St. Louis Cardinals – Those who don’t learn from the past are destined to repeat it. If you missed out on the Cardinals run last year, don’t compound the error this year, as they are positioning themselves nicely to slip into the playoffs once again. Tonight the offense figures to steal the show, as the current Red Birds are batting .368 against Mat Latos and slugging .563. Carlos Beltran has 3 hits (all home runs) in 5 at bats against the righty, while Rafael Furcal (.400 batting average against Latos) and John Jay (.545) figure to get one base early and often. Matt Holliday is the lone regular who has struggled against Latos (.182 batting average), but he has managed a team high 5 RBI thanks in large part to his teammates getting on base ahead of him. I’m not betting against the Cardinals for the rest of the season, and daily fantasy baseball owners should at least consider rostering a few St. Louis players on a regular basis.
Torii Hunter and Maicer Izturis – What? You were expecting a different Angels tandem? The big names may garner most of the fantasy attention most days, but don’t be surprised if it is these two that set the stage for a big night against the Tigers Rick Porcello. The duo is batting .545 with half of their hits going for extra bases. Hunter has as many RBI as hits, and his position in the lineup is ideal for run production. Izturis has been a different hitter since the beginning of July, raising his batting average by 30 points. He isn’t likely to be on many radars tonight, but for the price, there might not be a better bargain.
Ryan Braun – Rostering a star player should be something you do with great caution, as it must be a good investment due to the amount of faith you are putting into him. Tonight, the Hebrew Hammer needs to be on your roster. It’s that simple. We all know that Braun is an elite hitter, arguably the best in the game, so I’ll spare you those statistics and focus on his domination of Wandy Rodriguez. He leads the Brewers with a .389 batting average against the Pirates lefty, but it is not his ability to hit for a high average that has me in his corner tonight. An amazing 64% of his hits have gone for extra bases, and 44% of his extra base hits have been home runs. Braun has 4 multi hit games and 5 homers over his last 7 games, the beginning of what could be a strong end to August for the Brewers outfielder. Don’t miss out on my top ranked player for Friday, as Braun will not disappoint.
Players to avoid:
Miguel Cabrera – He is a high priced commodity, but on most nights he is worth every penny in daily fantasy baseball games. However, that is not the case tonight, as he opposes Zack Greinke, a pitcher who has struck out Cabrera out more times than he has been beaten for a hit. Miggy holds a .286 career batting average against the newest Angel which is a solid number, but it is 32 points lower than his career batting average. When rostering the Tigers third basemen, you’re looking for a strong average with elite power, and the power simply hasn’t been there against Greinke. Miggy has yet to record an extra base hit against righty and averages 1 walk for every 4.5 strikeouts, an extremely high ratio for such a feared hitter. The price you have to pay for a bad matchup is simply to rich for my blood, making Cabrera a star player that I’m avoiding tonight.
Atlanta Braves – While it is a miniscule sample size, I’m not taking a flier on any Atlanta players tonight against Ryan Vogelsong. The Braves have 33 at bats against the Giants righty, and no player has more than 1 hit (the team holds a .182 batting average). Typically I’d overlook such a small set of data, but Vogelsong is an elite pitcher at home (2.29 ERA with a .214 batting average against). In fact, 10 of his 11 starts in San Francisco this year have qualified as quality starts, making him a near lock to fire a gem tonight. Fantasy baseball is a game of trends, and the numbers indicate that there is no reason to risk a roster spot on any Atlanta Braves.