From The Fantasy Oracle

Daily Trends: Weekend Edition, Wk.3

For Saturday and Sunday who should be in and out of your lineup? Ray Flowers gives his thoughts.

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Matchups are becoming my world. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, unfortunately often times as I'm slaying a Decepticon fighting side by side with Optimus Prime, wondering if I added Player X or Y to my daily trends report. BVP, home/away, night/day, handedness, current trends, they all go into this piece on a daily basis. Here is your look ahead to Saturday and Sunday and the matchups you need to know about, or avoid, in the fantasy baseball game.

Note: This article is being written on Friday. Make sure you check the injury reports and lineups for the weekend before blindly setting your lineup based simply on this piece.   


DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
 
Saturday will be a good test to see where Ryan Braun is really at. He murders Wandy Rodriguez. I'll just let the numbers speak: .383-4-11 with a 1.271 OPS in 47 at-bats. Aramis Ramirez also hasn't done too badly (.368-2-6 in 57 at-bats).

Lonnie Chisenhall is producing a hit in about half his at-bats on the young season (seriously). Yes he's better against righties, but with his start to the year, and the fact that he's .375-2-6 line in eight at-bats against Mark Buehrle, shouldn't he be in the lineup?

Nick Markakis has had a very slow start to the season. However, he has six hits in 13 at-bats against Felix Doubront and he's hit .288 against lefties in his career.

Pablo Sandoval has been a big time disappointment to this point (I was going to say he's been disappointing to his parent but for some reason I feel that would be going too far... even though I just pretty much said it). Sandoval is in prime position to take care of that slow start Saturday when he faces off with Eric Stults who simply cannot get the big fella out. In 25 plate appearances Sandoval has hit .545 with a .600 OBP. The only real surprise is that he has yet to go deep. Buster Posey may not see Stults quite as well, but it's close. In 15 at-bats Posey has hit .467 with a big fly. Heck, Hunter Pence is at .320 with three homers and nine RBIs in 25 at-bats. Stults only saving grace is that the game will be played in Petco, though that might not be enough to save him from a poor outing.

Nick Swisher has 11 hits in 27 at-bats versus Mark Buehrle leading to a .407 average, two homers and eight RBIs.

Torii Hunter is hitting a solid .333 with two homers and eight RBIs in 33 at-bats against C.J. Wilson. He's also worked 10 walks leading to a .488 OBP.

Joey Votto plays every day. Doesn't matter where he's hitting in the lineup. He's hitting .471 from the two hole and he gets to face Carlos Villanueva Saturday who he's hitting .389 with a dinger in 18 at-bats against.

Finally, let's go next level. OK, it's really just interesting level, but here are some of the best hitters in baseball in 2013 on Saturday's (hey, it's interesting).

Jose Bautista .351-9-17
Miguel Cabrera .413-7-24
Paul Goldschmidt .282-6-21
Jason Kipnis .379-4-21
Adam Lind .398-77-19
Jonathan Lucroy .384-6-18
Hunter Pence .283-5-23

DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day

Chris Davis has hit a homer and batted .444 in 18 at-bats against Felix Doubront. However, he really struggled against lefties last year with a .235/.289/.475 slash line.

You will read about how horrible a play Wandy Rodriguez is in a moment. But I would be remiss if I didn't point out that he flat out dominates a guy who you might not think he would. Carlos Gomez has 14 Ks, zero homers an a .348 OPS against Wandy over 34 at-bats. That was OPS folks.

How about a big fly and a strikeout for Curtis Granderson. In 43 at-bats against Ervin Santana he's hit five homers while striking out 11 times. Can't really bet on the homer though given how locked in Santana has been and how woeful Curtis has performed.  

J.J. Hardy usually powers the ball versus lefties, but he only has one hit in his first 10 at-bats against them this year. He's also just 3-for-18 against Felix Doubront. Sit Adam Jones too. The guy is just 2-for-19 with eight strikeouts versus the lefty. Matt Wieters might as well take a season as he's just 2-for-18 in the matchup but he also has 10 whiffs. Yikes.

Victor Martinez struggles against C.J. Wilson hitting .174 with a .467 OPS over 23 games. OK, struggle isn't a firm enough word. He's also only had a handful of at-bats against left-handed pitching this year.

