Michael Bourn – Kyle Kendrick was on a roll until the Houston Astros (!) recorded 7 hits and 4 earned runs against the righty in only 5 innings. It may only be one poor start after a streak of 6 straight quality starts, but this is more in line with Kendrick’s career numbers (4.32 ERA and 1.37 WHIP). On top of Kendrick possibly falling upon rough times sooner rather than later, Bourn has abused the righty in 14 career at bats. The Braves leadoff hitter has 7 hits in those 14 at bats and is slugging an uncharacteristic .929. A top of the order hitter with a history of a power stroke against a specific pitcher is impossible to avoid, and you won’t have to break the bank to roster Bourn in daily fantasy baseball games.
Corey Hart (assuming health) – Few players have had success against Edwin Jackson like Hart, which is why his nagging foot injury isn’t enough to scare me away. Hart has yet to get cheated on a single at bat against righty, recording 6 hits in 11 bats on his wildly aggressive swing. Half of his hits have gone for extra bases, giving him an other worldly1.182 slugging percentage. He leads a team that is batting .376 against Jackson, giving him more run producing potential than any other player you could roster.
Players to avoid:
Edwin Encarnacion – Sure, the 40 home run season is nice, but that’s not going to help you in a one day fantasy baseball league. A lingering toe injury has sidelined EE of late, and it is quite possible that the Blue Jays rest their slugger against James Shields. The Rays righty has held Encarnacion to a .200 average, striking him out just as often as he reaches base. Toronto as a team is batting .215 against Shields, putting a cap on the run producing potential of their biggest power threat. It is easy to see the numbers and blindly roster the Blue Jays infielder, but I trust Shields to pitch well in a game that means the world to Tampa Bay, and nothing to Toronto.
Adrian Gonzalez – The Boston situation got ugly, resulting in most overlooking the solid season he has produced. While I like Gonzalez as a potential undervalued option next year, he won’t be getting into the good graces of daily fantasy baseball owners tonight. Bronson Arroyo has retired Gonzalez on 23 of 26 opportunities (.115 batting average) and has surprpsingly struck AGon out more times than he has walked him. Elite hitters benefit from intimidating outmatched pitchers, but Arroyo has stepped up to the challenge against the Dodgers newest slugger.
Ryan Braun – I touched on the successes of the Brewers against Edwin Jackson, but Braun has missed the boat. The Hebrew Hammer is batting only .188 against Jackson, a number I could overlook if the the righty was pitching around Braun, but that hasn’t been the case. Jackson has walked Braun only once, and is clearly not going to back down from the potential NL MVP. The asking price for Braun is too high to risk it on a weak matchup, even if Milwaukee is a good bet to score some runs.