The majority of Houston’s pitching rotation has struggled this year, leading to a 4.82 ERA that ranks last in MLB. Tonight’s starter, Brad Peacock, hasn’t done anything to improve that team mark, sporting a 0-3 record to go along with a 5.01 ERA and 1.73 WHIP so far this season. Command issues have been obvious in his past three starts, allowing more than 4 walks per outing over that span.
Like most young right-handers, Peacock’s weakness comes against left-handed bats, where he owns an unflattering .356 wOBA to go along with a 44.6% fly-ball rate that spells trouble within Houston’s hitting friendly environment. Due to this, the Texas LHB look to be in a “stackable” position, led by Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, and Mitch Moreland. Alex Rios is another quality option to consider for stacking purposes, even though he is a righty.
Shin-Soo Choo – TEX: A combination of Peacock’s previously mentioned deficiencies and Choo’s elite .402 wOBA clip vs righties has propelled the Texas Outfielder to “de facto #1 play” status on the night.
Jacoby Ellsbury – NYY: Ellsbury was quiet on the Yankees’ six game road trip, but he’s in a great bounce-back spot in this home meeting vs the Mets. Ellsbury will be facing Bartolo Colon, who owns a .337 wOBA against left-handed batters over the past three seasons. The Yankees should hit him hard tonight, creating a nice “buy low” opportunity for Ellsbury at the top of the order.
Josh Donaldson – OAK: Donaldson vs a struggling lefty…where do I sign? The Oakland third baseman holds a .399 wOBA split vs lefties, easily putting him in the top 10 of that category over the past three seasons. White Sox pitcher, John Danks, has struggled in his past three starts, giving up 15 runs in 16 innings pitched.
Jason Castro – HOU: Texas starter, Colby Lewis, has the worst HR/9IP split of pitcher in action tonight (1.76), and Castro is the perfect kind of power swinging lefty to take advantage. Minute Maid Park ranks as a top 10 environment for hitters, leaving Castro as a high upside Catcher pick with great HR potential.
Yoenis Cespedes – OAK: Cespedes will enjoy the same fantastic matchup as his aforementioned teammate, Josh Donaldson. Cespedes’ numbers against lefties are very respectable (.370 wOBA, .232 ISO), and his hot streak of 3 HR and 7 runs scored in the past six games inspires confidence heading into tonight.
Prince Fielder – TEX: Insert Texas option #2. Fielder has been relatively quiet as of late, but that has also kept his price down in salary cap leagues (a reasonable $3,600 on FanDuel). Fielder’s two-year split against LHP isn’t much worse than his teammate Choo (.397), and the power upside is terrific in this matchup against Peacock’s fly-ball tendencies.
Corey Hart – SEA: This statistic surprised me when I first stumbled across it: Corey Hart is a top 10 hitter against left-handed pitching (.398 wOBA). Tampa Bay’s Cesar Ramos has been serviceable to begin the season, but he still has a tendency to make mistakes; shown by allowing 2 homeruns in his last outing. Hart’s upside is suppressed by Seattle’s overall inefficiencies on offense, but he’s still with consideration on matchup potential alone.
Mitch Moreland – TEX: Insert Texas option #3. Moreland can be viewed as a “poor man’s Prince Fielder”, but he’s OF eligible as well. His .335 wOBA against lefties is good, but not great. However, the RBI potential is prime with Moreland batting sixth for one of the higher scoring teams of the day.
Allen Craig – STL: If you have been patiently waiting for Allen Craig to reveal the 2013 version of himself, the wait may be over. Craig went 5-11 with 3 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI last series against the Pirates, and he appears to be settled into the cleanup spot. He has pretty good career numbers against Travis Wood (8-25, 2 HR) to boot.
Hiroki Kuroda – NYY: I debated between listing Kuroda or Dan Haren as the top “per $” pitcher for salary cap leagues. Ultimately I leaned towards Kuroda given he has been pitching better as of late, and Haren is dealing with some lingering back issues. Kuroda has been masterful in his last two starts, combining for 15 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. He has a great matchup against an anemic Mets’ offense that ranks second to last in team wOBA (.288) and near the bottom in strikeout rate (23.0%).
Tyler Lyons – STL: Any time you are looking at a spot-starter for fantasy purposes, it’s a risky proposition. However, Lyons is in a decent situation today against a Cubs team that ranks 27th in team wOBA and dead last in strikeout percentage. Lyons has averaged 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 K’s in his three starts this season, and you can consider that his baseline for tonight. He has upside to expand on those numbers given the matchup potential, which makes him an intriguing cheap option on FanDuel ($4,200 salary).