Ugh. Four games. Options are obviously limited today. And once you start looking at prices and match ups, the pool of available players shrinks a little more. For example, Cliff Lee will cost you a ridiculous $20,543 today. Paying that price really makes it hard to fill out a lineup full of guys who will actually play today. And Lee’s match up isn’t even that great. The Padres have the 5th best wRC+ against left handed pitching and are only 17th in K% vs. LHP. In fact, there aren’t many good match ups to be found for starters today. Here is a chart showing each probable starter along with the wRC+ and K% for their opponent against pitchers of the same handedness.
|Opponent||Opponent wRC+||Opponent K%|
|Cliff Lee||at SD||109||19.8%|
|Madison Bumgarner||at LAD||102||16.4%|
|Ubaldo Jimenez||at BAL||113||17.5%|
|Esmil Rogers||at TB||106||18.0%|
For context, the league average K% is 19.9% and the league has a wRC+ of 97. We’ve got two strikeout rates above 19.9% and one wRC+ below 97. One of those high strikeout rates comes from the Indians who are facing Zach Britton and his career 4.78 ERA. He’s not an option. That leaves one starter with a good match up and six others with bad match ups. Again, Lee’s price is prohibitive, so that leaves only five other options.
The Daily Five
Eric Stults, $12,889 – This is the easy choice of the day. The Phillies are below average in both of the categories discussed above.
Madison Bumgarner, $17,810 – The match up is obviously only half of the input in this equation. The quality of the actual starter you’re picking is clearly an important factor. And Bumgarner has been unsurprisingly great this year. He’s got a 3.25 ERA (3.40 SIERA), 1.01 WHIP, and his K% and SwStr% are at all time highs. He’s expensive, but not more expensive than the best pitchers tend to be on normal days.
Jeremy Hellickson, $10,640 – Given the lack of options at starter, I considered recommending a closer. The problem is that I’ve never done it, and it just seems like a terrible idea trying to gamble on a save, especially on a day with no clear favorite in any game. Ryu has been better than Hellickson this year, but they’ve been more similar than you might think. Ryu has a 3.68 SIERA; Hellickson has a 3.93 SIERA. Ryu’s K-BB is 13.9; Hellickson’s K-BB is 13.5. Because picking Ryu would take the potential number of wins I could get from three to two and because Hellickson is about $4,000 cheaper, Hellickson seemed like the better pick.
Munenori Kawasaki, $6,968 – There are just no good options at shortstop today. The most expensive options are J.J. Hardy and Mike Aviles, but both of them are right-handers facing right-handers. Brandon Crawford and Yunel Escobar will also be facing pitchers of the same handedness, and Jimmy Rollins will be hitting from the right side, which has been his weaker side for the last couple of years. Kawasaki is the only one with a good platoon match up. Hopefully he’ll just take Hellickson for a few hits and get his fantasy points on the base paths.
Melky Cabrera, $4,997 – Melky has really struggled this year and is hitting just .220 in his last 50 at-bats. But if you’re looking for a cheap option, this is about as cheap as it will get today for a guy you can be fairly certain will play. It’s a small sample, but Melky has been much better against right-handers this year. Maybe he’ll get a couple of hits off Hellboy as well. Two hits for Menenori, two hits for Melky, zero hits allowed to the rest of the Jays. That would be nice.
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