June 1, 2015
Sleepless in Seattle
I'm looking forward to a great day of baseball, powered by the intense levels of sleep deprivation that only a newborn can provide. On to the DFS intrigue.
Chris Davis, 1B/3B ($4600)
vs. LHP: .234/.285/.455 in 863 PA
vs. RHP: .259/.336/.510 in 2173 PA
Davis has essentially split the difference between the massive triple-slash of his 2013 campaign and the pathetic line from last season, hitting .226/.314/.500 this year with 12 homers and 10 doubles. More remarkably, Davis is doing damage against southpaws this season, including seven of his extra-base hits (three of his bombs). It's a tiny sample size and his career-long struggles against lefties is a more trustworthy indicator, but the easy matchup with Oberholtzer could extend his southpaw domination by another day. The power translates reasonable well on either side of the plate, and at that price, Davis will likely need an extra-base hit if he is to pull a profit.
Pedro Alvarez, 1B/3B ($4100)
vs. LHP: .191/.262/.314 in 577 PA
vs. RHP: .249/.322/.476 in 1899 PA
Alvarez has picked up the power-laced performance that personified his first couple of seasons, further cementing 2014 as the outlier on the back of his baseball card. Even with the bounce back to previous levels, Alvarez has to be considered a disappointment to Pirates fans who thought they were getting a can't-miss prospect with the power upside to anchor the middle of a batting order. Facing the right-handed Ryan Vogelsong, Alvarez will be in the lineup and staring down the barrel of a nice platoon advantage, hoping to improve upon a career 2-for-13 line versus Vogey with seven strikeouts and one walk, though AT&T Park's cavernous gaps have been known to swallow up home runs.
Matt Joyce, OF ($3600)
vs. LHP: .187/.256/.350 in 368 PA
vs. RHP: .256/.350/.455 in 2321 PA
Joyce is one of the most protected bats in the game. For his career, just 13.7-percent of his plate appearances have come against left-handed pitchers, and this season that frequency has somehow diminished, with the Angels throwing him out there against a southpaw for just 10 of his 156 plate appearances this season (6.4 percent). The optimization has not been enough, as Joyce is hitting just .186 on the season despite his having the platoon advantage in nearly every at bat. His bat might just be awaking from its slumber, with three home runs in his last four games played, and Angels will pray for his continued glorification against the Rays and beleaguered starter Alex Colome.
The key for Richards is stability, as his surgically-repaired left knee takes on a significant role in shock absorption from foot strike into release point and follow-through. He walked three or more batters in each of his first three starts of the season, but the five walks in his last 19.7 innings could be an indication that Richards might be gaining strength. He started a bit behind on velocity, which is certainly understandable for the hard-throwing right-hander who got a late start to the season, especially considering that he threw harder last year in the rotation than he had in 2013 out of the bullpen. From a stuff standpoint, things have looked better the last several turns, as the fastball velo is creeping back up to the 97-mph average of last season. Richards is coming off back-to-back starts of double-digit five runs apiece, but he draws a Rays club that is particularly weak against right-handers.
Michael Pineda, NYY at SEA, ($8800)
The 26-year old right-hander finally gets a chance to stick it to the team that let him go. Traded for Jesus Montero in January of 2012, the Yanks appeared to get the short end of the stick when Pineda's shoulder barked that following spring and took him out of commission. Montero has been a huge disappointment but Pineda is back with vengeance: his 13.4 ratio of strikeouts to walks leads the majors, and if it seems that such efficiency is out of whack and thus due for regression, recall that last season he struck out 59 batters against just seven free passes. He faces the almighty King Felix in Pineda's first matchup with his former club, and the stakes will be high in tonight's game in Seattle.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ($5300)
He was arguably the best hitter in the league coming into the season, with the only point against him in any debate stemming from the longer-lived dominance of fellow OPS machines Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, and Andrew McCutchen. Fast forward two months, and the argument for Goldy has only gotten louder. The month of May was especially kind, with a video game-inspired .365/.476/.750 line that would look even sillier if our senses weren't dulled by the Bryce Harper Show.
Goldschmidt has hit righties and lefties with equal fervor this season, crushing an 1130 OPS against pitchers from either side, though he has hit lefties particularly hard in his career (.326/.419/.606 in 558 plate appearances). That last note should strike fear into the heart of tonight's starter for the Braves, funky southpaw Alex Wood, against whom Goldschmidt is already 2-for-2 with a homer and a walk in their three plate appearances facing each other. Goldy rips the ball to all fields against all pitch types, leaving Wood with little recourse but to throw the ball up there, close his eyes, and hope for the best.
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