Ryan Braun – I don’t care if he costs half you budget in daily fantasy baseball leagues, he is worth the investment. He holds a .412 career batting average against Wandy Rodriguez with 64.3% of his hits going for extra bases. As if that wasn’t enough to sell you on the Hebrew Hammer, his Brewer buddies have had plenty of success against the Astros starter. Corey Hart (.386), Rickie Weeks (.353), and Aramis Ramirez (.349) have all hit Rodriguez hard, and are likely to continue that trend in Houston.
Brian McCann – The Braves catcher is off to a good start in July and a showdown with Joe Blanton will do anything but interrupt his rhythm. McCann has dominated the righty with a .381 batting average and is constantly putting the ball in play (only 1 strikeout). Like Braun, McCann figures to have ducks on the pond, as Michael Bourn (.455) and Chipper Jones (.350) have had plenty of past success. Playing in hitter friendly Philly is icing on the cake for what figures to be an ideal matchup for McCann.
Kevin Youkilis – Better late than never to jump on the Youk train as he has been tearing the cover off of the ball since he was dealt to Chicago. He boasts a .348 career average against Ricky Romero with three quarters of his hits going for extra bases. He also holds a .467 OBP against the lefty, indicating that at worst case he will be on base. The power hitting Sox swept the Rangers during the week and seem to be playing their best ball right now. Youk is past his prime, but the change of scenery seems to have provided a short term fountain of youth. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Players to avoid:
Bobby Abreu – In a Dodgers offense that is struggling, it would be tempting to turn to a former fantasy all star for relief. But daily fantasy baseball owners need to avoid Abreu like the plague against Trevor Cahill, as he has been absolutely useless when facing the righty. Forget the lack of protection the dodgers lineup offers, Abreu has only 3 hits in 23 career at bats (.130 batting average) against Cahill with 6 strikeouts. This feels like a very low scoring night for LA, and I don’t want any part of it.
Hunter Pence – The Phillies offense is expected to get a big boost with the return of Ryan Howard to the lineup this weekend, but the added protection won’t be enough to make Pence worth your while in daily fantasy baseball games. Tommy Hanson has owned the Phillies outfielder to the tune of a .154 batting average with more strikeouts than walks and hits combined. Even if Howard is around, his .133 average against Hanson is far from comforting, especially considering that he strikes out more often than he doesn’t. Philadelphia is limping to the ASB, and a visit from the Braves isn’t going to make things any better.