Miguel Gonzalez is an extreme flyball pitcher (45% this yr), taking on one of the best homerun teams in a hitters-friendly park. If the conditions are favorable, the Blue Jays could put together a power-hitting clinic, something they’ve done a time or two this season.
Admittedly, a Toronto stack has some risk in this situation, as you are essentially gambling on the deep ball. However, it’s not a bad roll of the dice, as Gonzalez owns a 1.66 HR/9 vs RHB. This makes Jose Bautista an elite option, and also consider Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Juan Francisco, and Jose Reyes to deliver some power from the left-side of the plate.
In early action, the Cubs (obviously) represent the best stack of the afternoon games, and you’ll find them littered across today’s Daily Forecast.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night's MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Thursday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Jose Bautista (OF) – TOR: Bautista was a Top Shelf recommendation yesterday, and he responded by going 3-4 with a HR and 3 RBI’s. He’s staring down another juicy matchup, as outlined in the introduction. Consider Joey Bats the top outfielder of the day once again.
Anthony Rizzo (1B) – CHC – EARLY: Some people may shy away from the lefty/lefty matchup, but that would be a grave mistake. Yohan Flande is a spot-starter who only throws 4-5 innings max, and Rizzo has actually hit southpaws at a pretty solid clip this year (.418 wOBA). The all-powerful “Coors Factor” is just the icing on the cake.
Robinson Cano (2B) – SEA: Cano is one of the best in the business at exposing subpar right-handed pitching. White Sox hurler Scott Carroll can be classified as such, owning a .369 wOBA vs LHB, one of the highest marks amongst all probable pitchers for Thursday.
Starlin Castro (SS) – CHC – EARLY: Coors field, reasonable price tag ($3,200 on FanDuel), and the platoon advantage vs glorified spot-starting lefty; he’s easily the best “per $” shortstop on the board.
Matt Kemp (OF) – LAD: CJ Wilson was hammered in his first start since coming off the DL (1.1 IP, 6 ER), and it makes you wonder if there are any issues still lingering. If so, look for the Dodger righties to pounce, led by a “vintage” Matt Kemp who has blasted 6 HR’s in the past nine games.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – BAL: An extended cold-streak has pushed his price tag towards the bottom half of “bulk purchase” territory. However, Cruz is still an elite slugger against lefties (.398 wOBA), and he’ll take on the middling southpaw, JA Happ, in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
Salvador Perez (C) – KC: Perez hits lefties pretty well (.352 wOBA), and he’ll enjoy an extreme park shift at Arizona’s Chase Field. Combine those factors with Vidal Nuno’s extreme flyball tendencies, and Perez emerges as one of the top Catcher options of the day.
Brandon Belt (1B) – SF: He’s not the most glamorous 1B pick, but Belt will also benefit from a much more comfortable hitters-park (Milwaukee). Belt has already displayed his power-upside since returning from the DL on Saturday, and Wily Peralta has given up a HR in six of his last seven games.
Javier Baez (2B) – CHC – EARLY: Take everything I said about Starlin Castro, and directly apply it to Baez. He’s a little more “boom or bust”, given he swings for the fences every time. However, I don’t see how you can fade him for just $2,600 on FanDuel.
Jon Lester – OAK: Lester checks in as the heaviest favorite of the day with a home draw vs the uninspiring Minnesota offense. I wouldn’t be too concerned about his low strikeout total last game, as the Twins are much more “K-happy” than the Royals (7th vs 30th).
Jordan Zimmermann – WAS – EARLY: Zim has pieced together two quality outings following a mid-July meltdown. Even though the Mets offense has been somewhat surprising as of late, I still like Zimmermann to pin them down en route to a possible home victory.
Roenis Elias – SEA: Elias is the “coupon pick” if you want to save on pitching and stack the sluggers. The Mariners like to keep his pitch count between 80-90, so he unfortunately doesn’t work deep into games. However, Elias can salvage that with his high strikeout rate, and the White Sox could oblige (9th most K’s in MLB). The oddsmakers really like Elias tonight as well, marking him the second highest favorite of the day.