“Tricky” Ricky Nolasco is no longer the crafty magician-like pitcher he once was. He hasn’t been able to land his spots lately, leading 5.99 ERA that continues to ascend. Nolasco had a few blow-up outings in late June/early July, before elbow soreness landed him on the DL. On the whole, he looked decent in his return vs Kansas City last week, with the exception of one bad inning. Consistency has been an issue with Nolasco all season long, and given his .350 wOBA vs LHB (inflated to .413 this year), I have a feeling we’ll see another implosion tonight against the lefty-laden Indians lineup.
Michael Brantley (OF) is the top target, with Michael Bourn (OF), Jason Kipnis (2B), and Carlos Santana (1B) checking in as other viable plays with the platoon advantage. Don’t forget about Catcher Yan Gomes either, coming off a monster game last night.
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Giancarlo Stanton (OF) – MIA – EARLY: Stanton checks in as the highest rated hitter, but he’s also the most expensive. His $5,200 price tag on FanDuel is more than some pitchers, but I believe he’s worth it today vs the generous pitching of Nick Martinez. The Marlins are a team to target for the “early only” contests, and you can comfortably work in Stanton (and Reyes) by taking a few cheap Miami bats (Garrett Jones, McGehee, Yelich).
Jose Abreu (1B) – CWS: At home, vs a left-handed pitcher, with a mid-range price of $3,700. He’s the “per $” pick of the day and should be a foundation piece in majority of your lineups.
Adam Jones (OF) – BAL: Jones will enjoy hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, along with Hector Noesi’s .357 wOBA vs RHB (.366 this season). In the past three years, Jones has ignored the platoon advantage by hitting righties better than lefties (.365 vs .304 wOBA), indicating a strong play for tonight’s showdown.
Christian Yelich (OF) – MIA – EARLY: A Yelich/Stanton OF combination looks fantastic for the “early only” slate. Nick Martinez has an awful .390 wOBA vs LHB, and Yelich is exactly the type of contact hitter that can give him fits.
Nolan Arenado (3B) – COL: Arenado is the best 3B option on the board tonight, playing in Coors Field with the platoon advantage over Danny Duffy. Now, Duffy hasn’t been too shabby of late, but tonight will be his toughest test in a while. Arenado crushes lefties to the tune of a .380 wOBA split in the past 3 years.
Yasiel Puig (OF) – LAD: Puig has been uncharacteristically quiet since the All-Star break, resulting in a relatively discounted price ($3,300 on FanDuel). He’s sitting on a nice little matchup vs Eric Stults, who owns a .349 wOBA vs RHB. I’m expecting the Dodgers to put up some runs tonight, led by Puig, Matt Kemp, and maybe even platoon specialist Scott Van Slyke.
Salvador Perez (C) – KC: Granted, he’s banged up a little bit, but a power-hitter like Perez vs a lefty in Coors Field is such a striking draw to completely ignore. He’s one of the top overall Catchers on the day for a very reasonable $2,800 price. If the injury has you concerned, or Perez takes the day off, Brian McCann is a respectable pivot for the same price.
Omar Infante (2B) – KC: Second base isn’t very inspiring tonight, and Infante actually checks in as one of the better options regardless of price. He had a monster four hit game last night, and a repeat performance isn’t out of the question vs another struggling Colorado lefty. He’s a lineup fixture considering the near-minimum $2,300 price on FanDuel.
Dayan Viciedo (OF) – CWS: Viciedo owns a nice .356 wOBA (.213 ISO) vs LHP in the past three years, and Wei-Yin Chen has been generous at giving up the deep ball to righties this season (1.50 HR/9). You can place him in the “boom or bust” category, but Viciedo’s upside is undeniable for large tournament style contests.
Tanner Roark (WAS): With the exception of one bad outing vs Baltimore, Roark has been dazzling over the past month. He checks in as the heaviest favorite of the day against a slumping Arizona lineup (24th in wOBA past 14 days). Johnny Cueto is the ace of the day, but Roark has a much better matchup and could easily put up similar numbers for a non-prohibitive $7,700 on FanDuel.
Jeff Samardzija (OAK) – EARLY: Despite moving closer to the ocean, “the shark” hasn’t quite lived up to his nickname in Oakland. He hasn’t been bad, but his last five outings have been pretty middling for fantasy purposes. I’m expecting Samardzija to turn it around against an uninspiring Mets offense in a pitcher-friendly park. He’s the best “per $” pitcher for the early slate, given the matchup and win probability.
Michael Pineda (NYY): There is great risk with this pick, as Pineda may be on somewhat of a pitch count in his second game back from the DL. However, the matchup vs Houston and his price ($5,400) set up very well if he can work deep into the game. Unless we hear news that the pitch count has been lifted, Pineda will be viewed as a risk/reward tournament play.