spell a lot of hitter points today. The opposing offense - the White Sox - aren't particularly fearsome, but there is reason to fear U.S. Cellular Field. As one of the best parks for home runs, Lewis will have his work cut out for him.
Josh Donaldson - OAK: The power hitting third baseman has a .256 BABIP, which is keeping his price lowish. He'll have a big platoon advantage against lefty Drew Smyly. The former Tiger has one of the largest platoon splits in the league. He gives lefties fits, but righties can get pretty comfortable against him. The A's have a host of other righties who can support Donaldson.
Hanley Ramirez - LAD: The oft injured star shortstop has the platoon advantage against Hector Santiago. The lefty pitcher has struggled with walks over the year, a trend that has continued this season. He's also a fly ball pitcher, which couples well with Ramirez's line drive tendencies.
Josh Harrison - PIT: Harrison is a weird pick out of the top shelf category for the simple reason that he isn't a top shelf producer. If he sustains his breakout, he's a Ben Zobrist type, with a little pop, speed, and position versatility. With Andrew McCutchen out for the next month or so, Harrison is going to be forced into a larger role in the offense. I assume he's locked into the top three lineup spots until he slumps. The righty should get a handful of plate appearances against lefty Brad Hand and a collection of merely adequate Marlins relievers.
Jon Singleton - HOU: Singleton is showing signs of settling in at the major league level. The first step is to cut down on his Dunnsian/Carterian strike out rate, a step he's seemingly embraced over the past few games. It's a tiny sample, but a positively trending Singleton is a good guy to target against Kyle Kendrick. The righty has always struggled against left-handed hitters, and he's have trouble navigating the first inning this season.
Steve Pearce - BAL: We discussed Pearce last week. It's his .333/.410/.681 line against left-handed pitching we want. He's always been a platoony hitter, so a start against Mark Buehrle holds some attraction. Buehrle himself does not possess much of a split, and he's been on point all season long.
Nolan Arenado - COL: Arenado is batting third or fourth in the Rockies lineup with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez both banged up. They'll face lefty Travis Wood. He's having a dreadful season in Chicago. No matter how banged up the Rockies are, a start at Coors Field is going to do little to help his season numbers.
Stephen Vogt - OAK: The A's have a way of pulling players out of their bum. Entering the season, Vogt profiled as a slightly below average third catcher with a slightly below average bat. Well the bat's really picked up the slack, enough that I'm surprised to find him in the bargain bin. Like Donaldson and Norris above, a start against platoon heavy Smyly is the perfect time to snag Vogt.
Elvis Andrus - TEX: Andrus doesn't have anything resembling power, which makes his selection about more than just U.S. Cellular Field. He'll see lefty John Danks, and Andrus' average is nearly 100 points higher against opposite-handed opponents this season. His career split is just 10 points, but the point remains that he should hit the lefty well.
Justin Ruggiano - CHC: For Ruggiano, I'll go $200 above my usual bargain bin cutoff when making this column. I expected a huge year for the outfielder, but injuries have largely derailed his efforts. He'll face lefty Brett Anderson at Coors Field today, which should help his power numbers. He has a whole three game series against lefties, so get used to him as a cheap plug-in.
Felix Hernandez - SEA: It will be hard to find budget to roster Hernandez (Kershaw cost $1,500 more, which is why he's unlisted), but his matchup against the Braves is pretty useful. Atlanta struggles a bit against right-handed pitching and they record their share of strikeouts too. With the pitcher also in the mix, Hernandez should pitch very deep while racking up the strikeouts. Last week, he was outdueled by Corey Kluber. His opponent, Alex Wood, isn't as good as Kluber, but he could still shutdown the M's lefty-leaning offense.
Dallas Keuchel - HOU: Keuchel hit a rough patch through part of June and July, but he's looked rejuvenated in recent outings, including a complete game against the A's. With the Phillies on the other side of the matchup, Keuchel will have a slightly lefty leaning lineup to dismantle. Strikeouts and other easy outs should abound. There are some other cheaper options in the mid-tier, including a battle between Jesse Hahn and Phil Hughes at Target Field.
Josh Tomlin - CLE: I may be alone on the Tomlin bandwagon, but I've been by myself before (most recently with Brandon McCarthy). Hidden under the bargain price is a potential top end pitcher. He generates a good strikeout rate while demonstrating his miserliness with walks. The reason he's so cheap is the long ball. Not only is he a fly ball pitcher, he's also allowed an elevated HR/FB ratio. Those two factors can't breed success. Look for regression in his HR/FB ratio along with an easy matchup against the Reds. Cueto is on the other side of this matchup, so a win will be difficult to come by. Such is the price of a bargain.