Placido Polanco – He hasn’t been good of late, or really at any point this season, but he can do one thing well, and that is hit Barry Zito. The Phillies man at the hot corner has a ridiculous 12 hits in 16 career at bats (.750 batting average) against the lefty with 0 strikeouts. Philadelphia owns a .321 average as a team against Zito, so there figures to be men on base when Polanco steps to the plate. There are plenty of elite options at third base, but Polanco should provide the most bang for your buck in daily fantasy baseball leagues.
Aramis Ramirez – Johnny Cueto has been rolling of late, not surrendering more than 3 runs since May 25th. But if the Brewers are going to break that streak, ARam figures to be in the middle of the action. He owns a .300 career batting average against Cueto and a .600 slugging percentage. He has more walks than strikeouts and more extra base hits than singles, meaning he is both a threat to be on base and knock in runs. Cueto may be hot, but Ramirez and the Brewers can swing with the best of them, and should provide fantasy baseball owners with decent value.
Angel Pagan – When you hear his name, you typically think of a slap hitter on a pitiful offense. On most nights, that is the case, but against Joe Blanton, Pagan packs a punch. He owns a 1.067 career slugging percentage to go along with a .533 batting average against the Phillies righty. With hitters like Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval hitting around him, Pagan figures to see his share of hittable pitches, as Blanton will look to avoid putting runners on base for the core of the Giants lineup. Pagan leads the team in home runs against Blanton, and even if he doesn’t go yard, I like his chances to produce runs.
Players to avoid:
Toronto Blue Jays – This lineup has been a poor mans version of the Texas Rangers, as they have displayed elite power all season long. But with Jose Bautista on the shelf and Jon Lester on the bump, this offense is primed for a disappointing Sunday. Current Jays are batting only .181 against the lefty, and only 2 players on their roster have more hits than strikeouts against Lester. Edwin Encarnacion, who has been Toronto’s best healthy hitter, has a career .150 average against Lester. I believe in the Blue Jays offense for the season as a whole, but in a daily fantasy baseball game, I am not rostering any of their hitters tonight.
Torii Hunter – The Angels as a team struggle against dark horse Cy Young candidate Matt Harrison, limiting the opportunities for run producing hits. For Hunter, just getting a hit would be an accomplishment, as he is 1/15 lifetime against the crafty lefty. These are 2 explosive offenses, but don’t be fooled, only the Rangers have a chance at an explosion tonight.