Michael Young – It has been a disappointing season by his lofty standards (batting 25 points lower than his career average), but Ervin Santana isn’t exactly having a banner year either. I trust Young more so than Santana, and his career numbers against the erratic righty proves my logic accurate. Young nears the top of the Rangers lineup in HR’s, extra base hits, RBI and batting average against Santana, giving him far more upside than his price in daily fantasy baseball leagues reflects. Due to the stacked Texas lineup, Young has equally high potential to score and knock in runs. September has been Young’s best month since April by quite a bit, and I expect the month to end with a nice streak for the Rangers utility man as they approach the postseason.
Pittsburgh Pirates – It has been a disappointing second half of the season for the Bucco’s, but I don’t expect them to throw in the towel quite yet. They’ve got some nice pieces, and all members involved have tormented Mike Leake. The Reds righty has surrendered a .289 team batting average to the Pirates and, more concerning, a .535 slugging percentage. Seven different Pirates have taken Leake yard, directly resulting in the fact that nearly 46% of the teams hits have gone for extra bases. Neil Walker leads the team in RBI against Leake (9) with Alex Presley leading the charge in both batting average (.500) and HR’s (2). Andrew McCutchen is a good play if you’re looking for a top option, and the roster is loaded with sleepers if you are looking to fill out your fantasy baseball lineup.
Mike Trout – The remarkable season figures to continue, as he has had success against Derek Holland this season. Part of what makes Trout so special is his ability to make adjusts, to not be beat on the same pitch twice. So when a pitcher has yet to beat him, his potential is as high as anybody in the league. He’s got a .417 batting average and a .917 slugging percentage, which is reason enough to make him my top player tonight. But when you add the fact that this game is being played in hitter friendly Texas, he is as close to a can’t miss as you possibly get. Albert Pujols owns very similar numbers against Holland, so the Rangers starter will not be able to pitch around the phenom. Good luck Mr. Holland, you’re going to need it.
Players to avoid:
Curtis Granderson – An elite offense against a historically bad pitcher is typically license to roster as many batters from said team as financially possible. Not so fast. Ricky Romero, whose win less streak was ended last week thanks to an offensive explosion, is a left handed pitcher who Granderson has been unable to figure out. The power packed outfielder holds a lifetime .167 batting average against Romero, striking out 2.5 times for every hit. Granderson has managed to draw only one walk for every 10 strikeouts, not an ideal ratio for any player worth considering for daily fantasy baseball games. While Granderson has improved against southpaws, his batting average is still 22 points lower against lefties than righties. You’ve got my permission to roster almost any other Yankee, as long as you don’t count on Granderson for elite production.
Carlos Ruiz – He has proven to be the most valuable catcher this fantasy season, as he has greatly outperformed expectations by nearly doubling his previous career high in HR’s and surpassing his career batting average by some 50 points. The season long success for Chooch slows this week when he faces the hot and cold Ricky Nolasco. Ruiz owns a career .150 batting average and isn’t likely to get much help from his Phillie teammates (.246 team batting average against Nolasco). None of his hits have gone for extra bases, severely limiting his potential to be a productive fantasy option.