Over the past two seasons (2013 – 2014), only nineteen qualified starters have posted a FIP lower than Lance Lynn’s 3.29. He’s been better than Gio Gonzalez, Kris Medlen, Doug Fister, and Homer Bailey, using FIP. I feel like most, if not, all of those men were/are viewed as better fantasy options coming into 2014. Maybe they were; in Medlen’s case, we’ll never know. I definitely had all of them ranked in front of Lynn, and I’ve been proven wrong.
My main reason for dropping Lynn in my rankings was his struggles versus left handed batters. Those concerns haven’t been abated, although, he has been better versus lefties this year: .345 career wOBA allowed versus .326 wOBA this season. His lack of a change-up still hurts, but .19 points of wOBA is nothing to scoff at. Granted, his career number still holds more weight, considering the larger sample. Still, though, progress is progress; this is the second year in a row that number has dropped, after all (was .366 in 2012).
Lynn’s season has been odd in the sense that he’s striking out fewer batters, while walking more. Yet, thanks to little BABiP and HR/FB help – more sinkers help, I’m sure; as has the Cardinals defense – he’s finally beating his peripherals for once. This game’s weird.
Lynn draws the Rays today, who, despite their struggles, have been better than average versus right handed pitching.
After yesterday’s somewhat mediocre pitching slate, at least from a known entity perspective, a few larger names are on the bump today. Alex Cobb, Anibal Sanchez (and his much lower strikeout rate), Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Lynn, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, and Yu Darvish will take the hill today. Jered Weaver, too.
Overall, it looks like pitching has the upper hand today, but there are still some nice match-ups out there. Hell, Strasburg’s home run problem this season won’t be easy to hide in Coors. (Can we call it that? A “problem?” Not sure a 13% HR/FB is a problem when you still have a 2.83 FIP, but oh well. It’s been his only real bugaboo this season, and I felt like throwing some shade in his direction while sitting in my cube, because I’m jealous of his right arm. Sue me.)
The man facing Strasburg, though, has a terrible match-up. Jorge De La Rosa is terrible versus right handed batters – allowing a .346 wOBA versus them since 2013. It just so happens that the Nationals’ offense hits lefties very well, posting a .341 wOBA as a team.
Brad Peacock, Trevor Cahill, R.A. Dickey, Clay Buchholz, and Chris Tillman all have tough match-ups too. Nathan Eovaldi’s match-up isn’t too bad – Atlanta’s .306 wOBA versus right handed pitching is only better than six teams – but he’s struggled of late, posting a 4.43 ERA (3.64 FIP) over his last eleven starts, in part because he isn’t missing bats; he’s only struck out 13% of the batters he’s faced over that stretch, compared to the 20% mark he threw up in his first ten starts.
The Daily Five
Not a stack, per se, but it felt easier to just lump them together. They’re both facing De La Rosa, whose struggles with right handed bats is pretty pronounced. I’m assuming/hoping Desmond is bumped up in the lineup a little after Ryan Zimmerman’s injury. I also like Jayson Werth ($5,500), but he’s a little pricey.
J.D. Martinez – $4,600
.327/.363/.606; .414 wOBA.
Tsuyoshi Wada – $5,500
Admittedly, I know nothing about Wada. I’ve never seen him throw a pitch, so I’m just “scouting a stat line.” He posted solid numbers in Triple-A and didn’t allow a run in his first MLB start, so he’s probably on his way to the Hall of Fame, right? I’m only rostering him because he’s cheap, appears to have decent strikeout potential, and is facing the Padres, whose lineup is so, so bad.
Kole Calhoun – $4,500
Quietly, Calhoun is having an excellent season at the plate, posting a .369 wOBA in 266 plate appearances; his .382 wOBA versus right handed pitching ranks second on the team, only Mike Trout has been better.
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Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).