Watching the 1984-87 Transformers cartoon series that I got in the mail last week (all 98 episodes of the classic that started it all). Gotta tell ya. It's bad. I know kids aren't into dialogue or story structure, but jeez. I'm drinking whiskey while watching, and reliving the old days is grand, but it's rough to watch more than two episodes at one time.

The matchup says play Mike Moustakas (he's 6-for-13 versus Kevin Correia). I'm not buying it.

Brandon Phillips does not like to see Carlos Villanueva on the bump, and now he's dealing with back spasms. He's hitting a mere .125, though he has five RBIs, in 24 at-bats.

Neil Walker certainly doesn't see the ball well against Matt Garza as he's struck out in half his 12 at-bats while producing only one hit.

Ben Zobrist (four hits in 29 at-bats) and surprisingly Matt Joyce (four hits in 28 at-bats) just haven't figured out how to hit Ivan Nova.

MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target

For one more start let's trust Mark Buehrle. The Indians have struck out 40 times in 189 at-bats versus lefties this year and have a terrible slash line (.222/.289/.354). MB is also 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA.

Tim Hudson has been stupendous in his first three starts this season with a 2.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and no walks. He faces the Padres in San Diego which is great, but it's also a pretty good thing for Hudson that the Padres as a team don't even have a .650 OPS against righties this year (they have the third worst mark in baseball).

Scott Kazmir is fine. So says he and the club (apparently his biceps issue isn't a big deal). I'll be honest with you, I don't believe them. At all. Still, it's what they are both saying and because I like to believe in people (not really), I'm going got give Kazmir a tentative thumbs up Saturday. If you were to just look at his numbers it would be a no brainer: 1.40 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 19 Ks in 19.1 innings. At least the opponent is the Astros, and they stink. By the way I only used “no brainer” so I could say this – stop saying that. It's an annoying and played out term. Said my piece. We can move on now.

Brett Oberholtzer is 0-3 on the young season but he hasn't been awful. He's posted a 3.50 ERA while allowing three or fewer runs in each start, and his 3.75 K/BB ratio is pretty sharp. He takes on an Athletics club that has hit a mere .198 against lefties in 116 at-bats this season.

Ervin Santana has made two starts with a 0.64 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 8.50 K/BB ratio. He faces the Mets Saturday, a club that has the following poor slash line against righties: .226/.304/.344. Lock and load.

MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid

Colby Lewis faces a White Sox offense that leads baseball with a .790 OPS against righties. Lewis also didn't look very sharp in his first start of the season against the Mariners (eight hits, four runs in 5.1 innings).

Wandy Rodriguez has lost about two mph off his fastball. He has a 7.31 ERA and 1.56 WHIP through three starts. He has a career 4.06 ERA and 1.42 WHIP against the Brewers (155.1 innings). Current Brewers are batting .307/.368/.529 against him in 244 at-bats. You're insane in the membrane if you start Wandy.

Eric Stults traditionally dominates at home, no question about it. Still, I'd suggest passing on him in this home start. In three outings this year he has a 5.52 ERA and 1.77 WHP, and batters are teeing off to the tune of a .328 batting average. He's also had career long struggles against the Giants leading to a 5.21 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and .301 BAA over 17 appearances.

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You would should bookmark the following three sources to check daily after you read this piece.

Fantasy Alarm Lineups

Batter Versus Pitcher

Daily Projections – For every single day of the season.

SUNDAY

DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
 
Matt Adams has a rough matchup with righty Jordan Zimmerman, but more often than not this season when a righty has been on the hill Adams has mashed (.400/.423/.580 in 50 at-bats). Surprisingly Adams only has one homer in those 50 at-bats versus righties.

Tinsy weensy sample size, but the power hitting force that is Melky Cabrera has a homer and five RBIs while hitting .500 off Carlos Carrasco in eight at-bats.

Freddie Freeman is doing his darnedest to make sure he ends the month of April with a batting average better than Ty Cobb (.367). Right now he is succeeding at .389 and he's also gone deep four times. That's enough to feel confident playing Freddie in any format. Toss in a 5-for-9 effort with a homer off Zack Wheeler and Mr. Freeman shots to the top of the best plays on Sunday list.

