Nick Martinez is the worst pitcher in action today, giving up a consistent average of 4 ER per outing over the past two months. One of those starts included a respectable 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 K line against the Astros, but that shouldn’t deter you from plugging in some Houston bats this afternoon. Jose Altuve is the safest option, and I’m inclined to group him with Chris Carter and Jason Castro to form a mini-Astros stack that will still allow you flexibility at the other hitter positions.
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – DET: Cabrera could be a viable top shelf commodity any given night, given his sheer pedigree. However, standing in against a lefty (Jose Quintana) in the most hitter-friendly park for RHB certainly justifies a top play nomination. You’ll find first basemen littered all over The Forecast today, but Miggy is the premium pick if you can fit his salary. [UPDATE: Miguel Cabrera left last night’s game with an ankle injury. Check his status before considering him for your lineups today.]
Adam Jones (OF) – BAL: Ricky Nolasco twirled a gem last time out, but I’m not buying into a full pitching renaissance quite yet. The Baltimore bats make for another viable stack today, and Adam Jones is in a fantastic position, especially considering his bargain $3,400 price tag.
Jose Bautista (OF) – TOR: Joey Bats turned a cold streak into what can be considered his hottest run of the season: mashing a HR in 4 straight games. Hotstreaks in baseball can be fickle, but you can take comfort in knowing that Bautista is seeing the ball well, and his power stroke is flowing. Yankees’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy got rocked in his last outing, and the Blue Jays could give him a case of déjà vu in the Rogers Centre.
Brian Dozier (2B) – MIN: Dozier is a lefty-masher, sporting a .356 wOBA & .221 ISO vs southpaws in the past three years. Wei-Yin Chen is a flyball pitcher that gives up some power to right-handed bats. A nice park shift to Camden Yards will help Dozier’s cause as well.
Matt Kemp (OF) – LAD: Like Dozier, Matt Kemp loves to hit lefties (.375 wOBA & .215 ISO). He has been performing up to his name recognition, driving in 5 RBI’s in the past four games. His power upside will likely be stifled by Petco Park, but this is still a favorable draw against the mediocre pitching of Eric Stults.
Torii Hunter (OF) – DET: Although it hasn’t been a theme throughout his career, Hunter has been an extremely streaky hitter this season. Now is the time to catch him on the upswing, given his 11/23, .478 avg, 8 RBI’s over the past week. This Detroit offense has a great chance to put up some runs this afternoon, and if Hunter keeps hitting, he’ll find himself with another solid fantasy line.
Jason Castro (C) – HOU: Admittedly, Castro is a “boom or bust” pick with a low on-base percentage, but significant HR potential, especially vs a struggling Nick Martinez. A Catcher like Yadier Molina may be a safer option for H2H and 50/50 leagues, but Castro could pay dividends for his cheap salary given the matchup.
Mark Trumbo (OF) – ARI: Trumbo, vs a lefty, in hitter-friendly Chase Field, for only $2,900 on FanDuel. He’s my favorite semi-cheap outfielder, given his unbelievable .284 ISO (.375 wOBA) vs left-handed pitchers in the past three seasons. On top of that power upside, Trumbo represents a decent “floor” by gathering base-hits and walks with regularity.
Billy Butler (1B) – KC: Butler is a fantastic cheap play ($2,500) if you are looking to shave off some salary to reach an ace pitcher or star-studded outfield. He’ll go up against a subpar lefty, TJ House, hitting southpaws at a great .373 wOBA clip, compared to just .293 vs righties.
Madison Bumgarner – SF: Here’s a good ole fashioned list of pro’s and con’s for Bumgarner today: PROS – 1) He has been untouchable over the past month 2) He possess the highest strikeout upside of any pitcher today 3) He is one of the heaviest favorites of the day. 4) He’s tossing at home, in a great ballpark for pitchers. CONS – 1) Milwaukee will represent his toughest test in a long time. 2) The Brewers’ lineup is chalked full of hard-hitting righties who will own the platoon advantage over him. Ultimately, I think the ballpark and Bum’s pinpoint control of late can neutralize the Brewers, but be aware of the risks vs the high price required to roster him.
Matt Shoemaker – LAA: Shoemaker represents the most likely candidate from the middle-tier to put up “ace-like” numbers today. He has allowed only one run in the past 15 innings, racking up 15 K’s over that span. The A’s offense has been uninspiring as of late, and I like Shoemaker to keep on cruisin’ in this matchup.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – LAD: It’s always a little worrisome taking a pitcher fresh off the DL, so be aware of the inherent risk involved with Ryu. All reports say he’s 100% good to go, and the matchup at San Diego is phenomenal. Ryu has dominated the Padres this season, giving up just one run in three total starts (19 IP). I’m expecting the Dodgers’ offense to give him adequate run support vs Eric Stults as well.