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Daily Forecast: Rookie Targets

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Today features 12 games total, four of which are grouped in an early contest, seven are in an evening contest, and one is excluded because it starts 25 minutes before the usual evening contest time. Storms threaten four games, including those in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minnesota, and Washington D.C.


We go to New York for the top stack of the day. The home run happy Blue Jays face Yankees starter David Phelps. He's a perfectly adequate starter, except the Jays feature so much power. Yankee Stadium is only too happy to oblige. One left-handed Toronto slugger (Adam Lind) will probably remained sidelined with a bruised foot. The Jays have three other hitters who can aim at the short right field porch, and that's not counting the two right-handed monsters. 


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Victor Martinez - DET: It's been the best season of a good career for Martinez. It's unusual for a 35-year-old to reach new heights in power numbers. His fly balls have actually averaged an additional nine feet this season, which is more substantial than it sounds. He's a great fit for DFS because he puts so many sharply hit balls in play. He'll face Danny Duffy, who's known for erratic performance.


Josh Hamilton - LAA: Hamilton is usually a good play against right-handed pitchers. He has a .306/.372/.556 career line against opposite-handed pitchers. While those numbers are buffed by his peak seasons, he should still be expected to conform to those career long trends. He's opposed by Justin Masterson. Cleveland's starter has seemingly lost touch with his command and control. Progressive Field boosts lefty home run power by 10 percent, which is a nice bonus.


Brian Dozier - MIN: Of today's weather risks, Minnesota currently looks like the most likely to be postponed. If the game does happen, Dozier's power and speed combination is attractive against Jose Quintana. Versus southpaws, Dozier has hit .287/.350/.538 over his short career. Quintana is a pretty decent pitcher, and Minnesota isn't great for right-handed power. If rain does get in the way, try a lower cost option like Ben Zobrist


Also Consider: Jose Bautista - TOR, Jose Reyes - TOR, Jose Abreu - CWS



Devin Mesoraco - CIN: Mesoraco is visiting pitcher friendly PNC Park and ground ball happy Jeff Locke. Surprisingly, he's still among the most useful bulk rate players thanks to his power outbreak. He hit for this sort of power in the minors before it disappeared for several seasons at the major league level. It's harder to believe in his current batting average, which is bolstered by a high average on balls in play (BABIP). He'll probably take a few big hacks today, and one might even go over the deep fence.


Gregory Polanco - PIT: Get a piece of the Polanco action while it's still available. He's hit the ground running through his first eight games, but he's yet to show very much power. PNC Park is not the place to expect a demonstration, but he has to raw tools to oblige us all the same. Homer Bailey has struggled this season with both lefties and home runs, which makes this matchup all the more fascinating. 


Melky Cabrera - TOR: He's been a bit cold lately, which has made his price very affordable. He has a relatively high chance at a multi-hit game, and he can pop the occasional home run. His supporting cast should help him score a couple extra points if he does reach base. The short porch at Yankee Stadium plus Phelps is all the extra incentive needed.


Also Consider: Joey Votto - CIN, Kole Calhoun - LAA, Adam LaRoche - WAS




Jonny Gomes - BOS: A matchup with Scott Kazmir is far from desirable. It's my personal preference to target good hitters with bad matchups over bad hitters with decent matchups. So rather than a guy like Wilmer Flores, we can try Gomes. He'll probably have a decent spot in the lineup, and his .280/.381/.502 line against southpaws is welcome, even if he'll perform worse against Kazmir.


Austin Jackson - DET: It's a shame for Jackson that he was ousted from the top of the Tigers' lineup. In the middle-bottom, his combination of speed and on base ability are less useful. He's talked about being more aggressive in the zone so he can generate more power, although it doesn't really show in the numbers. He'll have the platoon advantage against the always unpredictable Duffy.


Brian McCann - NYY: It's purely a story of home run power with this pick. McCann always has the potential to bop two out of Yankee Stadium. Drew Hutchison isn't a gimme matchup, but he's not overwhelming either. Why McCann has struggled so mightily this season is beyond me, His power's disappeared at a time when it should have blossomed. Some of it is a result of facing better shifts, but not all. Projection systems expect much better numbers over the remainder of the season. So do I.


Also Consider: Adam Eaton - CWS, Yangervis Solarte - NYY, David Ross - BOS (if starting)




Anibal Sanchez - DET: Whatever Sanchez was doing last season to throw 93 mph, he isn't doing it anymore. He's back to the form he showed from 2009 through 2012. His strong ERA is the result of an unusually low home run rate; one we can't expect him to replicate going forward. The Tigers face a mostly bad Royals offense. I suppose I should mention the club's recent success, but I tend to ignore short term numbers. If you buy into streaks, you might want to avoid the Royals. Data and science say to judge the whole of the product rather than the last 10 days. If so, you can move confidently against a weak Kansas attack. With questions surrounding the early pitchers, Sanchez looks all the better.


Collin McHugh - HOU: McHugh just faced the Rays in Houston and turned in a rather mediocre outing. So why go back to him against the same Rays at Tropicana Field? For one, the ballpark is better for pitchers. The Rays attack is unremarkable and McHugh is still racking up strikeouts. He's also piled up a few walks in recent games, which is never a good thing. With only seven games and no elite pitchers scheduled to start, this isn't a bad place to look.


Andrew Heaney - MIA: A lot of DFS players like to avoid touted pitchers in their first start. They can kill it, but they can also struggle due to nerves. Further, clubs are usually careful to avoid overexposing youngsters. The top risk with Heaney is the Marlins pull him early. He has the ability to strike out about a batter per inning, limit walks, and overwhelm opposing hitters. He's cheap today if you want to roll the dice. I imagine he'll also be popular.


Also Consider - Jordan Zimmermann - WAS, Jose Quintana - CWS, Jeff Locke - PIT

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on Rotoworld, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.