Paul Goldschmidt is a star and he's off to a great start to the year. At the same time his last seven games have produced just one big fly and two RBIs. Given that he's hitting .222 against Josh Beckett and striking out in 56 percent of the at-bats against the duo perhaps you should sit him? Oh hell you can't, not when he's Paul Goldschmidt and he's hit .361 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 20 games at Dodger Stadium.

Aaron Hill undoubtedly has been a disappointment so far. Still, he's an established big leaguer who's had plenty of success, and for that reason he deserves some rope from you. He's also hit very well with a .395 average, a homer, seven doubles and eight RBIs against Josh Becket in 38 at-bats.

Nate Schierholtz gets to face a struggling Homer Bailey Sunday. Nate's therefore a pretty good bet to continue his solid work against Homer who has, unfortunately for the Reds, been homer prone this year (six in three games this season). Schierholtz is 7-for-15 with a homer versus Bailey.

Juan Uribe seems to have forgotten that he's not very good. He faces righty Mike Bolsinger Sunday and Juan is battering righties to the tune of a .365 batting average and .962 OPS.

Joey Votto is hitting .375 with two bombs against Edwin Jackson (16 at-bats). Oh, and he's Joey Votto and he's Edwin Jackson.

DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day

Pedro Alvarez has a bomb against Marco Estrada, but he's also 3-for-18 (.167) with eight Ks.

Jay Bruce versus Edwin Jackson sounds great. Jackson is a righty and Bruce a left. Jackson stinks while Bruce is an accomplished hitter. Well, history does a flip the switch on us here as Bruce has but one hit in 14 at-bats against Jackson (five strikeouts).

Everth Cabrera has hit .328 on the young season but he doesn't figure to have much success against Tim Lincecum who he's hit only .188 against. No I haven't placed Cabrera in the wrong column cause I  nodded off while writing this, it's because of what Cabrera does once he gets on base. Cabrera has 23 plate appearances against Lincecum and his OBP is an uber impressive .435. What does Cabrera do exceedingly well? Run. What is Lincecum horrible at? Stopping the run (don't insert your funny comments here). Cabrera has six thefts with Timmy on the bump.

J.J. Hardy has done nothing to warrant being in your lineup. He's also atrocious when facing Jake Peavy. Seriously. I'm not just saying that to try and stand out and make a name for myself. Dammit I'm the Oracle anyway. I don't need me no nickname. By the way, Hardy has one hit in 17 at-bats versus Peavy.

Chase Headley isn't even near the Mendoza line right now. I'm going to ignore the .273 batting average and four homers in 44 at-bats when he faces Lincecum and instead focus on Headley's poor start to the season and the fact that he's struck out 15 times in those 44 at-bats. For his part Lincecum has 17 Ks in 15 innings this season.

Austin Jackson has only three hits in his last five games, and five Ks in his last four outings. He also faces Hector Santiago who has struck him out six times while holding him to a .133 average in 15 at-bats.

Chris Johnson is only batting about .060 points lower than last season and he has one RBI and one runs scored in 10 games. He's 1-for-11 against Zack Wheeler.

Howie Kendrick is always a threat to rap out two or three hits. Likely won't happen Sunday though as he faces Rick Porcello (5-for-22 with eight strikeouts). Oddly, he's still managed to knock home eight runs in the matchup.

Nick Swisher faces an on/off Brandon Morrow. Too bad Swisher is always off in the matchup (4-for-27 with eight Ks).

Will Venable should be nowhere near the starting lineup against Tim Lincecum not with a .229 batting average and 18 whiffs in 48 at-bats.

MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target

Tony Cingrani always makes me a bit nervous with all the walks and the high pitch counts that often limit his ability to work deep into games. Still, he faces a Cubs squad that he has a 0.83 WHIP against with 20 Ks in 21.2 innings. More than that it's the fact that the Cubs have the worst OPS of any offense in the National League at .632 and their total of 39 walks is the 5th worst in the game.

I might be stubborn, but I'm not stupid. Through three starts Jesse Chavez has flat out dominated with a 1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 22 Ks in 20 innings while walking only two batters. He can't continue to be that effective, but I wouldn't bet on things coming crashing to a halt Sunday either as the opponent will be the woeful Astros who have a league worst .585 OPS against righties this season.

