Asdrubal Cabrera – This pick requires a little bit of a leap of faith, as he is the only Indian with more than 7 at bats against Francisco Liriano that is batting better than .250. Cabrera has owned the inconsistent lefty (.545 career average) with a strong .727 slugging percentage. Liriano has been hot lately with strikeouts, but Cabrera is a pesky switch hitter who routinely puts the ball in play. Liriano was rocked in his last outing (2.2 ip, 7 earned, 3 home runs) and while I don’t expect a stat line like that, I do see Cabrera as an underrated option in daily fantasy baseball games.
Adrian Gonzalez – In what has been a disappointing season, I expect Gonzo to break out of the funk tonight, and maybe it’ll lead to an outburst to reward his loyal fantasy baseball owners. He owns a .308 career batting average against Hiroki Kuroda, with 0 strikeouts and 6 walks. He will not beat himself, and with the Red Sox finally getting healthy, I expect Gonzalez to be in a position to produce. His .692 slugging percentage is encouraging, as 75% of his hits have gone for extra bases. I know he has let you down this season, but all is not lost, and he can help you in daily fantasy baseball leagues.
Alex Rios – The argument here is nearly identical to that of Gonzalez, expect Rios has been a value play for most of the season. He, like Gonzalez, has a .692 slugging percentage against tonight’s starter (Scott Feldmen), and rarely walks back to the dugout via K (only 1 strikeout in 26 career at bats). His .346 batting average is reason for optimism, and the fact that 55.6% of his hits have gone for extra bases is icing on the cake. The Ballpark in Arlington isn’t exactly known for pitchers duels, and I think we see some fireworks tonight, with Rios heavily involved.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Playing against the Giants is usually reason enough to avoid any lineup, but the Dodgers have had plenty of success against Ryan Vogelsong. Hanley Ramirez seems relaxed at the dish and comfortable with his new team, making him likely to break an 0-7 slump against the Giants righty. I like Ramirez tonight because of the protection he figures to receive from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, both of whom are batting at least .333 with a .556 slugging percentage against Vogelsong. The middle of the lineup isn’t the only part that hits Vogelsong hard, as the team holds a .310 combined batting average. If you’re looking for a deep sleeper here, Juan Rivera is your man, as he has been hot and owns a .412 career average against San Francisco’s starter.
Players to avoid:
Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco – It is hard to not buy into what the Phillies have been doing lately, providing late game heroics seemingly on a nightly basis. But against veteran Tim Hudson, the number of Phillies who will do damage in the early going is limited, as these two infielders figure to be sure outs. The duo has combined for a .176 batting average, a statistic that leads me to believe the offense will be stunted and unable to manufacture runs. Hudson’s goal will be to face Ryan Howard (.345 average with 6 HR’s against Hudson) with the bases empty, and with his past success against the top of the Phillies order, that seems reasonable. Don’t count on either one of these slap hitters in your daily fantasy baseball league, as there are plenty of better options.