You know what I'm gonna say. You're following the alphabetical order and you realize that at this spot a guy with a last name that starts with an “L” fits. You also probably realize I haven't once mentioned Tim Lincecum in this column, and you're thinking there is no way Ray can write 3,000 words and not mention him. You got me. I might be the most transparent person you've seen all week, other than that pervert who was staring at that lady on the train for about 23 of your 26 minute ride into work on the train this morning. Why I mention Timmy. Lincecum has 17 Ks in 15 innings. More importantly he's walked one batter in three outings. He's also left the Padres with no chance through the years: 2.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 197 Ks in 172.1 innings. I know he's not the same guy he was three years ago, but I'm still seeing enough in a match with the Padres, in San Diego, to recommend The Freak, especially when you note that the Padres have the third worst OPS in baseball at .635.

Jake Peavy has allowed four runs this season while working at least six innings in each of his three outings. He's walked 10 batters thus far, and that is far from ideal, but he does have 20 punchouts in the 18.2 innings. He faces an Orioles club that has the 5th fewest Ks in the league, but Peavy is pretty locked in and in three starts against the Orioles in his career he has a 3.15 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 23 Ks in 20 innings.

MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid

Homer Bailey has a big fan in Ray Flowers. Still, how do you trust him right now? Answer is you can't. We all know he's not going to allow an average of two homers a start and that his ratios are nuts (8.16 ERA and 2.02 WHIP). Don't think the start with the Cubs is scary for him, but given his work this season and career numbers against the Cubs (4.48 ERA, 1.47 WHIP in13 starts) I cannot with any degree of confidence suggest you start him.

Roenis Elias has a 2.16 ERA making him a hot waiver-wire addition. Ho-hum. He's only lasted more than five innings in one of his three starts. He only has 10 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. His walk rate is 3.24 per nine. Pretty sure he's not going to continue to keep on with the 84 percent LOB rate or the .222  BABIP. The Marlins aren't a great offense by any means, but Elias is operating on borrowed time.

Bud Norris had a 4.59 ERA and 1.51 WHIP on the road last season. In two starts against the Red Sox he had a 3.18 ERA but I don't like that 1.68 WHIP at all – nor the six walks. The Red Sox are fourth in baseball this year and always makes pitchers work. Given Norris' spotty control, that's not a great thing for the Orioles hurler.

Ivan Nova has a 4.22 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 47 outings at home. He faces the Rays in NY Sunday. He's also been teed off on for a .364 batting average through three starts and eight strikeouts in 16.2 innings sends up plenty o' warning flags.

Finally, happy Easter and Passover.

Make sure you tune in to the Fantasy Alarm's Daily Game Show at 6 PM EDT, Monday through Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius210, XM87) as Jeff Mans and Ted Schuster will help you to set your daily lineups.


COMMENTS

  • 64x64

    jeff ballard 20 Apr 15:54 / Reply

    Hey there Ray. I know you preach patience, and I have done that so far. I am in a 12 team 5x5 roto and dead last in all pitching categories. My closers are Brothers, Cishek, Gregerson, and Santos. I had Johnson, but dropped him for Gregerson. My starters are G. Cole, J Hammel, Garza, Greink, Kluber, and Burnett. I have Cole Hamels coming back and not sure who I should drop. Some of the free agents out there are Vargas, Gibson, Feldman, G Richards, R Ross, Miley and Marrow.


  • 64x64

    flowers 19 Apr 13:17 / Reply

    Kevin F - Thanks for the props. I've been saying to everyone that I thought Jones was being way overdrafted. See http://www.fantasyalarm.com/articles/flowers/18243/2014-fantasy-baseball-player-profile-adam-jones/ As for the deal, I have no idea what the pick is worth, but since it's a keeper lg doesn't impact things much. You CRUSHED the deal. Massive win for you.


  • 64x64

    Kevin F 18 Apr 20:00 / Reply

    Ray, love the great insider tips and feedback. I have two questions, the first I traded Alex Wood for Homer Bailey and Will Meyers plus gave up a 4th round pick for next year, was that the right move? Also what do you make of Adam Jones' slow start?


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